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Secrets in Shadows by Cor_Leonis

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 2,645
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 12+
Warnings: No Warnings

Genres: General
Characters: Lily, Snape, Peter Pettigrew
Pairings:

First Published: 05/24/2005
Last Chapter: 05/24/2005
Last Updated: 04/09/2006

Summary:
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An answer to timeturner's challenge, supporting a favorite ship. This story is a small tribute to Snape and Lily, who are much more than star-crossed lovers. In the depths of the shadows, Severus admits his feelings for Lily.


Chapter 1: Secrets in Shadows
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Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me, nor do I make profit from it. Its sole purpose is for entertainment.

A/N: This fic was posted as an answer to timeturner’s Ultimate Ship Challenge. I love the idea of Snape/Lily, even though we are all well aware that it won’t ever work out.



Secrets in Shadows

You're invisible now, you've got no secrets to conceal. - Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone





He stood in a shadow, engulfing himself in its blackness, becoming a part of it so easily that a passer-by wouldn’t even give him a second glance. His presence only gave the shadow a thicker darkness, making it seem deeper than it really was. Even his robes were stationary, the folds merging into the shadows. If he had to change position for any reason, his movement would be slight and smooth, a trick of the light to an untrained eye.

He loved the dungeons. Their silence echoed throughout the dark, damp corridors as much as the students' excited catcalls and chatter did. He scanned the narrow corridor he was standing in with his dark, haunted eyes, waiting for an interruption; anticipating a familiar face in the gloom. Of course, he knew that he would hear her before he saw her, and was quite sure that his presence would never be accounted for—unless he chose to emerge on his own, like a beam of light in the fog.

A slight draft rushed past him and made the torch at the end of the hall flicker. Snape's nostrils flared as he inhaled deeply, taking in the scents carried on the breeze.

If secrets had a smell, he thought that they would smell like the dungeons. Perhaps that’s why he liked them so much. A whisper of a hidden desire or a secret plot into a cupped ear would escape through the gap in careless fingers, bouncing around the damp stone walls until it wound up caught in a cobweb in a corner somewhere. There the secret would stay, waiting for someone to brush through the web and release it again. There were hundreds of them waiting, always waiting.

Severus Snape was here with his own secrets, only he did not let them out with such careless ease as some of his fellow Hogwarts students did. His secrets did not burn inside of him, nor did they fester or multiply. No, they were cool, quiet, and calculated, not so much a secret, but an admission of a heartfelt belief.

He tucked a lank lock of hair behind his right ear and frowned, cocking his head to the side and listening to the sound of approaching footsteps. His thin frame pressed back into the wall, and the eerie glow of his gaunt face disappeared in the shades of grey. He was as visible as the cool draft sweeping through the hallways. Potter had cloaks; Snape had skill.

“Severus?” a voice called out. A figure approached hesitantly, its footsteps pausing only a few feet away. A pretty girl of seventeen rounded the corner and peered around curiously. Her mouth was in a tight line and her strawberry coloured brows were furrowed pensively. “Severus, are you there?”

Severus stepped forward quickly, his hooked nose parting the shadow. The shadow’s sudden shape shift made her jump back, and she clasped her hand over her mouth.

His thin lips curled up into a smirk.

“I hate it when you do that!” she said suddenly, and the corners of her mouth twitched, torn between a smile and a frown.

The smirk on his face almost turned into a smile. “I thought Gryffindors were supposed to be brave.”

She put her hands on her hips and narrowed her bright green eyes at him. “I thought you promised you wouldn’t do that anymore.”

“It’s hard to resist the temptation, Lily.” Her name flicked off of the tip of his tongue, flying to its own dusty cobweb.

“Well you should try harder next time,” she said flatly. Snape raised his eyebrows at her, challenging her to say something else. Her fiery temper amused him. She must have realized it, because she raised her own brows in return.

Lily rarely backed down from his challenges. “I really should take points for that,” she said with a wicked grin. He hated when Slytherin House lost points, especially because they were so close to evening the odds with Gryffindor. She knew it too, and her cheeks dimpled at the sight of his smirk hardening into a thin line.

“You’d be abusing your privileges.”

“You’d be impressed.”

He gave a quick shrug, which was enough to signify that he didn’t disagree with her.

“I thought Potter might be stalking you out again,” he said finally, tearing his eyes away from her mischievous grin and scanning the corridor behind her. “Imagine his face if he found you meeting Snivellus. You'd be tainted.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Lily replied simply. “He’s at Quidditch practice, anyhow. I’m free for the afternoon.”

