He barely spared a glance for the taller, thinner girl in the swing beside her.
The boy sat with his back against the tree trunk. He pretended to read, but he was actually watching the girl. She lay on her back on the grass, gazing up at patches of blue sky through the leaves and branches of the tree. From beneath his eyelashes, he observed the patterns of sunlight and shade dancing across her creamy skin. Her head was cushioned on her arms, her hair spread round her head like a fiery halo. She turned to him and smiled happily. His lips quirked in a crooked smile that didn't quite seem to fit his face.
From behind the screen of his black hair, he snuck a glance at her as she stood beside him stirring her cauldron, her face intent with concentration. Her hair was pulled back at her neck, but a wisp had come loose, and the steam from her cauldron was blowing it about her face. She blew at it, trying to get it out of her face without using her hand. Leaning closer, he inhaled her light, sweet scent. He reached out and pushed the tendril behind her ear; she smiled her thanks. He flexed his fingers, which tingled from the contact.
The two were sitting side by side, heads close together, talking quietly. The dark-haired boy looked down at the top of the girl's head. He could see her flame-like hair and the side of her face. Mere inches separated them. The air was charged with excitement, longing, hope. His heart was racing and pounding; his palms were sweaty. He could barely breathe. He willed her to meet his gaze.
At long last, green eyes lifted to black. Her breath caught in her throat as his lips closed the distance between them.
The lightest touch, a breath, the merest whisper of contact.
He waited. Waited for her to pull back, to rebuff him. Instead, with a sigh, she leaned into him.
Caught off guard, he hesitated, unsure of himself. Then instinct took over, his hand sliding through her hair to hold her head, lips moving, softly rubbing. Experimenting, he ran his tongue along the seam of her lips, and was surprised and thrilled when they parted, allowing him to taste the inner recesses of her mouth, warm and moist; her tongue moved to meet his. He could feel his blood pulsing, throbbing, a wild excitement building, different than he had ever known.
He wanted so many things. He wanted to taste, rub, grab, savor, devour everything. He wanted to know her, to own her, to possess and hold her, to save and protect her. To love her.
Her hands played with his hair; her lips drank him in. His hands grasped her shoulders, slid down her back. Only dimly understanding what he was seeking, he grabbed her bum, pulling her tightly to him. Feeling his arousal pressing against her, she gasped in surprise and shock. Eyes flying open, she placed her hand against his chest and pushed him away, ending the kiss.
He gazed at her, his dark eyes turbulent with unaccustomed emotion, as he begged for forgiveness. Pleaded for understanding. He had never seen such hardness in her expression before, and he didn't like it. It pained him deeply to know he had caused it. He searched desperately for any sign of warmth, of softening, of forgiveness, but her eyes were hard and cold, like diamonds, like ice. Ignoring his entreaties, she turned away from him and disappeared through the portrait hole. He stood for a time staring at the spot where she had been. Finally, he turned and walked away.
His eyes found her standing across the courtyard with a group of her friends. He remembered when she used to smile at him like that. She glanced his way, and for the first time in a long time, their eyes met. The smile still played upon her lips. His heart leapt as he thought, I knew she could not stay mad at me forever. His lips twitched in a nervous smile. He watched as her eyes moved behind him, as someone called his name. He watched as the smile faded from her lips, and from her eyes. She looked away.
He avoided her whenever possible. He ceased to visit their former haunts and instead frequented the places he knew she shunned. It was of course impossible to avoid her completely there were mealtimes, the library, classes together but he never looked at her if he could help it. If he heard her voice, he willed himself deaf to it.
Nevertheless, he always knew when she was near. Even when he couldn't see her or hear her voice, he could feel her presence like a thrum of energy crackling over his skin, pulsing through his bloodstream.
Her eyes haunted his dreams.
When he received the owl asking him to meet her, he was beyond shocked.
He could see that she was near tears. His expression impassive, he asked, "What's wrong?"
She just shook her head. She gestured between them. "Sev, what happened to you? To us?"
"Lily.... He put his hands out as if to hold her before dropping them to his sides.
She grabbed his left arm. He pulled away as if her touch burned.
