This oneshot (scratch that, is twoshot a word?) is a tribute to Lily, about whom I have increasingly strong opinions. She's a good person, but barely out of her teens and the war's not good for anybody's mental state of being.
This chapter is mostly Lily's POV, covering fifth year until her death. A lot of Severus. It's canon-ish so Lily/James.
1976 – 5th year
"That's the third time Snape's camping outside," Anita whispered as she brushed past Lily in the Gryffindor common room. "Shall I get a prefect to tell him to bugger off?"
Lily shook her head, her eyes staring unseeingly at her Transfiguration notes.
Ironically, the fact he was bothered to be defended by a girl was very muggle of him. The wizarding world cared much less about what bodyparts one was born with, probably because stunners knew no gender. Hell, the way women were treated was one of the main anti-muggle arguments put forth by witches, and a number of wizards. Tobias Snape and his shitty ideas about toughness would make a perfect poster child for bigots.
Hurt pride, and suddenly, Lily had become less than.
"I didn't mean it! Lily, I'm so sorry. You know I'd never think that of you."
Of me, Sev. But what of the others? Those muggle-born that aren't your best friend? Aren't they human too?
He had to know what had happened to Mary MacDonald. Those beasts had obliviated her afterwards, but Mary had screaming nightmares still and a two whole hours had vanished from her mind. They hadn't been caught. Without witnesses, it'd take an auror investigation to get the truth, and those weren't taken on behalf of muggleborn students. Especially against pure-bloods.
Mulciber had been part of it. Everyone knew it. And Sev still hung out with him.
So what if today she wasn't mudblood to him. What of tomorrow?
'Shh, they'll hear us!' Then twelve-year-old-Petunia hissed, hidden in a crouch as she spied on the argument in the living room.
"I told her he was no good right from the start!"
There was a scream-not-a-scream in Mum's voice. Lily expected something to break or crash any second now. She'd never heard Mum angry like that.
"Oh, he treated her like a princess, but she heard every word on how he spoke of other women. It was just a matter of time before he got upset and decided it wasn't worth the bother to keep her on that pedestal! Oh, how could she go back to him, Robert? My own, sister! Where's her self-worth gone?"
Would Sev turn on Lily again, the moment she did something that made him cross?
Lily took a slow breath. Tomorrow. If tomorrow Sev wasn't sitting with Mulciber, maybe she'd talk to him.
The next day, Sev came back to try to apologize. But at breakfast, he'd sat with Mulciber. He'd talked to Mulciber. He'd smirked at the vile boy's jokes.
Lily willed her voice steady as she went to find one of the Seventh year prefects.
"Hadrian, please, could you tell Snape he's wasting his time?"
"Sure. About time, Evans."
Lily cried later, when she was alone.
1978 – October, 3 months after N.E.W.T.s
Lily stared at the wedding list, her fingers trembling slightly as she crossed out Joshua's name.
She cast an incineration curse on her friend's letter. He was the fifth to say he couldn't make it. To beg her to understand.
Mary, Daniel, Anita, Chris and now Joshua. Many of her friends from Hogwarts had been muggle-born across the three houses, if only because they'd had so much to bond over.
It had been a shock to realize that most of her classmates had had jobs lined up before sitting their N.E.W.T.s. A second shock had been listening to them: 'Cousin Alfie introduced me to-,' 'My great-aunt Lucinda heard there was an opening for a position-'.
The third, and worse shock, had come in the Daily Prophet : muggle-born who could not justify they were still part of the wizarding world, either through marriage or a job, would be stripped of their wands in the name of the Status of Secrecy.
The deadline for young muggle-born was six months after graduation. And for some reason, muggle-born, herself included, weren't finding any work. Joshua had decided to try his luck in France. Lily couldn't find it in her to blame him.
'You'll have to work twice as hard as any wizard-born, Miss Evans.'
Twice. Ha. Seven N.E.W.T.s, five 'Outstandings', second of her year. And for what? Professor McGonagall's pride had yet to help Lily make a way for herself.
Marrying James wouldn't be the christian until-death-do-us-part kind. Purebloods weren't christian, to say the least. Vows were in words and magic, a sort of temporary joining of families (or adoption, in her case). Either spouse could unilaterally undo them.
James had been very clear about that. He'd been as pissed off as she was.
"I would have liked it to mean so much more, Lils. But it'll buy us time, while we all fight to overturn this. Then ,we'll be free and you won't have to prove yourself anymore than I do. If... if things between us...well, we'll stay married until you're safe, but in name only. I won't use that to keep you hostage."
