Snape sat in a corner of the small room adding ingredients to his cauldron, occasionally checking his book. This particular potion was excruciatingly finicky and had to be done just right or else it could potentially burn a hole through the cauldron, and Snape literally couldn't afford for that to happen, he had almost run out of spending money for the year and it was only February. In fact, his money situation was his reason for making the potion. He was approached about a week ago by some rich Slytherin in the sixth-year who offered him twenty galleons to make it for him for Valentine's Day, a couple of days from now.
Snape paused for a second, took a sip from a stolen goblet of pumpkin juice by his left knee and pondered the room. It was very useful, it contained everything he needed for potion-making and it conveniently appeared for him on the seventh floor just after he'd unsuccessfully asked Professor Slughorn to borrow his classroom in the dungeons to brew advanced potions. Snape didn't really understand how the room worked, but he knew that it showed itself when he was in need of it, and that was good enough for him.
Snape stirred the cauldron thrice anti-clockwise, consulted the book to his side and saw that he was nearly done; the potion had turned a pretty shade of heliotrope which precisely matched the book's description. He turned to his small bag of ingredients and found that he was missing the final ingredient: ashwinder eggs. However, the second he realised he was missing them he looked up, and sure enough, there they were on a shelf.
Amazing, he thought. This room can do anything.
Snape went over to collect them and immediately sat back down cross-legged in front of the pewter cauldron. He was excited, this was a sixth-year potion and he was about to successfully brew it a year early, without even the help of a teacher. No, this had been purely his creation, and he was very proud of it. One glance at his book told him that he'd need to add half a dozen ashwinder eggs to the potion, stirring as he went.
He added one to the cauldron, gave the potion a couple of clockwise stirs and immediately noticed the change in the potion; it was ever so slightly pinker than the colour it had been five seconds ago. Snape also noted that the cauldron was starting to emit a very light vapour, and the smell of a very particular flower. Mind you, the smell was so faint he could have been imagining it, her scent was very familiar to him...
Snape sprung to his feet immediately, almost dropping the entire box of frozen ashwinder eggs into his cauldron. He was about to turn around in indignation and tell her off for almost ruining several days of his hard work, when a small pair of hands slid over his eyes.
"Guess who!" said the voice happily from behind him.
"Lily, I really wish you wouldn't do that," Snape said, as Lily giggled. "How did you get in here, anyway?"
"Oh, it wasn't too difficult!" Lily said, brightly. "I was just going to go and ask Professor Slughorn about my essay on the Draught of Living Death when I walked past this door. I hadn't seen it before, so I just had to investigate!"
"Typical Gryffindor," Snape muttered. Lily grinned.
"Oh yeah, speaking of Professor Slughorn, he wants to know why you haven't been in the last two lessons. He's worried you're neglecting your potions, especially seeing as our OWLs are coming up..."
"Uh, Lily..?" he said, pointing out the small cauldron on the floor she looked about to accidentally kick over.
"I see you haven't been neglecting your potions after all," she said.
"Yeah," said Snape. "Actually, do you want to help me with this one? I'm nearly finished."
Lily looked enthusiastic. "Okay!" she exclaimed. "What do you want me to do?"
"Could you please just stir the cauldron clockwise slowly while I add these?" Snape asked.
"Love to," she said, smiling, and the pair sat down at the cauldron facing each other.
As Snape slowly added the eggs to the mixture and Lily stirred, Snape continued to note the potion's ever-increasingly pink hue, the vapour becoming more and more opaque and the heady fumes becoming more noticeable by the second. Evidently Lily was beginning to become affected by the smell, for she had closed her eyes and was inclining her head down towards the cauldron, inhaling the vapour emanating from it.
"What do you smell?" Snape asked suddenly, hopefully. Lily raised her head, her eyes still closed, and smiled.
"I smell melting chocolate, old books, and..." she sniffed. "The woods. Just after it's rained." Snape looked at her expectantly and she opened her eyes. "What, does it not smell the same to you?" Lily asked, bewildered.
Snape was somewhat taken-aback, but then he remembered that this was a sixth-year potion and Lily had grown up with muggles, so she had no reason to have heard of it.
"Not quite, it smells different to everybody according to what attracts them. It's called Amortentia," Snape said blushing slightly, expecting the same question he'd asked her and mentally preparing an answer that wasn't 'you, Lily.'
Instead, she frowned. "Amortentia? Well, the Latin 'amor' means love, so this must be a love potion?" she deduced. Snape nodded, and Lily burst into a fit of giggles. "Which poor girl were you intending to give this to then, Sev?"
Snape forced a laugh. "Oh, obviously you, Lily," he said in the most airy, evidently sarcastic voice he could muster, reasoning that if he was convincing enough she wouldn't even suspect that there was one percent of him that wasn't joking. Snape was very relieved when Lily started laughing, too.
"Very funny, Sev," she said, still in hysterics. "Now, aren't you going to put that last thing in the cauldron?" Lily pointed at Snape's left hand, which contained the remains of the sixth frozen ashwinder egg. Evidently he'd been so tense for the last minute that he had managed to crush it.
