Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairings: James Potter/Lily Potter, Frank Longbottom/Alice Longbottom, eventual Sirius Black/Severus Snape
Summary: How the story would (could?) have gone is Snape had actually loved Lily
He finds her in the open air market in Godric’s Hollow. She’s as lovely as ever with a child on her hip, smiling and chatting with a plant seller discussing window boxes of all things.
The last time they spoke was horrible so he has to do this fast. Get in there, tag her interest and hope she doesn’t blow him off or blow him up. Again. Okay, the last time they had two-way conversation was more of a shouted argument filled with racial slurs and therefore horrible.
He’s tried apologizing since -both personally and through Post- but he’s never gotten a response which is also horrible.
The hexed letters from her husband and his friends were horrible. Justified but horrible.
But there’s nothing for it. She has to know.
“I’ve done something horrible.” He says to her the moment he’s within arm’s reach. “I can never make up for it but you have to know. You have to save yourself. And Harry. And J-James.”
The flower woman gives him the stink eye to end all stink eyes. Which is, honestly, probably not stink eye enough to be what he deserves.
Lily looks furious and curious and concerned. She whips out her wand, “Set your wand, your potions trunk, and anything else that could be used as weapons currently on your person on the ground and take two steps back.”
Severus takes a moment to wonder if this behavior has always been in Lily or if she got it from her Auror husband or maybe the war has instilled it in her before complying. Primary and back up wands, his enchanted crystal stirring rod, all three size-reduced and weightless potions trunks, and his obsidian anthame. He even removes his Dragon Whistle. Normally, a children’s toy but he’s.. adapted it so that the dragon’s roar it produces stuns and disorients.
He takes his two steps back and there are two apparition pops. Sirius and James appear in the space between Lily and Severus. He hadn’t even seen her summon them.
James moves to check on his wife, fearlessly giving Sev his back like he never would have done in school and Sirius is there before Sev can say anything or even think, really. Sirius is smiling and it’s devastating how handsome this man is.
Thinner in the face than his brother, with those terrifying silver eyes rather than Regulus’s warm black. Sharper cheek bones. Same five o’clock shadow. Small differences that make him the handsomer of the two. How had Severus never noticed?
Probably because the man has never smiled at him before.
“Let’s get this out of the street, shall we?” The Black Dog asks through his clenched smile. “I dare say we’ve attracted enough attention.”
“Quite right, Sirius.” James has his arm across Lily’s shoulders with Harry cuddled between them as he casually summons Severus’s armaments into a bottomless evidence bag. “We can get a private room in this inn for lunch.”
“Brilliant, James!” And Sirius slides right into Severus’s space.
The canine’s arm goes around his waist, forcing Severus to bring his arm and cloak around Sirius’s slightly smaller form. It’s interesting having another person so near and so warm. Good interesting, even in the mid-Summer heat. He shouldn’t be surprised when Sirius’s wand pokes him in the ribs. Their positioning is about control, after all. Control and mirroring Lily and James for the purpose of misdirection.
They enter the Griffin’s Roost and Severus manages not to sneer when James arrogantly orders a private room, four of the special, and a small keg of butterbeer with frosted mugs. Not that there’s anything to order at the Roost but it’s still arrogant and presumptive.
Once the door of their private room is locked and more privacy and security wards than Severus has ever learned are thrown on the entire room, most of them courtesy of Black, Potter turns to his and furiously orders him to “Speak. You have until the meal arrives.”
Okay. Where to start? “I’m a Death Eater.”
Black growls and pulls a second wand, moving to stand beside James, imposing himself between Sev and Lily.
“The Dark Lord sent me to interview with Dumbledore for the Potion’s position.”
“You didn’t get it.” James says tightly.
“No, I didn’t. Because I ran out of the Hogshead before my interview. I got caught trying to overhear a Prophecy.
“Dumbledore was interviewing a new Divination professor before his meeting with me. I could hear he was annoyed and I was curious. He was talking with a woman, about to dismiss her, then the woman’s voice changed and it out came a prophecy. A true prophecy.”
“And it was about?”
“I didn’t get it all.” He says, holding James’s gaze. Not willing to look at Lily. “What I heard was: The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him. Born as the seventh month dies.
“Then the proprietor caught me and threw me out.”
“And you ran to Voldemort.” Sirius snarls furiously. “Like a good little slave.”