She was marrying James out of love. Not just because she needed his name to be a person in the wizarding world. Of course not.
If she'd not loved James, she'd have gone back home. To Petunia. She'd put her wand down, roll up her sleeves and figure out how to make up for a lack of High School education. Obviously.
Lily bit back a scream. Why couldn't she enjoy a normal romance with her wonderful boyfriend without all this?
Remus' voice cut through her thoughts. "Can I get you a new parchment? You're digging a trench in the table. That poor quill."
Lily let out a frustrated laugh. A Reparo, a Scourgify and an Accio later the table as good as new. If only the important things could be fixed so quickly.
The now blank parchment stared back at her. Lily knew what name she wanted to write, but couldn't.
Damn it, Sev.
She'd heard he'd started a potions apprenticeship somewhere. Him, the penniless half-blood son of a disgraced witch.
Five N.E.W.T.s, but only because Severus was too busy inventing spells and potions to bother studying for more. Not that anybody cared. It's not brains that made you a person in the wizarding world.
Sev, how did you get that apprenticeship? Who? What did you have to do?
"I've brought what's left of Peter's last delivery." Remus cheerfully placed a huge pile of glowing cookies on the side of the table. "We'll need an order of slimming strudels soon."
They often spent time together at Godric's Hollow now that Sirius and James were in accelerated auror training and Peter had found an pastry chef trainee-ship at a Miranda's Magical Sweets.
Lily smiled back warmly. How alike you are, Sev, even if you'd never admit it.
Remus, who couldn't believe someone like him could have friends, and who was still learning that he could disagree with James or Sirius and not lose them. Had Sev ever found it in him to tell Mulciber off?
"Sirius ate all the red ones," Remus continued between mouthfuls. "Says it helps his aim. I hope he doesn't get suspended again for sending his dueling partner to Saint Mungo's..."
Sirius, born in a family where if you weren't the right type, you were vermin. Sirius, who had to build his moral compass on his own. He still struggled with empathy, especially with people he didn't care for, but he had challenged his own views more than anybody Lily had ever met. She'd started to be able to stand him in seventh year, now she found herself liking him very much. She didn't doubt she would love him by the time they were all twenty-three.
Sirius, who was everything Severus thought he wanted to be : pure-blood, rich, handsome and with access to a library that cared little for the Ministry's restrictions. Severus, who in Sirius' eyes aspired to be just like the worst of his Black cousins.
Damn it. "Do you know how Severus got that apprenticeship?"
Remus almost choked on his cookie. He recovered gracefully enough that Lily held back her eyeroll. "You know it's all gossip filtered through Sirius and James, right?"
"Yeah, yeah, grain of salt. What are they saying?"
"That he's joined You Know Who."
The quill Lily had been holding bent against the wood with a painful screech.
Lily realized she was standing, wand in hand.
She wanted out of here. She wanted to find him. To shake him.
Because, Lord, how many bad choices could one make?
"I'm going to Dumbledore."
"About not sitting around acting like the wedding invite list is the most important thing in the world. Remus, what if people are disappearing already and we don't even know about it?"
"Dumbledore told James and Sirius to train hard and that he'd tell them if he needed anything. We're straight out of school, what can we do that others can't do better?"
We. A muggle-born and a werewolf. Well, time to show them.
"If there were enough others, I wouldn't be agonizing over this stupid list!" I wouldn't be getting married at 18! "You coming or not?"
Lily held on tight to the knowledge she was the one to introduce the Marauders to the Order of the Phoenix. At least she'd been good for something.
1979 - August
It had been almost a year. A year since she'd graduated with seven N.E.W.T.s nobody but her cared about and buried her career dreams. Nine months since she'd joined the Order of the Phoenix. Seven months since she'd married her boyfriend.
She sat on the floor, surrounded by newspapers. Muggle newspapers, from the national press to local gossip rags. The Prophet had finally used the word Civil War, but it was more unreliable than ever, so Lily spent her days sifting through muggle news looking for something odd.
She found plenty odd, and enough of odd because of death eaters to not give up. Her afternoon were spent brewing potions : smokescreens, bottled creatures (attacking death-eaters with magic-enhanced snakes felt like poetic justice), and a whole lot of explosives.
Some days she wished she was out there with James and Sirius, but another part of her wanted to live to see a hundred without PTSD. So she stayed inside all day and tried not to take out her frustration and fear out on poor James in the evenings.
