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Our Beautiful Disaster

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November 24, 1981

The cold November rain fell in sheets of water, splashing against the glass of the windows and drumming rhythmically against the windowsills. The droplets of water fogged the glass, obscuring the streets and buildings outside the small apartment in downtown wizarding London, charmed to a comfortable temperature, which, in fact, did nothing to calm the nerves of the young, blooming potions specialist who sat curled up on the loveseat by one of the windows in the living room, glaring mournfully out the window. The loveseat – one of Evan’s things – was an obnoxious, bright purple color that stood out against the rest of the furniture of the room which was about as gloomy as the young man by the window and as simple as the black robes he wore. Evan’s things had a tendency to scatter themselves across the apartment, popping up in random places – the lime-green tea set in the kitchen cupboard, the silky white curtains in the spare bedroom which served as half library half Evan’s painting room, the color coded potions tags in the makeshift lab, the richly embroidered blue comforter folded up at the foot of the bed and the beige, fluffy floor mats in the bathroom – serving as bright marks of a foreign presence that was both permanent and transient. Evan had moved in officially a year ago but even then he had a tendency to come and go, so his things were just as spread out and stood out just as much as his stays at the apartment. Everything that was Evan’s was bright and colorful, light and, at times, even delicate, emitting a sense of artistic taste that was backed up by enough money and nobility to take shape and flourish splendidly. Evan was as much a bright spot in Severus’ apartment as he was in the young man’s life.

Curled up on Evan’s ludicrous purple loveseat, Severus tried very hard to avoid the nagging feeling that had been chewing at him from the inside since that morning. It was some feeling that went far beyond magic. Initiating on a level basely human, it writhed and squirmed, making him nauseous and savagely attacking his nerves, drumming out the same thing over and over again against his ribs, melting with his erratic heartbeat: something’s wrong, something’s horribly wrong.

The sudden ruckus coming from the landing directly behind the front door caught Severus off guard and he stumbled to his feet, grouping around for his wand which he hardly parted with these days. An insistent banging on the door intruded into the silence of the apartment. Severus raised his wand; his mind screamed: Aurors! He took a cautious step toward the front hall, pausing in the middle of the room to try and calm his racing thoughts. The Aurors had no business here. Dumbledore had given him amnesty. Evan? But Evan had gone. It had been several days now. Gathering himself up, wand still clutched tightly in one hand, Severus strode into the hall and jerked open the door.

Ashley Mulciber, Benjamin Greengrass and Sebastian LeBeau tumbled into the apartment, soaking wet and out of breath. Mulciber’s black cloak was ripped at the hem and burn marks scarred it on all sides. The two boys besides him, both hardly of age, were wide eyed, panting and just as miserably wet. Severus shut the door behind them and turned to Mulciber with a glare. “Did you Apparate straight here?”

The older boy sneered and shook his head. “How stupid do you think I am? We made two jumps. But either way, Apparations are practically untraceable.”

Severus nodded curtly. “You can’t stay here, Ashley.”

“I’m not planning to.”

Severus then noticed that none of them were making any move to take off their cloaks. He thought he ought to offer them tea but the gnawing feeling at the bottom of his stomach held him back.

“I need to floo Sebastian home and Benjamin to Malfoy Manor. Lucius and Narcissa will know better what to do with him. He can’t go home right now.”

Severus nodded curtly and turned to the boys. “Neither of you have been Marked?” They shook their heads in unison. Snape looked back to Mulciber. “Go on. Fireplace is in the living room. It should be safe…now.” The Aurors had been forced to stop eavesdropping on his floo since all the charges had been dropped.

Ashley looked despondent as he answered. “Either way, it’s the best we’ve got right now.” He ushered the two boys into the living room and Severus watched them from the entrance to the room, not bothering to interfere or participate in any way. When the younger boys were gone, Mulciber turned to Severus and said quietly, “I’ll Apparate from here to a secure location and then portkey to where I need to be. Don’t worry, they won’t trace the connection.”

They stood a moment in silence, the chandelier candles flickering almost in tact to the drumming rain. Severus’ eyes landed on the loveseat and he forced himself to speak. “You had a tussle with the Aurors?”

Ashley nodded. “I think they got Angelus. Theodore…I don’t know what’s happened to my brother just yet.” Mulciber’s eyes skidded away from Severus and Snape felt suddenly uneasy, as though his friend was hiding something. The gnawing feeling in his stomach reared and bit down hard on his insides so that he was forced into a grimace. Severus walked Ashley to the door and was about to close it behind the other man when Mulciber turned around sharply. “You should know,” he said in an empty tone that made Severus’ blood grow cold. “The Aurors who came in backup…they were saying something about Evan. I think they’d had an encounter. I think…” Mulciber looked away and continued without looking up. “Latchteny. No more than half an hour ago.” There was a distinctive pop and Mulciber was gone before Severus could form a single coherent thought out of the terrified mush his conscious had suddenly become.

