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The fifth-year started and so, too, did the arguments. It was mainly due to the heady combination of pressure, Potter and puberty.

“Do you like him?”


“Why are you going to the ball with him, then?”

Lily unwillingly looked up from her book. They were sitting in the library, at a table next to a dusty, cob-webbed window that looked out over the lake. There were so many spiders skulking around the window-pane that the sunlight made spider-shaped patterns on their table. Lily had been running her fingers lovingly down the spine of one of her favourite library books, Sympathetic Magic.

“Because Dumbledore asked me to,” she said simply.


She smiled shyly. “Because I'm a good student, and he thinks I'll make a good impression on Janus.”

“What exactly does 'making a good impression' on him entail?”

Lily laughed. “Nothing untoward. I'm just supposed to be a model representative of the school, to-” she imitated McGonagall's crisp tones, “foster the growth of International Magical Co-operation.”

“And this absolutely has to consist of you being bored to death by a surly half-troll, who won't stop reciting gob-stones statistics and can't even pronounce your name?”

She giggled again and Madam Pince, appearing suddenly from behind the nearest bookshelf, hushed her.

“Sorry. Sorry, Madam Pince,” Lily whispered. She was usually on excellent terms with the Hogwarts librarian, since they both had an almost carnal affection for books. Lily seemed to have a lot of tenderness, but was too shy to bestow this on people, so she protected and cared-for her books. Snape was considering getting her a pet but knew that it would probably not be so informative. Unless he managed to get her a sphinx. And then she would probably never bother talking to anything else, because Lily was addicted to puzzles, and had been known to forego sleep until she had solved them. When the Ravenclaw portrait had asked her a riddle for a password, she had hurried away and returned an hour later, with a hastily-written essay, which she read out, while an interested crowd of Ravenclaws formed around her, all forgetting about getting into their common room in their haste to add substantive points or point out flaws in her argument. This could only happen with the Ravenclaws, who had rather taken to Lily after that. She had, however, completely failed to charm the Slytherins.

“Anyway,” she said, when Madam Pince had withdrawn back into the shadows, “there's nobody else I want to go with that's going to ask me.”

“Who do you want to go with that isn't going to ask you?”

He had said this rather louder than he'd meant to. Madam Pince lost her temper. “That's it! Out! OUT!”

Hurriedly stuffing books into their schools bags, they left. The librarian's piercing, reproachful whispers, somehow bewitched to follow them, hastened their steps as they sped down the corridor.

“God, I wish she wouldn't do that!” Lily exclaimed, as soon as they had reached the Entrance Hall. “I was underlining something in One Hundred Magical Herbs and Fungi in the Common Room last night, and suddenly I heard her voice hissing in my ear: 'Library books are not to be written in!' Made me spill ink all over my Dragon's Blood essay! I honestly think she’s got the whole school under surveillance.”

Snape, who was still thinking about Janus, and all the people that Lily might want to go to the ball with, didn’t respond. They made their way down to the Entrance Hall. It was a bright day, and shafts of sunlight streamed through the high leaded windows in the corridors; the effect of all this brightness was to make Lily sparkle and Snape squirm.   

“Will you come to the Magical Ethics Club tonight?” she asked, suddenly eager. “We’re discussing whether use of the Unforgivable Curses is justifiable in fighting the Dark Arts.”

Snape gave her an exasperated smile. Lily had started the Magical Ethics Club in spite of lukewarm enthusiasm from the two or three people she had managed to induct as members. No Slytherin had ever set foot in it, because ethics were inconvenient things to the ambitious. As Voldemort gained in strength, however, even Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws were beginning to come to the conclusion that ethics were all very well if you could persuade your enemies to abide by them, but if not, they made you distinctly vulnerable.  

“Slughorn’s coming,” she added, as though she genuinely thought this was an incentive.   

Snape sighed. “Thanks, but if I wanted to see Slughorn drooling all over you, I’d start paying attention in Potions.”

There was a pause. When Lily replied, her voice was steely. “He likes me because he thinks I’m clever.”

Snape gave her an appraising look, wondering how far he could push this topic. “Margot Holloway’s clever, but he doesn’t fawn over her like a devoted House Elf.”

A playful smiled curled the sides of Lily’s mouth for a moment. “You don’t think I’m smarter than Margot Holloway?”  

If Snape hadn’t known Lily to be incapable of spite, malice or even long-term resentment, he would have said that she felt about Margot Holloway the way he himself felt about James Potter. The two girls fascinated each other, but were very competitive.

He shrugged. “Yes, in every way that matters. You’re more creative than she is. It’s just that creative people are inconsistent.”

Lily gave him a look that comprised fondness, fury and amusement. “I love your diplomatic insults.”

“That was a diplomatic compliment,” he replied. They walked on in silence for a while, then Snape stopped suddenly and said. “I could get you out of it, if you like.”

“Get me out of what?”

“Going to the ball with Janus. If he's boring you, I'll start a fight and we can slip away.”

