Cauldrons and Lilies

Chapter 13

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This chapter goes to Amar2 and librarywitch. Thank you for your reviews.

Chapter 13

Severus had a rough week. The marauders sans Lupin reverted to their old tricks. It was as if they knew where he was every single time of the day. That stupid map of theirs had to be finished by now. McGonagall and Slughorn bickered over detentions and the like. Severus, Black and Potter had received the brunt of Minerva's wrath. Two months into his sixth year he was the recipient of three-month detention. The young Slytherin was in charge of scrubbing floors. Black and Potter were cleaning and sorting Slughorn's stores; both private and the school's. He barely had time to meet with Lily and Marlene who were busy too. They were both prefects and in Marlene's case captain of the Hogwarts choir. She did have a beautiful voice.

He had very little time with anyone but Filch. He tried to meet with Lily every other day but the fact was that his busy detention schedule impeded him. It was Friday night, three weeks before Christmas break and he was finally done with the eighth floor. He rushed to the dungeons to get some sleep. He entered his dorm and was glad that his classmates were asleep or out roaming the castles. All he wanted to do was sleep until tomorrow morning. He had been asleep for two hours when an owl arrived for him. It was particularly strange because he woke up to the tawny owl pecking at his hair.

Severus moved away from the animal and opened the letter. It was written in pen and it was his father's handwriting.

Son,

Your brother has arrived. Him and your mother are well. She's sleeping right now. Augustus looks very much like you son. He has our same hair, eyes and I'm afraid he will have our nose too. Your mother wants me to write that she think Augustus is as handsome and perfect as you were when you were a baby.

Love,

Dad.

Severus felt a knot in his stomach. The child was born. He had a sibling. He could not shake the wrongness of the situation. He did not go back to sleep. It was 3:00 AM, he made his way to the seventh floor and the room of requirement welcomed him. He found the books but the answers to his questions eluded him. He spent half the morning thinking about this baby. Charlie Weasley would be born in two weeks. Nymphadora would be born next year January. He paced around the room. He had signed the slip to stay back but he needed to see this child. Suddenly it seemed like a poor idea to stay in the castle.

Severus needed to see this baby. Lily smiled when she learned that he had a little brother. "So you are going home then."

He nodded. Marlene smiled prettily when he told her about his visit to Manchester. "That is wonderful news Sev." She hugged him and excitedly spoke about meeting on Boxing Day. "We can go see a film again." Lily looked confused. "When did you see a film?"

Marlene proceeded to tell her about her visit over the summer. Lily was not amused but Severus decided to not comment.

Augustus looked like any other baby. He was three weeks old when Severus held him. His parents had the guestroom painted in blues, the crib was his old crib only it was fixed and painted. Tobias looked so happy and his mum looked radiant. "Oh Severus, isn't Gussie beautiful."

"Augustus." Tobias and him said at the same time. Mum laughed, a tinkling sound. "Yes, Augustus Snape." She picked the child from his arms.

Tobias wore an ever-fixed smile all the Christmas break. Severus was annoyed and spent as little time with the new family as possible. Nothing happened, there was nothing. Gussie, as mum called him was just a baby. He drooled, crapped, cried and gurgled. He was an ordinary baby. He spent most of his days with Lily.

He visited Marlene twice. Severus was conflicted. He loved Lily but Marlene was nice and worshipped him. This girl was physical and attainable, so very accessible. It was harder and harder to not give in to Marlene's touched. She was a very skilled girl and his bloody body belonged to a sixteen year old. He avoided the Ravenclaw because every time they went farther than he would like. In his past life Marlene had never even talked to him. He tried to remember but much as he tried to recall he could not place Marlene in his past. The young man contained himself and retreated any time Marlene tried something more than kissing and light groping. His girlfriend was not deterred, "You are a true gentleman Severus." She would say and kiss him again. He would not be a hypocrite and say he did not enjoy Marlene's affection. He found her overbearing at times and they did not see eye to eye some times but she was there and she wanted him.

He would have thought Marlene would not want to be with him. He was not exactly the best boyfriend. He forgot important dates and their outings all the times. He did not tell her he loved her or shared anything more than intellectual curiosity. He would break it off with her but any time he wanted to speak with her about it she would make eyes at him and kiss him until his body and mind forgot that he did not love the girl.