*~*~*~*

November 17, 1981

Severus knew the minute he came home that something was wrong. The living room was dark, not a single candle lit. The thunderclouds gathering outside rumbled ominously and the far-off flicker of lightening lit up the small apartment in an unnatural, lilac light. Severus made out Evan’s motionless form standing at the window and something in him squeezed uncomfortably when he noticed the tension in Evan’s back and shoulders. Severus shrugged off his wet cloak and hung it up with the other cloaks and coats. Evan’s cloak was conspicuously missing.

“You not happy to see me back?” Severus asked, drawing out the words and attempting a cynical smirk. “I didn’t expect to see you at court but…” Severus shrugged, stepping further into the living room and raising his wand to light up the candles. Evan’s continuing silence made him stop. “Come out with it, Rosier. What is it?” he snapped finally. He’d expected Evan to run into his arms, to rip off his robes, shirt and pants, to explode with exclamations of delight and relief the moment he saw Severus come through the door. The cold greeting he was receiving instead – stung.

“I was at the trial,” Evan finally said, quietly, in a subdued manner that didn’t suit him. “Under Polyjuice. I saw your acquittal.”

Severus’ eyes narrowed and he studied Evan’s back, now not without suspicion. “You don’t sound happy about it.”

“It’s not that.” Evan turned to face Severus and Snape was somewhat taken aback by the tense and disheveled look of the other boy. Evan was dressed for travel in the most immaculate robes, a pair of black gloves sticking out of his pocket. He wore a pair of expensive, Italian, leather boots and his Death Eater cloak was folded over one arm. But despite his immaculate dress and the neat ponytail he had pulled his wavy hair into, there was such a flushed, agonized look on his face that Severus instantly felt uncomfortable and at fault. His eyes traveled to the floor where he instantly located Evan’s traveling bag.

“Where are you going?” The question floated between them for a moment, heavy as a storm cloud, pregnant and threatening.

“I’m leaving, Sev,” Evan choked out. “For good this time.”

“Why?” A flash of lightening lit up the sky and Severus couldn’t quite make out the expression of agony on the other boy’s face. Only later would Severus realize that Evan’s eyes had not only been feverishly bright but also swollen and bloodshot.

“Because you betrayed me. Me and everything and everyone I love. I’m not stupid, Snape. Dumbledore’s personal amnesty?” Evan took several steps toward Severus, stopping directly in front of him. “Tell me, how many names, locations, mission plans? How many lives did your freedom cost?”

Severus meant to slap him but bit out instead, “You’re still here, aren’t you?”

“Is that supposed to prove something?”

“How about that I love you?”

Evan had no qualms about slapping him. “Don’t pretend this has nothing to do with her.”

“Lily’s dead, you idiot.”

“Why don’t you cast a Patronus, Severus?” Evan’s gaze was so intense that Severus had to look away.

“Where will you go?”

“Doesn’t matter. I just wanted to say goodbye.”

Severus laughed bitterly. “Why bother?”

Evan didn’t answer him and Severus didn’t look up. He heard Evan pick up his bag, walk to the hall, don his cloak and stop at the door. Finally, unable to wait any longer, Severus looked up. He couldn’t quite make out Evan through the shadows but his voice came across with biting clarity. “I waited because some tiny part of me naively hoped that you might actually love me.”

Severus didn’t stop him as he left.

*~*~*~*

July 1978

“All units retreat. I repeat: all units retreat and regroup.”

Antonin’s command came through the small charmed mirrors that were used between officers for communication. Rowle raised his hand in signal to pull back. “Fall back!” he shouted over the wind, one hand gripping his broom. “To me, Purebloods. Fall ba—“ A jet of blue light came from somewhere within the closest cloud and Rowle was forced to roll his broom to avoid it. He shot several curses blind ahead of himself and looked around to see where everyone was. The Death Eaters rarely referred to themselves in those terms, preferring to use the more gallant reference to their blood. It also helped to insure focus on the true purpose – or so the propaganda specialists said.

