When the Aurors let Severus go home, Lily spent some time walking on eggshells around him, watching his every movement nervously and expecting another episode of madness. It didn’t happen, however. Her old friend cleaned out the library again, getting rid of anything which could be interpreted as suspicious, almost as though he worried about being arrested again.
The woman sat by the fireplace and watched as Severus threw a book after a book into the fire. The orange glow of the fire contrasted with his dark clothing. Lily wondered for a moment whether he was in mourning – mourning her rather than his mother, since so many years had passed since Eileen died – or whether he just liked dark colors. She tried to remember what Sev wore as a child, before Hogwarts, but without success.
Lily brought the supper from the kitchen and placed the platter in front of Severus. Sometimes he was so busy with his works that he forgot about the meals. Never mind the fact that he lived in a Muggle neighborhood and couldn’t brew Potions in his laboratory – he found other things to do.
‘Sev, the supper’ she said, touching his arm lightly.
The man tore his gaze away from the flames which caused his face to look horrific. He ate mechanically, not looking at the platter at all, as though his mind were somewhere far away. Lily shivered in spite of herself.
When she came back from the kitchen, Sev was still sitting the same way. He did not move when she touched his arm nor did he react when she called his name. Lily wrapped him in a quilt – for a moment, her adult son came to her mind – and went to her room.
She lay on her bed and thought about Harry, wondering where he is and what is he doing. She hoped he was happy. She remembered about his wife – she couldn’t think of her as her daughter-in-law – and she tried to imagine little Ginny Weasley as an adult woman. Her thoughts were still along these lines until she fell asleep.
A few days later Harry brought a trusted specialist who could examine Severus and keep the secret. The Healer reached the same conclusions the young Auror did a few weeks ago and let Snape remain home.
Harry led his mother to the side and warned her not to remain alone with Severus in a tight, quiet voice. When she asked for his reasons, he went red and didn’t say a word more. Lily could guess what he meant… and she wondered how her son could know about Sev’s feelings for her.
Severus was jittery and not his normal self for a few days after the Healer’s visit, but it passed a few days later. The life in the house was back to normal.
Some time later, Lily was arranging her clothes in front of a mirror when Sev appeared in the corridor. She turned around and she flinched when she saw his eyes. She walked quickly up to him.
‘Are you sick, Sev?’ she asked worriedly, placing a hand on his forehead.
Snape did not answer. When she wanted to withdraw her hand, she realized he was holding her wrist and staring intensely at her face. She furrowed her brow, trying to comprehend his weird behavior… and then he kissed her so fiercely that she lost her balance and found her back against the wall. She tried to push him away but he was surprisingly strong. He used one of his hands to press her hands against the wall and the other to touch her, pressing on her with his entire weight behind it.
‘Severus, it hurts!’ she protested, trying to free herself from the hold.
He did not react. Lily was really frightened when Sev started undoing the buttons on her blouse. When he reached for the belt on the hips, she knew what was happening. She desperately tried to escape when he started taking her clothes off.
The woman started screaming even though she knew nobody could hear her. Severus was pressing harder and harder against her. Suddenly she heard an unfamiliar male voice curse. Two hands found themselves in her field of vision, grabbing Severus by the neck and tearing him away from her forcefully. The man threw a confused Sev on the ground and moved to stand between them.
Lily, shaken, crouched and tried to gather her clothes from the floor. The stranger had a round, friendly face and neat black hair. His cheek was marked by two scars. Blood rushed to Lily’s face when she realized the man was her son’s age.
‘My friend is an Auror, he’ll be here in a moment’ the man said, taking his cloak off and wrapping it around her.
A quiet pop announced the arrival of an Auror in work robes. Lily burst into tears – partially from relief, partially out of shame – when she saw the Auror was Harry.
‘Neville! What happened here?’ he asked, stepping closer to the man and then froze when he saw her.
‘You asked me to pop in… it seems I did it in the nick of time. That madman had his hands all over her, I barely separated him from her. It’s good that I have some muscles left from all that shoveling-‘
Harry did not listen to what the man named Neville said further. He crouched next to her, glanced over the strewn clothing. His face darkened.
‘Lily, is that true?’ he asked quietly.
She nodded, wrapping herself tighter in the cloak. Harry’s gaze moved to rest on Severus. He flipped the older man with a single movement.
‘If you had raped her, I’d break every single one of your bones’ he said in a low, dangerous voice.
Snape stared at him confused, seemingly not understanding a word.
‘Rape? I wouldn’t let-‘ he stopped suddenly when he saw her.
He tried to get up, but Harry pushed him back to the ground.
‘Lily?! Who- who did it to you?!’ she has never heard so much anger in her friend’s voice before.
Neville glanced at Harry in surprise, but the man didn’t bat an eyelid.
‘Go to the room. I’ll talk to Lily and find out who did it. You’ve got my word he’ll be punished. But no lynching.’
Lily watched as Severus got up and walked out of the corridor. He stopped at the threshold and looked at her with such worry in his eyes that she could hardly believe the earlier events were not a dream.
Neville swore loudly when Snape’s silhouette became visible. When the man was beyond sight and hearing range, he blurted out:
‘Harry, am I hallucinating or it really was Snape? Professor Snape?’
‘You are not hallucinating, Nev. It was him’
‘But Snape would never-‘
‘Severus… Severus is not himself’ Lily, who has finally managed to get dressed, said quietly.
Harry rolled his eyes.
‘Understatement of the century. He’s touched in the head. Seriously, stop defending him. You just saw what he’s capable of’
‘He’s my friend’ Lily said stubbornly ‘Nobody will be telling me how I should treat him; especially not you, Harry’
Her son’s eyes flashed in the dim corridor.
‘Who else should defend you? James? My father’s dead! Petunia, even if she knew, she wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Who else is your family? I and only I! Damn it all to hell, I am your son and I will not watch as a madman does what he wants with you!’
‘No one will rule my life. Not Severus and not you!’
‘Good luck!’ Harry snorted. ‘You forgot one fact: you’ve been officially dead for nineteen years! And no one knows how the hell Snape brought you back to life! Plus you probably know now why he did it! Why he hated first my father and then me so much!’
Lily heard a loud intake of breath. Her son stopped his tirade. Neville’s eyes wandered from her to Harry and back.
‘Lily Potter?’ he asked in a weak voice.
When she nodded, he sat heavily on the floor and his eyes kept darting in the direction of the room Snape was in.
‘Professor Snape went mad about your mum after the war?’ he asked Harry.
‘That’s cutting the long story short, but it wasn’t after the war, it was way back, over thirty years ago’
Lily saw the man count back thirty years in his head and his face change.
‘Blimey, Harry, what did he do when- Voldemort-?’ he asked quietly.
‘He went on a suicide mission. He spied for Dumbledore for seventeen years’
The woman felt all the blood leave her face.
‘Severus was spying on You-Know-Who? For all these years?’ suddenly she stopped as something occurred to her ‘So he must have known who passed the prophecy on to V- You-Know-Who…’
‘Snape is a master when it comes to Occlumency’ her son said.
It didn’t escape Lily nor Neville that he didn’t respond to her second statement.