Disclaimer: I own none of the characters here. They belong to JK Rowling and company. I just use them for my own wish fulfillment and amusement.
Summary: It's sixth year and Severus Snape is dying to get Lily Evans to give him a chance at being her boyfriend. He challenges her to two weeks over the Christmas holidays to give him a shot. And if it doesn't work, he'll leave her alone forever. Will he be able to win her heart? Or will her burgeoning crush on James Potter win out over her friendship with Severus?
AUTHORS NOTE: This is a re-posting of this story. I took it down before due to several negative responses and decided I wanted to tweak a few parts, especially the ending. But this is the same story as before, thus far, so no need to read it again. The new parts will be posted as I finish them. But do remember this story is posted under 'angst'. I have taken some liberties with the characters because frankly we don't know that much about James and Lily and Severus as a boy. But this is not an AU story. It's more of a 'what if' scenario that this holiday could have happened and we'd never know about it. So if you're looking for a fluffy story, this isn't it. Be prepared for some tough stuff for my favorite characters. Snape wouldn't be Snape if he didn't suffer. So with that said, I am putting this story back up, but am re-doing the last part I posted (that not many of you probably saw) And if this is your first time reading this, welcome to my story. I hope you'll enjoy it. And if not, that's okay too. This is the story I wanted to tell. I just think I can tell the ending better than I originally did. Thanks for reading along.
My apologies if the prophecy is not word for word or I made any errors in the story dialogue. There's just so many small details we don't know that I just made them up in place and went from memory in others. But hopefully I did the story justice. I would love feedback on how you like this epic tale. Thanks for reading!
Holiday of Hope
When Severus entered the pub that night, he knew Dumbledore would be there. He just wasn't entirely sure what sort of information he could gather from him, but he knew he was interviewing a new seer for a position at Hogwarts. Perhaps the seer would shed some light on how this war was going to go? Or else she'd just babble some nonsense at Dumbledore and the whole evening would be pointless. But Severus still positioned himself in a place where he could listen without being detected. He wore a cloak and a hood and sat in the corner with a beer in his hands. No one even realized he was there. Certainly not Dumbledore who had his back to him. And at first the whole conversation was incredibly boring. Severus was practically falling asleep. But then all of a sudden the seer went into some sort of weird trance like state and started speaking in a different kind of voice. She uttered the words that Severus knew would change everything. Something about a couple who had thrice defied the Dark Lord and a child who would be marked as his equal and have powers that the Dark Lord knew not. And the child with the power to defeat the Dark Lord would be born as the seventh month died. Neither could live, while the other survived. Severus didn't quite understand this entirely, but all he knew was that it was a threat. A huge threat. Someone had the power to defeat Voldemort and they must be stopped. He just had no idea how they'd find out who these people were or who this child might be. And how could a child actually defeat the Dark Lord? It made little sense, but Severus rushed out of the pub and went straight to Voldemort with the news.
He had quickly become a favorite of the Dark Lord and was afforded private audience with him on a regular basis. Severus's information had always proved valuable and tonight Severus thought he had something really worth hearing. It didn't matter how late it was, Lord Voldemort let him into his chamber and let Severus relay what he'd overheard.
"You say the child was born as the seventh month died? Hmm, interesting indeed. And the parents have thrice defied me. That's a lot of people I can think of. But only two of them have children born at the end of July," Voldemort pondered as he paced back and forth.
"Perhaps we should just go after both to be certain?" Severus offered helpfully.
"Perhaps. But I think I know who this seer meant. The Potters have a young boy, born at the end of July. It has to be them."
Severus felt his stomach drop into his knees.
"What? The Potters? No, I'm sure it's not them. What about the Longbottom's? They too have a son born at the end of July. I think it's them," he said vehemently.
"Do you dare question my judgement?" Voldemort asked with anger at his young charge.
"No, my Lord. Of course not. It's just, it might be them instead," he pointed out.
"They've been tortured to insanity and never gave up a single bit of information. They're out of the picture. But the Potters on the other hand keep getting in my way. Obviously I have no choice but to go after them and destroy this child. No one can have power I don't have. And no one can defeat me. Certainly not a baby. It's ludicrous. No, the boy shall never grow old enough to be a threat. I'll see to that," Voldemort said with resolve.
"But my Lord, he's a baby," Severus said feeling ill for the first time in the presence of his master.