He nodded curtly. “Good.” The last thing he needed was the spoiled Gryffindor brute trailing after Lily like she was some sort of hinkypunk.

“So,” Lily asked quietly, stepping forward and pulling him into the shadowed lee he’d been standing in, “What is so important that you insisted upon meeting me here?”

It was the question that he'd been both anticipating and dreading for the better part of the day.

“I heard--” he began, and then paused to compose himself. Thoughts were barrelling through his mind at high speeds, propelled by an intense curiosity. Unfortunately for Snape, they got caught up in the sluggish muddle of words he was trying to express himself with. He hated to come off as anything but eloquent.

“That is,” he started again, taking a deep breath. The space between his eyebrows creased and he let out a low, guttural grunt in self-disgust. “Tell me you’ve not accepted a date with Potter?”

“Ooh,” she whispered quietly, “I might have known.” Sighing, she pulled her mouth to the side and made a face at him. “It’s only a date Severus, not the end of the world.” When he opened his mouth to protest, she shook her head slowly. “He’s really matured over the summer; he’s loads better than he was.”

“Right,” Snape replied. His voice was tight with disgust. Potter certainly thought he was loads better than everyone, and Severus was nothing but sceptical over the Head Boy’s sudden change of heart.

“Just because you both can’t seem to settle your differences doesn’t mean other people won’t be able to,” she pointed out.

It wasn’t that he couldn’t settle his differences with Potter; it was that he refused to do such a thing. He sighed internally, having no desire to explain to her how Potter and his gang had attempted to murder him not so long ago. Dumbledore had forbidden Snape of telling anyone what had passed over that fateful full moon, but Snape wouldn’t have uttered a word of it anyhow. He did not openly admit weakness, especially when wizards like Potter were involved.

Watching as she leaned her head back against the stone wall, he admired the way her dark red hair fell across her cheek. Potter didn’t deserve a girl like Lily. She was much too good for him.

Hell, she was too good for almost anyone. Snape was often surprised at how honest and kind she was. She could see the good in a person that was sometimes indiscernible to his or her own eyes, Snape included. Their friendship was an odd one, but he was grateful for every moment that he could spend with her.

She made him feel like he could be a better person, even among the sharp-edged politics that were slicing through Slytherin House, as well as Ravenclaw's, Gryffindor's, and Hufflepuff's. Her kindness would be wasted on a person like Potter.

“He doesn’t deserve you.”

“I beg your pardon?” Lily’s head snapped forward and she fixed him with a surprised stare. “That’s an odd thing to say.”

“It’s the truth.”

Her surprised look melted away into an inquiring one. “What is this all about, Severus?”

He could have made another honest comment that would have revealed more about himself than he felt comfortable, but instead he shielded himself with another scathing remark.

“Surely you don’t want to become one of the Marauders' cronies?” The word Marauder tasted bitter on his lips; he loathed having to use the absurd name that the four Gryffindor dunderheads had taken to referring to themselves as.

Lily’s brows arched a bit higher, nearly disappearing into her hairline. “You’re not really going to lecture me about my choice of friends?” Her mouth twitched angrily. “Especially after I caught Rosier cornering that poor little Ravenclaw girl after Ancient Runes? I took twenty points away from your friend,” she remarked. “It really should have been more, but I’m absolutely certain he threatened her into admitting that she didn’t mind.”

“I have no control over what Rosier decides to do to satisfy his urges,” Snape replied tiredly. He was much more (or much less, depending on how one looked at it) than a Slytherin crony, and hated being balled into one evil, snobbish, manipulative group. He could see her point, though he refused to admit it. “You know that I make my own decisions. No one controls me.”

“And you think someone can control me?” she asked, the pitch of her voice rising dangerously.

“Yes.”

Lily made an exasperated noise that reminded Snape of an angry cat. She turned swiftly on her heel, robes swirling about her as she made to leave.

“No. Don't go,” he whispered desperately. She paused and looked at him sceptically. “I'm only worried that someone will try to control you one day," he said. "I trust your judgement,” he added lamely. “You know I do.”

“Severus,” she said quietly, eyes searching his in the darkness, “what is this about, then? Really.”

He watched her in silence, hoping that the pounding in his chest wouldn’t echo throughout the dungeons. She looked so beautiful in the shadows, the creamy pale of her face shining under a curtain of rich wavy hair. Merlin, he wanted her. It was unfair that Potter got the spoils once again.

