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The Grudge

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Chapter 1 - Prologue

Lily has always been my life, well since we met at the age of nine, I saw her perform some accidental magic, I watched her for such a long time, hoping that I might pluck up the courage to talk to her, hoping that I might be her friend. To say I was in love with her then would be corny, but maybe it's true. One day I did pluck up the courage to talk to her, I had seen her and her sister playing, watched her make a flower flutter open over and over again. Her sister didn't know how she had done it, that's when I spoke.

"It's obvious, isn't it?" I had said, no longer able to keep quiet.

"What's obvious?" She asked, her red her flowing in the light breeze, her eyes filled with curiosity.

"I know what you are," I whispered so only she could hear.

"What do you mean?"

"You're... you're a witch," I replied, whispering with a smile, but she looked upset.

"That's not a very nice thing to say to somebody!" she turned her nose in the air and marched off towards her mundane sister, I was a little afraid, would this mean I would never have the chance to speak to her again.

"No!" I had shouted back to her, I needed to make things clear, they both looked angry, disapproving of me, how I looked and what I had said. "You are," I spoke looking directly into her green eyes, "You are a witch. I've been watching you for a while. But there's nothing wrong with that. My mum's one, and I'm a wizard." She still looked rather shocked. Her sister Petunia laughed, it was a cold and harsh laugh.

"Wizard!" she shrieked, she seemed so courageous now, "I know who you are. You're that Snape boy! They live down Spinner's End by the river," The area was not the best and it was clear that Petunia wanted to highlight this to her sister. "Why have you been spying on us?" she asked.

"Haven't been spying," I replied, I felt hot and uncomfortable, self-conscious, "Wouldn't spy on you anyway," I continued, my spite at the horrible sister coming through, I had never liked her, "You're a Muggle." She knew my tone, maybe not the word, she knew I meant nothing nice by it.

"Lily, come on, we're leaving!" Her shrill voice ordering her younger sister, Lily had obeyed glaring at me as she left. I had been planning to speak to her for so long. It had all gone so horribly wrong.

It all worked out in the end, Lily found that she could do these little bits of magic and she soon sought me out, she was so hungry for information, we talked about every aspect of the magical world I could think of; Hogwarts, The Ministry of Magic, even Azkaban. We grew to be very close before we even got to Hogwarts. She was my best friend. It didn't work out so well for her and Petunia, she was jealous and mean, it was worse after she sent that letter to Professor Dumbledore, but I swore even then I would protect her, even from Tuney.

Things were more complex as we went to Hogwarts. I realised that on the train, we sat with two other boys, James Potter and Sirius Black. Naturally, we were all first years and the conversation turned to which house we would be in.

"I'm going to be in Gryffindor where dwell the brave of heart!" James declared "Just like my father!"

"Sure if you want to be brawny rather than brainy" was my response. The boy Sirius spoke to, for a second we could have been allies, but no.

"My whole family have been in Slytherin for years," he said, James looked shocked.

"And I thought you seemed alright" James laughed, the boy, Sirius, smiled mischievously

"Perhaps I will break tradition!"

The train ride took a drastic turn, the boys were both rather rude, they took an instant dislike to me, and this is when my rather famed nickname was born; 'Snivellus'. Lily stood by me though, that felt great, the boys there were bright and happy, they were what one might consider normal, the popular type, surely this was what she would prefer as her friends, but no, she chose me and I would choose her.

Before I knew it we had arrived and getting off the train, the first thing we heard was a huge man shouting for the first years, Lily and I got into a boat with the two boys from before, things had not improved much. The boats glided along the lake and I got my first glimpse of Hogwarts, the worries slipped away, this is what I had wanted for years, this was my escape, this was me finally being 'home'. Lily beside me was just as excited and she clasped my hand tightly.

"This is going to be great Sev" she whispered, her beautiful green eyes alive with excitement.