Lily shook her head in disbelief. “Were you listening to all that stuff about fostering the growth of International Magical Co-operation?”

“I won't fight Janus,” Snape explained, as though this was obvious. “I'll start insulting you, and the fighting will just sort of spread around us.”

“You might get hurt,” she said.

Snape stared at her. Nobody, nobody, had ever voiced this concern before. He went on, talking rather fast: “There's this thing we can do with our wands. The Vinculus Charm. I read about it in Agrippa’s Almanacke. If we cast spells at each other, any spells, at the same time, they'll collide in mid air and blind everyone around us with a flash of light.”

“Temporarily?” Lily asked.

Snape shrugged. “Oh, yeah. I mean, they'll see spots in front of their eyes for a few days, but basically they'll be fine. We just won't do it in front of any teachers because they might know about the charm. I think it's old magic, though.” He paused. She was listening excitedly, her bright green eyes trained on him. With difficulty, he remembered what he was saying, and went on: “The book said that Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff used it to halt a near-fatal wizard's duel between Gryffindor and Slytherin.”  

Lily was positively glowing with interest. “Show me,” she said.   

The Almanacke turned out to be a battered green book with no words on the cover. Snape suspected it had been re-covered at one point in order to look more innocent, because the book inside was filled with illustrations of monstrous beasts and horrifically botched transfigurations. They read it in a dungeon classroom outside the Slytherin common-room, because Lily wasn’t allowed inside.

She watched him flick through chapters with titles like: ‘Cruel but effective’, and ‘Only to be used in sparsely populated areas’, and the intriguing final chapter ‘Absolute last-resorts’.

“Is this dark magic?” she whispered. Again, interest had overcome her disapproval, and Snape smiled.

“In as much as it is intelligent magic, yes.”

Lily raised her eyebrows, so he went on: “You don’t know how often I ask teachers if something could be done, only to hear them answer: ‘Yes, but it mustn’t be done’. The only people who are testing the limits of what magic can do are the ones with a bit of moral flexibility.”

“That isn’t true!” she whispered heatedly. “Dark magic is the easiest magic there is! How moronic to kill something, or torture something, or blow something up! Think how much easier it is to destroy something than to fix it.”

“Well, if that’s true, then the best way to test the limits of what magic can do is to destroy something, so that it can be fixed.”

“I don’t think we’ll ever be short of wizards to destroy things, Severus,” she said drily. “There’s absolutely no need to add to their number.”

She flicked through the pages, pausing to say thing like: ‘Oooh, I haven’t seen this before. ‘Transfiguring curse scars and magical marks’…”

“That’s so you can hide them, and pose as a normal person, if the Aurors are after you.”

“But it would also be valuable for magical medicine, wouldn’t it? Hiding disfiguring scars? I mean, it’s the next best thing to actually healing wounds caused by Dark curses. I wonder if the principles of this spell could be adapted?”

Snape shrugged helplessly. There was an expression on his face that Lily’s conversation often evoked: a sort of fond exasperation. He might have been listening to the ravings of a beloved child.

“Anyway, this is the Vinculus charm.” He opened the book to the chapter on ‘Diversionary tactics’.

“This book really is written with the Dark witch or wizard in mind, isn’t it?” she said wryly.

Heads together, they both read the description of the charm.

‘The quasi-mythological status of the four Hogwarts founders is such that it is impossible to determine which, if any, of the stories told of them may have had a basis in fact. The story of Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff’s close friendship, however, is one of the oldest, and therefore might be deemed more reliable than some. With little in common to begin with – one being fiercely, vociferously intellectual and the other rather quiet and unassuming – the two women had little time for one another. However, both perceiving the dangerous hatred that had developed between Gryffindor and Slytherin, they decided that, for the protection of the school and its students, they should take steps to defend themselves against the terrifying and ill-moderated powers of their male colleagues.

Amongst other protective spells, they cast the Vinculus charm, a spell of great antiquity even then, in which two wands are bonded, so that, whatever spells they shoot towards each other, the result is always a blinding flash of light that disables anyone else who happens to be in the vicinity (the ‘vicinity’ being approximately a two mile radius). They used the charm to blind Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin when they duelled prior to Slytherin’s final departure from the school. The story tells us that this duel had already decimated half the castle, and caused avalanches and forest fires in the surrounding mountains. Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff are generally credited with the subsequent rebuilding of the school.

The drawback of the Vinculus charm is that it is fuelled by trust, and will not work if the owners of the wands mistrust each other.’  

The Summer Ball was unhelpfully right before the fifth-years took their Ordinary Wizarding Level exams and, as a result, most people seemed to regard it as their last chance to have fun, ever. Nervous excitement was rife. Brains that had been crammed full of astronomy statistics, the dates of goblin rebellions, and the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, were now going to be saturated with alcohol, and many were under the distinct impression that, if they were sick, they would throw up ancient runes.

