It had been several weeks since the bar fight at Wyvern's. They'd run into each other occasionally since then, but had spent very little time together. Lily had had no reason to drop by his place and Severus didn't even know where hers was. It was only now, almost a month later at an order meeting that they had a real opportunity to talk again.
Severus found it unusual how she avoided the Marauders. There was a risked glance to them here and there, but he noticed she moved around the room in an effort to be as far from them as possible. He had a similar problem, although he enjoyed his situation. The few people in the room he did know he wasn't exactly on good terms with, no one had any reason to approach him. He couldn't complain about being left alone, in fact he preferred it. Lily and Zahrah were the only two he could be bothered with, preferably the first who was making her way over to him.
She stood close by, speaking so only he could hear. "Are you on better terms?"
Severus smirked as he replied. "We never are. She wants things to be one way and I want the other. We butt heads quite frequently."
"I'm surprised the two of you are together."
"Dating? No. We we're at one point, but too many things got in the way. We're better off with whatever this is."
"That's not what your fight sounded like."
"Tune in later for round two." He joked. "I'm sure it'll prove you wrong.
She gave him a strange look, like she wanted to know more, but decided against it. "How long has she been a Death Eater then?"
He rolled his eyes back, thinking. "Four years now, I believe. She isn't a fighter, deals more with information."
"No wonder Dumbledore is so pleased to have her on our side."
"You have no idea." His stomach grumbled. "Do you want to get out of here, maybe grab a bite to eat?"
Lily looked over her shoulder. Severus followed her gaze and found James watching them. He was surprised James had yet to find his way over to them, to make some snide comment. "I would like that." She replied suddenly."
Severus felt a warmth growing in him at her answer. He wouldn't call this a date, but he certainly hadn't expected her to say yes. "I know just the place." The two of them walked from the building without so much as a goodbye to anyone. When they were past the protective spells surrounding their headquarters, Severus gripped her by the hand and they disapparated.
It was a small muggle place in London, one of the few open so late at night and one of his favorites. He'd been busy experimenting with some new potions, trying to prefect them , and the meeting has snuck up on him. He knew it was at eight, but had simply lost track of time and hadn't done anything before hand, such as dinner. Now, seeing Lily enter the restaurant beside him he was glad that was the case.
He'd missed her so much over the past years. With their reconnection he wanted to spend all the time he could with her, whether it was spying for Dumbledore or something along the lines of tonight. She'd turned him done before, when they were still at Hogwarts, and he couldn't say he expected her opinion of him to improve based on the changes since then.
"Severus, back again I see." The host greeted them.
Severus smiled weakly, embarrassed. "Table for two this time."
The two of them were led into the dining room, only one of the few couples there this late into the evening. Lily was quiet as they were seated and as she read through the menu. Severus wanted to kick himself for picking a regular spot. He hadn't thought much of the wait staff recognizing him until then, but now he was sure there was a blush in his cheeks.
He ached for alcohol, but remembered how disappointed Lily had been in him the last time they'd done something similar. Just one drink. He told himself, hoping he could keep his own promise. He ordered a bottle of wine this time, under the ruse it was for both of them, that he shouldn't be ashamed if they were both drinking. The look on Lily's face as he ordered though told a different story.
He stared at the dark, maroon liquid in front of him hungrily, not sure what exactly to do. He hadn't thought about his drinking affecting anyone but himself – something he was perfectly fine with – until recently. Although now he felt a tinge of guilt for putting Zahrah through it as well.
"Mum died." He said suddenly. Lily looked up from her own plate, slightly startled by the sudden revelation. "Murdered, really."
"No, don't say you're sorry. That's what everyone says. It's no one's fault but his, and perhaps mine."
"Yours?" She tipped her head to the side, obviously feeling sorry for him.
Hating the look she was giving him he looked down, staring at the steak in front of him that he suddenly wasn't hungry for. "I was the one that found her, strangled in her own home." He could still see the purple marks of Tobias' fingers around her neck. "I'd meant to go over earlier, she'd asked me to come, but I'd been focused on what I thought were more important things. When I finally arrived it was too late." He took a large drink, forgetting his earlier compromise.
"How…how long ago?"
"Just over two years now. They tried to convict Tobias, but there simply wasn't enough evidence. I would have been a suspect as well had it not been for Dumbledore's help." She reached across the table, placing a hand on top of his. "I drink to forget." He continued, accepting her touch. "Eat too, I guess. Only it never helps. Now my physique serves as another reminder." He chuckled humorlessly.
