October of 2000
Severus Snape woke up suddenly. He glanced at the alarm clock, which was not ringing though, and then looked towards the door. In the second bedroom Evan Prince was sleeping… Evan, his old student… his son.
No sooner did he think it than he realized that it wasn’t Evan’s presence that woke him up. Somebody else was in the room! He reached for his wand, but was stopped by a familiar, soft voice.
‘Leave it, Sev. You won’t need it’
His eyes shot wide open. He pointed his wand at the source of the voice… the voice he couldn’t possibly be hearing, unless he was mad or dead.
Lily. Lily Evans smiled weakly at him. Her silhouette was transparent, similar to what the Bloody Baron looked like. Her red hair retained its color though, and so did her eyes… the eyes of her sons.
‘I’ve been waiting for so many years…’ Lily’s ghost said in a voice that broke.
Severus still couldn’t utter a sound. The woman’s specter moved towards him, concern in her eyes.
‘I’ve been waiting for so many years for you to finally notice me. I’ve been there the entire time, Sev… Why haven’t you seen me?’
‘Lil… it’s impossible… Voldemort-’
‘Voldemort has killed me, but I couldn’t just leave you all’
‘You all?’ his gut tightened at the words.
‘You, Harry… and Evan… You were my best friend, Sev. I didn’t want to see you tormented by that… That’s why I wasn’t here immediately afterwards… immediately after I’d died…’
Snape sat on the edge of the bed, extending his arm towards her involuntarily. Lily moved back an inch, still smiling wanly.
‘Then was Evan’ he made a peculiar gesture with his head, neither a nod nor an indication ‘just a mistake?’
Her green eyes – the ones he’d never forgotten – widened.
‘Sev! How can you think that! I’ve… loved you… until I learned what…’
Snape glanced swiftly at her. He thought he’d heard wrong.
‘I’ve loved you’ repeated Lily (he could see her silvery tears sliding down her face) ‘until I saw you among the Death Eaters…’
‘Wh-what? You saw me?’ his voice failed him at the thought that she’d seen the hideous mask, the awful tattoo… He glanced at his arm against his will.
Lily fell silent, as though realizing what she’d said.
‘Once. I’d recognize you anywhere, Sev. That was when I realized I have to hide our child, that he wouldn’t be safe. You were my closest friend… I began to love you and then… then you cast it all aside. You preferred Lucius Malfoy. Mulciber. Avery. You preferred them over me.’
Severus looked away. He’d have liked to tell her that she is exaggerating, but he couldn’t. The truth hurt – he knew Lily was right.
‘Why… why did you marry him?’
‘A lone woman was not safe in those times, Sev… thanks to you and your mates. James proposed – and I fell in love with him when I got to know him better. He’d grown out of the adolescent stupidity and he was quite handsome… Believe me – I didn’t do it to hurt you. You still were my friend. I never stopped hoping we’d meet again. I kept asking James to apologize to you in the future. We even thought of making you Harry’s godfather – but then a message came that we are to hide…’ Lily’s voice broke.
The ghostly shape of the woman knelt in front of him and took his hands. He did not feel her touch or her smell – how much he wanted to!
‘Tell me, Sev – what happened to my child? To Harry?’
‘He survived that night in Godric’s Hollow. He went to your sister. He was a Gryffindor at Hogwarts… and too much like his father. He was arrogant, loved mischief and showing off’ something prickled in his neck so he rearranged the bandage ‘But he was good in Defense Against the Dark Arts and he had lots of luck. He survived more encounters with Voldemort than anyone else in the Order of the Phoenix. Your… sacrifice… wouldn’t have saved him again. Voldemort was defeated and he – like he had not had enough – he decided to become an Auror’
‘You speak as though there was nothing of me in him, just all of James… I know you used to teach Potions – was he any good?’
‘Only in a year. The little miscreant had stolen my old book – do you remember it?’
‘Sev! How can you call my son such names! I know you avoid speaking clearly, as usual, you smartass! Tell me plainly – what does Harry have of me?’
‘Eyes’ it slipped out before he collected his thoughts. He remembered Nagini… the Shrieking Shack… and those green eyes staring at him. He’d really believed for a moment that it was her – Lily – staring at him.
The gaze of Lily’s, her sceptre’s, whatever to call it, softened. Almost as if she were “reading his thoughts”. He remembered she’d always been good at it, even though she’d never learnt Legilimency…
‘He could choose his friends well’ Snape admitted reluctantly ‘He’s loyal to them. He’s not afraid to speak what he believes in. Although I wouldn’t be sure about his truthfulness…’ he scowled.
Lily sat next to him. The furniture seemed not to have felt her weight at all. Maybe she had none? He remembered the old legend about the Peverell brothers – maybe she was as the fiancée of the second brother was…?
‘Does Harry have someone? Or is he alone, like you and Evan?’
He did not ask her how did she know. Female intuition, most probably. Or maybe she’d known him too well.
‘I believe he is married. That is, I believe he had a wedding ring on his hand when he’d found me.’
‘You’re getting less observant. Are you getting old?’ Lily giggled. Suddenly her tone shifted ‘He’d “found” you? What do you mean, Sev?’
‘I had no wish to return after the war. I’d barely survived. It seems that Evan has found… your son and the man connected the dots and started searching for me.’
‘Evan’ Lily repeated like a sigh. ‘Tell me something about our child, Sev…’
‘He’d grown up in the orphanage you’d left him in. He came to Hogwarts, to Slytherin. He was one of my best students. He did not shame his House. After graduating he started a career abroad. A year ago he decided he wished to return and to find me. It seems he wanted answers to his questions. Maybe it was for the best that Potter had done it for me – I have no idea what I would be to tell him, Lil-’
The woman smiled in a way that induced madness in him. He realized that nothing changed even though twenty years passed. And then Lily leaned in and kissed him. He was surprised to notice he could feel her warm, sweet lips – her kisses, more and more passionate…
He didn’t know when his clothes had disappeared somewhere. Lily’s laughter sounded like it used to… and her red hair and her equally fiery eyes were dancing in front of his eyes.