?

Log in

 
 
17 October 2012 @ 07:45 pm
Fic: Glitter Disco Hot Mess  
Title: Glitter Disco Hot Mess
Pairing/Characters: Lily Evans, Severus Snape
Rating: PG-13/Light R
Wordcount: ~10,000
Summary: Lily helps Severus celebrate his 16th birthday, but playing by her rules leads to a night of adolescent debauchery.
A/N: I'm not even sure what to say about this one, really. An idea I had just for a laugh turned into a 10,000+ word monster. I've been working on this fic on and off for the past eight months or so, and I finally finished it. If you find the title strange, that's because it is strange, but it makes sense for the most part. Anyway, enjoy ♡

Story includes drinking, smoking, mild drug use, mild violence, some unapologetic wanking, and disco.





. . .



Birthdays have very little rhyme or reason.

Especially now, half-way through his teens, birthdays mean everything and nothing at all. Each year inspires a ridiculous rite of passage, like Mulciber fucking a barmaid the Hogsmeade weekend of his sixteenth last term, or Avery eagerly planning the shipment of an illicit substance from the eastern block for his upcoming April birthday. The only birthday Severus cares about is his seventeenth, when he'll officially be of age, but even that will likely be celebrated with little fanfare.

He hates the contrived shallowness of it all – the dry cake and sentimental cards no one really gives a damn about. Not that he ever got cards from anyone before he met Lily Evans, and the closest he's come to birthday cake was a Cadbury Creme Egg on his tenth.

And unlike his friends’ gifts, which seemed to only get more extravagant and exciting, Severus’ were getting worse with each passing year.

In the Snape household, however, no matter how shit of a gift is given, feeling anything less than immense gratitude is no better than a war crime. It is for this reason that his mother, Eileen, hisses his name when he stares blankly at the lighter his father, Tobias, hands him.

"See? What'd I tell ya?" Tobias grunts, stuffing a fag between his thin, dry lips. Though only reaching his mid-thirties, Tobias has the hardened features of a man twice his age. "Fuckin' ingrate, he is."

Severus peers at his father in disbelief. "It's half empty. It’s—It’s yours. I saw you use it yesterday."

"What were you expecting?" Tobis takes a shallow drag, tapping out ashes into a dirty Man City ashtray. "A fucking…whatsit? Broomstick? Ruddy sports car?"

"You would’ve had to do more than rummage through your pocket for that—"

Tobias sends a sharp smack across the back of Severus' head.

"Bloody smart arse, you are," Tobias mumbles. He stands to turn on the telly before settling back onto the threadbare couch. A cloudy glass full of amber liquid is at arm's reach.

Eileen ties her dark hair into a knot with a rubber band, sparing Severus a vaguely sympathetic glance before lighting a fag of her own and skittering off into the kitchen. Severus continues to sit, clutching the lighter and staring blankly at the awful game show his father is watching on BBC. Just as the kettle whistles and Tobias calls one of the contestants "a right fucking idiot," Severus marches up to his room and slams the door behind him.

He spends the rest of the botched evening lying in bed. By 9:30 he's finished reading ahead in his schoolbooks and has a guilt-ridden wank in a dusty sock he found under his bed.

He's no stranger to a vulgar imagination, and he tries not to think about her, but recently the blurred faces of anonymous parties have morphed. It's her, but it's never all of her. Instead he sees her in lurid flashes of blood red and pale peach. He knows her lips, and eyes, and the way her fingers curl, and the shape of her thighs in the summer when they're bare and sun-dusted. He knows it's her and it's enough. After the deed is done, there's no lusty afterglow, only the ever familiar, creeping sense of horror coursing through his veins like a virus.

He's certain that this isn't the way endorphins are meant to work.

He tries to clear his mind but it's stuck like a stubborn hangnail. As his mood darkens, he stares at the ceiling, frowning, gaunt, and spending far too long pretending that he's a corpse.

A corpse with a socked cock.

Then there's a knock. Three knocks, in a row, full of the purpose his mother lacks and the discretion his father wouldn't bother with.

"Sev? Sev, it’s me. Can I come in?"

The muffled voice sends Severus into panic mode.

"No! Er—" Severus says, cursing under his breath as he yanks the sagging sock off of himself. He hops out of bed so quickly that his head spins as he rearranges his pants and throws on a pair of brown trousers. The cup of room temperature water on his bedside table is swiftly poured onto his hands in a pathetic attempt at hygiene. After finding the least offensive smelling jumper he could find, launching the sullied sock into a steadily growing pile of clothes in the corner, and hitting his arm against his rickety wardrobe, Severus opens the door, red faced and a little sweaty.

It’s strange, seeing Lily standing in his doorway; she hasn’t stepped foot in his home since the summer before third year. She’s beautiful—as usual—wearing her favorite camel brown coat with white fur trim handed down to her by her grandmother. The hem of her blue, flared trousers hover at her ankles, just above the purple platform shoes she fancies. Her pink lips are cracked, chapped from the winter cold; she wets them and grins, looking confident as ever.

"Hiya!"

"How'd you get in?"

Lily's smile falls. "Nice to see you, too."

"You know I don't like you coming 'round," Severus mutters, eyes flitting around the dim, sour smelling corridor for emphasis. "We agreed to meet at the park at half six. I waited there for over an hour—"

"Sev—"

"And—and—some jumped up little shit threw dirt at me," Severus says, feeling his tenor growing more pathetic with each word. "Couldn't have been more than seven for fuck's sake—"

"Look, I couldn't get away, alright?" Lily retorts, looking nervously over her shoulder. She lowers her voice. "I'm sorry! Dad said my room was a tip, had to clean it up. And your mum let me in. She looks a bit under the weather."

"Or your dad still hates me and wanted to keep you from seeing me," Severus says, gracelessly ignoring the mention of his mother. "Not as if your room is ever particularly tidy anyway."

"Everything—everything—is a bloody conspiracy to you, isn't it?" Lily leans against his doorframe, neck craned skywards as if seeking divine guidance. "Besides, he doesn't exactly know that I'm here."

"You snuck out?"

"Tuney is covering for me."

Severus snorts, throwing Lily a look of skepticism from behind his dark curtains of long, oily hair. He looks over his shoulder, making sure that no incriminating items lay out in the open before stepping aside. "And how did she ever agree to that?"

"She owes me," Lily says with a shrug, brushing past Severus with a wicked curl of her lips. Then, she places the back of her hand to her forehead and puts on a posh accent. "Oh, Severus, is our friendship really in such shambles that you don't expect me to wish you happy birthday?"