"That's why you left, isn't it? Your holiday?
He nodded. "I couldn't stay here, I thought things would be better elsewhere, but I couldn't have been more wrong."
"I…I don't know what to say."
"You don't need to say anything. I just thought…you deserved to know, deserved an explanation." He took another large gulp and refilled his glass.
She was quiet, picking at her salad, but never taking a bite. He wondered if maybe he shouldn't have said anything at all.
"James cheated on me." She said finally, meeting his eyes. "I found out only a few months ago. I thought he was going to propose. I came home late from work one night to voices. That itself wasn't unusual, James constantly had his friends over so I didn't think much of it until I noticed the voices were coming from the bedroom. I found him and Sirius knocking broomsticks, as they say."
"Sirius? Sirius Black?" He was stunned.
She sighed. "That's exactly how I felt. I guess they dated off and on at Hogwarts, in secret of course. I don't know if he ever really felt anything for me or…" She looked around them, it suddenly felt too intimate despite the emptiness. "I think I was just a cover up for their families."
"And I thought he was an idiot before, to use you like that…it's not right."
She shrugged. "At least I found out before it was too late. They're happy, you should see how they look at each other. I'm happy for them, I just wish it hadn't come at the expense of hurting me."
They finished the rest of their meal in silence, each wallowing in their own problems and putting a rather large dent in the wine. Severus wished he hadn't brought her here, hadn't made this night so painful for the both of them. Yet, another part of him was glad they'd done this.
"Can you come over for a bit?" She asked suddenly. He stared back in pleasant shock which caused her to backtrack. "Forget it, it was a stupid question-."
"On the contrary, I would love to." He shoved his hand in his pocket, removing a few notes and placing them on the table. They walked down the almost empty street together, heading back the way they came until they were comfortably out of view.
Lily placed her hand in his and disapparated, taking them both to her home. The surroundings didn't register, he was too focused on the woman in front of him. She held tightly on to his hand still and he reached up with his free one, brushing a chunk of red hair behind her ear.
Before he could even think about what was happening she had stretched up on her toes, placing her lips gently on his. He wrapped his arms around her, pressing her as close as they could possibly get, returning the kiss. She laid her hand gently on his soft chest, guiding him back to the nearby couch. As his back of his knees hit the fabric he collapsed, pulling her down with him. Lily moved so that a knee was on either side of him, allowing her to sit on his lap. Her hands went around the back of his neck while his wound their way into her hair.
It wasn't long before the bulge in his pants pressed up against her figure. He wanted more, causing him to groan quietly when she broke the contact, leaning her forehead against his. They both panted breathlessly. She could feel how badly he wanted this and went back for more.
"No, stop, Lils." He spoke softly, hand running lightly down the bare skin of her arm. "I don't want to do this for the wrong reasons."
She frowned. "What exactly did you think I was interested for?"
"I thought…well I thought it was about James."
She laughed, shifting so that she was sitting next to him on the loveseat. "It was never about that."
Severus didn't realize so much time had passed until he awoke some time later. Glancing at the watch on his wrist he found it was just after 6 in the morning. He rubbed a hand down his tired face and glanced to his side. In the crook of his arm he found Lily cuddled up against him. Severus tried to snake his numb arm back out without waking her and only ended up achieving the opposite.
"Hmm…where are you going?" She mumbled, barely awake.
"It's tomorrow, I need to go." He held his pounding head, keeping his eyes squeezed shut.
"Hungover?" Her voice was soft as she asked. He only nodded, saving himself from speaking. "I didn't realize you were such a light weight."
"I may have had a few before the meeting."
The shape of the cushions next to him changed and he knew she had stood. In an instant he felt a glass vial being passed to him.
"Here." She insisted. He squinted at her gratefully, downing the potion as she continued. "Don't go…for me?"
"Take me somewhere."
"I…what?" He frowned at the random question.
"Please? I'm not ready to be alone again."
The eager look on her face broke him. "Of course I'd like to, but-"
"No buts! Is there anything holding you back? You just got home from your trip, you can't possibly have a job yet."
"Alright, alright." He smiled broadly. "Let's do it."
She cheered victoriously as she stood. "I'll be just a moment."
"Wear something muggle."