Snape waited in the entrance hall, trying - and succeeding, as he usually did - to be inconspicuous, because he was ashamed of his ragged dress robes and even a little ashamed of his date.

He was taking a fourth-year Slytherin girl to the ball: Sylvia Easterbrook. She wasn’t anywhere near as glamorous as her name suggested. She had muddy blonde hair, a rather pointed nose and a high, spiteful voice a bit like Lily’s sister’s. Her favourite topic of conversation was her prestigious wizarding ancestry. She was preternaturally thin and, like Peeves, the sight of chaos and pain greatly excited her. He suspected that his reputation for dark magic was the only reason she had chosen to go to the ball with him (that, and the fact that fourth-years didn’t get to go to the ball unless somebody from the fifth year or above asked them).

She was wearing grey silks, that looked so ancient they seemed positively organic. They didn’t seem to move as fabric ought to. Snape wondered whether they had been bewitched to seem as though they were surrounded by a slight breeze. Their rustling sounded like whispering close-to. Around her neck, she wore a silver pendant shaped like a serpent, studded with emeralds.   

He saw Sylvia looking coldly at his tattered dress robes when she arrived, but ignored this. He was searching the crowd for Lily, and hadn’t really noticed anybody else. They weren’t allowed to move into the Great Hall until Janus and his fellow Durmstrang delegates arrived, so he would be sure to see her.

After a few minutes she came down the marble staircase, sticking rather close to Mary Macdonald. She was breathing apprehensively. This wouldn’t ordinarily have been noticeable but the low cut of her dress did kind of draw the eye.   

She looked very pretty. She was wearing a white satin dress and, around her neck was a little ruby from the Gryffindor hourglass that counted House Points. Snape had given this to her after the hourglass got smashed open in a memorable duel between Avery and James Potter. It glittered darkly next to her pale skin, almost exactly matching the colour of her wine-red hair.

Snape saw, with a rush of hatred, that James Potter, too, was staring at her. When she passed him, he smiled at her, but Lily averted her gaze coldly and walked on. Catching Snape’s eye, she smiled conspiratorially and raised her eyebrows at Potter’s back, as if to say: ‘What an idiot.’

Snape grinned at her.

Sylvia nudged him sullenly. “Mudblood scrubs up pretty nicely, don’t you think?”

Snape shrugged.  

“Still, it’s pointless,” Sylvia gave a contemptuous wave of her spindly arm. “She’ll never get a pure-blood wizard to marry her.”

Snape raised his eyebrows. “Is that her plan?” he asked dryly, still looking at Lily. “I had no idea.” He gave a thin smile and added, “Still, at least I’m safe from her machinations.”

Sylvia evidently did not wish to discuss Snape’s hybrid bloodline. She focussed instead upon his wizarding connections. “My uncle Orion says he was at school with your mother. Wasn’t her name Eileen Prince?”

Snape shrugged again. He didn’t like to think about his mother.

“She was the last of the Princes, I believe.”

“She’s not dead,” Snape said irritably, but Sylvia didn’t seem to have heard him.

“A great wizarding name…” She trailed off, dreamily. “I wonder you didn’t take her name when you came to school. You, at least, have some claim to it.”

Snape surveyed her coldly. Sylvia, however, seemed oblivious to it.

“I have a very distant connection with the Princes. My great, great aunt Matilda married Moribund Prince in the nineteenth century…”

Snape had ceased to listen to her. Lily had been joined by Hector Janus, who was kissing her hand in what Snape considered to be an unnecessarily lingering fashion. He was pleased to see, however, that Lily was trying to snatch it back and, when he eventually released her, she wiped the back of her hand covertly on her dress.

“I have a connection with all the great wizarding families,” Sylvia was saying, “the Lestranges, the Blacks, the Peverells - though, I don’t generally advertise that fact, they’ve become rather degenerate recently. Filled with blood-traitors like that Potter.”

At this, she indicated James Potter, who was leading a pretty blonde into the hall. Snape dimly recognised her as a Gryffindor sixth-year called Malificent. She was peering nosily at all the couples and making snide remarks about their out-of-date dress-robes. Potter, it seemed, who could have taken any number of mildly attractive smart girls to the ball, had opted for the most attractive and most idiotic that he could possibly find. He was making ambivalent noises in response to Malificent’s questions. His eyes were still on Lily.

The Great Hall seemed even bigger than usual, with its long tables missing. They had been replaced by myriad little circular tables surrounding a wide dance floor. The floating candles overhead were burning lots of different colours, and there seemed to be mirrors and reflective surfaces everywhere, giving the hall the look of a treasure-trove, sparkling with jewels. The stars in the enchanted ceiling were so bright that they looked like part of the decoration.

At the end of the hall, the raised platform where the staff table usually stood had been converted into a makeshift stage for a wizard’s orchestra. These were different from muggle orchestras - and included such ‘instruments’ as warbling toads, harps that fired arrows into the crowd as they played and crystal flutes that glowed a different colour with each note. Snape privately thought that this was unnecessary. In fact, he strongly suspected that it was just showing-off.