The weather was awful for broom fighting but they needed air cover for their boys working on the ground. The Aurors hadn’t taken them by surprise per se but their arrival was speedier than calculated and presented some difficulties. Rowle was put in charge of the Young Guard for the mission and his position as a commanding officer was brand new for him so he watched somewhat nervously as the boys began to fall back into formation in pairs: Lestrange and Black, the Tallis boys, Snape and Pavlov, Rosier and Bonfante, Crouch and Avery… “Where are Mulciber and Wilkes?” Rowle demanded of the last pair coming in.

Jack Avery pointed ahead of them. He was panting hard and unable to form a single coherent sentence. “Mulciber was coming back but Wilkes was cornered and Mulciber Apparated in to help but the Aurors already had a blockade formed,” Crouch supplied.

“He had orders! No one stays back!” Rowle fumed. “Alright, follow me; we can’t wait.” They swept down in formation and joined up with the other air squads. Several minutes after they regrouped, Rowle received word from Mulciber who had been able to Apparate a wounded Wilkes to the med-bay. “Antonin, they’re safe.”

A haggard looking Antonin looked up frowning but didn’t comment. Evan, who had been watching for a reaction from Dolohov, now dropped his broom a level and flew up next to Severus who was trying to eavesdrop on the officers’ conversation.

“Sev?” Severus spun around to face Evan. His hood was down and his hair swept back by the wind. He looked more pale and solemn than usual but his eyes were bright and somewhat unsteady from the adrenaline. “You alright?”

Snape nodded curtly. “I’m alright. You, Evan?” Evan caught the way Severus’ eyes swept over him appraisingly and smiled softly with undeniable pleasure.

“I’m fine. I need you to make me a promise though, Sev.” Evan looked around to make sure no one was paying them much attention and flew a little closer to Severus so that their noses were almost touching. His hood was down as well and despite his ponytail the wind had managed to release some of Evan’s hair from its bonds and now played with the curls that fell over his forehead.

“What sort of promise?” Severus asked cautiously.

“I need…I need you to promise that you’ll never come back for me. Not at the risk of your own life.”

Snape frowned. “Because we have orders?”

“Not just tonight but always. I don’t want to be the reason for you getting hurt. Promise you will never come back for me.”

“Evan—“

“Promise?” Evan looked so tragically beautiful in that moment that Severus could barely breathe, not the mention – think.

Severus opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by a command from Antonin to form up. He looked around quickly, then back at Evan and said flatly, “I promise I’ll never go back for you.”

Something akin to disappointment flickered across Evan’s eyes but he only nodded and turned his broom away. Severus pulled up into his own assigned position which was across the formation from Evan. He tried to catch the other boy’s eyes but Rosier was looking straight ahead of himself. Severus huffed and returned his mind to the mission at hand.

Evan never brought it up again and Severus was glad he didn’t.

*~*~*~*

November 24, 1981

Latchteny had always been a completely wizarding town with no equivalent on a muggle map. Not a metropolitan like London, it was still an urban area with its own depraved downtown, Aurors’ unit, large share of back alleys and empty construction sites, as well as an underground Death Eaters’ base. Severus found himself on the outskirts of the town within moments of his conversation with Mulciber. All training forgotten, his mind raced and raged at the lack of information; the fear of imminent grief, like acid, ate away at him. Severus tasted bile and spat spitefully into the puddle of rainwater at his feet.

The rain in Latchteny was a nasty, cold drizzle. Severus would have almost preferred the definitive, hard downpoor of London. There was something mocking about the light caress of tiny water droplets against his feverishly hot skin as he Apparated from the main downtown plaza down to Main Street then to the post office and finally to the front door of the local Auror precinct. The newspapers were bright with headlines advertizing the death of Angelus Wilkes – poor Angel – and the speculated death of Evan Rosier.

..Speculated?

This happened from time to tine when Aurors were called into backup. After delivering a killing blow they were forced to Apparate and leave the body to deal with later. Severus let out a ragged breath, a sigh of hope that Evan might be wounded but not dead.

Snape portkeyed to their underground base only to find it in ruins – obviously evacuated and later raided. The meeting room was turned upside-down. Papers and maps were scattered over the floor, chairs were upturned, and large, black ink blobs expanded slowly over the large oak table from overturned inkwells. In the air hung a fine mist of floo powder. The lab had mostly been cleared out but what basic potions were left behind were spilled over the floor and splashed against the walls. Glass from the broken flasks and test tubes crunched loudly underfoot. The few other rooms had been wiped clean, whether by the Death Eaters or the Aurors, Severus couldn’t be sure. The whole survey couldn’t have taken more that five minutes but to Severus’ stretched nerves it seemed an eternity. He was about to leave with nothing when a crumbled up peace of parchment under the large table in the meeting room caught his eye. Severus Accio-ed and unfolded it. Evan’s loopy, extravagantly fancy cursive jumped out at him. The note read:

Severus,
Just in case: May 10, 1979.