She hurried from the room before he could change his mind, shutting a door behind her. Severus walked around her flat interestedly while he waited, peering into picture frames and fingering knick knacks. There were some he remembered from when they were children and others that he'd never seen, but one in particular had caught his eye. A chipped, green colored dragon figurine was tucked in a corner. Severus picked it up, feeling the weight in his hand. He'd given it to her on her 10th birthday. He'd worked as many odd jobs as he could, trying to earn any amount of money. It hadn't cost much and he'd been embarrassed, but she had loved it. Severus smiled, surprised that she had kept it after all these years.
"Are you ready?" Her voice called suddenly, bringing him back to the present.
"I need to go home real quick, get my tongue lashing from Zahrah and change." He turned and found her standing behind him. She was dressed in a tight pair of jeans and a plain red shirt. His eyes moved suddenly back to her face, afraid to be caught admiring the view, despite what they'd almost done the night before. Without a word, he slipped his hand in hers and disapparated.
"Where the hell have you been!?" The shrill voice came as soon as they landed and Severus let go of Lily, stepping away
"I lost track of time, Zar."
"Sev'rus, I was afraid you were dead, or-"
"Stop." He stepped to his bedroom door, pushing it open. "In."
She obeyed quietly despite the scathing look in her eyes, only speaking when they were in private. "You can't just disappear on me like that."
She leaned into his chest and he put her arms around her. "I didn't think about it, really. The night just got away from us, but I'm okay." Zahrah nodded against him with a sniffle. "I know you're still scared, I get it, but they don't know we're here. I'm sorry it didn't occur to me."
She shook her head, stepping back. "Maybe you're right. I just don't like being in one place too long."
"Things are different here, you don't have to worry."
"That's easy for you to say." She grumbled.
"I'll let you know next time I'm not coming home."
"I…I would appreciate that.
He used his thumb to dry a tear that had escaped. "Do you remember the friend I told you about?"
Zahrah nodded. "It's her, isn't it?"
Severus smiled. "Yes. She asked me to spend the day with her and I said I would. I just needed to make sure you were okay."
"I am, now. Go, have fun." She returned his smile sadly before leaving the room, closing the door behind her.
Severus undressed quickly, grabbing a pair of jeans himself and stuffing his legs inside. He pulled them up and fought to do the button, an act that did a number for his self esteem. To be fair, it had been a bit since he'd worn his muggle clothes. He shouldn't have been surprised that they had shrunk slightly, or rather, that he'd grown…again, but he wished it didn't have to be today. He was absolutely floored by the way Lily had come on to him the night before, an act he'd dreamt of for years. He didn't understand how she could possibly be attracted to him like this and reasoned she must be lonely.
Things always came back to Potter, perfect Potter. James had always been better looking, even during Severus' prime. He found it a bit ridiculous that his only chance with Lily came from her boyfriend dumping her for another man.
With one last look of disgust in the mirror he finished covering his plump self. He approached the potion still bubbling in the corner and was thankful that this particular one took several days to complete. It would soon be ruined otherwise.
"Are you ready?" He asked as he returned to the front of the house, forcing a smile.
"Maybe you should stay here." Lily's voice was disappointed as she pointed to a room in the back. "I think she's crying."
Severus followed her finger before turning his gaze back on her. "It's complicated, but I think it'll be best if we leave."
Lily nodded sadly. "If you're sure."
"You know it isn't about you, right?" He turned her chin towards him gently. "There hasn't been any romantic feelings between her and I for quite a while." Well, for her. He added mentally. "I wouldn't be doing this if there was anything left with her.
"Right, let's go." She smiled finally, but Severus noticed it didn't quite reach her eyes.
They wandered the small town in which he lived, one she had never been to. She asked him about it, where they were and why he had chosen here, but received an "uh huh" for an answer.
"I can tell something's on your mind." Lily stated Finally, when they'd found a secluded bench along a walkway.
He was quiet for a minute before avoiding her eyes as he answered. "What are we doing here? You and I."
"I'm not sure I understand?"
He dropped his voice, seeming embarrassed he might be overheard. "Lils, I've wanted you for as long as I can remember. To be more than what we've always been, yet you've never seemed to feel the same. Why now?"
"Why do you assume I haven't felt that way?"
"Potter makes that situation rather obvious, and the fact you once said no."
She leaned over so that her head was on his shoulder. "We've just never been on the same wavelength. You were with what's her face for so long and I felt the same way. Then I was with Remus. When I turned down the date it was more about the dark direction I thought you were heading. We never had a chance to see if we'd work before everything fell apart."
"That's what I don't get. After everything we've done to each other and all the time we've spent apart, how is there something still here?"