Her latest frustration had come in the form of a letter.
Your potions-making skills are invaluable to us. Nevertheless, I must inform you that we now have enough stock to last through another two years of war at the current rate. I know moreover that ingredients for such potions do not come cheap.
Enchanted material, notably shielding garments would prove most useful. I have joined a book I personally found quite enlightening. Filius has invited a charms master colleague of his at Hogwarts, I suggest you join them next Thursday over tea.
Albus Wulfric Percival Brian Dumbledore
On the bright side : Dumbledore himself took the time to write letters to her, and that book was probably rad. On the other hand, she was burning through James' money at an alarming rate and, let's face it, she was doing it to keep busy and stay sane.
James came back at 8 PM, exhausted but with a glint in his eyes that suggested it hadn't been one of the bad days. He found her staring at page 3 of Dumbledore's charms book. She'd cracked the tome open two whole hours earlier.
He planted a kiss on the top of her head. "How was your day?"
Well, darling, looking at this book reminds me I was silly enough to think charms masteries were for people like me. Potions help, they need so much focus I can stop thinking about everything else, but I can't even do that anymore, unless you want our kids to inherit nothing.
Our kids. Huh.
"I want a kid," she announced. "We'll call it Hope. Stick it to the Death Eaters."
"Hope? Is that a muggle name?" His I'm-not-judgmental-but-I-hate-it poker face was adorable. Just like the fact he took it all in stride.
"Of course, my parents are progressive. Note that it's a Scottish King's name, because they're not that progressive."
Lily laughed. "Well, we wouldn't want a name that hurts his prospects now. Any King helped muggle-born and pure-bloods live happily ever after?"
"Well... as similes go, wasn't it Henri IV who diffused tensions between Catholics and Protestants? Edict of Nantes in 1598, I believe."
"Oh now you're just showing off."
James had dived into Muggle history in seventh year, figuring it would endear him to her. With the wizarding world eager to remind her she was nothing and her muggle heritage less than nothing, it had worked all too well.
"Henry's my grandad's name, I can't," she added apologetically. "But... Say... Harry. Shakespeare's Henry. Closer to home."
"A royal connection but through muggle literature. Love it. It's so progressive I think a Malfoy just keeled over. And Victoria for a girl, of course. Volde-screw-the-trace won't know what hit him."
Lily grinned. "Goes without saying." They barely dared to plan for next week these days. A baby... it felt... rebellious. In a wonderful way.
James sobered. "You do realize the binding vows from our wedding will alter themselves if we have a child?"
"You mean it becomes a proper hard-to-undo marriage? Well, I've thought about it and I'm down for that, Mr. Potter. What about you, Sir?"
His broad smile was like a warm blanket, uncomplicated and stable and everything the world was not.
He took her hand solemnly. "It would be my pleasure. Mum and Dad will be thrilled to hear it."
And that was that. She and James had married at 18, they'd buried friends in a war and seen death (or caused it by potion) by the time they were 19. Why not a child at 20? They were loaded. And it's not like Lily's career would suffer.
Less than two months later, James' parents died from Dragon Pox. The worst outbreak in a century, the Prophet read.
There was only one known cure : Felix Felicis. But aside from being exceedingly complex to brew, the potion required a special kind of mistletoe that was grown in only one magical forest in Great Britain. Sirius had been part of the team that had burned it that very winter to make sure death eaters wouldn't get access to it. James' parents had pretty much been Sirius' parents too, the only ones that mattered.
Sirius almost lost an eye chasing down every lead for weeks, until it was too late. With the Civil War, international trade had ground to a halt, and whatever could be found on the black market had long been bought for the price of a small house.
Lily was desperately glad when she found out she was pregnant. A baby boy. They needed this. They needed something light, something to love. Something that wasn't the war.
1980 – November
Lily wasn't sure what had possessed her to apparate to Spinners' End.
Maybe because the last time she had looked upon this sorry house, she'd been confident, and powered with that outrage of people (children) who still believed things could be fixed. She'd had parents then, and her and Tuney had yet to fall apart.
Maybe because Harry had been literally on her for pretty much every minute of every day for the last three months. Nobody's fault but hers : poor James had had to beg to carry his own baby. But today, something in Lily had snapped and she'd found herself apparating away on a flimsy excuse, panic filling her lungs and her heart racing.
Three months : the time it had taken for the war to catch back up with her.
Lily stiffened, her knuckles white around her wand, when she felt the telltale brush of wards being tripped.