*~*~*~*

May 10, 1979

Severus was stationed at the Latchteny base lab with a couple of young recruits to run several tests and also due to the large availability of pine in the approximate area that Snape utilized in some of his experimental potions. He didn’t stay at the base at night, though, returning to the apartment every evening in hopes that Evan might be there but he never was and it was starting to grate on Severus’ patience.

The meeting with Regulus had been arranged in one of the trashed, lonely alleys of the town’s outskirts. Jack Avery, the obvious mutual friend, had been highly unhelpful. The redhead had shrugged and drawled noncommittally, “I’ve seen Evan but I don’t know where he stays. Regulus might know.”

Regulus was waiting for him when Severus got to the alley connecting Lopside St. and Helena Drive. Regulus had an astounding ability to blend into the darkness. His black robes and cloak melted together with the shadows as did his silky, raven hair. Even the paleness of his skin turned an ashen grey and camouflaged against the concrete rather than glow treacherously. The only thing that gave him away were his virginally white gloves. “Severus, why the secrecy?” Regulus asked without prelude.

“Just convenient.”

“I’m sure the base—“

“I didn’t care to be interrupted,” Snape cut off curtly and Regulus clammed up, his cheeks puffing out in slight, aristocratic indignation. “Jack said you know where I can find Evan.”

Regulus tilted his head to the side, keeping his expression neutral. “Believing Avery wasn’t the best choice you ever made,” Regulus stated flatly.

Severus scoffed. “Don’t start with me, Black. Why won’t you tell me?”

Regulus shrugged. “I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t think Evan wants to see you, Severus.”

Snape tensed up and took a step into Regulus’ personal space making the younger boy back away. “Who’s side are you on, Reg?”

“I’m not on anyone’s side, Severus.”

“Then why won’t you tell me?” Snape’s eyebrows drew together and he looked altogether threatening. His hand gripped his wand and he drew with lightening speed, pushing the tip into Regulus’ chest. “Just tell me.”

Regulus sighed and reached out to push Severus’ wand away. His dark eyes studied Severus for a while. The pupils of those dark eyes seemed unnaturally dilated and still. “Promise me that if I tell you, you won’t approach Evan until he’s ready.”

Severus opened his mouth to say something snide and derogatory but blurted out instead, “I promise.”

“Evan’s staying with me.”

*~*~*~*

April 30, 1979

Within the depths of Headquarters, at the end of a long, dark hallway, two boys stood with their arms around each other, Evan had his arms locked securely around Severus’ shoulders and was nuzzling his neck, murmuring some nonsense about being in love. Severus hugged Evan close to him, both arms wound around the boy’s waist. His head was tilted back as he savored Evan’s enthusiastic gentleness. “Ev, we’re going to be late,” Severus drawled, though he didn’t seem at all willing to move from where they stood.

“Hmm.” Evan looked up and peered into Severus’ dark eyes with his own deep blue ones. “Can we continue at your place?”

Severus blew at the soft ringlets of brown hair falling over Evan’s forehead and into his eyes. He watched the silky curls dance softly before settling down once more. “Maybe.” Evan pouted adorably and Severus kissed him rapturously, pressing their bodies together. “We have to go,” he murmured against Evan’s lips.

Evan kissed his nose softly and withdrew slowly. “Alright, lets go.”

They came into the strategy room at a jog, Evan pushing open the double doors and Severus, close behind, shouldering past his lover to see what was going on. They had heard the excited voices from the other end of the hall and had increased their pace. Intelligence agents were coming in and out of the floo, Rodolphus Lestrange and Augustus Rookwood were potkeying in and out, Antonin was in the middle of it all, issuing orders as several young recruits magically burned the papers Lestrange and Rookwood were bringing in. In one corner, Lucius Malfoy was arguing with someone by means of a charmed mirror.

“What’s going on?” Severus demanded.

“Finally, you’re here. We’re running out of hands. We think the Aurors might have located our research facility in Liverpool. We’re trying to establish details but right now we need to clean things up as much as possibly.” Antonin rubbed his temples in a gesture of pure frustration. “Rosier, I need you on site with Igor and Ivan to help them clear out.” Antonin tossed Evan a portkey which he caught in an elegant, fluid motion. “Severus, send a Patronus to Greengrass and let him know that we need him and Burke immediately. Then look through this potions catalog and see what we absolutely must evacuate, what we must destroy and what we can leave if we have to.” Snape took the stack of parchment from Dolohov and answered curtly that he understood.

