Snape stood for a moment amidst the swirl of memories that filled the air. He knew what was coming next. He knew it all too well. The next memory of any importance was the one that had haunted him for years; the one that had literally changed the course of his life. Snape knew he couldn’t bear to watch it again. He had seen it far too many times to be able to stand it one more. Therefore, he let it slide by and instead relived the aftermath of that terrible day.
“Lily, I’m sorry!” Severus said pleadingly, after having cornered her at the edge of the lake.
Lily turned her back. “Save your breath.”
“Lily, I didn’t mean to call you-”
“Mudblood?” she snapped, spinning with a fire in her eyes to match her hair. “You didn’t mean to call me mudblood? Well, if you didn’t mean it, I guess that makes everything okay,” she said in stinging sarcasm.
“I honestly didn’t mean it,” Severus said, very near to begging. “It just slipped out.”
“Slipped out?” Lily echoed. “Nothing can slip out unless you’re trying to keep it in! You’ve been thinking it for a while haven’t you? After you started hanging out with Avery and Bellatrix and them?”
Severus stepped closer and Lily matched with a step back. “Lily, please. They don’t mean anything to me.”
“Yes. Everything,” Severus said earnestly.
Lily looked at him searchingly. “Why don’t I believe that?”
She turned and sprinted up to the castle, leaving Severus stung, hurt and broken. He sank to the ground and put his head in his hands, cursing his very existence. He didn’t mean to say that, he really didn’t. But there was truth in Lily’s words. He had been thinking it. As hard as Severus tried not to, he couldn’t deny that after spending so much time with his new Slytherin friends, he was starting to instinctively categorize all that he came in contact with. Purebloods, half-bloods, mudbloods... Severus cursed. None of it was important. Blood status didn’t matter. But now he had lost Lily because of it.
Severus stood abruptly. He had to make her see that it didn’t matter. He had to, before it was too late. Setting off at a run, he made his way to the castle as dusk fell over the grounds. Severus did not stop for anything until he reached the Gryffindor common room. Deliberately not thinking too hard about it, Severus raised his hand and knocked.
The fat lady gave him an irritated look as the portrait swung open, revealing a short, thin girl with dark hair. “What do you want?” she asked in disgust.
“Is Lily there?” Severus asked.
“She doesn’t want to talk to you,” the girl replied.
“I’ll wait,” Severus replied firmly.
The girl rolled her eyes. “You can sit here all night and she won’t talk to you.”
Severus didn’t reply but figured it was worth a try. He sat on the hard floor, knees pulled up to his chest and waited. It didn’t take long before the portrait hole closed and he was alone. He was so alone.
Snape watched his pitiful self sit there for hours, fidgeting, sleeping, wallowing in pity. He was disgusted that he didn’t have more spine at that age. Then again, he wished that his attempt at winning Lily back had succeeded. If only.
“How long are you going to sit here, dear?” the fat lady asked gently.
“As long as it takes,” Severus muttered.
“You must really like her,” the portrait commented. “Young love, what a shame. It’s a waste of time, in my opinion.”
“Nobody asked you,” Severus snapped.
The fat lady huffed. “Fine then. I hope you sit here all night.”
Severus closed his eyes and ended up doing almost just that.
It was close to one in the morning when the portrait hole opened again. Lily stepped out in a long dressing gown. Her eyes were red and at first, Severus thought she was just tired. It took a minute to realize she had been crying.
“What do you want?” she demanded with a frown.
“To apologize,” Severus said, scrambling to his feet.
“You tried that already.”
“But it didn’t work,” Severus said. He instantly kicked himself, thinking that wasn’t the right thing to say. “Please. Blood status isn’t important to me, really.”
“Sure doesn’t seem like it,” Lily said coldly.
“But I mean it,” Severus said pleadingly.
“You mean it like you meant ‘mudblood’? I don’t know what you mean anymore,” Lily said disparagingly. “Now that you’re not friends with me, a mudblood, you’re on track to become a Death Eater, right?”
Severus didn’t reply for a moment. “We’re not friends then?”
Lily gaped at him. “That’s your response?” She studied his face. “You don’t see anything wrong with being a Death Eater, do you?”
Severus opened his mouth to reply but then snapped it shut, realizing he had nothing to say. It wasn’t so bad, was it? The memory of his first meeting had already mellowed in his mind.
Lily shook her head at him. “I don’t know who you are anymore, Sev. I'm through making excuses when I don't even know who I'm defending. Please, just go.”
“You don’t mean that,” Severus said in horror. How had this gone so wrong? At one time, he would have known exactly what to say to her. He would have been able to guess what she said next. Now, Lily was a mystery and one that was quickly slipping away.
“I don’t?” Lily snapped, face hardening. “How would you know?”
Severus realized his mistake and had no desire to repeat it. He stayed quiet.
“Go, Severus. Have a nice life,” Lily said bitterly.
Severus took one last look at her, tangled red hair, moist green eyes. Then, he walked away. Just like that, the friendship to which he had clung for so many years, the friendship that had gotten him through every hard time, every sorrow, was over. It was with a heavy heart that he returned to his common room. Besides the hurt, there was anger in his heart. Fury, the kind that he could see in the eyes of the other Death Eaters. Severus felt that, now, he could join them with no inhibitions. His conscience was Lily and now she was gone.