Lily played clarinet, and had tried to join the orchestra in her first year. The music teacher, Professor Arcturius, had never seen or heard a clarinet before. When asked what it did, Lily replied, with the skill for lateral thinking that had served her so well during her first few years in the wizarding world: “It makes a nice sound.” Professor Arcturius had replied that this wasn’t enough, so Lily had persisted: “It can control the emotions of the audience.”

“Indeed?” asked Professor Arcturius, brightening. “In what way?”

“Well, it can make people sad, or happy, depending on the notes I play.”

A few people in the surrounding orchestra had sniggered. Professor Arcturius was staring dubiously at the clarinet. “But it’s made of wood. Does it have a core of some magical substance, like unicorn hair?”

Lily, trapped in a web of half-truths, had felt the colour rise in her face. She’d stubbornly picked up her clarinet and played the saddest song that she could think of. She played well, and Professor Arcturius listened. One of his eyebrows, seemingly of its own accord, had risen almost to meet his hairline, while the other remained stationary.

When she had finished, he’d said. “My dear… that was lovely. Very… subtle. It’s just that sounds in a wizard orchestra are… bigger. Nobody would be able to hear your Carry-Net. A wizard orchestra does not simply move its audience, it carries them away.”    

Lily had been very upset by this. Her mood had not been improved by Snape’s well-meaning suggestion that the wizard orchestra had been invented by ‘some flashy Gryffindor’.  

Of course, magical instruments had been a big problem in the school when Severus and Lily had first arrived. There was an instrument called a Collapser, which emitted notes that had physical powers. There was a note that made your nose bleed, a note that made the audience hover a few inches in the air, even a note (much sought after by some of the older boys at the school, but never, to Snape’s knowledge, found) that made everybody’s clothes fall off.

Collapsers (and, in fact, the entire school orchestra) had been banned at Hogwarts after one memorable performance in which various audience members had been thrown painfully across the room and, in one case, through a window, though everyone was prepared to admit that the music that had accompanied the chaos had been very beautiful.

When Snape had told Lily about this, it had caused one of those rare and exciting moments when vindictive pleasure completely illuminated her features. Though Snape loved Lily the way she was, he had often considered that it would be worth trying to make her into a Death Eater, just to see this wonderful expression reappear with greater frequency.        

The band started to play an eerie waltz, and Janus led Lily onto the dance floor. Her soft red hair reflected the jewel-bright candles dazzlingly. Snape noticed that she had let her hair fall over her right eye, as though she wanted to hide behind it. She often did this when she was nervous. And she probably knew that she had great cause to be nervous, because several of the Slytherins were muttering about this being a ‘disgrace to the school’.

Leaving Sylvia hovering by the punch-bowl (she was already on her fourth glass, and Snape assumed that excessive-drinking was another glorious tradition of her wizarding ancestors), he walked around the outer circle of the crowd, staring at the waltzing couple in the centre. At one point, he almost walked into James Potter, who had also been stalking around the outer edge of the circle, looking at the dancers. They had exchanged looks of deepest hatred, and moved off in opposite directions. Malificent, Snape noticed, was also hovering by the punch-bowl, a couple of inches from Sylvia. As he approached, he distinctly heard her mutter: “That dress Evans is wearing is so last-season.”

Sylvia, who liked things to be last-season and despised innovation of any kind, replied, “I think it looks very cheap and flashy. She probably bought it.” A pronounced sneer came into Sylvia’s voice: “I inherited mine. It’s been in my family for generations. It was made for my great, great, great grandmother, Claudia Black.”

Malificent evidently wished she hadn’t initiated this conversation. She took the punch that Sylvia offered her and downed it in one.

“All the women in my family were very slim, as you can see,” Sylvia went on boastfully and Snape, who was also having a glass of punch pressed into his hand, thought of a spell he’d seen in one of the books in the Restricted Section: ‘Dark Diets: Bewitch those Extra Pounds onto the Hips of your Worst Enemy.’ He wondered vaguely which girl had ended up with all the fat siphoned off from the women in Sylvia’s family. A muggle-born witch, no doubt. He made a mental note to warn Lily about this the next time he saw her.

There were other dancers making their way onto the dance floor now, and Snape saw Janus lead Lily by the hand out of the throng. They settled at one of the tables around the dance floor. Snape saw, with some interest, that Lily had a polite but vacant smile frozen on her lips. He moved closer, hidden behind some burly Slytherin seventh-years, so that he could hear their conversation.

“My father vas Gob-Stones Champion at Durmstrang from 1954 to 1961. Every vone of his years at school, he beat all the competition. I grew up vith Gob-stones and iff I got sqvirted in the face, I vasn’t allowed to vash for veeks and veeks, so that I learned from my mistakes.”

Lily choked on her butterbeer, torn between horror and amusement. “That’s terrible,” she murmured, when she had recovered herself.