Evan had retreated into the back of the room to not be in the way. He turned to watch Severus send his Patronus. He had never seen his lover’s Patronus and curiosity won over urgency. The snide part of him guessed it was a crow or maybe a raven. What formed out of Severus’ wand, however, was a dainty doe. Evan stared stupidly at the doe as it was sent on its way with a flick of Severus’ wand. Evan’s mind howled in heartbroken furry: Lily Evans! He loves Lily!

After watching the Patronus go, Severus looked around and encountered Evan’s accusing eyes. “What?” he mouthed. Evan looked at him for another moment then shook his head and portkeyed away. Severus took up the potions catalogue.

Evan didn’t show up at the apartment that night.

*~*~*~*

May 27, 1979

Sex with Malfoy was nothing like sex with Evan. Severus felt lost and out of place in the large expanses of Malfoy Manor where portraits of Malfoys past stared down from portraits hung along lengthy, spacious hallways. Severus felt naked before he even reached the bedroom. With Narcissa away visiting relatives, there was no need to be quiet of secretive about anything. Lucius liked it best that way. To him what happened on the large, luxurious, four-poster bed in the Malfoy master bedroom was not adultery but a way to relieve stress and find some adventure. “I hate having to be secretive about petty things. This can never be compared to what is between Narcissa and I. That’s like comparing a Pureblood and a muggle – ridiculous,” Lucius would drawl, lounging back in a high-backed armchair, sipping at the fine brandy in his glass. Severus would bite down on his hatred and anger at being used, savoring, instead, the delusional concept of revenge he had formulated in his mind. If Evan wanted to stay with Regulus – fine. He would stay with Lucius. He would stay with Lucius, fuck with Lucius, and completely – completely – forget how utterly and pathetically jealous he was.

Finding Evan on the couch in the living room of the apartment gave Severus such a nasty shock when he came in through the floo one night, that he almost hexed the boy. Evan stood slowly and waved his wand, lighting the candles along the walls and in the lamps. “Hello,” he said quietly.

“Evan,” Snape huffed, lowering his wand. “What are you doing here? I haven’t seen you for days and now you suddenly show up in the middle of the night?”

Evan didn’t answer, instead rushed toward Severus and threw his arms around the other boy. “I’m sorry. I needed to deal with some things. I was told you’ve been trying to reach me.”

Severus put his hands on Evan’s shoulders and took a step back so he could look into Evan’s eyes. “Next time, tell me why you’re pissed off first and disappear after, alright?”

Evan nodded eagerly and pressed in for a kiss. Severus was about to fall into the gentleness of Evan’s touch, the softness that had been missing in Malfoy’s forceful and controlling ministrations when Evan withdrew with a look of confusing. “You taste like cherries?” It was more of a question then a statement. “You hate cherries.”

Severus winced inwardly. Lucius had a kink involving red berries. He found nothing to say and attempted to distract Evan with a kiss. He didn’t want to have to explain away his insane two weeks with Lucius.

Evan didn’t let Severus deter him and continued to look the boy over. His eyes alighted on something and he plucked a long, blonde hair from Severus’ robes. Evan’s eyes narrowed then darkened. He pushed Severus away with a look of disgust. “Malfoy! You were with Malfoy?”

“We’re friends; I saw him today,” Severus shot back, trying, and failing, to sound unconcerned.

“Oh you are, are you?” The sarcasm in Evan’s tone did not suit him. “You saw him and ate cherries – which you hate – and drank fine brandy by the fireplace. Oh, and Narcissa just happened to be away with family.”

“Yes?”

“Unfortunately for you, Severus, too many people know of Lucius’ bedroom habits.” Evan reached out and flicked back Severus’ long hair to reveal the bite mark on the lobe of his ear. “His drinking habits too. Have you ever seen Malfoy drink brandy unless he’s on his way to ‘happy hour?’”

Something inside Severus snapped and he was certain that a little more and steam would be literally coming out of his ears. “Yes, Evan, yes. I slept with Lucius. But what about you? Regulus told me!”

“What did he tell you, Severus?” There was almost something condescending in Evan’s voice.

“That you were ‘staying’ with him. Don’t even try to tell me you weren’t fucking him.”

Evan stared in amazement for a moment then laughed, tossing his head back then shaking it slowly from side to side. “No, Severus, I wasn’t fucking him.” The strained smile faded. “But now I have no reason not to.”

