Lily was sitting at the table in the dining room and messing her food with the fork. It was not that she lacked appetite – she had more than enough. But she hated being cooped up in the house, and Severus still did not allow her to go outside. She heard footsteps – he sat down in front of her.
‘You need to eat, Lily. I did not wake you for you to dwindle away now’
The woman sent a weak smile his way. Severus’s eyes lit up before he bent his head over his plate. Silence fell. When they’d finished eating, the man asked.
‘Do you need anything, Lily?’
That question again. She wondered how it was possible for her name to sound so soft. James had never spoken like this, Severus – always. Not for the first time she started thinking why exactly he had woken her up.
‘You’ve asked so many times. I’ve told you already. But… thanks’
Severus made a face, but then a small smile graced his lips when he heard her thanks. Lily got up, her chair scraping the floor. She walked out into the hall. He could hear her footsteps. He collected the dishes and was starting the washing-up, when he heard a crash. He put what he was holding aside and raced into the hall.
The woman was kneeling on the floor, her face as white as the wall – he worried that she would faint. He pried her fingers away from her collar and undid it himself. Lily breathed in a bit deeper. He carried her to the dining room and opened the window.
‘Sev, what is today’s date?’
‘The tenth of June’ he said, wondering why on earth would she ask such a question.
Then he remembered – the only calendar in the house was hanging in the hall. Lily must have seen the year…
‘What is the year now?’ she asked weakly, confirming his suspicions.
He was silent. He did not wish to answer her. Lily repeated her question, her tone a bit sharper.
‘2000’ he replied finally.
The woman hid her face in her hands.
‘The last year I can remember is 1981! Sev, did you mean to say I’ve been sleeping for nineteen years?! That my baby Harry is now twenty years old?! That I’ve lost his entire childhood?!’ Lily burst into tears.
‘I did not wish to upset you’ Severus said after a long while, rubbing her back awkwardly.
Lily sat a bit straighter, peering at him, her eyes full of tears.
‘No w-wonder you look different… y-you’re thirty-nine, Sev!’ she choked out.
Snape did not answer at first.
‘You look less. I’d give you twenty-five, thirty at most’ he smiled ‘Am I not too old?’ he joked.
Severus watched Lily sleep. He was proud of how soon she accepted the passage of time, how well she adapted to the new situation. She was sleeping so peacefully this night. Earlier on, she was tormented by nightmares – ones featuring Voldemort, Potter senior, Wormtail. He’d had to brew her some Dreamless Sleep.
He was tempted to come closer to the bed, to touch her red hair splayed on the pillow or her cheek. He was stopped by the memory of what he did several weeks ago. But the mere thought that Lily could be his aroused him.
He ran into the bathroom, not caring that he slammed the door. He tore his clothes off the quickest he could. He knelt in the shower and started caressing himself, visions of her red hair and smooth skin in front of his eyes. He moaned out loud.
Snape did not even notice he had not closed the door completely. Lily, who’d just woken up, stood in the doorway. She could see Severus’s silhouette – he was kneeling in the shower, his back to her. Had he hurt himself? Or maybe he’d collapsed, so tired he was after spending most of the night in her room again? She heard a weak moan.
The worry won her over, she approached him. She was so close that she would be able to touch him. She could see the muscles in his bent back and his long black hair. He was supporting himself with one arm, but she couldn’t see the other. She moved a bit to the side, ready to haul him out of the shower.
Then she saw what exactly he was doing. A blush flooded her cheeks. She was not a virgin and was well aware of how the lone men – like Severus – dealt with their desires. She took a step back in order to leave, when she heard it.
She knew that tone of voice. She saw Sev throw his head back.
She ran away, feeling her heart pound. She’d barely accepted one change in her situation and now she was faced with another. How was she to look at him, knowing how much he desired her? Was that why he’d woken her up? She’d always treated him like a friend – for how long has he seen her as a woman? Was that why he’d hated James – because he was jealous?