"So? Babies grow up to be men. Men who might be a threat to me. We can't have that. I will find the Potters and destroy them all. It's already done. I've made up my mind. And as usual, your information has been priceless. Thank you Severus. You can go now," he dismissed him.
Severus wanted to cry and beg for the Potters lives, but he knew when he was being dismissed. He couldn't argue with the Dark Lord. It would only get him killed too. He simply bowed his head and rushed out of the room and instantly began panicking. Lily was in danger. Lily was going to die. She warned him once that she might become a target, but he thought she was crazy. But since then, she and James had proven to be hard fighters who got in Voldemort's way one too many times. And now with this prophecy, they were sitting ducks. And Severus didn't know what to do. His first thought was to run to them to warn them and tell them to hide. But he'd not seen nor spoken to Lily since the night she came to his house. And he doubted she'd listen to him. But someone had to do something. He couldn't sit idly by and watch Lily and her family be destroyed. Severus ran out of the house quickly and stopped long enough to be sick in the bushes. He couldn't help himself. It was his fault that Lily was in danger now. Her whole family. And as much as he hated Potter and didn't even know the baby, he couldn't imagine any of them being dead. If James and their child died, Lily would never recover. And Voldemort wasn't planning to spare Lily anyway. They all had to be protected somehow. He just had to think how to do it. Or who to ask. Or what to do. He suddenly realized what Lily meant when she said that one day his spying would result in someone else dying. And now was that time. Only he never dreamed the people that would be dying would be Lily and her family. He had to do something. Anything.
He pondered his options for hours until he realized there was only one person who could actually do something. One wizard that Voldemort himself actually feared. And that was Dumbledore. Severus owled him quickly and asked to meet with him someplace very private and secluded because he had something secret to share with him. Something he needed to know about. Immediately. Dumbledore sent word back quickly and they set up a meeting at a spot near the ocean in the middle of nowhere. When Severus arrived, he could hear waves crashing on the rocks below and waited impatiently for the old wizard to arrive. And when he appeared, Severus rushed to him and blurted out everything he'd overheard and what Voldemort planned to do. And then he begged for help.
"Please hide them. Hide them all. You can't let this happen," he pleaded with Dumbledore.
"If I do this for you Severus, what will you do for me?" Dumbledore posed the question to him.
What kind of question was that? Severus wondered. Wasn't it enough to save the Potters for the sake of saving them? Didn't Dumbledore want that too? But no, Severus had to give him something? The old codger wasn't really all that caring after all. But Severus practically fell to his knees.
"Anything. I'll do anything," he assured Dumbledore.
"Very well. You're a spy, I take it?" Dumbledore gave him a once over.
"Then you will continue to let Voldemort believe you're his spy, yet you will be mine instead. You will take a teaching position at Hogwarts and you will report everything you hear directly to me, meanwhile Voldemort will think you've duped me into this and are in a better position to spy for him. Understand?" Dumbledore told him.
"Yes, I understand. And you'll protect them? You'll save Lily and her son?" Severus asked.
"Yes. I'll make sure they're protected. And the boy, you realize he'll grow up and need to constantly be protected. I expect you to do that when the time comes."
"Anything. Yes, anything. I'll protect the boy."
"Severus you made a foolish mistake aligning yourself with the Dark Lord. I had no idea you'd done such a thing. You were such a promising young student. I thought you'd do great things with your life and talents," Dumbledore shook his head.
"There's still time for me. I'm done being Voldemort's spy. I'm yours now. I promise. Just keep them safe. It's all I ask," he pleaded.
"Very well. It's done. They'll be set up with a Fidelius Charm. I trust they'll choose their Secret Keeper wisely and no one will ever find them. They'll be hidden for as long as need be. I'll see to it right away."
"Okay. Thank you. Thank you so much. I swear, anything you want from me, you'll have it," Severus promised him.
"I will take you up on that, Severus. I trust you realize that. And maybe one day I'll ask too much of you, but I expect you to adhere to our agreement," Dumbledore said gravely.
"Whatever you wish."
"Run along now. I have work to do. And thank you for telling me this information. No one will know who gave it to me. Ever."
And with that, Dumbledore disappeared and left Severus crying in the dark listening to the sound of the waves crashing. It was a metaphor for his entire life crashing down before him. He never dreamt he'd be put into this position. But his only thought was keeping Lily safe. He couldn't live in a world without her in it. They might not be together, but she had to still live in this world. It was imperative to his survival. He'd accepted her choice to marry James, even if he still hated him. But he knew it would happen eventually. And now she had a child to protect. He had a child to protect too, according to Dumbledore. They just had to be safe. That was all that mattered.