The boats glided under an archway covered in a curtain of ivy, soon we were in a large stone entryway, out of the boats we all waited, and then we were met by a rather stern looking witch, she introduced herself as Professor McGonnagal. She introduced us to the different houses. There was more waiting, but all too soon she led us into the hall. The Great Hall was wonderous, the sky in the ceiling, the floating candles, it was just like my dreams, we had already known so much, Lily had gotten the book; 'Hogwarts: A History' and we had spent the last month devouring it together. We even the heard the Sorting Hat sing a song about the different houses. I knew where I was likely to be placed, Slytherin, it seemed almost like a done deal to me, I stood and watched patiently as names were called out, and before long I felt that our friendship was over.

"Lily Evans" Called Professor McGonnagal.

Lily walked slowly up to the stool and sat down. The Professor sat the hat on her head and everything was quiet for a little while, my heart pounded in my chest, desperately hoping. 'Please say Slytherin, Please say Slytherin'

"GRYFFINDOR!" The hat shouted and the table where the boy Sirius Black sat erupted in cheers and soon enough James Potter followed. I felt her slip away even as I watched her happily walk over to the table and sit right next to him.

I knew I would never be in Gryffindor, I knew I was Slytherin through and through, I also knew that Slytherins and Gryffindors don't exactly get along. She sat there next to the boy from the train. A boy I didn't like. A boy that hated me already. The one that was so proud to be a Gryffindor, just like his perfect little daddy! Some of us didn't have perfect dads to model ourselves after, some of us just did the best we could with what we had, and I am ashamed to say it now, but even then I was bitter, I gave him a chance about as much as he gave me one. It didn't help that I was painfully jealous of him and all that he had. The rest of the sorting was a blur, that is until she called out my name; "Severus Snape" I made my way up to the stool, I wanted to be with her, but I also didn't want to be a Gryffindor, I didn't want to lose her, she wasn't just my best friend, she was my only friend.

"SLYTHERIN" It called and my grief was mingled with joy, I was finally happy to be here, away from home and away from my family but with that joy came the stab of separation, I was separated from the one good thing I had at home, she was the light in the darkness and that light seemed to travel further away.

Much to my surprise, our friendship flourished despite being sorted into opposing houses, myself in Slytherin and Lily in Gryffindor. It wasn't plain sailing, we had our ups and downs and sometimes the less than savoury friends I kept caused problems with Lily. I had tried to explain;

"Lily, If I'm honest, I don't have much of a choice here, and I need friends in my house,"

"Severus, they aren't nice people, they cursed Mary" she had whispered, Mary was a friend of hers and I knew that they had done it, there was no question, they were in even proud of it.

"I'm sorry, I'll try and get them to stop, but you understand right, the way that James Potter and his friends are after me, I can't have people after me in Slytherin as well!" I remember how her eyes had softened, how she realised just how bad it was for me at Hogwarts.

"You know I have your back right!" she urged me to see it, and I knew Lily always had my back, but it wasn't the same having her stick up for me, as having a bunch of lads having my back. It was less humiliating, but I couldn't explain that to her.

Macnair and Avery weren't good for me and Lily, they hated her, she hated them. She had a good reason, they boasted about being Purebloods and how they were better than the rest, they called her a 'Mudblood'. There was such a buzz in Slytherin about joining the Pureblood movement, whatever wackjob inbred family were doing now. For me, there was a kind of glamour to it, the idea of belonging, and somehow they didn't mind that I was a half-blood, the fact that I despised my father helped, I never belonged anywhere before, I had wanted to belong at Hogwarts, but I missed out on that too, they offered something that I craved.

As we got older things changed more so. I was definitely in love now, she was the most beautiful girl in Hogwarts, no one would question it, especially James Potter, he had his eye on the prize for sure, and this somehow led to an increase on his 'pranks'. I wanted so much more than being Lily's 'best friend'. Her smile made me weak at the knees, her eyes; Merlin, they were the only things worth looking at. But at the same time, the pressure in Slytherin was too much to bear and then the pressure from Lily to show her that this wasn't who I was, and I swear that it wasn't who I was then, and it's not who I am now, I could see that she needed it, I wanted to give it, but the Slytherins needed me to commit to them, the Slytherin Purebloods. I needed to feel like I belonged, they openly offered it to me, and there was a family, the Lestranges, they were starting to act on things, and the Slytherins, they wanted me to be that. I needed it because I needed to survive Hogwarts if I alienated them, I felt that there would be nowhere else to turn, there wouldn't be a safe place for me. I felt like I was being split in half.