"I don't know," Severus says, refusing to play along. He presses the door closed behind him, his sallow form striking a stark contrast with the chipped, light green paint of his door. "You tell me."

"Don't be a dick," Lily says, eyeing him with a wary smile. She hands him a rectangular shaped box and helps herself to a seat on his bed. Immediately, she spots an old mason jar standing proudly on his bedside table; a bloated blob is submerged in the chartreuse tinted solution. "What is this?"

"It's a kappa's intestinal tract."

"Don't you know how they get those?"

"Obviously."

"They rip them out while the kappa is still alive!" Lily exclaims. She picks it up and looks at it more closely, nose pressing against the glass, flattening the tip so that she resembles a pig.

"And? It's not dark."

As he sits next to her, the fact that he'd just had a desperate wank on the bed isn't lost upon him. He's not entirely sure if he feels embarrassed about it, vaguely turned on, or concerned that he doesn't feel as embarrassed as he reckons he ought to.

"It's cruel," Lily says, giving the jar a lasting glare before placing it back onto the bedside table. "The way they get them is cruel."

"Doesn't matter now, does it?" Severus says, irritated. "It's dead. And I saved up for it all summer so just shut up about it already..."

He's sure she mutters disgusting, but it's drowned out by the sounds of ripping wrapping paper. It's leftover from the holidays, covered with reindeer and Christmas trees and stars, and wrapped rather poorly. Long stripes of Spellotape cover the underside, masking obvious rips; gift wrapping has never been Lily’s strong suit. He throws the wrappings to the ground, revealing a thick gray book.

"347 Potion Oddities of the Soviet Union," Severus reads. He flips through the pages—crisp, new, clean—and turns to Lily with a rueful smile. "Thanks."

As if she never saw the kappa jar, Lily beams and scoots closer him. He stiffens as her hair rests against his shoulder in a thick wave of auburn. He can smell her; he can't pick out the scent, but it's pleasant and girly and far too distracting. He's not quite sure what the words in the book are anymore.

"I reckoned you'd be keen on it," Lily says knowingly. "Look, there's an entire chapter on freaky potions from villages in Czechoslovakia that are used during pregnancy. And it has a glossary in the back of rare herbs, and you should see some of the ones found only in the highlands of Ukraine. And it explains how best to extract their juices. And—"

"All right, all right, let me read it for myself," Severus says, holding the book out of Lily's reach.

She giggles, like a soft, pleasant hum. The warmth of her breath along his neck twists his stomach into knots.

He's suddenly flooded with a wave of appreciation, a fleeting feeling of contentment like he's taken a vial of Euphoria Elixir. He's usually at her place until her father's heavy sighs and twitching mustache drive him out. The Evans' house is warm and inviting, modest and familiar, smelling of roasts and new nail polish and Petunia’s hair spray. He feels more at home in Lily's horrendously pink bedroom—surrounded by posters of men in tight trousers and torn record sleeves—than his own living room.

So it's an unfamiliar comfort, having her here, not minding his threadbare blankets or his shabby wardrobe and peeling wallpaper. Instead she's busy reading aloud the titles of the second-hand books stacked on his bedside table, offering an occasional tut of disapproval. His lamp highlights the red of her hair with an ethereal sort of glow, and the pleasant lilt of her voice gives him a rush of optimism. It's as if the night is now full of an indiscernible sort of potential.

If there’s a universal script to deal with this wave of emotion, Severus doesn't know his lines. So he improvises, filling the silence with the first thing that comes to mind.

"Mum got me new shoes, and dad gave me a sodding used lighter."

Lily spots the lighter next to the pile of books, picks it up, and starts fiddling with it. She laughs — light, with an edge of pity — and he knows that it's not at his expense.

"Your dad is so strange."

•••

An hour and five card games later, Lily checks her watch.

"Half ten! Time for part two of your birthday!" Lily says, gathering the cards back into the tattered deck.

Severus frowns. "What?"

"Well, as they say, the night is young," Lily explains. "And I'm sure you don't want to play cards all night."

Severus stares at the deck and shrugs. "I don't mind."

"Nonsense. I've got something planned."

Lily hops off the bed and stands before him, and Severus' mind immediately jumps to the most indecent thing he can think of.

"Alright, you know, that place on Norwood Road? The Black Fox? Well, tonight they've got a pops night. Dancing and everything!"

"The Black Fox? You're underage."

"I know, but—"

"I'm underage."

"Yes, I know!" Lily says tersely. "But yesterday I was on the high street at that record shop that you hate, and I ran into this bloke Johnny. I’m sure I’ve mentioned him to you before. His mum and my mum are mates, so I sort of grew up with him around when I was younger, you know? Haven't seen him in ages, but we caught up and he said he could get me in through the back, no problems."

Severus squints. "You expect me to tag along on a date with a stranger as a birthday present."

"It's not a date!" Lily exclaims with a shake of her head. "God, no. I told him that my friend and I would be interested in getting in and he said he'd help us out. He's got a mate who works there."

"You see no ulterior motive here?"

"Sorry?"

"Some arsehole you barely know telling you that he can sneak you into a shit bar doesn't sound the least bit dodgy to you?"

"A bit dodgy, but come on!" Lily says, barely containing her excitement as she shakes Severus by the shoulders. "It’ll be fun! Live a little! I know you don't like to dance but — but — think of all the people there who’ll be making complete arses out of themselves! Should be fun to watch, don't you think?"

Severus purses his lips, scratches the inside of his wrist. "Maybe."

"That's a yes!" Lily squeals, smile wide and raw. "Great, now just change out of your jumper."

Severus casually stretches his arms above his head and manages a quick sniff under the arm of his thin, gray jumper. He smells fine. "What for?"

Lily raises her eyebrows and snickers. "Sev, I hope you weren't trying to be subtle."

"Just tell me," Severus implores, still surveying his jumper for any holes or stains he might not have spotted.

"You'll want something a bit more exciting, that's all," Lily explains, eyes gazing around the tiny room as if it is wall to wall with potential sartorial replacements. "And you'll get too hot wearing that."

"Well, what are you wearing?" Severus asks.

With a flourish, Lily finally removes her coat revealing something new: A gold halter top, its hem resting an inch above her navel. With effort, Severus doesn't let his jaw slacken, but his eyes are wider than galleons.

"Finally! I was sweating bullets!" Lily says, hands on her hips. "So, whatcha think?"

Severus stares at her very bare, lightly freckled shoulder. "No wonder your dad doesn't know you're out. He'd kill you before you got to the front door."

"Be serious," Lily says, absently fluffing her hair.

Severus clears his throat, voice slightly off-key. "Where's the rest of your shirt gone?"

