Cauldrons and Lilies

Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

Nicholas Flamel reminded him of what an old grandfather would be like if he ever had one. The man was ancient and pure wisdom. He met with the old warlock from Monday through Thursday and studied the arts of potion making. He tried to pretend he was less advanced but Old Flannel saw through his artifices.

"Young man, I have time, you do not. Stop wasting your time. You are here to learn and learn you will." Ever since then Severus stopped pretending. He learned so much from Flannel.

Lily decided to pursue medi-wizardry. She reported to St. Mungos Mondays through Fridays. That summer of 1978 was of changes and deaths. The Mckinnons died three weeks after their daughter. They were slaughtered in their house, all of them. There were five attacks on muggle born houses and three "gas leaks" in muggle London, Edinburgh and Dublin.

By August of that year Severus moved out of homes. Eileen almost did not let him but the young man was firm in his decision. He needed space and freedom. He would not stay home now. He had money from his Prince grandfather who died and left him most of his inheritance. Augustus had been provided for but as the first male heir he had been given most of the vast fortune.

He moved to London and rented a room from Tom the barkeep at the Leaky Cauldron. He worked with Dumbledore when the older man required him to. They had managed to track the diary. Lucius had it in his power. Severus's task was to infiltrate Malfoy Manor. Severus wrote to Narcissa who was delighted to invite him.

It was a sunny august afternoon when he strolled inside the Manor. Cissy looked radiant, she was the perfect picture of beauty. "Severus." She said delighted to see him.

"How wonderful to see you again." She put her hands on her belly. She was pregnant, the first of three miscarriages until Draco arrived. He was sad because this time he would not be there to assuage her sorrow.

"You are expecting." He said with a smile.

"Yes, I would like to have a baby girl but Lucius wants a boy." She chattered happily and talked to him for more than an hour. He played the perfect part of the interested friend because in part he was. He was very interested in his old friend. Severus missed her. Cissy was a delight when they were young.

"I heard you refused the Dark Lord. Lucius was very disappointed. He thought you would be one of us."

"Cissy." He said softly and took her hands in his. "Did you take the mark?" For a few seconds he felt real fear and then he could not help it and pulled her robe sleeves. Her arms were blemish free.

She was agitated, "How dare you Severus?"

"I dare because you are my friend and I care." He replied. Cissy hugged him then. "I'm scared Sev. I'm really scared. Lucius came home two weeks ago. He was twitching and Bella brought a couple of mudbloods. She killed them and I saw. They are less than us but it was horrible. They kept yelling and crying." She sobbed.

Severus held her and kissed her forehead. "Leave him Cissy."

She pushed back and shook her head. She wiped her tears and composed herself. "I love Lucius and he loves me too. I am precious to him as he is to me. The Dark Lord will win and once he does Lucius will be minister. The Dark Lord promised, he will rid the world of mudbloods. We will not hide anymore, muggles and mudbloods in their right place." She spat pureblood supremacist propaganda she had been fed by Lucius and her family.

"Excuse me for a few seconds. I'm feeling a little queasy." She left the garden in which she hosted him.

He saw his opportunity. He scribbled a note and used a disillusionment charm. Soon he unblocked charms and made it inside Lucius's study. He searched for the horcrux in the safe by the shelf. He found it; it was trickier when he accessed it. He managed to unlock it. He replicated the horcrux and closed the safe. Lucius would never know he had a fake diary.

Diary in hand he disapparated to his London room. He used his patronus to alert Dumbledore. The headmaster apparated seconds later, "take my hand." He did so and a pull later they were in a deserted building. "We shall do this. It will be dangerous Severus, stay behind me.

He saw as Dumbledore set the diary on the floor and then conjured Fiendyfire. The diary emitted a horrible sound and they watched as the fire burned the object. It was hard to put out and Severus disobeyed when the fire intensified. He stepped next to the wizard and together they put an end to the fire.

"Four more to go." Severus huffed. Dumbledore clapped him in the back. "I told you to stay back."

"The flames were not extinguishing, if I did not step in they would have reached the ceiling and then we would have been engulfed by it. We could have disapparated but we should avoid being noticed." Dumbledore nodded. "Apparate to your room and wait for instructions." Severus nodded and left.

It was several days later when he finally was able to meet with Lils. They were inside Fortescue's having ice cream. It was late at night almost midnight. They had been speaking for three hours. "I visited Narcissa the other day." Severus said. Lily looked surprised.

"The Malfoys are death eaters Severus." Lily said with a cautious voice.

"Lucius is but Cissy does not bear the mark." Severus said and paced. Cissy would not make it without him; the pain of losing her children would destroy her.