"Good news, Severus," Voldemort said as he sat in his large stone chair in front of a table where he'd summoned his most loyal servant.
"My Lord, what news is that?" Severus asked, bowing his head.
"I managed to find the Potter's Secret Keeper. He gave up their location. And it was barely even a fight. So tonight I will take care of this matter. No need for you to worry any longer," Voldemort said.
"The Secret Keeper spilled the secret? Are you certain?" Severus couldn't believe his ears. "Who was it? Black? Did he give them up?"
"That is not important. Whoever it was understands what they have done. They had no choice really. I was going to kill them unless they told me. It was easy really."
"But who was it? Black wouldn't ever give them up," Severus muttered, just assuming they'd chosen Sirius as their Secret Keeper. Who else would they choose? He and James were best friends.
But Voldemort wasn't in the mood to share details.
"It matters not who it was. The point is, I know where they are. Godric's Hollow. And tonight, I'm going trick or treating," he laughed evilly.
Severus wanted to scream and cry and punch a hole right through Voldemort's deformed face. But he knew he couldn't. He had to try and play this cool. But he also had to try and stop it somehow. He had to.
"My Lord, please forgive me. But Lily Potter is an innocent. I understand you must kill the boy, but please spare Lily. I beg it of you," Severus asked bowed on one knee in subservience.
"Lily Potter an innocent? Hardly. She's a strong fighter. And the mother of this child. You wish me to spare her? Why?" Voldemort asked curiously.
"Because my Lord, I love her. I've always loved her. And I've been your faithful servant and will always be your faithful servant, but I must ask this favor. Please let her go. Take the boy and let her live," he pleaded, knowing how terrible it sounded to simply give up Lily's child to save her, but he knew there was no way to save the boy. That was done. But Lily didn't have to die too. Not if he begged hard enough.
Voldemort was merely amused by the display. Love was a foreign concept to him. He'd never known it and didn't comprehend it. But he saw how stricken his most loyal charge was. He decided to show mercy.
"Severus, for you, I will try and spare her. As long as she gives me the boy, no harm will come to her. I give you my word," Voldemort said finally, after pondering the request. After all, Lily Potter would be a broken woman if her child was murdered in front of her. She'd hardly be a threat any longer. And if she was, Voldemort could deal with her at a later date if need be. All that mattered was the boy.
"Thank you, my Lord. Oh thank you. You don't know what this means. Please just leave her be and take the boy," Severus said with tears in his eyes.
"Pull yourself together. I said I'd do my best to try and spare her. But if she gets in my way, I make no promises."
"Of course. I understand. When are you leaving?" Severus asked, trying to pull himself together like he was told to.
"I'm leaving now. Soon all this rubbish will be a memory. And then no one will stand in my way. You can leave now, Severus. I've got this handled."
"Yes my Lord," he bowed to him and quickly left the room.
His heart was pounding and he was furious and scared and ill all at the same time. If he could get his hands on Sirius he'd wish he was dead and had let Voldemort kill him. How could he give them up? Everything was set down perfectly, and he just caved liked the sissy man Severus always knew he was. If and when he got his hands on him, it wasn't going to be pretty. Not if Lily died as a result of this. He'd kill Sirius himself with his bare hands. He wouldn't even bother with magic. But Severus had to see how it played out. He was desperate to know what was going to happen. He couldn't stop it now, but he could follow Voldemort there. Undetected. He was good at being invisible, even to the Dark Lord himself, if he was on a mission. So he went ahead to Godric's Hollow and hid out near the cemetery until he saw Voldemort arrive and head towards a house that seemed so ordinary in every way. But that was where Lily lived now. With her family. Her husband and her child. A child he didn't even know she had until after the prophecy was revealed. He knew she got married, but he didn't know of the boy. But now he felt terribly that no matter what happened tonight, Lily was losing her son. But perhaps she'd get over it? Maybe? Do parents ever really get over something like that? He wouldn't know. And right now all he could think of was Lily. He didn't love the boy, he loved her. He prayed Voldemort would stay true to his word and not hurt her. But could he really trust Voldemort?