“Have you kissed him?” Though the question tumbled out of his mouth and surprised him, he wasn’t sorry he asked it. The color in his cheekbones faded slightly as he realized the audacity of his question, but the intensity in his eyes only became stronger.

Another moment of silence passed as Lily’s lips parted in surprise. She blinked at him in astonishment.

“I can’t believe you just asked me that,” she said in horrified amazement. “I mean, well, that’s really quite pers—“

“Have you kissed him?” he repeated breathlessly. Now that the question was out there, he couldn’t stand not knowing the answer.

“Severus,” she inhaled sharply, but her countenance softened. “This is really absurd.” Taking a few steps forward she turned her head slightly. “No,” she said firmly, “I have never kissed James. Are you happy now?”

“No.”

She threw her hands up into the air. “Then what can I say that will ease your mi—“

He wasn’t sure, even years later, what possessed him to kiss her at that exact moment. It could have been the defiant gleam in her eye, or his body finally giving way to the longing he’d built up for months. He wasn’t even sure that it wasn’t because he would be able to say he’d done something that Potter hadn’t first. He was only sure that it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, not exactly logical, but certainly right.

Taking care not to bump his nose against hers and make an awkward moment, he pressed his lips into hers, pulling her to him. Surprisingly, she didn’t back away, and instead moved her mouth against his. She tasted sweet and smelled even better, and he felt a warmth from her kiss that spread through his body faster than a burning flame licks up dry wood. That moment in the dungeons seemed to last forever, a secret kiss to be lapped up by the shadows. He enjoyed every last minute of it until Lily pulled away.

Her cheeks were flushed, and she blinked her eyes at him. He stared at her hungrily.

“We shouldn’t have done that,” she said quietly.

“Was it wrong?” He hardened, upset at the sudden change in her disposition. It wasn't the reaction he'd been hoping for, but he wasn't surprised.

“You know it was.”

“Take twenty house points away then,” he said bitterly.

“Stop acting like a such a fool.”

“Was it foolish to kiss you?” His dark eyes bored into hers, and neither he nor she would break eye contact first. She could always read him so well, and he didn’t need to vocalize his affection for her. She knew.

“It’s foolish to think that something might come of this.” Lily gestured uselessly, frowning. “You have too many secrets. I don’t need to become one of them.”

They both were well aware that a relationship between rival houses would be a hard one to keep.

“You already are.”

“Oh, Severus,” Lily spoke softly, biting her lip.

“I don’t feel things like I usually do when you’re around,” he said slowly. “You make me feel like I’m alive.”

“You are alive.”

“I’m living,” he corrected her. “There’s a difference.”

“Well, I can’t be your difference in secret.”

“You mean you can’t be my difference at all.”

She opened her mouth to reply, but the sound of approaching footsteps interrupted her.

“Severus,” she said quietly, glancing towards the origin of the sound, “love should never be a secret.”

His eyes flickered towards the corner, making sure no one was going to appear before he made his final remark. “And some love should never be.”

The footsteps grew louder as the unidentified person neared, and Lily threw him a distressed look before turning to face the approaching person. Snape retreated into the shadows, only proving her final comment even more. There was a lot to risk if a relationship was to be had. He had important decisions in front of him, and Lily’s own background and beliefs could not influence them in any way. He had no wish to entangle her in his own affairs, especially ones concerning the Dark Lord. It was too dangerous.

But his want of a relationship was hard to deny, especially when her kiss still burned on his lips.

“Lily?” a new voice pierced through the silence.

“’Lo, Peter,” Lily replied casually. She gave him a small smile. “Just finishing up my rounds of the dungeons. What are you up to?”

The round-faced boy grinned at her. “I was just coming back from a Potions tutoring session,” he answered eagerly. “Are you going back to the common room? Would you like an escort back to the tower?”

Pressing out her robes with a hand, Lily smiled and nodded. “That would be wonderful.” As she and Peter rounded the corner, she glanced over her shoulder and gave Snape a look that he couldn’t quite decipher. Peter was already chatting away happily, completely ignorant of Snape's presence.

Snape watched them leave from his place in the shadows. The thick silence of the dungeons soon joined him, and he wondered whether he would be able to talk with Lily about his feelings again. He hoped that she wasn’t angry with him.

Their chatter faded away, and Snape slunk out of the black depths, stretching to his full height and heading towards the secret entranceway to the Slytherin Common Room.

As he walked, his slick hair brushed against a cobweb, tearing it away from its home against the stone ceiling.

Another handful of secrets was released.



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