“Who is it?” she asked, unable to mask her fear. As she looked through the eyehole she saw a tall, dark figure on her steps. His long black hair covered his face, but she knew instantly who it was. She opened the door.
“Oh, Sev. You scared me,” she nervously laughed. “Come inside.”
“Is anyone else here?” he asked cautiously.
“No. My parents and Tuney are at a friend’s house.”
“Why are you not with them?” he asked behind the curtain of black hair.
“I…I didn’t want to go. It’s one of Tuney’s friends and she doesn’t like me much. I believe Tuney’s been telling her I’m strange. You know how she can be.”
“Jealous,” he said, with a slight sarcastic smile.
“Yes,” Lily agreed. “Please come in. You must be frozen.”
Snape had only been in Lily’s house on a few other occasions. Usually to drop off birthday or Christmas presents. It was a cheerful Muggle dwelling. Clean, comfortable and full of light, very different from his own home.
Lily turned and moved toward the kitchen, saying over her shoulder, “Are you hungry? I just ate, but there is plenty left over if you would like some.”
“No, no thank you,” he said softly.
“So what brings you here?” she asked, walking back into the living room.
Severus was silent; he turned his face away before she could see the damage.
“I…I’d better go.”
“Sev, don’t be silly; you just got here. Besides I’d enjoy the company,” she stated with sincerity.
She walked over to him and put her hand on his arm. He felt the warmth of her touch engulf him. She turned him to her.
“Sev, what happened to your face?” she asked. He heard the shock and concern in her voice. “Did he? Did he do this to you?” Her voice rose in anger.
“Yes,” Severus said in a whisper, but could not hide the shame in his voice. “I didn’t know where else to go.”
“Well I’m glad you came here,” she said tenderly.
“Lily,” he said, afraid of what he was about to ask, “can I stay here tonight? Please?”
“Of course you can. I wouldn’t want you to go back there anyway.”
Just then headlights flooded the window.
“Please don’t let your parents know I’m here,” he said, panicked.
“Sev, it’s alright; they’ll let you stay…”
“No,” he interrupted, “I don’t want anyone to see me like this. Least of all your sister.”
Lily looked into his imploringly sad eyes and made her decision.
“Alright. You can stay in my room. Come quickly.”
She took his hand and they ran up the stairs. The car doors had just closed and Lily’s family was walking toward the house. Lily closed the door to her room just as her parents closed the front door.
“Stay here, Sev,” she whispered. “Hide in the closet. I have to go down to see them and then I’ll say ‘goodnight’. I’ll be back in a little while.”
She closed the door to her closet and left him in darkness. He heard her feet go down the stairs, followed by muffled talking. He waited patiently in silence. Then a sudden feeling leapt within his chest. He was in her room. He had never been in her room before. Her clothes were hanging neatly around him. They smelt clean with the underlying sent of Lily. He inhaled deeply, intoxicated. His heart was beating so loudly he was afraid that it would be heard. Then he noticed the sound of feet coming up the stairs and the door opened. The lights came on and a familiar unpleasant voice filled the room.
“I want it tonight, Lily. I want to wear it tomorrow to the movies with Vern.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll get it, just let me find it,” Lily replied. She opened the closet tentatively. Snape was hiding in the corner behind her clothes. “The pink one with the lilac bow, right?” she asked shakily.
“Yes,” said Petunia with her arms crossed impatiently.
“I found it,” she said, quickly closing the closet. “Here.”
“Thank you,” Petunia said curtly and walked out.
Lily closed the door behind her and locked it. She went over to the closet and whispered, “It’s alright; you can come out now.”
Severus stepped into the brightness of her room. It was a mixture of Muggle and Wizard décor. Her bed had a blue comforter covered with stars. Her dresser had both stationary and moving pictures on it. Her walls were covered with posters of Muggle and Wizard singers. And, of course, there was a Gryffindor banner. There was also a teddy bear wearing a green bow in a rocking chair. Snape stared at it.
“Oh, oh that. That’s Harry. He was mine as a baby,” she said, slightly self-conscious. “I’ve been meaning to put him away, along with some of my other childish stuff.”
“He’s a bear?” Severus asked curiously.
“Yes, he’s a teddy bear. Do wizards have stuffed animals?”
“No, of course not. We don’t stuff animals,” he said, a little repulsed.
“Oh, no. That’s just what we call them. They aren’t really animals. I used to sleep with him every night.”
“I see,” Snape replied, a little embarrassed.
“Didn’t you sleep with anything when you were little? A blanket perhaps?”
“No,” he said softly, “I didn’t have anything like that.”
Lily felt a twinge of sadness, realizing that Severus had never had so many of the things she took for granted.
“Let me see what I can do for your face. I’ll go to the bathroom and get a few things.”
“No,” he said, but she had already left.
She came back with some rather odd objects and a bottle of clear liquid.
“That’s not necessary,” he protested.
“Come here and sit.”
She guided him to the bed. Snape did as he was instructed. Lily kneeled before him.
“This will sting a little, but it will help to clean some of the cuts.” She took a fluffy white ball and poured some of the liquid on it. She applied it to a cut above his eye. He winced, but made no sound. A mixture of pain and pleasure surged through his body. His face burned, but she was touching him. There had only been a number of times she had touched him and it had never been his face. Usually it was his hand by accident when they were working together in Potions class.
“There. I don’t know what else I can do for now. I could go get some ice.” Severus grabbed her hand before she could get up to leave.
“I’m fine,” he said. “Thank you.”
Lily looked up at Severus. She felt a strange sensation move in her. He let go of her hand. Lily stood up. Snape rose with her.
“Um, you can sleep…”
“I’ll take the floor,” he said definitively.
“Oh, I have some blankets in the closet and I think a pillow.”
She fumbled around and found them.
“Here,” she said as she placed them neatly on the floor.
“Thank you, Lily. You are my best friend,” he said shyly.
“And you are mine, Sev.”
‘Mine’, the word rang softly in his head. Mine.
“Well I guess we should get some sleep,” she said. Instinctively Lily went over to the rocker and picked up Harry. Severus was on the floor, getting under his covers.
“Here,” she said. She gave him the bear. He took it gingerly.“I hope he’ll bring you as much comfort as he did me.”
Before he could say anything Lily turned off the light and got into her bed.
Snape held the bear tightly and turned over. He knew it was dark, but he didn’t want her to see him cry.
In the morning when Lily awoke she felt a chill. When she looked around she found that Snape was gone and her window was open.
Snape quietly opened up the door to his house and crept up to his room. He hid the bear in a place no one would find it. He knew he couldn’t leave again. He knew what he was in for because he had not come home last night. But he also knew that no matter how badly he was punished, he could find comfort. The comfort of a small teddy bear named Harry, which was enshrouded in Lily’s kindness.