“It vas a very lonely childhood, as you can imagine. I used to pretend my Gob-Stones vere my friends…”

Lily looked as though she didn’t quite know how to respond to this, so she gave him a brave smile and said nothing.

“But it vas all worth it, to bring honour and glory to my school, my country and my family. The very first Gob-Stones tournament that I took part in, I beat Karkaroff, who vas a seventh year, in an epic game that lasted two veeks.”

Lily caught sight of Severus, and her eyes were pleading. Smiling, he pretended he hadn’t seen her, and turned to pick up a butterbeer from the table behind them.

“It vas not until the seventy-fourth round that things really started to go my vay…”

“Snape!” Lily called desperately, and Severus turned to look at her.

“Yes, Evans?” he asked coolly.

Lily glared at him. “I expect you think that my dancing with the Durmstrang delegate is a disgrace to the school, or something?” she said meaningfully.

Severus hesitated, licked his lips, and then decided he couldn’t tease her any more. His face assumed its accustomed sneer. “I do, as it happens, Evans. Your kind don’t belong in this school.” He thought of Sylvia and gained sudden inspiration. “You’re corrupting decent wizarding families with your devious muggle ways.”  

She glared at him, probably a little harder that she would have done if he had saved her from Janus straight away. “How dare you? I have just as much right to be here as you do.”

“No, you have half as much right, because you’re entirely common, whereas I at least have one magical parent.”

Janus stepped in at this moment. “She iss not common!” he protested. Turning to Lily, he said quietly. “I am thinking this should not be allowed.”

“Vy… er… why don’t you get a teacher?” she asked suddenly.

Janus did not move. He was glaring at Snape.

“I’ll be fine,” she added quickly.

Janus slouched off. Lily turned back to Snape, and a smile flitted briefly across her face. People were starting to look at them now. “You’re just jealous because I always beat you - ”

“Beat me?” Severus echoed derisively. “Ha! It’s only because you’re always smarming up to the teachers…”

Lily had pulled out her wand: “You take that back!”

“Lucky you ended up in a house full of blood-traitors and arrogant little creeps, you Gryffindor Scum!”

“Slytherin thug!” she shouted.

This was the signal to cast the Vinculus charm. Snape pulled at his wand and growled: “Stupefy!”. At the same time, he heard her shout: ‘Expelliarmus’. The spells met in mid-air, but what exactly happened after that, Snape didn’t know, because he had shut his eyes. He could see the light through his eye-lids, though, and felt a warmth pass through him. It was like Lily’s touch - it comforted and calmed and smelled of her shampoo. As the light flickered out, the warmth didn’t leave him. It settled comfortably in his chest, like a cat that had curled up on top of his heart.

A curious little half-smile creased his face as he opened his eyes. She was staring at him, also grinning with exhilaration. Her annoyance at his hesitation seemed to have vanished. Everybody else was stumbling around, clutching their eyes.

Severus thought that they had better move before Lily’s sympathy got the better of her, because she was biting her lip and looking around at the Great Hall with an expression of guilt and amazement. “I can‘t believe we just did that,” she whispered.

Severus grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the doorway then, laughing, they ran through the rain, across the lawns to the greenhouses.

In Greenhouse Three, they sat side by side on the low wall that separated the plants from the work area. Snape conjured a fire in front of some Devil’s Snare that had been snaking towards them, noticing with pleasure that she appreciated the wisdom of this action, and they warmed their hands beside it. The Devil’s Snare withdrew back into the shadows and sulked beyond the flickering pool of fire-light.

Snape was feeling extremely contented. He could spend time with Lily, without any of the Slytherins teasing him for it (in fact, he was sure the Slytherins would praise him extravagantly for his attack in the Great Hall), he had sneaked two bottles of butterbeer (her favourite drink) away from the scene of devastation, and her wet dress was clinging to her body in ways that made him exceptionally glad that there was not much light in the greenhouse with which to be seen.

She, too, was smiling, though shivering, and she gave him a look of fond exasperation, as she said: “’Corrupting decent wizarding families with your devious muggle ways’”

“Yeah, my date thinks you’re trying to get a pure-blood wizard to marry you.”

“Well, I am,” she replied sarcastically. “My goal is the whole-sale destruction of wizarding society, didn‘t you know that? I plan to give birth to a race of filthy half-bloods. I think I caught Potter’s eye. Maybe I can start with him…”

Snape’s smile vanished instantly. “That’s not funny,” he said.

Lily laughed. “That Malificent he’s with” she said. “I’ve tutored her for Remedial Potions. If you want her to understand something, you have to think up Quidditch analogies. ‘Now, Malificent, using a bezoar is like catching the Golden Snitch, and all the other antidote recipes are like scoring a goal with the Quaffle…’

Snape privately thought that you would have to be very thick for something Lily said to not get through to you.  

