Title: Power the Dark Lord Knows Not
Age-Range Category: Two
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Severus Snape, Lily Evans
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
His book was open in his lap, and he closed his eyes tightly. Too tightly... that was the reason for the tears, wasn't it? He would tell himself it was from closing his eyes and concentrating so hard. His dorm mates would snicker over him crying about a Mud—no, he wouldn't ever say that word again if it made her so mad that she wouldn't talk to him. He wouldn't even think it.
This had to work.
There was the day he met her. After months of trying to find a way to break the ice, at last he'd really met her and she had even listened to him for a minute. A little white smoke issued from his wand. No good; Tuney ruined that day.
There was the day Lily sought him out. "Do witches really exist?" she'd asked. And so he'd told her about Hogwarts and she seemed interested. The white smoke swirled a little. No good; Tuney came to find her and ruined that too.
Sunny days in the park... Tuney ruined those. Rainy days hiding behind the couch at the Evans' house... Tuney ruined those. Tuney had a lot to answer for, because Lily would never go against her sister. Ever. The first time they'd ever argued over that word, it had been because he'd said it about Tuney, and Lily hadn't spoken to him for days. How had he apologized for that? He'd told her how sorry he was. She'd forgiven him that time, but this time she was more upset. Her Gryffindor friends were filling her ears against him this time. If he could just get her alone, could just break their hold over her... it would never work. He sighed. What other memories could he use?
There was the day Lily had come to him in tears. They'd had their Hogwarts letters for several weeks by then, and Tuney had been acting quite jealous about the whole thing. He had comforted her as best he could, telling her that she would have dozens of new friends if she wanted, but that the important thing was to learn how to use their magic so they could use it right when they grew up. "... so we can make the world a better place for everyone," she said. She pulled him into a hug. "Sev, sometimes I think you're my very best friend in the world."
The wispy smoke became a blue-white light that swirled and pulled together into a... Well, it was good enough for the other part of the spell. He looked down in the book and concentrated. This had to work, and now at least it might.
She was lying in her bed, trying to sleep, but she was too mad. She wasn't actually mad, though. She'd heard people say "Mudblood" about her hundreds of times, and she knew he'd been too upset to think clearly about what he was saying. The fact that the word had even slipped out of his mouth, though... It really was all his fault. She sighed and thought of James and his awful friends. It really wasn't all his fault. They were not nice people at all sometimes. She rolled onto her back. She wasn't mad, she was overwrought, like some heroine in a Regency novel.
The white light disturbed her. Ghosts weren't supposed to be around the dorms. Then some sort of mouth appeared in the middle of it and Sev's voice came out. "Lily... please forgive me. You know I didn't mean it. Please. Come talk to me just inside the forest." The light faded and went away.
She wasn't going. She would go right back to sleep. She rolled over again. Then she sighed. Who was she kidding?
"You came! Thank you! I just wanted to say..."
"That's incredibly light magic. How on earth could you possibly do it?"
"I can do light magic."
She set her chin. "We both know dark magic is your specialty."
He shrugged a little and looked down. "I've learned everything about that I can right now, so I started on another book. Is there any way you can forgive me?" He looked up, and she could see a streak on his face. Was that from tears?
She sighed. "Of course. You'll always be my first magical friend, and everything you told me in those days turned out to be true. But you can't use that word any more, Sev, you just can't."
"So will you teach me the spell?"
She knew he would. It was his favorite thing in the world to help her with charms she couldn't quite do. They went over the words together, "Expecto Patronum!" and then he stood behind her and helped her guide her wand.
"I think I have it now. Let's do it together."
Suddenly a deer came out to their clearing, bringing her fawn with her. They watched as the deer passed them and that feeling of perfect understanding that Severus only got with Lily came upon them both.
Two perfect does came from their wands and followed the deer farther into the woods.
It was a special code only the two of them knew. Perhaps the professors knew they were doing it, but classmates didn't really see anything. The Patronuses seemed to only be visible to the intended recipient.
There was a night when Severus, upon a suggestion from Black, went to the wrong place at the wrong time. A dark creature was about to set upon him, and he drew his wand to see if his Patronus would work, but suddenly he was pushed aside by Potter, of all people, and it was Potter who was feted and congratulated for saving his life, while he was threatened with expulsion if he said a single word.
Lily, of course, saw Potter with new eyes after that, and Severus, effectively silenced, was unable to state his own case. He walked around morosely for several months, and the only bright part of his days was when he could exchange Patronuses with his one friend. Seventh year wasn't much better than sixth, and then they were all grown up and out in the world.
There were advantages to being a fully trained adult Wizard. One could get a job and fend for oneself, now. One wasn't subject to the whims of one's parents. On the other hand, jobs were pure painful drudgery at the entry level. Plus, it could get lonely. He didn't have many friends except Lily, and she didn't want to be seen with him.
"The things you like... they're just plain evil."
He found a friend of sorts, or perhaps this friend was better called a mentor. When he was honest, Severus knew that this mentor wasn't that at all, either. Still, this person had a great deal of power, and had indicated to Severus that he would use it to Severus' benefit as long as Severus displayed certain loyalties... Well, for now Severus could pretend that as long as Severus did what was asked of him, perhaps some day Severus would have the sort of power he'd always craved.
It was perhaps two years after leaving Hogwarts, after doing a journeyman's job that was useful but unfulfilling, that Severus's mentor suggested he try to obtain the Hogwarts position of Instructor in Defense Against the Dark Arts. It would be useful to have a loyal helper inside Hogwarts, his mentor said. There would be no telling what value such a helper would be in the future.
Such a career change fit Severus' plans, at least somewhat, so he went to the appointed place and time. Bypassing the taproom, he went up the stairs and waited, but then a voice suddenly intoned. He'd never before heard a proper prophecy in his life, and just the sound of the voice made his blood run cold. "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches..."
Aberforth came up a moment later and tried to throw him out. Severus thought fast. He had to get this job. Too much depended upon it. He answered Aberforth back. The two stood bickering for several moments before Albus Dumbledore came out of the room and held up his hand.
"This one was loitering outside your door," he said, reaching for Severus' ear but missing as Severus pulled away.
"It's all right, Abe. I asked him here. It turns out that this is a bad time, though, Severus. I was going to discuss your lifetime plans and see what I thought after a comfortable chat, but I believe we can skip all of that. Horace has accumulated enough belongings and financial support from former students to retire; I can offer you a full professorship as Potions master. Take a week or two to think about it."
Severus' job interview was over in seconds, but at least it was somewhat successful.
His mentor agreed. "I would prefer Defense Against the Dark Arts. So many books take such a narrow view of magic. Yet your presence at Hogwarts will be of infinite use to me, and perhaps the other professorship will come available soon. This other information you bring me is of great use, of course. I am quite gratified that your first thought was of my safety. We shall have to consider whose child this is likely to be. It should be easy enough to prevent this prophecy from coming true..."
He sent a Patronus to tell Lily. He didn't tell her anything about his mentor, of course. She was always alluding to some group of people or other that was fighting against him, the fools. He did tell her all about his job offer and his plans to accept.
She quickly sent back her congratulations. No sooner had that deer dispersed than a second appeared. "While we're sharing major life changes and exciting new events, I'll tell one of mine. I'm pregnant! The little wizard or witch is due in late July or possibly early August..."
There was no memory happy enough to overcome this news. It would be years before he cast his Patronus again.