“And I ran to Voldemort.” Severus agrees. “Harry wasn’t alive then. No knew you were pregnant. I was certain the Dark Lord had forgotten about it. I had almost forgotten about it. And then the announcement came in the Prophet and I remembered but he didn’t seem to so I wasn’t worried.
“Then last night he calls me into his private chamber. He’s heard these things about the Potter boy. How magical he is. So magical he glows. Did you know he can do the animagus transformation? And he’s summoning and levitating, sometimes objects larger than he is. How smart. How clever. Born as the ‘seventh month dies’, you know. His father is a pureblood from a powerful and ancient family but no one knows his mother, really. No one but you, Severus. Tell me. Tell me everything. And he tortured me. Hadn’t even finished the question before-” Sev swallows. Why is he saying this? James doesn’t care. “I told him the truth, that I knew you in school but that we hadn’t spoken since.
“I knew nothing he was interested in but I offered to reach out and try to get him the information he wants. He agreed and ordered me to confirm or deny what he’s heard. So here I am.”
His eyes flicker over to Lily. She’s pale and crying. Merlin’s pants, maybe he should have approached Potter and Black on the job. He might have died but that would be better- no. No, that’s the coward’s way.
He deserves this. And worse.
“We have a spy.” Sirius says suddenly, directly to James. “No one knows about Harry’s transformation but the five of us. You, me, Lily, Peter and Remus.”
“It wasn’t me.” James glances at Lily. She shakes her head. “It wasn’t Lily. You can’t speak of it except to people that already know.”
“That leaves Peter or Remus. Remus is a dark creature but he’s a wolf. He’s loyal.”
“Peter is weak,” Lily says. Hisses, practically. “He’s always been weak.”
“He is a rat.” James smiles softly causing Lily to roll her eyes.
Severus huffs. Is that an endearment or an insult? This man never makes any sense.
“We can’t really be sure without giving away what we know and getting Snape killed.” Sirius tells the other two.
“Is that such a bad thing?” James asks, crumpling his eyebrows together confusedly.
“If we end up needing him later, it might.” Severus is shocked. Black is standing up for him. Standing up to James for him.”Never know when a pocket Death Eater might come in handy.”
“You said Dumbledore heard the prophecy? The whole prophecy? All of it?” Lily cuts across the two men to speak to Sev directly for the first time since she verbally disarmed him.
“Yes, the prophecy was given to him.”
“Before my child was even born?”
He just nods, helpless in the face of her building, familiar fury.
Lily glares at her husband, furious. “What are those weekly Order meetings for if not to pass on vital intelligence? This is vital James and it’s ours, not his!”
“Vital to us, Lils, but maybe not to him?” James tries to.. soothe? Is that supposed to be soothing?
“That’s worse!” Lily shouts and Sev is thankful for the privacy wards. “If he doesn’t value the life of a child, how can we trust him with the life ours? With the life of any? How can he be Headmaster if the lives of children mean nothing to him?”
“Politics. It all comes back to politics.”
“Fuck politics, James! Politics won’t save Harry from that Dark Wanker!”
“We can’t just go up there and curse Dumbledore! We have to think about this!” Honestly, Sev would have expected the roles to be reversed in this conversation but then maybe it’s a mother thing? The baby factor could and probably should seriously affect the mother.
“The hell I can’t!” Lily turns for the door. “Watch the baby!”
“Lily, please. How are you going to explain how you know without telling Dumbledore that I was the one who told you?” Sev asks tightly. Not that he doesn’t deserve to be outed to Merlin and everyone but surely Lily and James will need him as their ‘pocket Death Eater’ eventually?
“Right!” Sirius says, snapping his fingers at them several times. “We have to keep this a secret from everyone. And it’s not just about Harry, Neville was born the same day! We need Frank and Alice in on this. They deserve to know as much as any of us do.”
“Alice will curse the shite out of him too!” Lily assures the room.
Sev can’t help but stare at Black while James and Lily dig in to the topic of informing their fellow parents of what they know. How odd, he thinks to himself. Black has possession of a brain. Well, one that does something other than pull pranks on occasion.
Sirius catches him looking and raises a single eyebrow questioningly.
Not willing to discuss his thoughts, he thinks about how they are partners in this. Partners in protecting their friends and the child and nods once.
Both of Sirius’s eyebrows go up in surprise and his eyes flick around Sev’s face as if evaluating him before he nods back.
An accord then.