"LILY!" Severus shouted across the park. The girl turned her head in response before beaming and running over to Severus and wrapping him in a friendly hug.
"Hi Sev!" Lily chirped happily, but with a few tears in her eyes.
"What’s wrong, Lils? It’s your birthday! And you got your Hogwarts letter," Sev’s eyebrows creased and he sat on the grass, beckoning for Lily to sit down beside him. He couldn’t understand what was making his best friend so upset.
"It’s Petunia," Lily sobbed, more tears finding their way out of her eyes. "She…. She slapped me and called me a weirdo."
Severus felt the anger bubble up inside himself. “Lils, don’t listen to her. She’s quite stupid anyway and she’s not magical.” How very dare someone insult his best friend.
"No, Sev. She’s right. I am a weirdo." Lily sighed in the middle of her crying and wiped her tears.
Severus reached into his pocket and pulled a packet of tissues out. “Take these,” he said when offering them to her. The girl accepted them graciously and wiped her tears away until the last evidence of sadness was wiped away.
"You’re not a weirdo, Lily." Severus told her firmly. Being magical did not make you strange, it made you better and more important in society. At least, that was what Sev’s aunt had told him on multiple occasions.
Lily smiled and hugged Severus again. “I take it we’re going to Hogwarts together then, yeah?”
"Yeah, we’ll be friends forever. I promise."
I can not do any more Homework today!
That’s a rather pessimistic attitude for you.
Severus repeated Malfoy’s words into himself. He wants you. Taken out of context that would sound like Voldemort was in a relationship with all of his future recruits when in reality he really wanted to kill all the little shits. Sev knew. Voldy had told him. It was during one of the chats that involved giving reasons as to why you wanted to join his ranks of faithful little pets.
Severus hadn’t had the heart to tell Voldemort that he just wanted to belong somewhere. He hadn’t even belonged in his own family - his parents hated him. They were constantly going on about how much of a mistake he was. The only time his father told him he loved him was when he was casually mentioning the fact that he was a superb punchbag. Sure, his aunt was nice enough but sooner or later she’d die and he’d be left alone. Great. The one time he felt like he had a friend, he went and screwed everything up.
The fact that the Dark Lord wanted Severus on his team was slightly suspicious. The strange man hadn’t seemed overly fond of him at their brief encounter. The fact that he now wanted this young, foolish boy to join such a prestigious organization was shocking not only to Severus, but apparently also to Lucius Malfoy.
"Well, do you want a second meeting?" The young man asked Severus, obviously irritated that a seventh year had sparked an interest in one of the most evil wizards of all time.
"No," Severus replied. It had taken a little thought, but he just wasn’t ready yet. "Do you think he’d let me join…" He paused slightly. "At a later time?"
"No," Lucius replied, a smirk on his face.
A Calming Draught
Lily didn’t notice Severus still his movements. She sat there, staring at Slughorn with a slight frown, oblivious to the fact that neither of them where doing anything to get this potion made. Her mind was working at a mile a minute, going from complaining about her situation to thanking Merlin that she hadn’t been paired with someone worse. If she had been paired with any other Slytherin then she would only hope to be treated with the cold shoulder. But that didn’t stop her from hating the situation all the same.
As soon as the mumbled sorry reached her ears, Lily snapped her head in his direction. Looking at him with a look of utter disbelief. Sorry was all he had to say, a measly sorry? Like that was good enough, like a weak sorry was all it took. If Lily wasn’t so annoyed she would laugh at how absurd that was. And to top it off, he couldn’t even look at her. It all made Lily want to bang her head against the desk until this lesson was over, because she really didn’t know how much more she could take.
Instead of uttering a response she just shook her head at him, snapping herself back into focus in the process. She turned her gaze to the ingredients that littered the desk and reached out for the one that accompanied the next line of instruction. But as she did it, she realized that she wasn’t content to just shake it off. “No.” She muttered, furiously. “No, you don’t just get to say sorry like that. You don’t.”
Severus nearly fell off his stool at the sudden eruption from the girl seated next to him. He was also extremely confused. “Lily, I was apologising for being a crap partner. You won’t even listen about the…” He paused, narrowing his eyes slightly and taking caution, “other thing.” Without another word he got up and left, not caring about Slughorn trying to convince him to come back. He’d even left his most treasured potions book lying on the table. Slughorn would take it when he came to have a “talk” with Severus later. He always did if someone left his class without reason.
He stormed up a few sets of stairs, finally getting to one that just started to move. He cursed loudly and didn’t react when everyone present turned to look at him. When they continued however, his eyes turned cold and his face set in a stern look.
When the staircase had finally moved, Severus walked briskly to the bathroom that was always abandoned. It was here he could be alone when he was in a bad mood, or when he just needed to escape from the everyday bullshit he put up with from various students also known as the Marauders.
As he was sitting alone, Sev realised that he regretted walking out of his favourite class, and regretted leaving Lily to do the rest of the potion on her own, but that couldn’t be helped. Most of all he regretted leaving his most prized possession in a place where anyone could lift it up.
I don’t have a favourite, they’re all rubbish
Lily would be lying if she didn’t confess to purposely taking her time getting the ingredients so her time spent in Severus’s company would be shortened. It was like suddenly potions had gone from being one her absolute favourite subjects to one she knew she was going to dread before the next lesson. And that in itself disheartened her. Lily knew that if they hadn’t fought in fifth year, if he hadn’t called her a Mudblood, then things would be so different. Drastically different. For starters rather then avoiding talking to each other at all costs, they would be chatting merrily.