She raised her tearful gaze to him. "Why wasn't this
" again she gestured between them "enough?! Why wasn't I enough?!" The tears started to fall in earnest.
He looked around surreptitiously. It was Muggle London. Probably they were safe, but making a quick decision, he pulled her into his arms and Apparated.
"Why did you bring me here?"
"Why do you think? You know as well as I that this is no conversation to have in public. It's safe here." He led her into the kitchen and pushed her into a chair.
Can I get you something? Perhaps a Calming Draught? he suggested, not entirely in jest.
"I don't need a Calming Draught!" Her voice rose. She took a deep breath. "I'm fine."
"Some tea then?"
He turned to put the kettle on.
"Severus." He didn't turn around. "Severus, I'm sorry."
Her voice sounded soft and very... close. He turned to find her standing right behind him. "What do you have to apologize for?"
"Sev." She put her hand on his arm. He looked at it for a moment, then looked into her eyes. He saw regret and longing, but something else, too. It couldn't be desire? She reached up, twined her hands in his hair and stood on her toes to close the gap between their lips.
There was nothing hesitant about her kiss.
Her lips parted; her tongue darted into his mouth, drawing his to meet it, and he was lost. She was passionate, desperate and demanding. He reveled in it and returned it in kind. He felt as though she were trying to draw his soul from his body into hers.
He decided that he would let her. Let her take it and cradle it in her love, her kindness, her sweetness, her goodness.
Afterwards, he could never remember how they came to be in his bed, but he always remembered what happened there. How she allowed him to no, demanded that he make love to her, over and over again. How they touched and tasted each other. How they cried out in their need and in their satisfaction. How she opened her eyes and looked deep into his before she came the first time. And the tears streaming down her face the last time.
He wasn't certain how he knew it was the last time, but he did. He wasn't certain that all of the tears were hers, either, but he would never admit that to anyone, not even himself.
He knew that he would never forget how each time he buried himself deep within her and she held onto him as if she would never let go, it felt like he had finally come home.
Afterwards, she slept, but he did not. He observed the slow rise and fall of her breasts as she breathed, the curve of her hip, the length of her legs, down to her toes, and up again. He did not know how many times his eyes made that journey, but he knew the memory would have to last him a long time. Perhaps a lifetime.
With the first rays of morning light, she stirred, opening her eyes and smiling sleepily at him. He was amazed at the love radiating from her. His heart caught in his throat. Perhaps he had been wrong about what this was, perhaps she would choose him...
But then it was like a shutter came down over her face.
"I have to go," she said. She rolled away from him and he let her. He watched as she pulled on her clothes, her back to him.
"Will I ever see you again?" He was horrified to hear the words escape him and wished that he could somehow get them back.
She turned to look at him then. "No."
"Lily, he started and she said again, "No," but this time with an underlying note of pleading.
He did not know that he could still feel such pain, and he lashed out in anger. Leaping from the bed, he grabbed her by the shoulders. "Is it true, then? Youre marrying him?!" He spat the words with a fury that surprised them both.
She tried to pull away and refused to meet his eyes.
He grabbed her chin, forcing her head up. Finally, her eyes flickered to his. Without conscious intention, he found himself delving into her thoughts, finding the memories he sought. He felt the sense of safety, of security that she felt with the man he hated, and he felt himself go cold.
He threw her from him and turned away.
"Severus," she spoke hesitantly.
She stood so close behind him, yet beyond his reach, and he couldn't bear it. He whirled on her. "Get out!" he roared. "Get out of here or..."
She froze. He saw the fear in her eyes, and it fueled his rage. How could she believe he would hurt her?
He forced himself to regain control. When next he spoke, his voice was calmer, but the tone was harsh. "Why are you still here? Haven't you gotten what you came for? Or do you want another go?"
Her mouth opened but no words came. Her eyes shone with unshed tears, but still she did not leave.
He could endure no more. "Go," he said. "I can't stand the sight of you."
He watched her run down the stairs, out of his house, out of his life. He felt a strange hollowness in his chest and knew that she had indeed taken his soul with her.
"Goodbye, Lily," he said to no one.
Thanks to ladyinthecloak for her sharp eyes and encouragement.