Snape smiled at her. "Of course. In all seriousness, though, I only made this because Roberts offered to pay me. I need the money and I suppose this is good revision, even though I highly doubt we'll be asked to make a love potion for our OWLs."
"It all makes sense now," Lily teased, her emerald eyes twinkling, as she stuck her tongue out at him. Still he stood there, the egg in his hand, laughing along with her. Suddenly, Lily stopped laughing. "Well, if you're not going to add that to the potion, I suppose I'll have to," she said, seizing Snape's fist, peeling his fingers back, away from the mangled egg, and flicking his wrist so it landed in the cauldron with a large splash. Snape didn't even have time to point out that the egg wasn't fit for adding to the potion and he was too surprised by the fact that Lily had just grabbed his hand to even register that drops of the potion had flown out of the cauldron in every direction.
The sound of Lily "oooh"-ing soon brought him back to his senses, and he noticed that the vapour being emitted from the cauldron had started rising in corkscrew spirals, and the scent of Lily had suddenly increased tenfold.
"You know," Lily said. "The potion smells absolutely wonderful, but the fumes don't half make you thirsty."
Snape gestured towards the goblet of pumpkin juice on the floor Lily had almost knocked over several times. "Be my guest, if you don't mind that I've been drinking out of it," he said.
Lily only laughed and picked up the goblet. "I don't care, Sev. You're my best friend," she said, gulping down the juice. Snape decided to immediately put the potion into a flask for Roberts, after all, despite one of the eggs being crushed the potion looked and smelled perfectly normal and he had no reason to suspect it was damaged. He bent down and decanted the potion out of the cauldron and into a flask, labelled it and took a proper look at the floor. Snape noticed that there were pink flecks all over the stone in a circle of about a yard's radius from where the cauldron had been, and a suspiciously clear patch exactly where the goblet had been. The goblet that Lily had just been drinking from...
Snape's mutter of "oh, bollocks," was immediately drowned out by the sound of Lily's voice.
"Hello, Severus," she said in a deep tone, her head inclined downwards and her eyes widened, staring at him through her eyelashes.
Snape panicked. "Lily, are you playing with me?" he said, urgently.
"No," she said playfully, as Snape sniffed the now empty goblet. Yes, there had definitely been a small amount of Amortentia in that juice. "But I can if you want me to," Lily continued.
Snape gulped and turned away from her. No, he didn't want this. He quickly decided that the best course of action was probably to keep her busy while he brewed an antidote. The amount Lily had swallowed was probably so small it wouldn't usually affect anyone noticeably, but Snape guessed that the crushed ashwinder egg had probably made the potion more potent and he had no idea how long it would take to wear off.
As he'd reached this conclusion, Snape felt a finger tapping his right shoulder.
"I love you, Sev," she breathed in his ear.
Oh, how I wish that was true, Snape thought, as she wandered around in front of him. Instead, he just said "yes, yes, that's nice. Now, Lily, if you wouldn't mind standing in that corner for a minute that would be great." Snape pointed to the far side of the room.
Lily pouted. "But I don't want to stand all the way over there," she complained.
"Look, I just need to do something quickly." Lily's pout deepened, and Snape continued. "Lily, if you love me you will stand where I tell you to and not move a muscle until I tell you you can. Got it?" The girl shuffled away to the spot at which Snape was pointing, still fluttering her eyelashes at him. Damn it, Lily, why have you got to make my life so hard? Snape thought, fighting to resist the temptation to even look at her.
When Lily was as far away from him as she could possibly be (as he intended), Snape set about looking up antidotes in his book as quickly as he was able to turn the pages. When he reached the correct page, he made a mental note of as many of the necessary ingredients as he could remember, before hurrying to the shelves, where the required ingredients were appearing as he thought of them, grabbed as many as he could and sat back down at the now empty cauldron, his back turned on Lily, who was now giggling happily at the other side of the room.
Snape pointed his wand at the cauldron and muttered "Evanesco" to clear out any remaining drops of the Amortentia and turned to the ingredients he'd dumped unceremoniously about a foot away from where his knee was. However, they had disappeared. As Snape pondered this, he heard Lily speak.
"Looking for these, Sevvykins?" Lily asked, innocently waving a jar of porcupine quills at him and batting her eyelashes. Snape noticed that all of the bottles he had grabbed from the shelves were sitting by Lily's feet, her wand in her hand, and realised that she must have summoned them.
"Two can play at this game, Lily," he said, getting out his own wand, as she laughed lightly. "Accio!"
The ingredients stayed precisely where they were and Lily looked enquiringly at him. Of course, Snape thought, frowning, she would think to make them unsummonable. She's the cleverest witch of her age...