Sev. Standing tall and whole, his wand now hanging limply by his side. Lily gingerly lowered her own wand.
Well, he looked like shit, but most people Lily knew did these days. They'd buried Fabian and Gideon Weasley just days earlier, along with Sarah Goldstein and Edgar Bones. Individual funerals were a thing of the past, now the Order just held weekly ceremonies and counted their blessing when it was just a person or two. Lily had no more tears left to cry.
"Lily, I -"
His voice alone made her shiver. Lily put her index finger to her lips. He stood there, silent and stiff as she took a couple of steps towards him. She didn't dare look into those black eyes. She didn't want to see the pain. Instead, she hugged him.
At first, he stood there awkwardly, but then strong arms wrapped around her. Hard. Too hard. "I'm sorry", he whispered in her hair. "I won't let him hurt you."
Lily blinked. The prophecy. She disentangled herself. Could Severus know?
"You think I'm personally targeted," she dared, staring at his feet because Death Eater and Legilimency, and she was probably a bad mum for being here in the first place.
Severus's jaw stiffened. "You had a child at the end of July."
He clipped his words, making it sound like a death sentence. He knew. Well... Lily had learned to just roll with things by now.
"Sev, you're still friends with Regulus Black?"
He slowly nodded, a confused frown creasing his sallow face. Oh, Sev, do you even sleep anymore?
"The Black library must have books on shield spells or the like? Something useful."
"The kind of power you'd have to put behind it to be of any use... It's dark arts, Lily."
Lily shrugged pointedly. "It's my family."
Severus eyebrows' rose to his hairline "Potter?"
"James is doing what he can. I will too. I've listened enough to you enough to know the risks. I'll convince him."
Dark magic was basically like light magic, except powered by emotion. The risk lay in the addictive nature of binding one's emotions and magic : a wizard who chose to power spells with anger would soon find himself driven to a constant state of fury to fuel his dark spells. Many dark lords had literally self-combusted, but not Voldemort. Whispers were his sanity was well on the way to lost, but for now that only made him more dangerous. For all his speeches, that monster seemed set on burning down England. After having learned Tom Riddle was half-blood and had had to work for Borgin and Burkes for years despite eight Outstanding N.E.W.T.s, Lily wondered if making Wizarding England pay hadn't been his plan all along, with the whole pureblood supremacy rhetoric being just recruitment talk.
Lily felt quite a lot of things these days, but around Harry it was all love. Which was why she'd drowned herself in motherhood during the last three months.
Anger and fear worked fine as spell-fuels, so why not love? The Fidelius would only protect her inside Godric's Hollow. A prisoner in her own home, she'd have nothing better to do but experiment.
"Can you forgive me, Lily?"
"Can I tell myself you joined the Death Eaters just because it was the only way for you to get that potion's mastery?"
"That's... not wrong."
Just not everything.
"I can't," she whispered, her eyes on the thick black sleeve covering his arm, "not yet."
She had to believe this war was right. That the fact her husband and his best friends were out there, fighting, dying, killing (well, James incapacitated and Sirius Reductoed at point blank range and pretended it didn't affect him), was worth it.
That not leaving England was noble and brave and useful because this was her world now.
Forgiving meant having to face the grays, the fact that many pureblood supremacists were there by virtue of birth. That some, if not most, followed Voldemort under threat.
It meant wondering : would defeating Voldemort really make things better ? Was he really the cause, or just a symptom? If Voldemort's followers were a small minority, why hadn't the ministry held ? Why did they need twenty-year-olds killing and dying for them ? If his followers weren't a minority, then what was the point?
Forgiving meant doubt and paralysis and Lily had to be strong. For Harry. For James.
But Severus looked like she'd just crucioed him.
"I don't hate you, Sev."
Her heart was racing and she'd forgotten, how intense he was. Once upon a time, it had been easy, to make him smile, to feel both their lives were made better by the other's presence. Then something had happened in their teenage years, when they'd been hiding to not be seen together even if it was ridiculous that they should even have to. When they'd started talking at each other without being able to make the other understand. They'd fallen back on their other interests : academics, potions and spells, pretending there wasn't this growing void. Pretending it wasn't much too complicated for either of them to handle. Then she'd stopped being able to pretend.
"When this is all over, ask me again."
Severus' lips twitched. "I promise I will. Take care of yourself. Unless... you wanted something from here? My mother's inside, I think."
Lily smiled back, because this at least she could do. "No, I'm good."
1981 – Halloween
It was just another day. Boring, terrifying, with no real plans and Harry the only reason to smile.