"Alright, alright, it's a bit full on, I know," Lily admits, stretching the hem so that it covers half of her navel. "But I wanted to wear something nice."

"Nice?" He looks at her with what he can only hope is a critical eye, but it's difficult to maintain when his gaze flickers to her very braless chest. "That's not exactly fancy dress."

"It's not meant to be," Lily says, sounding rather stung. There’s an accusation in her eyes, cold and piercing. Severus almost flinches. "You think I look like a tart, don't you?"

"N-No…I mean—Maybe, no," Severus says, bordering on incoherent as Lily's eyebrows rise with every verbal fumble. He sighs, voice strained as he drops eye contact and speaks to her left thigh. "But, you can't expect any blokes to give you any fucking respect dressed like that. Looks like a bloody swimming costume."

"That's unfair!" Lily cries, opening his broken dresser drawer filled with nothing but parchment and a couple of pairs of socks. "You're a bloke, do you respect me less wearing this?"

"Fucking hell, Lily. That's different—would you quit looking through my things?" Severus says, shutting the drawer with a slam.

"Something to hide then?" Lily teases, poking his stomach. "Dirty magazines?"

"No," Severus says, blushing.

Lily crosses her arms and flops onto the bed once more. Her eyes dart from the pile of dirty clothes in the corner, to the wardrobe. "Oh! You've still got the shirt my mum gave you, yeah?"

Severus frowns. "Unfortunately."

"Hey!"

"What? You know I never liked your mum treating me like a fucking charity bin."

"She means well. You know that."

"And you're sure she wasn't having a laugh? Considering how hideous that…that paisley nightmare is."

"You're being dramatic."

Severus opens his creaky wardrobe and pulls out the lone scrap of color from a sparse collection of dull blacks, grays, and dark greens. The shirt in question is, indeed, a paisley and floral combination of yellow, green, pink, blue, and brown. He throws it onto Lily's lap with a scowl.

"Blimey!" Lily laughs, holding up the shirt and bouncing it about like a matador's cape. "I forgot what it looked like, actually."

"What you mean is," Severus starts, snatching the shirt from Lily's hands. "You forgot that a shirt smeared in dog's shit looks better than this."

"It's—"

"Shit."

"Well, yes. But you'll have to make do."

"I'd rather circumcise myself."

"Sev!"

"
Fine! Fucking—fine. I'll wear it."

He turns his back to her and throws off his shirt, slipping on the horrible button-up. He feels his skin heat up, tingling with the telltale symptoms of a very ugly, crimson flush. He can't help but imagine this as a sad scene in a low budget pornographic film.

He tucks his shirt into his trousers and turns to see Lily fixing her makeup in his cracked, full-length mirror. With a heavy sigh, he waits, sits on the edge of his bed and stares at the mirror—well, her reflection in the mirror. Or rather, his eyes fixate on her arse for a moment and then her reflection. Her eyelids— purple and glittering and distracting—are heavy with concentration as she applies lipstick to her burgeoning pout. For such a harmless act, there is something irritatingly vampy about it. Whether or not he'll allow himself to chalk it up to his imagination is moot, especially when Lily stretches her arms towards the ceiling, revealing even more midriff. Hormones easily take over any semblance of intelligence still residing in his brain, because now the only things that register are hips, and arse, and tits, and skin—so much fucking skin.

Everything feels too intimate. The room is suddenly too small, she is suddenly too close, and he is suddenly regretting the unforgiving nature of his trousers. He sits on his bed and crosses his legs, angling himself away from her, but his eyes are still trained on her's through the mirror.

"—You know what I mean?"

Severus blinks. "Sorry?"

"I said that what I wear shouldn't mask what's really important: My brain!" Lily closes the lipstick tube with a sharp click. "If they think I look like a tart, then so be it. But I refuse to be treated poorly for my choice of wardrobe by sexist arseholes."

Severus rolls his eyes. Instead of arguing with what he only sees as feminist nonsense, Severus nods.

"Right" Lily claps, grabbing her coat and practically skipping to the door. She looks over her bare shoulder, beckoning him with a smile and an excited glint in her bright green eyes. "Off we go then!"

He follows her out of the room, imagining he's meant to feel an excitement in the air, the same hopeful little sentiment he felt earlier. But Lily's joy can't quell the dread building at the pit of his stomach.

•••


It’s not cold as an ordinary January evening in Cokeworth, but the chill is enough for Severus to stuff his left hand in his pocket and nurse a limp fag in his right. They walk through his shit neighborhood into the slightly less shit one, and then the reasonably nice ones like Lily's. The steady, winding, uphill march is riddled with O.W.L. nerves and idle gossip—adolescent nothings—until they reach the high street. Along the way the mill's chimney looms over them, casting shadows over their frigid frames like a phantom. Its decrepit remains are an unpleasant reminder: He can’t escape where he’s from, really. He’ll always be from this gray, Muggle milling town, northern burr and northern bones.

"—And dad’s mate from work gives me the creeps," Lily says, her platforms clomping along the pavement so loudly that Severus hardly understands her. "Honestly, he invited himself over for roast last Sunday. I reckon he's in the National Front. He’s got that look about him, you know? A bit of a crazy eye. He kept going on about how much he hates Pakistanis. He’s terrible, just awful."

"Doesn't mean he's in the National Front," Severus says impatiently, slump shouldered and lighting another fag with his new lighter. Half empty as it was, it worked. "Immigrants are all Dad ever whinges about since the factory closed."

"Yeah, well, either way he’s an arsehole. I told him that he was talking rubbish and he looked at me like he was about to have a bloody stroke," Lily says, sounding rather proud of herself. "Then he told me to watch my lip. Dad snapped at me right there at the table, it was so embarrassing. And Tuney gave me the most awful smile. It wasn’t funny!"

Severus snorts. He's neither sure what Lily expected nor is he entirely sympathetic. But he’s been on the opposite end of Lily’s bursts of righteous indignation about everything, from women’s rights to Muggle-born rights and everything in-between. It never ends well.

He feels Lily's gaze resting on him in the corner of his eye, waiting for any flicker of acknowledgement. He takes a drag.

"Your sister’s a cunt."

"That’s out of order!"

"It's true."

"I don't care! It's an awful thing to call her."

"Funny. I don’t hear you denying it."

Lily bites her bottom lip, suddenly very interested in the clasp of her green, leather purse.

A few minutes later they make their way off the high street and down Norwood Road. The line outside is full of brightly dressed young men and women smoking and rummaging for cash and identification. Two scantily clad girls at the back of the queue make a fuss over the wait, shivering and loudly reminding the men at the door that it is "colder than the Queen's cunt."

