The Invitation (one shot)
Warning: angst ahoy! Lily announces her engagement to James ... and Severus isn't best pleased. Cue tissues.
My first fic in ... oh, centuries. Feedback lives here
* * *
A knock at the door punctuated the silence of Spinner’s End. Severus picked up his wand before crossing the hallway to answer it, suspicious of anyone who chose this hour of night to call. He opened the door a fraction and peered out.
“Lily?” He immediately pulled the door open, casting a sliver of flickering light from the candles across her form. “Come in…” She stepped past him, glancing around nervously. The shelves around the walls were half full, and the room itself had an air of being not quite complete.
“I heard you’d moved back here,” she said.
“Yes,” said Snape. “My father left it to me in his will. He proved more useful in death than he ever did in life.” Lily winced at his macabre choice of phrase.
“Please, sit down,” he said hastily, trying to gloss over it. “Have a drink?”
“No, thank you,” said Lily, accepting the proffered seat but waving a hand at the wine Severus set in front of her. He sat in a chair across the room from her. There was an awkward pause.
“You look well,” said Snape at last.
“Thank you. So do you,” Lily lied. In truth, Severus looked terrible: more gaunt, more lined, more serious than she remembered him. A brief smile flickered across his face at this, but it died out all too soon and he buried his face in his goblet to hide his discomfort. Both of them remembered all too clearly the harsh words spoken at their last meeting.
“How can I help you?” Snape’s words seemed to waken Lily from her reverie.
“Well, I … er … had something to tell you, actually.” Snape leant forwards, placing his goblet back on the table in front of him.
“Yes?” he asked, when she seemed reluctant to disclose more.
“James … James proposed to me.” Lily’s heart sank as she saw Severus’ face tauten further.
“And?” he said curtly.
“I … said yes.” Lily hardly dared to look at Severus in the terrible silence that followed. She had just resolved to leave, having proved beyond a doubt that this visit had been a mistake, when he mumbled a reply.
“We’ve fixed a date,” Lily ploughed on, swallowing her fear. “And … I’d really like you to be there, Severus.” Snape looked straight at her.
“What about…” he trailed off.
“You’re a friend. I care about you, regardless of your choices.” Severus stared at the ceiling for a moment, blinked.
“Does your fiancé know you are visiting your old friend tonight?” he asked, suddenly angry. Lily squirmed under his gaze.
“No,” she said finally, realising that it was pointless to lie.
“I thought not. You are ashamed of me.”
“No! No, it’s not like that at all…” Snape’s fists curled on the arms of his chair.
“You should go home. He will worry about you.”
“James doesn’t run my life, Severus. I choose who I want to see,” snarled Lily, standing up abruptly. She turned to leave, but appeared to remember something.
“Here,” she said, more softly, holding out a gilt edged invitation to him. When he showed no inclination to take it, she placed it on the table. “I’ll … see you around, Severus.” Lily’s voice sounded strained. She walked out of the room.
Severus stared at the invitation. The gold writing was Lily’s. He wanted to run after her; to beg her; to explain; to scream at her to leave and never come back. He hated her; he loved her. This wave of conflicting emotions rendered Severus unable to do anything at all, and he remained sitting long after he heard the front door click shut.
* * *
Severus cast a critical eye over his reflection in the mirror. He had dug out his only set of dress robes for the occasion, feeling that his customary black was not entirely suitable, no matter how neatly it matched his mood. They were slightly dated, and felt uncomfortable in their unfamiliarity, but were otherwise fine. He steeled himself with another glass of wine, and Disapparated for Godric’s Hollow.
He realised his mistake seconds after arriving. From behind a tree across the square from the church, he could see Lupin and Pettigrew at the doors, both managing to look more than usually respectable in ivory dress robes. They were welcoming in the guests, directing them to their seats. As Snape watched, Sirius Black came out of the church and clapped the two on the back. They roared with laughter, clearly sharing a joke. Potter was no doubt somewhere inside the church, waiting anxiously. Snape scowled. He had been foolish to think that he could fit in today, that he would be reminded of anything but the past.
Once again reduced to hiding behind a tree, Severus watched the rest of the guests trickle inside, followed by Lupin and Pettigrew. Moments later, a carriage appeared out of thin air. A man Snape recognised as Lily’s father stepped out, beaming, and opened the door to help down the bride herself.
Lily looked beautiful, radiant. Worst of all, she looked happier than Severus had ever seen her before. He watched as she seemed to glide rather than walk into the church on her father’s arm, heard the music strike up, but no more, as the door shut behind her, blocking her from his view. He stood in the same spot for what seemed an eternity, seeing every aspect of the ceremony in his mind’s eye with painful clarity.
A cheer went up from inside the church, bells began to ring, and Severus knew that he had lost Lily Evans forever.
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Last edited by true_heir_of_slyth; September 11th, 2007 at 9:03 pm. Reason: mysteriously missing letters...
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