Cauldrons and Lilies

Chapter 23

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Chapter 23

There were four caskets being lowered to the grounds of an old Manchester cemetery. Lily Evans watched tearfully as her parents were buried. She held onto Severus for support. Her best friend carried a silent Augustus. Tobias Snape had raged for about two hours until the headmaster casted a disillusionment charm over him. Dumbledore wanted Tobias to stay back while Severus and Gus said their goodbyes.

He was invisible next to Severus who looked stoic. Lily had not cried, not until the caskets were in the ground. Petunia was there with Dursley who looked positively out of place. Petunia looked as weary and tired as she felt. She wore a black dress too, her blonde hair in a neat high ponytail. Never once did her sister approach her. It was as if they were mourning different people. Lily felt a weight in her chest and a terrible urge to cry for her mother. She did not pretend to be brave. Lily Evans cried, and was only standing because Severus had an arm around her.

She watched as her parents and Eileen Snape were buried. Severus looked somber and closed off. She thought he could hear Tobias sobbing slightly but was not sure. Petunia glared at her from a distance.

No one else had congregated to give a last goodbye to her parents or Mrs. Snape. It was too dangerous. Dumbledore was there with what appeared to be a suit from last century. He had dispensed from a horrible black and white sort of cardigan after Severus advised him against it. He was there for moral support and also because he suspected there Death Eaters watching their every move.

Petunia and Dursley left, but not before her brother in law approached her about her parents' will. Lily did not say a word. She was repressing and explosive rage. How could Tuney marry such a despicable man? Lily did not know whether her parents left anything. She was not, she did not know. The girl felt so very stupid then. Tuney would know. She spent more time with mum and dad.

"I don't know. Petunia should know. Everything burned..." Dursley was not looking at her anymore. He looked at Severus who glared at Vernon Dursley as if he was the filthiest scum attached to one of his shoes.

"We will contact Tuney." Severus said with a silky voice. Dursley blushed, an unflattering color on him. He must not have liked Sev's use of Petunia's childhood pet name. Lily held his hand. He wanted to spite her sister's husband.

The Dursleys left. Lily wanted to talk to her sister but Severus held her back. "You are both in a bad place. She will say hurtful things and you will say them too." Lily nodded.

Soon they had to leave. They used a portkey to the Weasleys's home. She watched as Tobias became visible again. He was red eyed and pale. Severus sank to a chair. Dumbledore jovially asked Molly for a cup of tea. Lily noted they were seated in the same position a few hours ago. Augustus cried. Tobias shushed him but the toddler was cranky. Molly who seemed to have a magical touch took Gus from his dad and left the room for the living room.

Dumbledore spoke then. "You must continue your daily activities. Ms. Evans will finish her courses in St. Mungos and Severus, you will end your apprenticeship earlier. Nicolas agrees with me. He's taught you all he can teach you. He remarks your prowess and talents are prodigious." The older man offered.

Severus nodded. "Mr. Snape will remain here with the Weasleys. I am secret keeper. No else will be able to apparate or floo as long as the Fidelius charm is in course. Arthur and Molly have agreed that is best if no one knows about the Snapes' whereabouts." Dumbledore sipped from his tea.

"Severus, you will return to your room in the Leaky cauldron. It is too public a location to not use. Ms. Evans, your situation is perhaps direr." Lily agreed. She had no home, she could not stay with the Weasleys, it was enough that Arthur and Molly hosted the Snapes.

"You should confer with your fiancée. He is aware of your parents deaths and is in desperate need to contact you." Lily could feel Severus tense. Dumbledore produced a letter. "Lily, do not hesitate, if you need anything, financially, or otherwise speaking; the Order will help you." Lily felt a lump in her throat.

Severus jumped in. "Thank you headmaster but Lily does not need anything. I will make sure she is well taken care of." Her best friend placed a reassuring hand over hers.

Dumbledore smiled but remained quiet. The man said his goodbyes and went to see Molly once more.

Lily felt as if the paper burned her hands. She stepped into the small orchard and read the letter.

Lily,

I am so sorry about your parents. They were good and honest people who did not deserve what happened to them. I know what you are feeling. It feels as if the world spins and you have nothing to grab onto. I wanted to pay my respects but Dumbledore said it was too dangerous. I have to see you. Meet me at my flat at 12:00 PM. You should not be alone now love.