Severus’ heart leaps when Lily tugs on his shirt-sleeve and nods towards a narrow alley. Old rubbish crunches under their shoes, fish and chip wrappings and broken glass, as they round the corner and spot a tall man leaning against the back door entrance of the venue. As they move closer, Severus notices the man’s narrow trousers, worn boots, and tattered blazer with a number of colorful pins and patches. But it isn’t until the hazy, yellowed lights mounted on the back of the building flicker on that he's able to take in more of the stranger's features.

He doesn’t look much older than Severus or Lily, but he has a distinct air of coolness and maturity, holding himself up with a straight-backed confidence that Severus’ severely lacks.

"Ay-up!" the man calls, taking a pull from his can of beer. He watches Lily with a crooked smile and heavily lidded eyes. Light stubble peppers his jaw in patches, scattering around his pointed chin and under his pointed nose, and a strand of his dark blonde hair falls across his eyes, making him look even more elegantly disheveled. "Started to think you wouldn't show."

"Told you we’d be here, didn't I!" Lily crows, smile broad as she nearly drags Severus alongside her. "This is my friend Severus. Sev, Johnny. Johnny, Severus."

Johnny nods. "Alright?"

It's polite enough, but a layer of indifference lies in Johnny's sideways glance.

"Yeah," Severus replies, flicking his waning fag to the ground. He's certain Johnny would have done the same in a far cooler way. He's also certain he must be mad for even worrying about something so stupid.

"It's Sev's birthday today!" Lily chirps, giving Severus’s forearm a gentle squeeze. Severus puts on a cursory smile, but it looks more like a grimace.

"Ah, cheers, mate," Johnny says. "How old, then?"

"Sixteen," Severus says.

"Just turned eighteen myself," Johnny says, and then redirects his attention to Lily, releasing a low whistle as he takes in Lily’s visible midriff. "Fuck's sake, you look like a proper disco lass."

Lily giggles, reminding Severus of the blushing, lovesick girls of Hogwarts' corridors; he feels a bit sick.

"It's a bit full on but…" Lily adds, voice trailing with uncharacteristic uncertainty.

"I reckon you could have gotten in through the front," Johnny says. "You don't look sixteen. You look older, you know?"

Severus wrinkles his nose. "Fifteen."

Johnny furrows his brows. "Sorry?"

"You meant to say fifteen," Severus says sourly. "She’s fifteen."

"Until the 30th!" Lily says, throwing Severus a pointed look. "Nearly sixteen."

"All the fucking same," Johnny says, seemingly uninterested in three week age differences. He pulls a slender stick from behind his left ear. "Fancy a spliff before going into that hellhole?"

"What's wrong with it?" Severus demands, eyeing the brick building as if it insulted him.

"Fuck all," Johnny says, voice suddenly lofty. "That is, if you like the mindless drivel of disco and all that rubbish."

"Not another music rant," Lily groans, tearing her eyes away from Johnny's fingers, which have been deftly twirling the spliff. "They can't always have the gigs you fancy, you know."

"That's not the point," Johnny says with a wry, condescending smile. "It's contrived – there's real music out there, and you know it. There's a scene right here in Manchester, but most of the daft cunts coming in tonight wouldn't bother, even when it's right under their fucking noses. Some mates and I started a band, you know. You should try to come to a few gigs when you're in town."

"Sure, yeah, when I'm in town. Lovely."

Aside from the invitation, Severus has no idea what Johnny is going on about. Apparently he's made his confusion incredibly clear, because when he catches Lily's eye, she's biting her lip to keep from laughing. There is only one thing absolutely clear to Severus: He hates Johnny.

After Johnny tells them how they're getting into the Black Fox (the backdoor is propped open with a bit of wood, a staircase inside will lead them to a hallway, and the first door leading to a coat alcove adjacent to the dance floor bar) he sits against the brick wall. Johnny takes out a fold of matches and strikes one, lighting the end of the spliff. The thin paper glows, and he quickly blows on the embers before his steady inhale. It becomes a performance: Johnny holds his head back--pale neck covered in light freckles and cuts from shaving--and slowly exhales, relishing the moment with a satisfied smile. He passes it to Lily, who glances at Severus before placing the spliff between her lips.

Admittedly, Severus is watching her with some interest. He knows she's never smoked anything stronger than his shitty fags, and while they've both been in the company of drugs, neither have partaken until tonight. Severus never imagined that his first time would take place in a dodgy alley with a random Muggle who's wearing a pin of the Queen's face with a red X across it. But any and all brooding over poor decision-making becomes meaningless as he watches Lily's lips part.

Lily inhales — a little too deeply, a little too sharply — and immediately coughs. Johnny laughs. Despite reddened cheeks, Lily manages a sheepish smile and a hastily added “bollocks.

She gives it another go, properly this time, and manages to exhale in a steady stream of smoke. It's the way she normally does it when she nicks his fags, slow and demure like an actress in a black and white film. There's always something alluring about it, even under the dull, yellow lighting throwing her partially in shadow; there’s always something about it that makes him feel a little dazed and a little in love.

She gives Severus a playful, goading look as she passes the spliff to him. He stares at it for a few seconds, waiting, feeling both sets of eyes on him before he reaches to take it. Lily's lipstick, bold and bright as ever, graces the end of it as often happens when they share fags. It's the familiarity in the unfamiliar that encourages him. His drag is long, and he holds the smoke in his hollow cheeks for several seconds before exhaling very slowly. A small ball of smoke swirls and twists, suspended in the air for a moment before Severus quickly sucks it back into his mouth. He pauses for effect before exhaling as he normally would.

Lily watches the trick with wonder and then prods his side. "You show off! How'd you learn that?"

"It's a piece of piss," Severus shrugs, but he hardly feels as modest as he sounds.

"Well, you’ve got teach me how to do it."

Severus isn't sure if it's the smoke already going to his head, or Lily's warm breath on his skin, or the flicker of jealousy in Johnny's eyes as he passes the spliff back to him, but the rush of optimism has returned.

•••

"Tragic."

"I know."

"How'd she managed to get her hair caught in his braces?”

"I think I can see that bloke's bollocks through his trousers. See him? The one in white, with the acne."

"For fuck's sake, I don't want to see him. Why are you even looking there?"

"You're the one who spotted the woman whose tits were about to fall out of her top."

"It was in my line of vision."

"Sure."

The Black Fox is packed to the brim with young people and polyester, milling about with their drinks or showing off like top prats on the dance floor. It's as if everyone from Cokeworth, ages seventeen to twenty-five, is there – Severus even recognizes a few of them. It's too loud, and too many bright lights are flashing around him for his liking, but he is enjoying what he is considering a misanthropic venture.