The Order had decided to push Remus away, and Lily had been too emotionally exhausted, too afraid, to argue. They'd switched secret keepers after Sirius had been captured. He'd been rescued before it was too late, in a mad plan involving hastily brewed human-to-animal transfigurative potions (the kind that transformed people into a random animal for a couple of minute, but that animagi were immune to), and Minerva McGonagall being heroic, and lucky enough to spot Sirius with all the potions being bombed down by the aurors' flying division. Sirius was slowly recovering, but the trauma had made him volatile and reckless (he'd Obliviated Minerva when she'd figured out he was an animagus himself, for Merlin's sake!), and it was in his eyes, the terror he might have broken, had the rescue come later.
So they'd switched to Peter, who'd been a mess of nerves. He said it was the pressure getting to him. Lily didn't blame him. She couldn't even blame him for leaving the house every once in a while. She was growing insane herself from being so confined, and anyway, the fact he left made the deception better : no one would think they'd let their secret keeper risk himself that way.
"Sweet dreams, little man," Lily whispered as Harry's breathing evened, her chest tight from so much love she was surprised it didn't burst. When she focused on him, the nightmares of the last couple of years lost their claws, the anguished voices whispering about their (lack of) future grew quieter. Nothing mattered but him, her, James. Family. Her magic hummed, expectant and eager. Dark arts. Magic that used you as much as you used it. But ever since she'd dived in those spells, adapting them, crafting her very own, her love had become something solid, something almost living. She dreamed of Harry and James at night, happy, instead of dreaming of their deaths.
No wonder people warned it was addictive.
A snap of magic, like an elastic band against her skin, signaled something was very wrong. A bond had just been broken. Not undone, but severed permanently. Unnaturally. Violently.
Kipper, the last of the Potter elves, was dead.
Lily tried to apparate downstairs. Something blocked her. Wards.
Her breath hitched. "James, get up here!"
In her pocket were passports and plane tickets to Abuja. They'd done enough, her whole family had given enough. She'd researched the magical communities, found out that despite a few glorious moments during its history, Great Britain was small and a bit of a joke. Nigeria and India were the greatest modern magical civilizations, and so there they would go and ask for asylum. Time to go.
"I'm going to check it out!" came his shout from downstairs.
"No, I've got this! Come-" He wasn't listening. Her idiot Gryffindor of a husband knew she had been weaving their shield every night while Harry went to sleep. James just had to stop being an auror for a minute and stand behind her!
The shield was a tricky thing, a somewhere between spell and ward, that she could cast forth and expand little by little. It was blanket she had woven thread by thread. Tonight, it had grown close to as powerful as Lily could possibly make it. Some nights, she felt faint from the sheer all-encompassing love she felt for Harry. She wasn't so naive to think it was just on par with being a mom. The dark was taking hold, encouraging her to gather even more power. It was a good thing, but only as long as her mind didn't break.
"Lily!" Lily froze at the sudden terror in James' voice. "Lily take Harry and run!"
Harry, now mumbling crankily, was tucked under her free arm in seconds. Lily had to get to James.
A foreign voice, high, unnatural filled the living room downstairs. "Avada Kedavra!"
Lily's mind went blank. Somehow, she found herself locked in the bedroom with furniture in front of the door, and Harry back in his crib. Her mind cleared. She began to silently weave her shield.
The door burst open, groaning under a wave of magic.
Lily's scream died in her throat, stolen away by the red eyes staring hungrily at her, at her baby. Voldemort. God, he wasn't even human anymore. A monster. A self-made monster.
Oh, James, why? Why couldn't you trust me? Why couldn't you be with me?
Her growing shield hummed unnoticed to him as they exchanged words. He wanted her to move so he could kill her baby. Of all the stupid things to ask.
Take me, she heard herself scream as her magic bled from her, sticking to her skin. To her baby.
Lily put in everything. She wasn't supposed to. She was supposed to keep some back, to wrap herself and Harry in that armor of love and punch through the dark lord's anti-apparition wards. But what if it wasn't enough?
My Harry. Nothing else mattered.
He lay quiet, her beautiful baby, green-eyes wide. Her eyes.
She looked at him, filled with impossible love and... nothing. As if the love had exited her now, and was taking a life of its own.
Voldemort's patience finally ran out. "Avada Kedavra!"
The world went green, then black. The ground crashed into her.
Something, everything, exploded. Her skin burned. Everything. Chest, arms, sides, legs, face. Breathing hurt. She felt so much of everything that she almost felt nothing. Her ears rang. The blast subsided. Harry's wails remained.