"Just because the things around us changed doesn't mean we have, Severus."
He scoffed loudly. "Perhaps you haven't. Look at me, Lily."
She understood finally what the conversation was about and where his mind had been since they left. She wondered if Zahrah had said something to make him think this way. "Do you really think I wouldn't care about you over a few measly kilos? How could you ever-"
"Because! It's not just a few…."
"You told me yourself you were grieving. Everyone does it differently."
"Not everyone turns into a blimp." He pointed out.
"Would you stop? There are things I hate about myself too-"
"Merlin knows why. You're perfect."
"I could say the same thing about you."
Severus laughed. "Zahrah wouldn't agree.
Lily looked around her mockingly. "Seeing as she isn't here I don't understand why that matters."
He met her eyes finally, gazing at her intensely before deciding she deserved to know. "I met her in Czech when I was still thin. I'd just arrived that a few days before and went to one of the wizarding pubs in town. She was already drunk when she came on to me and it didn't take long for me to get there either. We went back to her place and that was that. I stayed in Czech for a month, mostly with her, when it was time for me to move on she came with. The sex gradually came to a stop as I started drinking more and putting on weight. Finally, when we were in Hungary she decided she was done."
"Sev...that's not right." She was mad. "Couldn't she see why you were doing all of that?"
"Like I said before, it's complicated. She was going through her own stuff and it was just too much. If I scared her off so easily surely it won't be long before you're gone too."
"You aren't going to scare me away. I'll admit I'd like to see you drink less, but I understand why you're doing it. Maybe, when you're ready, we can work on it together."
"If you're still attracted to me then."
"Come on." She stood suddenly, tugging on his hand.
"Where are we going?" He asked as he got to his feet.
"If you aren't going to believe me I'll just have to show you." She smiled flirtatiously and he obeyed, following her the short distance back to her place.
"We don't have to do this."
"No, I want to. I wanted to last night." She reminded him.
As they reached the door to her flat Severus scooped her up in his arms which made her laugh. He carried her in the direction of what he figured was her bedroom, throwing the door open forcefully, and finally placing her down. She scrambled on to the bed, pulling him closer as she laid back. When he was leaning over her, Lily wrapped her legs around the back of his thighs, trapping him.
"You're positive?" He asked again
"Stop asking and just kiss me already."
He obeyed, lowering his lips to hers gently. She inhaled the familiar earthy scent on his skin as her mouth opened and closed against his. Placing a hand on either side of his waist she drew him as close as possible, feeling a satisfying wetness between her legs. His tongue flitted in and out of her mouth, drawing circles.
His hands teased under the hem of her shirt as it was gradually pushed up her skin. "Lily…" He moaned before pulling back. She took the opportunity to remove her shirt and he did the same. Instead of laying back on the mattress she began working on the button of his pants before those too were pulled down and off.
"This isn't fair." He grinned and undid hers as well. They hurriedly helped each other out of the remainder of their clothes before stopping and simply staring at each other. Lily was embarrassed and tempted to cover herself again. She didn't like what was beneath, surely he didn't either. No. She reminded herself. They'd just had this conversation about him. She thought it was crazy he'd feel that way and knew he would say the same thing about her if she brought it up.
"What's wrong?" He asked, noticing her pause.
"It's just different, in a good way." She leaned forward, meeting him halfway with a tender kiss. He cupped her gently and she gave in once more, laying back.
Severus didn't hesitate before climbing on top of her again. She loved the feeling of his warm skin pushed up against hers, the soft exhales of air when he kissed her. He expertly fondled her, going from her chest to in between her legs and she shuddered.
"Oh!" She cried as he slipped inside. He moved back and forth against her, nipping certain areas of skin and kissing others. Every part of them moved together in an unheard rhythm, causing them both to moan. All of it together caused her to build loudly before finally reaching the crest of pleasure. He relaxed on top of her and Lily knew he'd gone over the edge too.
"That was…" He started, breathing heavily as he moved to lay next to her.
She snuggled up beside him happily. "Yes, yes it was." Lily watched curiously as he got off of the bed, pulling his wand from the front pocket of his jeans and firing his the familiar patronus. "You picked a rather odd time for a conversation." She pulled a pillow on top of herself, feeling self conscious now that the heat of the moment was over.
"She asked for me to let her know if I'm not coming home. I see no desire to do that when I could stay here with you." He smiled sweetly at her and she couldn't help but return the gesture.