"She's expecting." Severus said in a quiet voice.

Lily gasped, "You can't do anything for her Sev. She made her choices." Lily tried to rationalize. Severus shook his head. "She did not. Her parents arranged that marriage when Andromeda escaped with Ted Tonks. She was not supposed to marry Lucius." He said despondently.

His best friend's eyes clouded with something he had not seen since his sixth year. She looked broken. "It's her isn't it? You love Narcissa." Lily said with a hopeless voice. She looked miserable.

"No, I don't, but she is my friend. She'll hurt Lily and I don't want to see her crushed. She is good." Lily made a condescending noise. Something snapped in Severus. "It's late Lily. I think you should go home." He was tired and wanted the solace of his room. Lily's waspish attitude to Narcissa did nothing for him. He was tired of the Gryffindor superior attitude. He experienced his fair share of that while in meetings with the Order. He did not appreciate Lily's mistrust of Cissy. It added insult to injury.

Lily nodded. "James proposed." She said as parting words. Severus wanted to punch a wall. He schooled his features and looked into those green eyes that despite everything he loved. "Congratulations."

"I have not said yes." She replied as they walked to the Leaky Cauldron.

"Yet. You will say yes. You love Potter." Severus said with a calm voice. Lily grabbed his hand and stopped. She had tears on her eyes. "Do I?"

Her eyes were full of longing. "How do you know when you really love someone?"

Severus caressed her cheek. "You think about them every day. They are the first thought in your mind as soon as you open your eyes. You think about their welfare before your own. Every time you see them your heart stops beating for a second and then you feel as if three hundreds hippogriffs stomped inside your stomach. Their smiles, just their smiles suffice to conjure the strongest patronus. That's how you know Lils." He said and Lily hugged him hard. She wiped her tears and disapparated. Severus had moments of doubt, weakness like this. Lily did not look happy with Potter. She avoided much physical contact. It was not like last time when she looked disgustingly in love with the prat. His best friend was happier when she was with him. Severus's ideas of prophecies flew out of him mind when Lil's smiled at him or hugged him. He was brought back by the fact that Lily chose James once again, even in this lifetime he chose him because they are supposed to be together and it was not up to him to stop that love from happening.

He met with Remus by early December. His friend was in need of assistance. It was clear once he looked at his clothes. As members of the Order they saw each other whenever they had meetings but Severus avoided them as much as he could. Dumbledore did not mind his absence as long as he did his fair share when it came to the raids and his job with the horcruxes. They had not found anything about the diadem or the cup yet. The ring was as elusive as it once had been.

"Severus, I should not ask but I need a favor." He hesitated. Severus knew how hard it was for Remus to ask for help. The werewolf was proud, even more so when he was younger.

"Anything I could help you with Remus." He said honestly. They were in his room above the Leaky Cauldron.

"I need you to brew the wolfsbane for me again." Severus was puzzled.

"Remus I thought you were to infiltrate with the werewolves." It had been his idea to do so. Dumbledore tried to oppose him but Remus needed to be useful or so he said.

"Greyback found me out. He saw as I tried to get some other werewolves to seek wolfsbane and the Order." He gave me this. Severus saw a nasty looking scar on his neck.

"I see." Severus said. There was no need to go into details. Remus was private to the point of being pathological.

"So you will do it." Severus nodded and Remus smiled gratefully.

"I'll pay you back Sev. I have a job now in a muggle shop. I'm staying with Padfoot and Prongs so I don't have pay any rent for the flat."

Severus nodded. Lily told him about it two weeks ago. He had not seen her since then. She was busy with her training and her wedding preparations. She had accepted Potter's proposal after a month of badgering on his part. Severus watched in silence as the love of his life profiled his life with someone else.

He accompanied Remus to the Leaky when a woman hugged him hard. "What?" Remus drew his wand. It was Cissy who was crying, sobbing desperately. The werewolf looked uncomfortable. She glanced at him and then looked away immediately. She fisted Severus's robes.

Remus disapparated with a puzzled look. He waved him away. He escorted Cissy to his room. "What happened?" He asked, knowing already.

"I lost my baby again." She sobbed. Severus kissed her forehead and let her cry. He learned that this was her third and Lucius begged her to not try anymore. He was crushed when Cissy did not produce their so awaited baby. "I can't give him children. He can cast me aside, Severus. Please, you have to have something for me." She begged.