"She looks like Eloise Logan," Severus says, pointing to a girl with long, black hair who, aside her very see-through white jumpsuit, closely resembles a stuck-up Hufflepuff in their year. "Frightening face and all."

Lily isn't very good at looking affronted after a spliff and a drink. She tries to hold her mouth in a thin, firm line, but her wobbling lips betray her and she starts to laugh. It’s not like it was in the alley, coy with thick, fluttering lashes. It’s back to normal, bold and unforgiving, and it lights up her entire face. "That's horrible. You're terrible."

Encouraged by Lily's laughter, Severus is poised to make another insulting observation until he notices her attention drawn to something behind him. Severus looks over his shoulder and spots Johnny chatting with a group of men Severus can only assume are his mates.

Severus sniffs and returns to his drink. "He's a prick."

"He's—"

"A prick."

Lily smiles into her pint, letting it hover at her lips. "I was going to say he's a pretentious twat. But if you prefer prick..."

Severus's eyebrows rise mid-drink. He sets down his glass, wipes his mouth with his shirtsleeve, and takes a slow drag of his fag. "That works. Pretentious twat definitely works."

He peers into his pint, noticing it's nearly empty. It's a terrible lager, reminding him of sweetened sweat, but he drinks it anyway, not minding the taste as much as he reckons he should. He's unsure if he's impressed or distressed by how quickly he's downed it. He's reminded of the beginning of fourth year, passing Mulciber's expensive Russian vodka around the dorm room, pretending to be men with their peach fuzz and new voices; he barely winced at the acrid taste. He was last to get pissed then, and if Lily's reddening cheeks are any indication, he may be the last to get pissed now.

"But he's alright," Lily says, pulling Severus out of his thoughts just as his mind threatens to dwell on his father. She nicks his fag, takes a drag, and taps the ashes into the ashtray. "It's nothing, really. He's cute, I suppose. His politics don’t bother. And a laugh. And, in case you haven't noticed, you're a pretentious twat and I still like you."

Severus feels his skin grow warmer. He reclaims his fag. "About things that are important. Not what records you've got. Why's he so interested in you anyway?"

"Oh, I don't know, Sev," Lily says, swatting her hand in the air as if his questions are fruit flies.

"Do you fancy him?" Severus takes one last drag before stubbing out the fag. He focuses on the ashtray, not daring to look at her.

"I don't know him that well," Lily says. He can hear her growing impatient. "But even if I did, nothing would come of it. We're going back to Hogwarts."

"Good."

"Is it now?"

"I didn't mean it like that."

But Lily hardly hears Severus's reply.

"Oh!" Lily yelps, setting down her drink so roughly that it sloshes dangerously in the glass. She stands up and tugs on Severus's hand. "Oh, I love this song."

"Okay," Severus says, trying to tug his hand back.

"Come on, Sev," Lily pouts. "Just one dance, one stupid dance. I really love this song, we should dance."

"No."

"Just give it a try, just once, please?"

Lily's grip is tightening, and her smile is growing wider by the second. It’s only when she bites her lip that his surly resolve weakens.

"Fine. This is so stupid. This is st—"

Lily doesn't let him finish his sentence, immediately dragging him to a less crowded edge of the dance floor. He feels awkward, maneuvering his way through clouds of aftershave, tight trousers, and spilled drinks turning sticky as more feet tread over its sweetness. He doesn't recognize the song, but it's fast and loud and Lily and everyone else around them are dancing to it. Severus, however, stands stiffly in front of Lily, his face revealing a sort of discontent that resembles fear more than disdain.

"You really need to learn to loosen up, Sev!" Lily shouts over the music. She takes Severus by the hand, extending his arm enough to twirl prettily underneath it. When she let's go, it flops lifelessly back to his side, as if bound to his hip with elastic bands. "You look properly petrified! Just move your legs a bit!"

He's not sure what the fuck he's doing, but the little movement he manages is robotic, the look complete with alarmed eyes and downcast lips.

"I look like a twat!"

"Don't worry about it!" Lily says. She continues to dance in front of him, singing along to the song. In the haze of lights and smoke and Severus sees a man moving his arms like a jogger. It's less embarrassing than his stiff leg jig, so he does it to Lily's amused approval. "See, that's it!"

Lily says something else and, though he doesn't understand what she's saying, he reads her steady smile as encouragement. She twists, her hair bouncing along, as if dancing is the most natural thing in the entire world when it is absolutely not. She's laughing, and his lips are twitching as he realizes that she looks ridiculous in her own way.

He teeters a bit, shifting his weigh from one foot to another, and keeps moving his arms, faster now. Just as Lily leans towards him, on the verge of speech, Severus' fist thrusts into Lily's left breast.

"Ouch!" Lily shrieks, automatically moving her hand to cup herself.

Severus is frozen and his eyes steadily widen with growing mortification. He runs a hand through his hair, gathering it in clumps. His eyes dart around the room, away from the dance floor, and land on a sign that reads "Toilets."

"I—Sorry. I need a piss."

He pushes his way through the gyrating bodies, past the bar and seedy love seats, and makes his way to the men’s loo. He'd give anything to drop dead.

--

The toilets smell of artificial lemon, as if the fresh scent alone sanitizes the graffiti scattered along the walls, stalls, and urinals.

It doesn't, and there’s nothing quite like taking a piss at the urinal with a drawing of a pair of hairy bollocks with a smiley face at eye level. With a sneer, Severus zips his trousers back up and pounds the soap dispenser, producing more of a soap bubble than anything else.

He looks at his reflection in the water stained mirror: limp hair falls in front of his face, sweat gathering around his large nose. His skin slightly red and gleaming from the heat of the dance floor, and there are two zits lurking on his chin. It's these rare moments of vanity when he's uncomfortably aware of how strange he and Lily must look together. She's gorgeous with and without makeup, with and without breakouts, with and without her stupid, bi-weekly eyebrow plucking.

Even when she over-plucked her right eyebrow last spring, she was still the prettiest in their year.

Meanwhile, Severus hardly remembers the last time he properly washed his face, let alone noticed his eyebrows.

He looks at his eyebrows, then, and decides they're fine.

Aside from looks she has a personality that draws people to her. (Too easily, in Severus opinion.) Yet, despite her popularity, and despite their constant rows, he's the one with Lily Evans on a Saturday night. Him. Not Potter, not any of her other Hogwarts admirers, and not Johnny because Severus has decided that he doesn't count. Him.

And he had to be the one to punch her in the tit.

The embarrassment doesn't wane. As much as he tells himself that it was just a tit, it was just an accident, he replays the scene over and over again in his head, each time with an acute sense of dread. When exactly did this evening decide to become a shit Benny Hill rerun?