*~*~*~*

September 1978

The crowded street of muggle London in the middle of the day was not a place one would usually find Severus Snape. However, Lily Evans was a regular at one of the small cafés lined up along the street, attracting tourists with their picturesque tables with bright red umbrellas or posters depicting scrumptious-looking icecream masterpieces and other deserts. Lily Evans was what brought Severus to the particular muggle street on that hot September afternoon.

He watched from across the street, hidden under a disillusionment charm and a pair of shades, as the pretty young witch with her long, auburn hair pulled into a ponytail and clad in typical muggle dress – jeans and a white blouse – indulged in a chocolate and caramel icecream cone. He waited until Lily had paid and prepared to leave to stand himself and cross the street. He followed her until she turned onto a small side street. He looked around then Apparated directly behind her and grabbed her arm. “Lily.”

She cried out and turned to face him. Severus didn’t let go of her wrist but wrenched off his shades. Lily opened her mouth as though to scream.

“Lily, I just want to talk,” Severus blurted out quickly.

For a moment Lily’s mouth remained open but then she closed it and wriggled her wrist out of Severus’ hold. “What is there to talk about, Severus?” Her voice was cold and Snape flinched and almost looked away. It hurt so much to have lost her – his best and truest friend. He needed her to understand but he didn’t think she would understood or that he could find the right words to explain.

“Lily, I… I wish we didn’t have to hate each other—No listen to me. I know, I know that you’re marrying Potter and that you’re muggle born—“

“A mudblood you mean,” Lily sneered contemptuously.

“Lily, listen,” Severus pleaded, frustration and emotional exertion making droplets of sweat stand out on his forehead. “I never wanted to hurt you. It’s not about you. You’re wonderful and amazing and always my best friend and I will always love you. You didn’t want to listen when I tried to talk to you back at school but you have to understand that I have to be with them. It has to be like this.”

“Does it?” Lily asked quietly, her voice losing its hard edge. “You can still change your mind, Sev. Just because you were in Slytherin—“

“There is no ‘were’ in Slytherin. Once in you’re never out.”

“Whatever.” She waved her hand in dismissal. Of course, a Gryffindor could never understand. “Whatever they – your Slytherin friends – brainwashed you with, it’s all just lies, Sev. Don’t you understand that? Why are you with them when you could be with me and with the Truth?” She continued talking but Severus wasn’t listening, his mind was racing he was trying to make sense of everything, to explain why he believed in the Cause, why in the end the Death Eaters won out but all he could think, all that came to his mind was... “—Voldemort’s a monster, an evil, manipulative—“

“Because I love him!”

Lily froze, her face contorting in something much deeper than distaste. She backed away from him, both hands held out in front of her as though warding off an attack. “You’re disgusting,” she forced out before Disapparating away. Lily had thought that Severus meant Voldemort.

Severus had meant Evan.

*~*~*~*

November 24, 1981

Severus ran through the half-empty streets of Latchteny, tripping over uneven cobblestones and gasping for breath. He couldn’t Apparate to that alley in which he had spoken with Regulus because he simply couldn’t quite recall how the place looked. Sprinting along Helena Drive, the thought that this was all in vane, that Evan was dead and the Aurors had come back to clean up after themselves long ago tortured Severus’ already blistering mind. He did not understand how Evan had known exactly where he and Regulus had met, why he remembered at all, but this was the only lead that he had to go on.

The alley was just as trashed, narrow and dank as it had been when he had met there with Regulus in ’79. Severus’ heart raced. He looked around himself with despair at the strewn scraps of wrappers and broken glass bottles… Off to one side in a niche in the wall of one of the buildings was a large lump of dark material very much like a heaped cloak.

“Evan!” Severus rushed forward, dropping down to his knees before the lump of dark fabric and drawing back the hood.

Evan lay face down, curled up into a ball, in a pink puddle of rainwater mixed with blood. His hair was tousled and soaking wet, some of the strands glued together with bloody clots. His breathing was ragged and shallow – barely there. Severus turned him over gently to find the front of his robes torn to strips and soaked with blood. “Merlin,” Severus breathed. “Evan, can you hear me?”

Evan opened his eyes slowly, squinting even in the dim light of the rainy afternoon. His eyelids were heavy and swollen so Severus could only catch glimpses of Evan’s beautiful, dark blue eyes.

Snape let out a growl and scooped Evan up into his arms. A flick of the wand: “Stesio.” Evan let out a weak sigh of relief as the pain faded. Encouraged, Severus tore open his robes and undershirt to reveal the long, deep gashes across Evan’s chest. Not Sectumsempra but something a lot like it. Severus didn’t have an exact countercurse so he began a chain of generic healing enchantments. The wounds began to close up but very slowly. Just as the blood began to clot the very rain seemed to make it flow again. Severus viciously bit down on his lower lip in frustration. He ran his wand down Evan’s body, running a diagnostic.