They drank some more butterbeer, during which there was a lot more giggling at the phrase ‘I vasn’t allowed to vash for veeks and veeks’.

Recovering from her laughter, Lily said: “He was very sweet really. And he had a terrible childhood. I wonder if he’s looking for me...”

Snape wanted to forestall any interference from Lily’s conscience, so he quickly changed the subject. “I heard you got a careers talk from a St. Mungo’s Healer.”

Lily laughed again, almost choking on her butterbeer. With difficulty, she suppressed her smile and gazed at him solemnly. “You’ll never believe who it was,” she said.    


“Bernadette Potter.”

Snape raised his eyebrows. “What relation is she to our favourite Seeker?”

“Mother.” Lily said, more solemnly still.

“You’re joking.”

Lily shook her head. She was smiling one of her wicked, conspiratorial smiles, (the kind that always made him feel she was sharing more with him than she ever would with anyone else) and her green eyes glittered in the firelight.

With difficulty, he forced his mind back onto the subject of Bernadette Potter. “I always imagined Potter’s mum strutting around some old manor house in the country, sipping tea and ordering house-elves to torture themselves for chipping her tea-cups.”

“I too was very surprised to discover that she had a calling besides spoiling her son,” Lily agreed, grinning. “But she was really helpful. She’s ever so clever.”

Snape tilted his head to one side thoughtfully. “Well,” he said, “she’s obviously not that clever. She wasn’t clever enough to take a contraceptive potion on the night her son was conceived, for example.”

Lily laughed so hard that she spat out a bit of butterbeer.    

When she had recovered, she glared at him in playful outrage. “You’re like every other Slytherin, you know. Your methods are just different. You’re still trying to kill me, only with laughter, instead of Dark Curses.”

Snape nodded sagely. “I’ve only been posing as your friend these past five years in order to make you choke on your butterbeer.”

Lily, who had been looking over his shoulder, suddenly smiled. She moved closer to him on the wall and whispered excitedly. “Hey, Sev! You want to get back at Potter? Kiss me.”


“He’s watching us. He likes me, right? Kiss me.”

And, without waiting for a response, Lily leaned forward and kissed him on the lips.

When she pulled away, Snape was unable to look at her. He felt hot and stupid, and stubbornly directed his gaze at a clump of lichen on the wall between them. Lily put her fingers underneath his chin and gently lifted his head to look at her. She was smiling, though rather nervously, and biting her lip.

“I think he’s gone,” she said, after a while.

Snape nodded stupidly. He couldn’t think of anything to say. She was still touching the side of his face.

“Well, I guess I’d better go to bed,” she murmured shyly. “Goodnight, Sev.”

And, paralysed with joy, hope, desire, fear, and embarrassment, Snape watched her go.
A chapter about Snape and Lily's school days, before the 'Mudblood' incident that separated them, filled with nonsense and stupid jokes. Hope you enjoy!
Add a Comment:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015
dearest Lucy, this was the funniest chapter ever written with Sev and Lily. Thank you so much for this... you have the hability to take one into the story, making it so real and fun... the last part was a niceto this so much.. 
Muumi2three Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012
I laughed out loud a LOT in this chapter. It would take too long to list all my favourite parts, but I'll just start.... The Vinculus charm is an inspired idea - I love Sev's Almanacke. The whole Wizard Orchestra concept is rather Pratchettesque, very funny indeed. Sylvia's feckless attempts at spite ("She’ll never get a pure-blood wizard to marry her.” "At least I'm safe from her machinations.") And Lily and Sev's factitious quarrel. ("No, you have half as much right..." - I think his math is questionable, but that's not really an issue at Hogwarts.)

It was a delightful read. Thank you.
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2012
Yay! Thank you, I'm so happy this chapter made you laugh! :hug: :w00t: If Sev's math is questionable, it's in no way a reflection on Severus - he just unfortunately, in this story, has an author who can't even add two and two! ;) (And you're right, the core studies, like maths and languages, are really neglected at Hogwarts! Maybe you can get that kind of knowledge via a potion or something in the wizarding world!)
Muumi2three Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012
JKR is notorious for her defective math, so it would be out of character for Severus to be too obsessively accurate in your story. "Half as much" *sounds* right, which is what matters!