He has turned off the tap and watched the water swirl down the drain as if deeply considering following suit, when one of the stalls slams open. Severus jumps, but his alarm quickly turns into irritation as Johnny slinks out of the stall, sniffing and pressing his left nostril firmly. He seems to make an even bigger show of it once he spots Severus at the sink.

"Alright?" Johnny says.

"S’whatever," Severus mutters, wiping his wet hands on the front of his trousers.

Johnny tucks something into his blazer pocket. "Where’s Lily, then?"

Severus blinks. "I don’t normally invite her to watch me piss."

He wishes Johnny would leave and let him think about eyebrows and escape-by-drain in peace, but Johnny scoffs and lights a fag instead.

"You're not out there enjoying that rubbish they call music? Threw in a bit of Queen and a bit of Bowie but, fuck me, it's still bollocks."

Severus says nothing.

"But let me guess. You fancy Black Sabbath or summat."

"I don't listen to music."

Johnny stares at Severus for a moment before laughing, far too loudly for such a small space. He leans against the sink, eyes wide, bulging, inquiring. "You taking the mickey?"

"No."

"Well, why the fuck not?"

"Got better things to do with my time."

"So what do you spend your precious time doing?" Johnny asks, sneering.

Potions. Wanking. Reading. Creating spells. Writing four foot long essays. Wanking.

"Right," Johnny says with an oily smile. "Fuck's sake."

Severus clenches his fists and heads for the door, willing himself not to say a word. But Johnny stops him.

"Oy, slow down. Got a question for you," Johnny says, fag bouncing between his lips. His movements are jerkier, certainly not as smooth as he was in the alley; his eyes are a little glassy as well. "You and Lily, just mates, yeah?"

Severus's stomach lurches. "What’s it matter to you?"

"Don't piss yourself, only curious. She's a fucking beaut."

"It's a stupid question. She's leaving on Sunday. We're leaving on Sunday, for school."

"Two people can do a lot in twenty-four hours."

Severus narrows his eyes. "She's not a slag."

Johnny doesn't respond immediately, languishing over his fag. His words come out in puffs of smoke: "Never said she was."

With that Johnny throws Severus the same nasty smile and side steps him out of the loo, leaving behind a sudden blare of music as the door opens and shuts behind him.

Severus kicks the bin.

•••

After a couple stumbles in mid-snog, heading for a stall, Severus retreats from the toilets. It doesn't take long to find Lily sitting by the bar. With a wave of relief, he sees that she's alone. She welcomes him with an easy smile as he takes a seat next to her.

"I'm sorry, it was an accident and I—"

"Relax, I know you didn't do it on purpose," Lily says. "D'you want another pint? My treat."

"I'll pay for it."

"But it's your birthday."

"I can pay for it myself, you know," Severus says, thrusting his hands into his trouser pockets. "I do have some money, Lily."

Mollified, Lily stows away her coin purse. "I'm not trying to embarrass you."

Guilt washes over him again, but he heads to the bar, worried that he’ll cock something else up. It's not long before he realizes he only has enough money for one pint. With a heavy sense of shame, he trudges back to the table with the single drink and hopes none of it spills over. Mere feet away from the table, he takes his eyes off of the drink for a moment and spots Johnny chatting Lily up.

Lily raises her brows when Severus places the lone pint in front of her. "Oh, you didn't want one?"

"I…" Severus hesitates, noticing Johnny's pointed sneer; he matches it. "I figured we could share it."

"Ah, cheers!" Lily says, taking a sip.

"Well, come on, Lily," Johnny says, continuing their conversation as if Severus never showed up.

"Are you sure you're feeling alright?" Lily asks, amused by his eagerness. "I thought you were against all this." She gestures toward the dance floor. "The music of daft cunts, right?"

"You look bored. Put out, properly put out," Johnny says. Severus' resentment rises. "I’ll dance with you. I'll get them to play something you fancy."

Lily considers this, frowning for a moment before turning to Severus. "D'you mind?"

"Why should I?" Severus asks, sounding the opposite of unfazed.

"Oh, okay, be back in just a bit," Lily says, still looking at Severus uncertainly as Johnny takes her hand.

Severus takes a gulp of the pint, thoughts as grim as ever. Not two hours ago they were messing about with his old deck of self-shuffling playing cards. Now he's watching Lily throw her head back and laugh at Johnny's over the top dancing. It's a mockery, blatant subversion, and she seems to be falling for it, becoming putty in his stupid, scummy hands.

Severus is already halfway through the pint before the song is over. Lily rushes in his direction, motioning him to join her on the dance floor as the next song starts, but Severus shakes his head no, holding up their pint as a sorry excuse. He's surprised Lily even trusts him to stand near her after the earlier incident, let alone is encouraging him to try his hand at dancing again.

Another song down, Severus barely manages to keep an eye on the two as the crowd obscures them with their flowing dresses and wide leg trousers. His misery is almost overshadowed by irritation as a group of three young women begin to lurk by his table. They chat away, glancing at him every few seconds, obviously wishing he'd clear out so they can sit. He manages to ignore their cold looks of longing until one of them taps his shoulder.

"’Scuse me, sorry, my mates and I were wondering if you could, you know, maybe—"

With a grunt of “fuck’s sake,” Severus shoots up out of his seat and storms off, hearing them giggle in his wake, and relocates against a wall with the other wall flowers so he can nurse his pint and spy uninterrupted. To his right, a slight young man nods his head in tune with the music; at his left two young women—one with an overlong fringe, the other, a massive afro—watch the dancers with longing. It's not long before he realizes that his relocation grants him a better view of Lily than his spot by the bar did. He feels like a bit of a stalker, lurking in the shadows and watching Lily sourly over his glass. He tells himself it is for the greater good.

Yet another song ends, and Lily finally pulls away from Johnny, movements heavy, laden with finality. Johnny is talking fast and tugs on her waist, bringing her flush against him with his mouth against her ear; they're hardly moving anymore. Suddenly, Johnny starts to toy with the knot of Lily's top. Lily stiffens and pries his hands away with a slight push.

Any sense of propriety he has is out the window as Severus pushes through the crowd. He feels lightheaded, the rainbow strobe lights assaulting his eyes with each unapologetic tread over dancing shoes. He's unsure of exactly what he plans to say or do in this moment of lager inspired bravery, but it's immediately apparent that whatever short lived fantasy was brewing in his mind is unnecessary: just as Johnny tries to slide his hands up the front of Lily's top, she strikes him soundly across the cheek.

"What the fuck was that for?" Johnny snarls, gingerly touching the already reddening skin. "Thought we were getting on."