Evan wouldn’t survive an Apparation. Probably not even a trip via portkey. And Severus didn’t have a single potion on him; he cursed himself for his own shortsightedness. Raising his wand, Snape prepared to plunge into a new string of healing enchantments but was stopped by a slight but insistent tugging on his sleeve. “What, Evan?” he asked, trying to keep the panic out of his voice. “You’re going to be ok, just let me fix some stuff up and then I can get you out of here.”

Evan attempted a smile. “You know that’s a lie.”

“Yes, well, I’m good at those,” Severus admitted bitterly.

“It’s over, Sev,” Evan whispered, letting his head loll to one side where it could rest more comfortably against Severus’ chest. “Don’t waste your energy.”

“It’s not over!”

“It is,” Evan insisted just as softly.

“Evan, I won’t let you give up.”

“Oh, Sev.” A pained smile tugged at the corners of Evan’s mouth. “You’ve never been able to leave well enough alone. When will you understand that you can’t always fix everything and everyone. That you can’t always make things right. I know-I know that’s all you ever wanted – to matter, to mean something to someone. To be the hero.”

Severus choked back a sob. Evan knew him too well. Knew his desire to be loved – something he never go at home because his father drank too much to care and his mother loved Tobias too much to notice. Knew about his desire to be noticed, admired, appreciated – Potter always was and he always wasn’t. Knew just how much he wanted to make his world right – for a poor halfblood with limited social skills that was quite a hurdle to overcome. Evan knew and understood everything. And now Severus was losing the one person who understood him and believed in him. “You can’t leave me, Evan,” he forced out through clenched teeth as the traitorous tears began to sting at the corners of his eyes. Evan didn’t answer and Severus shook him slightly, fear clenching like an iron belt around his chest.

Evan blinked slowly up at him. “Sev, why did you leave me? Why did you go with them?”

Severus stifled another sob and looked mournfully down at Evan, one hand twining in Evan’s soaked curls. “Because-Because I was losing faith. Seeing you at all those balls… Eventually you would settle down and get married and have children. You would be happy without me and as much as I hated it I knew that I couldn’t possibly deserve you. You could have anyone you wanted. I wanted to protect your happiness and I didn’t think that under Voldemort that could happen, no matter who won. Then Lily was targeted and she was my best friend, like a sister. The ideal woman – you know? If we were both Purebloods I would have chosen her to be my wife. When I went to Dumbledore I told him that I would give him anything in return for Lily’s safety. Lily’s and yours. No matter the outcome.”

“Did he agree?” Evan asked. His eyes were losing focus and fogging up.

“He did. But he lied.”

Evan sighed. “Lily was betrayed, Sev, and the Aurors don’t listen to anyone but Moody. Moody doesn’t-doesn’t listed to-to anyone. I fought him today. Took part of his nose.”

Severus couldn’t help the vicious, vengeful smile that spread over his face. It faded quickly as he suddenly realized that Evan was shaking. Severus shrugged off his cloak and bundle Evan up in the extra layer of cloth. It didn’t help much. “I’m so sorry, Ev,” he whispered, leaning down to kiss Evan’s forehead and lips. I’m so sorry.”

Evan kissed his mouth softly, gently, savoring the last moments of life as they melted away as quickly as a child’s icecream cone on a hot summer day. “I love you, Severus,” he whispered against Snape’s lips.

“I love you too, Evan. I—Evan? Evan!” Evan’s head lolled limply to the side and his eyes closed helplessly. He took one more breath, made one more desperate move to press himself closer to Severus then stilled. “Evan, no, Evan, come back! Ev, don’t leave me!” Severus finally lost his battle against the tears and they spilled from his eyes and over his face. “Evan, I need you, damn it. Evan, wake up.” His demands remained hopelessly unanswered. The rain hardened to a smashing downpour and Severus’ voice hitched and faded into pleading. “Please, Evan, please don’t go. Don’t go…” He held the body of his lover tightly against his chest, face buried in Evan’s hair. “Merlin, why? Why me?” The realization was crushing – he had lost the one thing in his life that had always, despite anything and everything, been perfect.

*~*~*~*

December 1976.

Severus wished he had accepted Evan’s offer to stay for Christmas back when it was made. That way he wouldn’t come dropping out of the fireplace right in the middle of the Rosier Christmas Eve ball in his ragtag robes and a darkening bruise under one eye. Evan had noticed him right away and, grabbing his arm, pulled him out of the ballroom into the dimly lit hallway. “You look awful,” Evan declared, fighting a smile. “How long did you debate with yourself whether to come here or stay at home?”