"I'm so sorry Cissy but your body needs to heal. I can't give you anything. You have to wait." It had been like this last time. Cissy stayed with him that afternoon. She cried and he comforted her. He realized he had missed her so much. She had been so gentle, so nice to him. He had forgotten how much he loved her as a friend. His friend Cissy changed completely when he started teaching at Hogwarts. They drifted and she stopped being Cissy Black to finally become Narcissa Malfoy. She left late; she wiped her tears and kissed his cheek. "Don't tell anyone." She whispered and disapparated.

Severus did not hear from her. He continued his work with Flamel and the Order. Potter and Black were always involved in raids, as were he and Kinsgley. They brought down many nameless death eaters with much injuries. There were deaths on both sides. Deadborn died Christmas day 1978 by Voldemort's hands, as did three muggle families in the Derbyshire. Ministry officials recovered his body.

Severus had been at home with his parents and Gus who was happily sang to Christmas Carols. Tobias cut some ham for Gussie as mother still called him. Tobias insisted in calling him by his full name. He spent a peaceful night with his parents and brother. He was surprised to learn that he could now have civilized conversations with his father. It had been close to five years since he came back. Severus talked to him and mum.

"How is your apprenticeship coming along?" Mum asked with a smile on her face. The wizarding world was at war and they had to be cautious but his parents were the happiest he'd seen them.

"Well, master Flamel says we will be done with my education by spring." Tobias looked perplexed.

"Your mother said that it was like you going to University. She explained that this bloke Flamel invented the Philosopher's Stone. Why is it only taking a year to train you?"

Severus did not hesitate. "I am excellent in potions. That is why the Headmaster recommended me with his friend."

Eileen looked really proud. "I don't understand why he chose an alchemist but believe me I'm not complaining. Nicolas Flamel is one of the most renowned warlocks in history." Mother chattered about him to Tobias who looked proud too.

He stayed home. He did not see the point of going to the Evans's house. Potter and Black would be there. Lily had invited him too but he decided to stay home with his parents. He would not suffer Potter's presence if he had a way to avoid it. Lily did not look happy, she planned the wedding for late spring.

Severus had to laugh at a joke Tobias told. Gussie giggled and ran around the house. It was getting late. It was time to open some gifts. Severus opened his mother's first. He was surprised to see jewelry. "It is half of the collection. Your brother of course has the other half."

"These are yours." Severus said. His best friends have been witches, pureblood and muggleborn. Narcissa flaunted hers family jewels any time she could through out the years. They symbolized status in the old pureblood world. "I kept my mother's pendant. Your wife can have the rest and so will Gussie's wife when he marries."

Tobias laughed. "He's hardly nineteen. He will not marry for many years." Severus appreciated his words. "Well, they are his as the Princes' Heir." Tobias did not like her tone.

"He is a Snape Eileen." His father said coldly.

Mother ignored his aloof tone. "Of course he is. He should have these." Severus accepted them because mum would insist to the point of being a nuisance.

Tobias gave him a silver watch. "The one you have is too old." He remarked. Severus nodded. He gave him that one when he was eleven and going to Hogwarts. He smiled and put on the new watch. His father beamed.

The news of the Deadborn's death was not announced until late January of the next year.

1979 started with violence. Ten wizards were dead; a muggle village raided and put to fire. Severus now visited home every week to ensure that mum's charms were working normally.

Lily caught up to him a night he was going home and walked with him from the Leaky Cauldron to muggle London.

"Why don't we take the train to Manchester?" She offered and he accepted. Ever since she agreed to be Potter's wife an awkward situation settled between them.

"I don't want to marry him." She said when they were side by side in the train.

Severus wanted to kiss her and laugh because it was the best news he got in a very long time. He suppressed his inner happiness. "Do you love him?"

"No, I don't want to marry him. I think about what my life will be and I don't see James by my side." Her eyes looked at him beseechingly.

"He wants me to stay home and have children. I'm not ready to have children Sev. I want to be a mediwitch help people. I can't do that if I have a baby."

Severus nodded. He always thought Lily rushed into having a baby. Everyone was rushing, people married and lived in the moment because people died everyday and everyone was scared.

They talked about their projects. "I want to work Sev. I am studying the effects of the cruciatus curse and the imperious curse in the human body. It is fascinating. He lit up. Lily was smart and beautiful. He challenged her discoveries with findings of his own. The train ride felt short and easy. He wished they could see each other like this every single day. He knew it was impossible because Potter existed and had to exist in order to have Harry.

They walked hand in hand to their little town. She smiled all the while and then they saw Lil's house. There was a huge crowd in front of it. Muggle firefighters worked to extinguish the last fires in the dilapidated house. The Evans's house was no more than ashes.