Snape inched closer to where Lily was standing, trying his best to not look directly at her but keep her in his peripheral vision, rather like one might be wary of approaching the lion on her robes' house crest, if it were alive. The truth was, Snape realised, in this state Lily was as dangerous as a wild animal and ought to be treated as such. As he reached her, Lily smiled down at him and just watched as Snape gathered up the ingredients and slowly reversed back to the cauldron, still facing her. Snape sat down at the cauldron and saw that Lily was waving innocently at him.
Snape began to brew the antidote as quickly as he could, throwing snake fangs, flobberworm mucus and mistletoe berries into the cauldron, pausing every once in a while to check his textbook. Snape was so engrossed in the potion, making sure everything was done correctly, he didn't notice that Lily was slowly getting closer and closer to the cauldron. It was only when she was right in front of him that he looked up and saw that she was undoing the top button of her outer robe.
"Hold it right there, Lily Evans," Snape said, firmly. "Save it for your wedding night." Lily started to protest, so Snape pointed his wand at her and muttered "Incarcerous." Long, snakelike ropes appeared out of thin air and wound themselves around her, binding her hands to her sides and ensuring she was unable to move.
"What did you do that for?" she asked, angrily, as Snape turned his back on her.
"I don't think you realise just how much you're annoying me right now," he responded tersely, still not looking at her. Snape threw the last of the ingredients into the potion, gave it a stir and hastily extinguished the flames, before getting out an empty goblet and ladelling the bright green potion into it. He walked over and gave Lily the goblet.
Lily sniffed the potion suspiciously. "What is this, Sev?" she asked.
This irritated Snape. He couldn't exactly tell her what it was, and he didn't want to have to lie to her. In the end, he just settled with "Lily, if you love me and trust me, you'll drink it. You'll thank me later."
Lily raised an eyebrow. "How's about this: I'll drink it if you give me a kiss," she said, in what was evidently supposed to be a seductive voice.
Snape had to work hard fighting the urge to laugh. Lily, seductive? That was a joke. Lily was possibly the most innocent, childlike sixteen-year-old he'd ever known. All the same, she was rather good at it...
"Lily, I can't do that. You really don't want to kiss me and I don't want to make you."
"You're such a meany, Sevvy," she said childishly. "Are you just trying to say that you don't love me?"
Snape frowned at the floor. He still didn't want to lie to her, but the state she was in, he could hardly tell her the truth...
"Look, Lily," he said, forcing himself to look into her eyes. Her perfect, emerald eyes. "After you've drunken that potion you can have as many kisses as you want, okay?"
"Alright," she conceded grudgingly, and she started drinking the contents of the goblet.
As Lily drank, Snape spoke up. "In regards to your question, yes, I do love you." Lily stopped drinking for a second and stared at him. "Keep drinking. Essentially, that's exactly why I rejected your advances." Lily had finished her goblet and returned to staring at him, but this time with a different mixture of emotions: horror at what she'd done, shock at Snape's revelation and bewilderment were written clearly across her face. "I love you so much that I couldn't just take advantage of you while you weren't yourself. You were under the influence of that potion and not thinking for yourself."
Lily's face still showed shock, horror and bewilderment, but now Snape definitely saw some gratitude in the mix. Gratitude, though definitely a good thing, was certainly not worth the overriding, overwhelming speechlessness which had overcome Lily.
Maybe it was just best for everybody if Lily never remembered this particular incident.
As she continued staring at Snape, he took out his wand, pointed it at Lily and muttered "Oliviate," as he oversaw the memory of the last half an hour being erased from her mind. Snape had to work very hard not to panic, as this was an exceedingly complex spell and there was so much that could potentially go wrong. He very highly doubted that many sixteen-year-olds had ever cast a charm like this, much less successfully.
It was a relief when Lily's gaze shifted and focused on his face. Snape lowered his wand.
"Sev?" Lily asked dreamily, looking around in confusion as if she'd just woken up from a very deep sleep. "Where are we? I don't remember getting here..."
"Don't worry about it. You were just on your way to see Professor Slughorn when you fell over and hit your head," Snape said, wildly inventing. "I just took you in here and made you a potion to stop your head from hurting when you woke up." He gestured towards the cauldron, subtly pointing his wand at it and mumbling "Scourgify" as quietly as he could, so she could never work out what he'd actually been brewing.
Lily anxiously felt her head. "Well, your potion must have worked, I can't feel anything at all," she said. "Still, why did you do it? Isn't that Madam Pomfrey's job?"
Snape winced. Of course, there had to be one hole in his story.
"Eh, I wouldn't worry about that," he said, quickly. "All you need to worry about is Professor Slughorn's reaction when you turn up at his office three hours late."
"Goodness, was I out cold for that long?" Lily asked. She seemed to be returning to her usual state of mind. "I should really go and apologise, then." She turned on her heel and strode towards the door. When she had reached the doorframe, Lily turned around to face Snape, who had started to pack up his belongings.
"Sev?" she said. "I just feel as if I really need to be thanking you for being such a good friend." Snape felt his face burn as Lily bounced back towards him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Well, Severus, he thought, as Lily walked away from him and disappeared around a corner. At least she wanted to give you that one.