She rolled onto the other side and tried to sleep. She’ll think on it in the morning. For a brief while she wondered if she should lock the door, but finally decided not to. She trusted Severus.
Severus was sitting at the table, reading the morning’s paper. For a few days Lily’s been behaving a bit… weird. She seemed normal, but he knew her so well. Something was worrying her, but she did not wish to tell him what it was. When he’d pressed the matter once, she’d blushed. Maybe she did miss a man? He shifted nervously in the chair – damn it, couldn’t he think about her without wondering how she’d look in his bed?
He saw Lily. She sat across from him, in her nightshirt. She looked like she’d slept poorly. She poked at the food he’d prepared for her.
‘Sev?… Have you seen my son in the time that passed?’
He grunted in reply, trying to get rid of the insistent images in his imagination and to set his train of thought to other matters. He could never concentrate with her around.
‘What does he look like now? My Harry?’ the woman seemed to have taken the sound as an admission.
‘Like Potter at his age. He’s got your eyes’
‘Can’t you tell me something more?’
He sighed and put the spoon aside.
‘He’s got your eyes, and Potter’s face and nose. And his accursed hair, of course. He’s wearing glasses, a bit more stylish than the ones Potter wore-’
‘M-My husband had a name. James. You know it, you can use it.’
Snape’s lip curled as though he’d just found a lemon in his plate.
‘Never mind. Since that night in Godric’s Hollow he’s had a lightning bolt scar on his forehead’
‘A scar? But- you said Voldemort hasn’t hurt him’
‘True. He only left the scar, like a sign’
Lily placed her hands on the table, twining her fingers together nervously.
‘Have you got a photo of him?’
‘I’m not collecting photos of the Boy-Who-Lived. Look in any given Prophet and you’re sure to find one. The brat loves the flashes of the cameras’ he snapped, irritated.
He heard her moan softly. She shifted in the hair nervously.
‘My son? My Harry is the Chosen One? I’d hoped he was not… Was it him who defeated Voldemort and ended the war?’
‘I’ve already told you, Lily. Yes, your son is the Chosen One’
‘Why do I get the feeling that you dislike him?’
‘The brat looks like Po- James and behaves exactly like he did. The same arrogance, the same cheek. At least he was not surrounded by a band of idiots, like P- James was!’
The woman stood up suddenly, leaning over the table.
‘I can’t believe you still hate James. After twenty years? Why, Sev?’
Snape did not hear the question. The loose gown revealed her cleavage and her shapely legs. He wanted to touch her so much…
‘Answer me, Severus!’
He looked up. Lily was right in front of him, in arm’s reach. If he wanted to, he could place her in his lap. He swallowed, wondering how she’d react. Luckily, none of them had a wand on hand.
Her face was so close… self-control was torture. Damn it! He leaned in and kissed her. He expected to see surprise in her green eyes – at least that was what the rational part of his mind said. Lily took a step back, but did not run away.
He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her again, with more force. She did not flinch. He heard her soft exclamation – in surprise? Fear? He did not care. He kept kissing her – her cheek, her jaw, her neck. He pressed closer to her, one hand in her hair, the other one pushing a strap of her gown aside.
He slipped his hand into her cleavage, but did not stop kissing. Lily… Lily… alive and warm in his arms. He ran his other hand along her leg. The woman flinched when he touched her breast. He felt her hands on his wrists and grunted in frustration.
Lily slipped out of his embrace, straightening her clothes. Severus was still frozen, with shock written all over his face. The woman wrapped herself in her cloak – thank God it was close by! She sat back on her hair and waited for Severus to come back to his right mind – or at least enough for him to understand her words. It took several minutes.
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ she asked quietly.
‘You preferred P- James to me!’ Snape said, his face obscured by a curtain of dark hair ‘And still you don’t want me – after everything I’ve done for you!’
The woman sighed, rubbing her forehead.
‘Sev, it’s been twenty years for you, but I feel as if my husband had died several days ago!’ she saw his face twist in pain ‘Give me some time’ she said, her voice a bit softer.