I can imagine there are charms for language learning, but math - given the bizarre wizardly monetary system, worse than the pre-decimal Muggle pounds & shillings, I would think wizards who were good at math would be at an unfair advantage in the realm of finance and commerce. The Weasley twins, I bet they studied math on the sly... ;)
ls269 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2012
:giggle: I bet they did - just like the muggle lock-picking! I love those Weasleys! :heart:
akukama Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011
Far, far too wonderful.
ls269 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011
Thank you so much! :hug: :) I'm really happy to hear that you like this!
ProperyoftheHBP Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011
It's fascinating to see how (relatively) carefree and relaxed Sev was around Lily, and how he must have lost that part of himself when he lost her. It's is heartbreaking to read, knowing what's coming, but their awkward, tender interactions are so endearing. Your Lily is very likeable, which is a great achievement on your part, as sometimes us Snape-fans have a tendency to resent Lily for leaving Sev when he needed her most.
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011
Oh, I know, I've met so many Snape-fans who hate Lily! It's such a shame, because I can understand why she stopped being friends with Sev. She must have faced so much prejudice at school, being a muggle-born, and then to see her oldest friend join in must have been heartbreaking! If I was in her place, I think I would have forgiven him, but I can completely understand why she didn't. Anyway, I'm very much a Lily fan (which I think puts a lot of people off my story). She's not perfect, but she is a good woman in this fic.
ProperyoftheHBP Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011
I think that's what makes your Snape-Lily fics so wonderful and unique. You can empathize with both of the characters, which makes the story so much more rounded, complex and believable. I daresay it would also sway Lily-haters to reconsider their POV on the "mudblood" incident and on Lily's character.
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011
:giggle: Believe me, there are some vehement Lily-haters who I could never convert!
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
((I'm not sure why there is an "aroused" emoticon heralding that comment...)) :confused:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Wow. I really like your dialog in this installment. Very witty and sparse communication between Snape and Lily. :worship:

And then she would probably never bother talking to anything else, because Lily was addicted to puzzles This over-analytical fantasy seems so perfect coming from Snape's mind. :)

Snape sighed. “Thanks, but if I wanted to see Slughorn drooling all over you, I’d start paying attention in Potions.” Ha! Fantastic.

I love the invention of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff stopping the duel between Slytherin and Gryffindor. It's a great bit of backstory, worthy of the canon.

“In as much as it is intelligent magic, yes.”Wonderful line from Snape. I think he really does see the Dark Arts that way, similar to the way Ollivander is just a little more interested in the quality and ingenuity of magic than the morality of it.

But now I’m just quoting your entire fic back at you and will attempt to stop...

How moronic to kill something, or torture something, or blow something up! Think how much easier it is to destroy something than to fix it.”

“Well, if that’s true, then the best way to test the limits of what magic can do is to destroy something, so that it can be fixed.”

Showing Lily’s and Severus’ reactions to a book filled with dark magic was literary brilliance. It shows not only their personal thought processes, but how well they complement each other.

One thing I wondered - does the fact that Snape nicked a ruby from the Gryffindor hourglass mean that Gryffindor is always a point short? ;)

And finally... did she really see James, or is Lily fonder of Severus than he thought?
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2010
You know, I'm still not sure whether she really saw James outside the conservatories. She is definitely fonder of Sev than he thinks, though (but then, that wouldn't be hard, because Sev can't imagine her liking him the way he likes her! :()

One thing I wondered - does the fact that Snape nicked a ruby from the Gryffindor hourglass mean that Gryffindor is always a point short?

:giggle: That would be an added bonus from Sev's point of view, definitely! He gets to give Lily a present and Gryffindor lose a point!
artisteri Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OH MY GOD. I started reading this, and thought it was really good, but wasn't sure how far it would go (I've seen a lot of drabbles that start off interesting but feel cut short), but I just kept reading and it kept getting better and better!

This was amazing! I absolutely adored every bit, it felt so realistic, your writing skills are really great and I just completely adored the whole interaction! Their friendship, their secrets, their kiss! It's exactly how I would have imagined!!

Sorry I'm just going to keep gushing but it's really amazing. It's incredibly lovely!

I want more :love:
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009
Wow, thank you so much! :hug: :heart: I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that there are people who enjoy this story! I'm always happiest when I'm writing Sev and Lily's jokes and arguments! There are more chapters to this story (almost a hundred now! I'm sort of addicted to writing it ;)) and you can find a list of the chronological order at my journal here [link] if you'd like to read any more.
Thanks again for your kind comments, they really mean a lot to me! :)
artisteri Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your writing is really fantastic, and now I have so much to look forward to! I shall definitely start catching up to this story of yours! Excited to read more! :hug: :love:
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2009
Thanks! :hug: :) :love:
dronarron Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2009
Oh, marvelous!

Snape sighed. “Thanks, but if I wanted to see Slughorn drooling all over you, I’d start paying attention in Potions.”


The only people who are testing the limits of what magic can do are the ones with a bit of moral flexibility.”

Yes, I feel that this is one of Severus's great loves, too, is pushing the boundaries of magic and wanting to venture into new territory.

even a note (much sought after by some of the older boys at the school, but never, to Snape’s knowledge, found) that made everybody’s clothes fall off.

hee hee hee!

Restricted Section: ‘Dark Diets: Bewitch those Extra Pounds onto the Hips of your Worst Enemy.’