He watched as he entered the house and almost immediately there was a shock of green light flashing through the house. And then eerie silence in the entire neighborhood. He had no idea who had just died. It was clearly the light of the killing curse but was it the boy? Was it James? Was it Lily? Then after a short time he saw another shock of green light illuminate the house. And then all at once the entire house exploded with magic and windows broke and shutters flew off and the house was nearly destroyed. Severus had no idea what had just happened, but he rushed to the house to find out. He walked into the living room and debris was everywhere. He went up the stairs and found James dead on the ground. His eyes still open into the void. He stepped over him and felt his chest constrict as he neared what appeared to be a baby's room and he could hear crying from said baby. The boy was alive. Was there some hope yet that Lily was too? He pushed open the door fully and witnessed the sight. Lily was dead on the floor in front of the crib and the baby just sat there looking at him and crying. Severus fell to his knees and grabbed Lily off the ground. He clutched at her lifeless body and wept harder than he'd ever wept in his life. She was gone. His Lily was gone. And so was Lord Voldemort he noted. He didn't know what happened to him, yet the boy lived. He was sitting right there in the crib. And he had a lightning bolt shaped gash on his head, but seemed otherwise unharmed.
After a time, Severus finally let Lily go and went to the boy. He bent down and looked him in the eyes and he noted that the eyes were Lily's eyes. A shock of beautiful green staring back at him with tears flowing down. He simply patted the boy on the head and whispered to him.
"I'm going to keep you safe. For her. I promise you."
And then Severus quickly ran from the house before anyone knew he was ever there.
One week later…
The following week, the funeral was held. Dumbledore had told him when and where, but he didn't want anyone to know he was there. He wouldn't be welcome anyhow. He was told that the boy was safe with relatives for now and it was all over the news how Sirius Black had murdered several Muggles and his other supposed friend Pettigrew, and had promptly been thrown into Azkaban for life. No trial necessary. There were so many witnesses to his outburst, they simply tossed him away and threw away the key before Severus even had a chance to get his hands on him. He supposed Azkaban would be punishment enough, but he'd prefer it if he was the one to die instead. But still the only one left of their group at the funeral was a very distressed looking Remus who cried way too much but kept wiping his eyes so no one would see him. But Severus saw and wished for a moment he was friends with him so they could cry together. He wagered they were the only ones who really felt the pain the way no one else there did. Despite their animosity, he knew Remus loved Lily and James. And he loved Lily with more than his own life. They'd understand each other's pain. But alas, they weren't friends. And never would be. In fact, Severus's life now made it so he really couldn't have friends. Not real ones. He was playing both sides of the coin now. He wasn't part of group he used to be a part of, even if they didn't know it. Plus Voldemort was gone now. Vanished and presumed dead. There was no one left to serve on that side. But he wasn't one of the good guys either. He was just there. Alone. And now he didn't even have Lily in the world to keep his thoughts warm at night. She was gone forever. He'd never hear her laugh again. Or see her smile. Or touch her. Or hold her. Or make love to her. Or kiss her. She was gone. And his heart died with her.
When everyone had left the cemetery he emerged from the shadows and placed a single white lily on her grave. He wiped his eyes and stood above her and wondered if she could see him or hear him. He hoped so. He knew this was all his fault. If not for him relaying that message to Voldemort, none of this ever would have happened. He'd forever blame himself and Sirius too. They were both traitors. Only he never meant to be. He had no idea he was sealing Lily's fate with his actions. But he had. And all he could do now was talk to her grave and hope she would hear him.
"I love you Lily. I always will. I'm so sorry for my part in this. I hope one day you'll forgive me. You were right, as you so often were. My work was going to get someone killed. I just never imagined it would be you. But I promise to look after your boy for you. When he's old enough anyway. I won't let anything happen to him. I promise. You know he has your eyes. I noticed that. And I just keep thinking will I love this boy when I meet him because he was yours, or will I hate him because he's the reason you're gone now? Truth is, I don't have the answer to that yet. Only time will tell. But I promise to still keep him safe for you. No matter what. And I promise never to forget you either. Ever. You will be my love for as long as I live. Always."
And with that, he walked away and decided never to look back at this place. His life felt over now, but he was only twenty one. He had so many years ahead of him, but they were useless without her. But somehow he had to go on living. Her memory would have to be enough. At least for one night in their lives, she was his. And he'd never forget it. She had been HIS Lily that night. And now she was forever young in his mind. She'd always be the girl he loved. And he'd never let her go. His heart still beat, but it died along with her. And he knew he'd never be whole again.