With love

James

Lily watched at the clock. It was 11:49 AM. She went back to the Burrow. She had to do this. Her relationship with Severus was not a sleazy tryst. She wanted a relationship with him, a proper stable relationship. The one they should have had since they were sixteen and she realized she loved Severus.

She grabbed her wand from the kitchen table and left. Severus did not ask. He seemed to know where she was headed. "I'll see you in the Leaky Cauldron." Lily said and then walked out and into the village. She apparated just with enough time to rap at James's door. She had been invited to this flat many times. It was empty; there was no Remus or Sirius to serve as buffer. James hugged her and then tried to kiss her gently. She turned her head to the side so he kissed her cheek only.

"We have to talk." She glanced at him with honest eyes. It was time; this charade had been going on long enough. There was no sense in continuing this.

"Anything Lily, I want to be here for you just like you were when my parents died." James stated with a small smile. Lily breathed deeply. "The ring you gave me burned in the fire."

James chuckled, "Don't worry Lily. It does not matter. I will get you another, more beautiful."

"I don't want another ring." She said openly. James tried to kiss her again but she put a hand on his chest.

"Lily, I think we should get married now. We don't have to wait. You can come and live with me. Marry me now. You are right love. You don't need another ring."

"We are not going to marry James." He was confused and spoke immediately. "What do you mean?"

Lily was a coward and did not want to say it. She lamented giving James hope that they would ever be together. "James, I can't marry you. I, I, I…" She stumbled and watched as he rose and paced.

"This is because of Snivellus isn't it?" Lily stood up too. She hated that horrible name. It was a conditioned reaction. "Don't call him that."

James was livid and so was she. "I thought you finally realized he is not for you."

"Severus has nothing to do with this." She lied

"He's been trying to take you away from me for years now." James yelled.

Lily tried to remain calm. "I am so sorry James but I can't marry you. Severus has nothing to do with this decision. I can't be with you, not anymore."

James looked at her and tried to touch her cheek again. Lily flinched back. "Is this because of your parents? I can wait Lily. I've been waiting for two years now. We can work through this. You are not alone, I can help you Lily. You are sad Lily, this will pass, we are meant to be together."

She shook her head. It had to be done she had to say it. "I don't love you James." The young man's face saddened. "I tried James. I swear I did but I can't love you like you want to be loved. I just can't."

"Because of Snivellus." He spat. Lily decided to not take the bait and she left. She apologized one last time. "I'm sorry James."

Lily could not give more explanations. There was no point. She felt horrible and wanted nothing more but to sleep. She was a mess and her life was a mess. She walked to the Leaky cauldron. It was a long walk but she needed time to think and organize her thoughts. Tom asked if she wanted to eat something. She shook her head and went up to Severus's room. He should be there by now.

The young witch knocked on the door. Severus opened and let her in. "I was about to track you down." He said as greeting.

She hugged him. "I walked back from James's."

Lily dropped to the bed. She wore her dress and wanted to sleep. Severus lie next to her. "How is your dad?"

"Not good. He thinks the Weasleys are in danger because of him." Sev said with a tired voice.

"You think he's right." Lily commented as she kicked her shoes off. He nodded.

"Dumbledore practically ambushed Molly into accepting. He only asked Molly. I am sure if Arthur happened to be there they would not have accepted. They are scared for their children."

She looked at him and kissed his nose. "They will be safe. You will see. Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard and he is in our side."

"I wish I could have your faith in him." He replied and left it as that. She could not help but feel those hippogriffs in her stomach when he touched her.

Lily kissed his hand. "I should go to Dumbledore."

"Why?" He asked and played with a strand of her red hair.

"I don't have a place to stay." She was sure the headmaster would find a place suitable for her.

"No, you'll stay with me." Lily looked doubtfully at him.

"Hear me out Lils. We'll get a flat and you'll pay as soon as you can. You'll have your own room. We don't have to do anything." He said honestly, there was some excitement in his voice. She agreed. "Fine, but I will pay rent as soon as I get a job."

Severus kissed her and she did not feel as hollow as she had felt that morning.