I was about to ask why this would be Restricted, and then I remembered: school full of teenaged girls... :fear:
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2009
Thank you! :hug: I'm so glad you liked it! Yes, I totally agree about Severus wanting to test the limits of what magic can do - that's why I think he feels drawn to Dark Magic, because he just sees it as knowledge, and he doesn't think knowledge should ever be suppressed just because it might happen to be dangerous. He sees magic as more important than morality. (I'm very interested in trying to figure out how the Death Eaters justified their actions to themselves - that's one of the reasons why I enjoy writing about the Slytherins so much more than the Gryffindors. There's also the fact that the Gryffindors happen to be extremely annoying, of course..;))
prayeratmidnight Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008
...I'm not entirely sure Potter was really there... The way she acted after the kiss, she could have made that up to get Sev to kiss her.^.~ That would be very Slytherin of her...^^ Fits with what she said before, that the person she wanted to go to the Ball with wouldn't ask her... After all, he tries hard to make her think they are just best friends, the idiot. *rolls eyes*
...I like this story!^.^ Lily is almost Hermione-y, being so in love with books and even founding such an unpopular club with only a few not very enthusiastic members.^^ Well, and Sev is... Sev.^^ (I try to tell you that he's IC^^° ) His jealousy is adorable!*.*
I enjoyed the way you describe people, especially Sev's and James's dates! :D All those little anecdotes (like Lily trying to get into the orchestra, or this "Dark Diets" book^^) make the story come to life, that's amazing.
I'll look into your gallery and read everything there is from you now!^-^
Bye, prayer:-*

PS: Sorry for the bad English, I'm not a native speaker.^^°
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008
Thank you so much! :hug: Yes, Hermione was a big inspiration for Lily when I first started writing her. They're both muggle-born, clever and outspoken. :) And Sev and James' dates just made me laugh so much - I love writing about characters that make me laugh, which is why I've written so many chapters about Lucius and Narcissa! ;) Thank you so much for your comments (by the way, I think your English is really good!)
prayeratmidnight Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2008
Thanks!^^° Well, I'm a perfectionist, and as such I would love to be able to really express what is in my head... and that I can only do in German.^^"

I realized how alike Hermione and Lily are when I read my first Snape/Hermione fanfic, I think.^^ In some aspects it's rather stunning, how very alike they are; they both have a strong need for justice and equal rights for everyone, for example.^^
So, I totally understand Lily's hermioneness!^.~

That's the best part of writing, isn't it? No matter, when - whether during the brain-storming or while you're writing or when you're finnished and read the final story - it was worth writing it when you could really laugh about it!^^
Even when I write a sad-fic it has some sentence that reminds me of something funny, or I write it together with my best friend, who is just as crazy as I am, and then there always is a scene we riddicule and laugh our heads off about!^^
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2008
Yes, it's funny, the Snape-Hermione fan-fiction is really popular, and that started way before we found out that Snape was in love with Lily. I guess we always knew that Snape needed a down-to-earth, no-nonsense, muggle-born love interest! ;)
And I agree, I love to write about funny characters too. I live for those little jokes, or sarcastic conversations between Slytherins! :)
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2008
I loved it, the last past was magnificent!!! :heart:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2008
Yay! Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it! :hug:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2008
Chaobaby7 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2008
I love this, i really enjoy reading your fan fics so much.:clap:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2008
Thanks very much, I'm really glad you like them! :) I love writing about the good old days, when Sev and Lily are still friends. I think they had a good friendship - both being very witty and open with each other - though I imagine Sev didn't really know how to show his affection and ended up being slightly critical of her.

I did the race today and ran the whole three miles without stopping! Yay! I'm going to ache tomorrow, though! Thanks so much for all your encouragement :hug:
Chaobaby7 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2008
Well done on the race! :clap: rest up well tomorrow. :relax:

I loved that story. My favourite stories about their youth. I have done a new one about Sev aged just 5!
sparklingchristine Featured By Owner May 30, 2008
yummy! awesome as always. your fan fics chane me up for a while and steal all my power of mind. how do you do that? i want to learn this art too :)
ls269 Featured By Owner May 31, 2008
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! I'm completely obsessed with these stories, so they steal all my power of mind too! :) Thank you for reading.
sparklingchristine Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2008
:hug: thank you for writing
LadySarah Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
You have really great imagery, I love this fic. I think I liked the spider shaped shadow's best. It's so awesome.
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2007
Thank you! Am really scared of spiders, so it was a bit of a horrific detail for me! I'm writing the continuation of this story - will hopefully be able to post it today.
LadySarah Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer

Lily-in-Utopia Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2007
awwwwwwww this is awesome!! i like your sense of humor :D
SnowEmpress Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2007
Loved it. Will there be more?
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2007
Thanks! You're my first comment! Yeah, I'll be writing more - Sev and Lily are my favourite characters - I love writing their arguments!
SnowEmpress Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2007
Well, update soon then-I love reading the way you write their arguments! :D
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2007
Hi, I just thought I'd let you know that I've written the second part of this story, if you'd like to read it (there are indeed more arguments between Sev and Lily!) Thanks a lot for your comments!
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2007
Sorry, should have said: the second part is called The Last Night. Here's the link
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November 2, 2007
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