Once she had all the ingredients necessary to making the potion she hesitated. She didn’t want to go back, she wanted to run out the classroom and never look back. But she could feel everyone’s eyes on her, some pitying her and some sneering at her. And Lily knew that she couldn’t, she had to just get through this with gritted teeth and then rant and rave to Marly and Mary later about how unfair and unjust this was. So with a deep breath, and a quick glance at the other pairs getting on with it, she made her way back to her desk.
The haste that Severus got on with making the potion shocked Lily. He didn’t even wait for her to be full ready to start. The shock soon turned into annoyance. He, admittedly like her, obviously wanted to get this over with so he could leave, but did he have to be so blunt about it? He might as well of called her a Mudblood again. At least Lily was trying to be polite about it. With an annoyed huff she turned to the remaining ingredients, glancing between them and the notes on the board. In the process she managed to caught the eye of Slughorn, who seemed to be watching them with an almost hopeful expression. ‘How strange’, she thought.
Severus wasn’t sure if he was being too obvious at the fact he didn’t want to be in this situation. Sensing that he was, he slowed down a bit. After all, she’d spent a lot of time getting the potion ingredients. In fact, he was surprised she hadn’t just abandoned him to work on his own and joined up with another pair. Slughorn wouldn’t have minded much - Lily was his favourite student. She could get away with murder and he would still give her all his love. It was sickening.
Instead of talking to Lily, Severus sat and watched the ingredients in the cauldron swirl around and change colour. The smoke that was rising was the only thing that give the impression that the mixture was in fact boiling. If he had been in a better mood, he’d have been warming his hands on it or even daring to place his finger in it - he’d been accidentally burned so many times in his own potion making that he didn’t feel it as much any more. Looking back up at the board, he saw that Slughorn was keeping a tally of the injuries that students were receiving in this class. Severus smirked at that, before quickly returning to his dull expressionless face.
Lost for something to do, he looked at Lily and she didn’t look happy, so he began to tap a steady rhythm with his wand on the workspace, careful not to think of any spells so he didn’t accidentally transfigure the whole table. The silence was engulfing Severus and it made him feel really awkward, so he tried to casually keep doing things, be it examine a spot on the wall or run his hands through his hair continuously. Anything was good as long as it made him look occupied.
Finally he decided he had to say something. Taking a deep breath, he mumbled a quick “sorry” before looking at his feet and trying to avoid looking completely stupid. Why did he say that?
The universe, Lily decided, must really hate her for this. In fact it must utterly despise her. Maybe she had been some terrible dictator, like Hitler, in a past life. Because there was nothing that she could have done in this lifetime to deserve this. Maybe it wasn’t the universe, maybe it was Slughorn. Perhaps he decided that his “Lovely Lily” wasn’t so lovely after all, perhaps he decided that she needed this torture. Well, she didn’t. She really didn’t.
As soon as she caught sight of Severus looking her way, she snapped her gaze back to the front. Staring at her potions professor with a new found resentment. Never would she ever expect to be feeling such sour feelings towards Slughorn. He was, for most of her Hogwarts career, been her favourite teacher. Now she wasn’t so sure.
As if he knew that she was mentally cursing his existence, Slughorn let out a booming laugh and a “jolly good” before reading off the last few partners. In that time Lily had sensed that the once empty seat beside her was now taken by her ex-best friend. She kept her gaze locked on the desk, twiddling absently with her quill as her brain replaced her memory of the incident from fifth year. As if she wasn’t already going through enough hell.
The next time she looked up there were potions instructions on the black board and most of the class had already set to work. Lily was going to put off talking to Severus for as long as possible, she decided, otherwise it might just become too much for her. So, without saying a single word to her new partner, she turned her Advance Potion Making textbook to the right page and got up to collect the needed ingredients.
As Lily had gone to get the ingredients, severus set up the equipment exactly as he wanted them to be. If hell were personified, this would be it; which left Slughorn to be the devil reincarnated. That was a mental image Severus had honestly never expected. Until now. Working together without speaking would not be hard - Severus did it on a daily basis with pretty much everyone except for a select handful who were close enough to not be considered acquaintances, or if he was forced to speak to them because it was urgent and he just so happened to be there.
The potion they had been assigned had been simple. In fact, it was a repeat of the one they had made in first year but was needed for the N.E.W.T.S for some reason. Back then, Severus and Lily had gladly obliged to be potion partners. They would have happily worked together and chatted away with eachother. Alas, life was not always that simple. Now the two would stand together brewing a potion with nothing but the sound of hostility between them. It was a huge change from the sound of giggles and childish teases that were thrown back and forth just a few years ago. From the look on Slughorn’s face, he remembered this fact as he kept glancing over at the pair. Severus didn’t know what he was expecting, after all if it hadn’t been resolved now, it may never be.
After what seemed like an eternity, Lily returned to the desk. In complete silence, Severus grabbed the nearest ingredient and began chopping it precisely and quickly - he’d improved greatly at chopping things since first year. The things that were causing the rest of the class trouble were boring Severus. Not once did he look at Lily. She was clever, she knew what to do. Anyway, the sooner this nightmare was over, the sooner the two would be separated.
I’m talking to you, aren’t I? -grins and winks- Nah, Severus, I think you’re letting that be an excuse. My mum always told me to always keep trying or else as soon as I stopped that’s when I would fail.
That you are. Why would I let something as stupid as that be an excuse? Well, your mother sounds like a smart woman.