“Too long,” Severus muttered, ears turning red in embarrassment. He felt incredibly uncomfortable standing with Evan like that, in the heart of Rosier Manor – an estate that had few equals in wizarding Britain. Evan looked much the part of a rich Pureblood – expensive, midnight-blue dress robes, pure-white gloves, leather boots, curls tamed and sleeked back by a styling potion, flawless, fair skin and delicate, somewhat boyish features. At school he could pretend that he and Evan were equals but here, like this, he felt the full weight of his insignificance.

If Evan noticed his discomfort he didn’t say anything of it. “Come on, lets get that bruise fixed up.” He took Severus’ hand like it was the simplest, most natural thing in the world to do and pulled him down the hall and up a white marble staircase, then down the hall into his private rooms. “You need a shower?” Evan nodded toward the bathroom.

For a moment, Severus had a flash of himself and Evan under the hot water of the shower. Evan was running both hands down his body and over his hips as Severus devoured his mouth with passionate kisses. Shaking his head, Snape attempted to return to reality. “No, I just…” He pointed to the bruise under his eye and the smaller bruises along his jaw. “I’d do it myself, but your hand would be steadier at the moment.”

Evan nodded seriously. He took out his wand and cast the healing spells. The marks on Severus’ face faded almost completely. “You need a Stesio?”

“No, I had a soothing potion on hand. I feel ok.”

Evan nodded just as seriously and put his wand away. “Well, we’ve got two options. Either, I get you a proper robe and we go down to the ball like decent people would do, or…”

“Or?”

“I could have the house elves bring us something and we stay up here.”

Severus really did not want to go down but he had to ask: “Any of our lot here?”

“Only Regulus and Rabastan.”

“Lets stay here, Ev.” They did. Evan had wine and dinner brought up, followed directly by tea and jam rolls. They sat on Evan’s large bed and talked about everything that came to mind. Unused to the wine, Severus felt his head fog up quite quickly and before he knew it, he lay on his back with his head pillowed on Evan’s shoulder. Somewhere in the depths of the next room an antique clock began to chime. Midnight.

“Merry Christmas, Sev.”

Severus smiled drunkenly. “Merry Christmas, Ev.”

Accio Severus’ present,” Evan drew out, waving his wand in a sloppy figure that, as an Academy boy, he should have been ashamed of. Severus, on his part, felt guilty for being present-less. Evan handed him a small, dark-blue box. Severus opened it carefully to find a portkey locket inside. He looked up cautiously. “It’s to here,” Evan explained. “This way you can come any time.”

Too overwhelmed to say anything and too drunk to stop himself, Severus kissed Evan squarely on the mouth. Evan answered him without a moment’s hesitation as though they’d been doing this for years.

To Severus, their first kiss wasn’t accompanied by fireworks of reeling fascination; just a feeling that everything was finally falling into place.

*~*~*~*

December 1981

Severus managed to convince Dumbledore to arrange a meeting for him with Andre Rosier who had been sentenced at the beginning of the month. Speaking with Evan’s brother wasn’t as hard as he thought it would be. He told Andre that Evan had fought and died like a hero and that he’d received a quiet but heartfelt burial.

What Severus didn’t tell him was that he had practically kidnapped Evan’s body and taken it to a beautiful patch of wooded land where he and Evan would often go to spend some time together. He had buried Evan beside a lively stream, underneath a large, branching willow. He didn’t tell Andre of how he had stood there, over Evan’s freshly maid grave, soaking underneath the rain but no longer feeling the sting of cold water on his skin as it mixed with salty tears and washed over his face. “Evan, I swear…” he’d whispered into the emptiness. “I will never forget.”

In return, Andre had told him that Evan’s first letter home from Hogwarts had been full of a boy named Severus Snape.

*~*~*~*

September 1, 1971

“Hi!”

“Um, hello.”

“Sorry I didn’t catch your name. I’m Evan.”

“Severus. Severus Snape.”

“Great. You mind if I take this bed?”

“Um…no.”

“You want a chocolate frog?”

“Ah, sure. Thanks.”

“You don’t talk much, hm? That’s ok; dad says I talk enough to account for all of first year.”

A tentative smile. “…You interested in potions?”

“Kind of. But I’m more interested in Old Magic. You know they’ve got a restricted section in the library? I want to sneak in and see what’s in there. You want to come with?”

An eager nod.

A bright smile. “I think we’re going to be great friends, Severus.”

“Yea.” Barely audibly: “I bet.”