"Sev!" Lily says, relief flashing across her eyes as Severus appears at her side. She tugs on his shirt sleeve. "Let's get out of here."

Severus nods, head swimming. "I told you he was a—"

Johnny catches Lily's wrist. "You're a tease, you know that?"

"And you're a fucking pig!" Lily retorts, snatching her hand back, drawing the attention of a small crowd. "How dare you!"

Pleased by the sudden turn of events, a smirk sits comfortably along Severus' lips.

"The fuck are you smiling at?" Johnny barks.

"At you making a twat out of yourself, apparently," Severus says.

"Fuck off," Johnny spits. His lads trickle to his side, one by one. "You can have her. But best watch yourself. She'll stick her tits in your face and get mardy when you cop a feel."

There’s a hot flash of anger, a trigger that snaps, piercing any reason left in him. He’s detached from his body, his tongue…

"Your mum gets fucking mardy—"

He feels the pain instantly, blossoming in his left nostril. Blood oozes from his nose, dripping in ungraceful streams down his lips and onto that hideous shirt. It's not until Johnny shoves him to the ground and punches his eye that Severus retaliates, arms and legs flailing in all directions. The noise around them increases tenfold. He can hear Lily's voice above them all, screaming at Johnny to stop. Seconds later Johnny is pulled off of him and he can feel Lily’s hands steadying him into a standing position. He’s not sure if the onlookers are cheering and egging them on or if they're horrified. Nevertheless, everyone is suddenly pushing and prodding, and somebody has spilled beer on the back of his shirt.

As Johnny's mates hold him back, Lily takes advantage of his restraints and knees Johnny in the groin. There's a flurry of laughter and catcalls – some people even begin to clap. Johnny thrashes wildly and loses his balance, crashing into a man behind him, causing him to spill beer all over his powder blue sports jacket. Severus barely manages to wipe the blood from his nose before the crowd surges again. In an instant there are two, then three sides of the fight; Johnny's mates against powder blue’s, and the idiots trying to get in on the action.

Lily yelps as a burly man is shoved into her, and she reaches out to grab Snape’s bloody hand.

"Come on!"

She yanks him through the crowd, dodging beer bottles and nearly slipping on a spilled gin and tonic. They rush to the coat alcove, and Lily wrenches her coat off the wrack before joining Severus in the cold, damp corridor. They're immediately shielded from the commotion, the feral screams and broken glass.

By the time they reach the bottom of the stairs, the adrenaline rush ends as soon as it begins, settling unpleasantly in Severus's stomach.

"Sev, are you okay?" Lily asks, voice tinged with alarm.

Severus holds himself up with one hand against the railing, panting, before doubling over and puking.

•••

Snape tucks his foot underneath his arse and lights a fag, the sweat on his back meeting the cold, brick wall behind him with a sharp chill. He's holding his nose with a bit of tissue from Lily’s purse.

"It's soaked through," Lily says, removing the bloodied tissue from Severus's hand and disposing of it on the gravel next to her. She rummages through her purse and unwraps what looks to be a sweet for a moment. "Can't find more tissue but this should do the trick. Hold still."

Severus quickly realizes that it's not a sweet.

"Is— is that a—" Severus exclaims, moving his head out of Lily's reach.

"Yes, it's a tampon — stop squirming! Hold your head back," Lily says, grabbing hold of Severus's chin. In an instant, Lily forces the tampon up his left nostril.

"For fuck's sake," Severus mutters, taking another drag. He’s sure he looks quite the picture, his surly gaze fixated in front of him, half a tampon protruding from his nostril, the string limply hanging in front of the fag that dangles from his lips. "No one must ever know about this."

A minute of heavy silence passes until he feels Lily shaking next to him. He turns to her and sees her squeeze her lips together. She’s trying to suppress giggles.

"What’s so fucking funny, then?"

"Sorry!" Lily manages, looking somewhat guilty as tremors continue to wrack her body. "It’s just— tonight. It was all silly, wasn't it? I can't believe it."

"Silly?" Severus repeats. "That’s all you can say about it? Silly? It was a fucking disaster. I knew we never should have gone. I knew it."

"I'm not exactly laughing my arse off at nearly having my top taken off or you getting punched!" Lily says, defending herself very quickly. "It was just so absurd— like something you'd see in a film. I never thought I'd slap someone or see you with a tampon sticking out of your nose."

"If you don’t see me laughing, it’s not because I’m some— some miserable cunt who doesn’t know how to have a laugh," Severus says. "It’s because there is nothing to laugh about!"

Lily says nothing, folding her coat with downcast eyes.

"I can’t wait to go back to Hogwarts," Severus mutters, taking a shallow drag. "Can’t stand the Muggles in this shit town."

"Hey!" Lily says, eyes narrowing. "Don’t have a go at Muggles over this."

"I can have a go at whoever I want! And none of this would have happened if it weren't for that Johnny bloke fancying you."

"I hate it when you do this! Johnny turned out to be an arsehole, but you hated him the moment I brought him up. Don't think I haven't noticed: you hate anyone who shows even a bit of interest in me!"

"That's because I know how they are," says Severus, very matter-of-factly.

In the low light he can see Lily's skin reddening.

"You hardly know any of them at all! But that doesn't stop you from insulting them or hexing them—don't look at me like that, I know what you did to Ian Hemmings on the last day of term. Mary saw you do it!"

"You're better off," Severus says, as if it is the most obvious thing in the world. "He's a fucking idiot. I'll be surprised if he passes a single O.W.L."

"So?" Lily exclaims. "Is it the end of the world, really? A nice bloke wanting to get to know me? Well, I could have managed just fine in the Black Fox without your so-called help, you know. So I reckon I can handle a Ravenclaw."

Severus snorts. "Doubt that. If I wasn't watching—"

"Says the bloke with a bloody nose and swollen eye," Lily says coolly.

"Oh, come off it!" Severus shouts, visibly startling Lily. "You know what you look like. They don't know you and they don't want to know you. Do you think these blokes are being friendly because they're nice people?"

"You think you've got the whole world figured out, don't you?" Lily cries, clutching her coat so tightly in her fists that her knuckles turn white. He's never seen her so livid. "Fucking everything. If— If it's not about some bloke, then it's about the war, or—"

"Yeah, I do, because I'm not walking around with my head in the fucking clouds!" Severus retorts. "All the Johnnys and the Ians of the world— They'd sooner you didn't talk at all if that meant that you'd get on your knees faster. Just because you've read a few of your stupid women power hairy armpit bullshit books doesn't mean that you— Where are you going?"