December rolled into January and his birthday. He turned seventeen without a fuss. He went out with Lily and Marlene who did not seem to keen to spend the day together. Severus would have rather spent the day with Lily but Marlene had been the one to invite him to Hogsmeade and he could not deny her. He smiled when Lily gave him a beautiful watch and a picture of them when they were nine year olds. He kissed her cheek and hugged her. Marlene would not be outdone and gave him an ancient runes book and kissed him in front of Lily. His best friend could not entirely hide her wince.

Marlene was not rude but she made it clear that she wanted to be alone with him. Lily was very perceptive and after an awkward lunch she returned to the castle. Severus was distant but the girl did not give up. She had to have a disorder because she was oblivious to his increasing bad humor. It was 7:00 PM when they trekked back to Hogwarts. He was about to leave her in her tower when she answered the riddle. "Thanks for the book." She smiled and grabbed his hand. "I have a surprise for you." She led him to the common room. It was dark and there were few students in. They did not look at him twice. Marlene turned to a wall and opened a door to a small room. "I found this place three years ago."

She smiled and kissed him. He was lost in the kiss. The kisses escalated, his mind was addled with lust and hormones. She moaned his name and her voice was too high, not the breathless whispers he believed Lily would make. "Stop Marlene. We can't."

The girl smiled sweetly and grabbed his hand. She placed it in her chest. Severus's body reacted to the softness and her proximity. "Someone could come in."

"No they can't. I placed a charm Sev. I want you to be my first." She said with a soft voice and hesitancy in her eyes. Severus knew that he couldn't, he wouldn't do this to this lovely girl who had only kind words for him. In an uncharacteristic display of affection he hugged her. He never initiated any contact with her and Marlene thought he encouraged her affections. She kissed his neck and fumbled with his robes but Severus stopped her once more.

"I'm sorry Marlene." He said. The girl looked at him with sad eyes. "Why? Am I not pretty enough?"

Severus shook his head vigorously. "You are lovely and I am a fool Marlene. I can't, I…"

She cried, big heaving sobs. "You love her. You love Evans." The girl's voice wavered.

He shook his head. "It isn't that Marlene. I just can't. You deserve better."

"Only you and Evans are deluded enough. You love her. She does not love you Severus. She could not ever love you as much as I do." Marlene said with anger and ran out of the room.

It had to be done. He could not keep up with the charades. Marlene did deserve someone better. Someone who loved her, Severus liked her as a friend, he could only love Lily.

Marlene was red eyed that following Monday. She could not hold his gaze for more than five seconds without crying. "You spared her immense pain." He repeated in his head. He stayed clear of Lily. He did not want her asking questions. It seemed Marlene had not said anything to her yet. The two girls could not be called friends exactly. He did not want to add salt to the Ravenclaw's wounds. It was not until late that day that Lily finally got a hold of him. He walked back from Filch's detention, the last one when she ambushed him.

"Sev, what happened?" She asked as they walked to the dungeons. He almost forgot that Lily could be in danger while in Slytherin territory. He switched back to the classroom floors.

"Nothing." He said tonelessly.

"Why was McKinnon crying all day?" There it was Lily Evans was not one to beat around any bushes. She was blunt as she was brave.

He walked for three more minutes until the girl grabbed his hand. "Tell me what happened. She cried all through herbology."

Severus felt as slight pang of guilt. "We are not together anymore." He said as she moved in front of him.

"Why?" She questioned after she gasped audibly.

"We are not compatible." He replied carefully.

"I thought you liked her." Lily commented logically. Severus found a windowsill and they sat side by side.

"I do. She is lovely." Lily's green eyes saddened "But, I don't love her, she loves me and I don't." Severus said honestly. He was in love with Lily but this girl was also his best friend. He told her almost everything.

"I don't want to hurt her." He said honestly.

Lily rested her head on his shoulder. He had grown up in the past year and a half; he looked the same as he had the first time. This time however his clothes were newer and he took care of his appearance. "James Potter asked me on a date."

Severus felt his heart start breaking. "What did you say?"

She laughed and rested her head on his lap. "No, of course. Potter is not as bad as he was when were first years but he is still a toerag."

He laughed with her and rested his head on the windowpane. He should encourage her to accept Potter's date but could not bring himself to utter the words.

"I'm glad you broke up with her." Lily said almost quietly.

"Why?" He should have not asked. This was dangerous territory. He played with her red hair, meshing the different red hues.

"I did not like sharing you." She said decisively.