So tired. It was becoming difficult to hold onto thoughts. Numbness invaded her body.
Everything was silent now. No Voldemort. It worked. James, it worked!
Sev. He'd brought the books in Royal Mail packages, leaving them under the neighbors' letterbox. Kipper would apparate them inside. Sev, I think Voldemort's dead.
Harry's wails pierced through her. She desperately wished she could go to him.
So tired. So empty.
They'd never find out that Peter had gotten ahead of himself, that he'd overestimated his discretion, and his bravery. That he'd been under death-eater observation for weeks before he'd been caught. He wished they had killed him, or marked him instead of this dark compulsion to seek the Dark Lord out every time he willed for Peter. At least if he'd been marked, people would have seen it on his arm. For weeks, Voldemort wove in and out of his memories showing him how James, Sirius and Remus had always pitied him, used him, and never been his friends. The memories inconvenient to the Dark Lord where obliviated. At first Peter had known it was trickery, but the Dark Lord was too persuasive. After months of his school years being rewritten, Peter just couldn't muster the energy to weather crucios for people he struggled to care about anymore.
He knew he had to be loyal, but the pain. Merlin, the pain! And nobody noticed. Nobody helped him. It took only one moment of weakness, one slip after the Dark Lord had pointed out he knew Peter's mum's address, and then the secret was out.
Why, Sirius? Why did you convince them to switch!
Peter had never expected Sirius to stay in Azkaban : Sirius would get a trial and then Peter's days would be counted. As a rat, he sought out the Weasleys, figuring he'd at least get good food during his last days. When nobody came, Peter didn't understand. Sirius had given everything to the Order, why hadn't they even heard him out? Surely the Dark Lord couldn't have been right about Dumbledore.
He didn't want to be human anymore. He stayed a rat. Too long. Thirteen years later, he was more rat than man, his mind jumbled, his survival instincts unnaturally sharp. He remembered the Dark Lord's soothing voice in his mind, telling him he'd be valued for the first time in his life. He remembered that Dumbledore had let Sirius rot, and that Sirius had been three times the wizard Peter had been. He knew that if he went to Dumbledore, he'd be kept in a cage, or dead at Sirius' hand. So he went to find the Dark Lord.
Already in first year, Harry did stop to wonder "why does Snape hate me?", but he'd grown up knowing better than to ask questions. He was familiar with hate he didn't understand. Later Harry understood, that he looked like his dad, and that James Potter reminded Snape of when he'd been small and terrified. Bullying stayed with you that way.
Later still, Harry realized it probably hadn't even been about him that much. Snape was forced to do a job he didn't like, lie to the students under his care and not be the Head of House he could have been had he not been shackled by secrets. He was a pariah, and alone with his regrets. Acting out against Harry had probably been one of the few ways Snape had had to act out against Dumbledore. The man he owed everything to. The man who hadn't looked at him twice until Snape had had something to offer. The man who had send him, at the ripe old age of nineteen, to lie to the Dark Lord, knowing full well what happened to people who displeased that monster.
Once Harry had hated Snape with all his being. Now he mourned instead. This couldn't have been what his mother would have wanted.
When Harry was eleven, he was too young to understand when Dumbledore told him his mother had used the power of love. 'My mum loved me' was enough. He was too eager to ignore his own fame to realize Dumbledore was one of the very few who gave credit to his mother.
When Harry was sixteen, devastated by Sirius' death, he thought the phrase was just another proof of how condescending the headmaster could be. The power of love, as if nobody had ever loved a child like his mother had loved him. It was nice, but stupid, and insulting to parents everywhere.
It was only much later, when he, Ron and Hermione combed through the ruins of Godric Hollow, using spells invented to rebuild Hogwarts, that they pieced together Lily's collection of books and notes-filled diaries, and understood what Dumbledore had been hinting at all this time.
But even Albus Dumbledore couldn't have gotten away with saying "a twenty-one year-old muggleborn destroyed Voldemort using dark arts."
It was the rare kind of sentence that could give both light and dark wizards an aneurysm.
And, if Harry was honest with himself, the kind of sentence that could have made him go dark. He had had none of the knowledge or the discipline (let alone the mental well-being), to practice dark arts without losing himself.
So he forgave Albus (for that at least), just like he had forgiven Severus.
Well, there goes my first HP fic. Hurray! I hadn't written anything in ages, so I may be a bit rusty. What did you think of this?