Lily has stood up and is shrugging on her coat, refusing to look at Severus.

"Home!"

Severus scrambles off the wall a touch too quickly, and a wave of dizziness hits him. "I'm walking you."

"Sod off. Don't bother," Lily snaps, making her way out of the alley and onto Norwood Road.

"Stop being stupid," Severus says, following her.

"Stop calling me that!"

"When have I—"

"You've been treating me like I'm stupid for the past five minutes! Like I'm some stupid little girl!"

"I'm walking you."

They walk in silence as Lily's eyes overflow with tears. The awkwardness of the situation doesn't subside, especially when Lily rubs her eye with her coat sleeve. He steals glances, and in the dull street lights he notices her dripping eye makeup and reddened nose.

Girls crying is bad enough, but Lily crying is the worst, especially when he's responsible. Misery claws at him with each step, each muted sniffle feels like a punch in his very empty gut.

Severus slows down when he notices Lily walking slightly off course, towards their old haunt: the park. It's not until she reaches the swings that he hesitates.

"What are you doing?"

Lily sits on a swing with a sigh and removes her shoes. "They're killing my feet."

Severus sits on the swing next to her. The seat is much smaller now, and his long legs stretch comically underneath him. He rests his throbbing eye on the cold chain of the swing and pulls out two more fags. He quickly lights his and takes a drag and nudges her, other fag in hand, as she flexes her toes. She looks at the fag for a moment, and then at him, and then back at the fag again before accepting it. He hands her the lighter and after a few fumbles the fag is lit.

It's a stupid peace treaty, Severus realizes. But they both take drags, and the silence morphs from one of tension to a reluctant truce.

"My mouth tastes like an ashtray," Lily says, tapping the ashes out.

"I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault, I shouldn't have more than two fags in one night, honestly."

"No, not that," Severus winces. "For, er, for making you cry?"

Lily half-smiles. "You're a bit rubbish at apologies."

"Never said I was any good," Severus says, looking at her very intently. "I mean it. I just don't want you to be taken advantage of."

"I'm a big girl," Lily says, a little breathlessly, holding her eye contact with him. "I can handle myself when it comes to matters of the heart."

Severus doesn't feel the least bit of comfort, but he doesn't want to argue anymore. He fully intends on making sure he knows as much about Lily's love life next term as he did in the last, he'll just have to go careful.

"Look, I’m sorry as well," Lily says. "I didn't mean— you getting hurt isn't a laugh. I didn't mean it like that." She gently touches Severus' nose with her fag free fingers, a knot of worry developing between her brows. It hurts, but his stomach squirms pleasantly. Her fingers smell like a brawl – cheap lager, smoke, dried blood – but they’re feel soft and feathery as they trail along his skin. "And your poor nose. D’you reckon it’s broken?"

"Don’t think so," Severus says, slightly dazed and trying not to let his eyes flutter close under her touch. He flares his nostrils and cringes. It certainly feels bigger. "Could always get it fixed at school if it is."

"I know this wasn’t your idea of a good birthday," Lily says, pulling her hand back, sounding ashamed. "I just thought doing something different might do you some good. Honestly, I reckoned I could get you pissed enough to actually not give a damn for once and just dance. Terribly of course, but—"

"It wasn't all bad," Severus admits, and it wasn't when he took Johnny out of the equation. "But I reckon my body wasn’t made for discos."

"No, I suppose all the lager in the world couldn’t make that happen," Lily laughs, moving back and forth on the swing, which creaks in protest. "And thanks for trying to defend me. Even though you lost."

"I didn’t lose," Severus says, dignified. "There were no winners."

"Sorry, but you definitely lost this one, Sev," Lily says, good naturally. "I still can't believe you slagged off his mum."

Severus cringes around his fag. "It was the first thing I thought of."

"And you'd been drinking."

"It was shit."

"It was shit, yes," Lily agrees. "Johnny's probably worse for wear after that bloke in the blue suit is done with him. Not to mention the ice he’ll probably need for his cock after my knee did the talking, yeah?" Lily reenacts the glorious moment by jabbing her knee skywards. Lily's fag dangles loosely between her fingers as she throws her head back with a laugh.

Severus's lips twitch around his fag, curving into a small smile at the sight.

They talk about the park, reminiscing on their younger years of skinned knees and grass stains, when Severus's trousers were odd and ill fitting, and Lily's sundresses were sweet and smelled of fresh laundry. She reminds him of the time he nearly pissed himself after an English bulldog leapt at him and licked at his face; he counters with the time he convinced her to eat an earthworm in exchange for a fiver he found in the road. As Lily propels herself off the swing after a few creaky rotations, and slips her feet back into those garish purple shoes, he marvels at how they've gone from playing tag in the park to smoking in it.

Lily stubs out her fag and, after a last, lingering drag, Severus does the same. She takes him by the hands and helps him stand. They're standing very close, neither letting go of the other just yet. He looks into her eyes and Lily looks back, smiling coyly up at him. They both smell like sweat and smoke, contrasting greatly with the smell of summer's grass and the cherry ice lollies of their youth, the scent of innocence versus teenage debauchery. He wonders if there is another stage. Will this be a moment that he looks back on in a few years with some bittersweet pang of post-adolescent nostalgia, remembering the way her cheap, glittery eye shadow twinkled with each tiny flutter of her eyelids.

It feels like a moment, despite dried blood lurking under his nose and a sore eye. It's an overly sentimental thought, sappy, and as quickly as the moment comes, he tries to push it away, as if embarrassed. Before he can, however, Lily leans toward him. Time is moving far to quickly and far too slowly, all at once. Every muscle tenses, anticipation courses through his body in chilling waves. Before he can even prepare himself — or think, or breathe— Lily gives him a quick, soft kiss on the corner of his mouth.

It's nothing like the impassioned snogging of his daydreams, but he doesn't care. Try as he might to compose himself over a chaste little peck, he can't will away his stunned, closed lip smile.

"No more rows, then— Oops." Lily wipes away a bit of lipstick from his cheek with her thumb. "Christ, I've just smeared it more."

"S'fine," Severus says, trying very hard to sound annoyed. "Red isn't really my color."

"Mmm, no. You're more of a coral, really," Lily muses. Her lips creep into tired smile as she locks her arm around his. "Come on then, birthday boy. Walk me home."

While Lily chatters away about the potential likelihood of Petunia ratting her out, Severus absently grazes his fingers along the spot where Lily kissed him. The town's lights give off a dreary glow, and the chimney is as ominous as ever, but in that moment, gazing at the unimpressive Cokeworth skyline, there was nowhere else he'd rather be.


 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: nervous
Current Music: The Smiths - What She Said