Severus carefully carved out the design on the clay of his new mask. It had been months since he had borrowed Lucius’s and it seemed like he could put off making his own no longer. Lucius would cringe if he realized Severus was making his mask. He really had no other choice; Severus didn’t have the money or the connections to have one created for him.
Putting the finishing touches on the design, Severus held it back for a moment and studied his creation. Creativity had always been a latent quality of Severus’s; he never really had an outlet for it. Now, however, it had twisted the raw lump of clay into a smooth mask with a design of sharp lines and a barred mouth. It was menacing to say the least. That is, it would be menacing if not for the fact it was still bright red clay.
“Bronziar carvesi,” Severus said, tapping the mask. It shimmered into a design of bronze and black metal. Now it was truly a Death Eater mask to match the others. And Severus no longer wanted it.
He had known deep inside for a while now that he wasn’t meant for the Death Eaters. Despite this, there was obviously no backing out. Once a Death Eater, a Death Eater until death. Severus had tried to deny it to himself at first, but he couldn’t any longer. He was a Death Eater.
And now Lily Evans would pay the price for it.
Every time he thought of her, of the prophecy, Severus felt sick to his stomach. He had told his master of the prophecy only a day ago, yet it seemed like ages. In truth, Severus didn’t know why he hadn’t attacked the Potters yet, only that there was something that needed prepared first. It was certain to be any day now.
Severus stood. He needed Lily to step aside and allow her son to be killed, something that he knew she would never do. And how to go about convincing a mother to give up their only child to one of the most evil wizards known to man?
Nevertheless, Severus had to do something. He could sit and wait no longer. Heading for the door, Severus grabbed his cloak off of the hook and slung it across his hack, striding purposefully out into the night. He knew, naturally, where the Potters lived. Even after so much time had passed, Severus made sure to keep tabs on them, just in case.
He apparated there with a crack. The house was not entirely unwelcoming, but bathed in darkness, it would have seemed solemn had it not been for the bright lights dancing in the windows. In the flickering light of a fire, Severus could see Lily’s shadow cast on a far wall. James’s shadow slipped an arm around her waist and Severus turned away.
After composing himself, he walked up to the door with purpose, knocking several times. A baby cried. Severus felt an unexpected pang upon realizing that the baby Harry would soon be dead. And it would be his fault.
The door opened, interrupting Severus’s thoughts. The very sight of James Potter caused Severus’s jaw to harden and his blood to boil.
“Is Lily here?” he asked roughly, knowing full well that she was.
“Snape?” James asked in surprise. “Is that you?”
“Yes,” Severus said, not pushing back his hood. “Is Lily here?” he repeated.
James suddenly became protective. He shifted to block the doorway. “What do you want with her?”
“Severus?” Lily’s bright, familiar voice called. She stepped up next to James. “What are you doing here?”
“Can I speak to you alone?” Severus asked in a low voice.
Lily glanced at James. “I suppose.”
“Lily, are you sure it’s safe?” James hissed.
“I’ll be fine, James,” Lily replied firmly. Grabbing a light jacket, she stepped out onto the doorstep with Severus. Shooting a look at James, Lily closed the door. She crossed her arms and leaned against the doorframe. “What is it, Severus? I thought you were a Death Eater now.”
“I am,” Severus replied without thinking. He didn’t want to admit how much it hurt to hear her call him “Severus” rather than “Sev”. “But I don’t want to be anymore.”
Lily brushed her hair out of her eyes. “So you’ve come to me for what? I can’t help you, Severus. I haven’t been able to for a long time.”
Severus looked at her, pained. “I am not entirely sure why I’ve come. I think I will start with an apology.”
Lily glanced back to the window where James and Harry’s silhouette danced behind the curtain. “It’s a little late for that.”
“If you recall, I tried earlier. You wouldn’t accept it,” Severus noted. “I thought maybe you’ve changed your mind.”
Lily gave a light sigh. “Why now, Severus? You’re already a Death Eater.”
“I don’t have to be.”
She cocked her head. “What do you mean? Everyone knows you’re a Death Eater for life.”
Severus touched her arm in a sort of fevered plea. He tried not to acknowledge that she shied away. “I could change. I could become a double agent or something. Things could be different.”
Lily’s green eyes searched his in the darkness. “And all this hinges on whether or not I forgive you for what you said all those years ago?”
“Yes,” he said. “I’ve been a fool, Lily, waiting this long. Please.”
She studied him for a moment longer. “Take off your hood.”
“Why?” Severus asked. He’d grown rather used to having it up, hiding behind it.
“I want to see if I can still read you like I used to be able to.”
Severus lowered his hood. After a moment, Lily smiled. “You’re being honest aren’t you? This isn’t some kind of Death Eater trick. I can see it in your eyes.”
“I am being completely earnest,” Severus assured her. “Will you forgive me?”
He held his breath as Lily looked him over. “I’ll forgive you, Sev. I’d like to see you change.”
“I will,” Severus promised.
There was a slight silence.
“So does this mean I’ll see you around more?” Lily asked. “You’ve never even met Harry, have you?”
Severus kept his face carefully blank at the mention of the baby boy. “No.”
“Do you want to come in now?” Lily offered, gesturing to the door. “I’ll keep James in line, I promise.”
“I really ought to go,” Severus replied.
Lily nodded. “Alright.”
As Lily began to turn away, Severus caught her by the arm. “Lily, one more thing. Will you promise me that you won’t do anything foolish that might get you killed?”
Her brow furrowed. “Like what?”
“Like sacrificing yourself even though it won’t change anything in the long run,” Severus said. “Or some other futile gesture. I just don’t want to see you hurt for no reason.”
Lily considered him. “I’ll try. Goodnight, Severus. I’m glad we’re talking again,” she told him with a smile. “I told myself I didn’t, but I missed you.”
“I missed you as well,” Severus replied quietly. “Goodnight, Lily.”
My love, he added in his head.
Snape released that memory, pained to know that he had only one left of Lily alive before... He manipulated the Pensieve towards it. The last living memory of the girl he loved- the girl he still loves.