In the fifth year, I finally felt like I wasn't being split apart anymore, things finally changed, that pressure, being pulled in two different directions it ended. What sweet relief and yet it looked like the dream was over; we had just finished our Defence O.W.L's, It was the Marauders again, they still loved to torment me, really there was no maturing them. I gave as good as I got, I wasn't going to take it lying down, but today I was absorbed in my exam; I was just sat looking through the questions when I heard them approaching, bragging.

"This'll liven you up, Padfoot," said James, his voice was quiet, "Look who it is…" That was when I should have got myself prepared, however, I was engrossed and not paying much attention.

"Excellent," he said softly. "Snivellus." I hated that name, it made my blood boil, I lost control when they called me that. Luckily, today it wasn't really on my radar, so at least I had the higher ground in not starting this fight. I heard them approached and finally, I had the good sense to stand up and leave, but I was still too late.

"All right, Snivellus?" said James loudly, he was cocky, arrogant, handsome, and everything I wasn't. Star of the Quidditch team, how could 'Snivellus' compare with that, what would Lily ever see in Snivellus when there was James Potter. This is what ran through my mind when they approached me, this is why I was too slow. "Expelliarmus!" He shouted, my wand, my lifeline, flew twelve feet into the air, it fell on the grass just behind him.

Things just got worse from there, there was an Impedimenta Jinx as I failed to get my wand back, I had no defence, then students began to crowd around, to watch me, they all looked amused, maybe it's my point of view, Lily later told me that they weren't all against me, but this is what I saw. Me alone surrounded by enemies, no defence.

"How'd the exam of, Snivelly?" James taunted, messing up his hair as he went.

"I was watching him, his nose was touching the parchment," Sirius added, smirking, oozing charm, I hated him. "There'll be great grease marks all over it, they won't be able to read a word" I tried to get up, but the Jinx wasn't letting up at all. I continued to fight, to struggle against the ropes that bound me.

"You - wait," I panted, exhausted from fighting the bindings, I stared at his arrogant face, loathing every inch of him. "You - wait!" Oh yes, I felt only the purest loathing for James Potter.

"Wait for what?" said Sirius coolly. "What're you going to do, Snivelly, wipe your nose on us?" I couldn't help myself, a string of interesting swear words flew from my mouth, all control was gone. That's when they felt they had the higher ground I suppose because my foul mouth was so much worse than the blatant bullying and torment of a fellow student, they hit my mouth with Scourgify, soap filled my mouth and it tasted disgusting. It was then that she stepped in.

"Leave him alone" She stood in front of me, defended me, as strained as things were she never abandoned me, not yet. In hindsight, this should have elated me, it was a sign that she saw me, that I was still held higher on her list than Potter. But at the time all I felt was embarrassment and shame, this is what happens when boys start to really notice girls, they stop thinking, completely. I don't really recall what they said to one another, and before I knew it was yelling at her that I didn't need her help.

I only realised the damage I had done as she finally walked away "Fine" she said coolly. "I won't bother in future." And with that, she stalked off. They continued to taunt me of course, but that was the end of what I would consider being my worst memory, the moment I believed I had lost her forever. Believing that I had lost her probably saved my life.

I of course went and apologised, but it meant nothing, they were, after all, hollow words, so with my apology, I promised action. "I'm Sorry." I urged I had waited outside the Gryffindor Portrait for so long.

"I'm not interested."

"I'm Sorry!"

"Save your breath," I remember her in the dressing gown as she stood there outside her common room, her body language was furious. "I only came out because Mary told me toy were threatening to sleep out here."

"I was, I would have done, I never meant to speak to you like that, to tell you to leave! that word… It just…"

"Slipped out?" Her face was hurt, I could see it, she never hid anything. "It's too late. I've made excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Lestrange friends - you see, you don't even deny it! You don't even deny that you want to join their filthy cause can you?"

"I don't want that, they do, I promise I don't" I looked at her, willing her to see me. "You're right, I don't deserve a second chance, and I know I am further on than that" I paused, my throat catching, knowing that she was doing the right thing, cutting herself off from me, that it was what was best for her, but I was going to beg anyway. I got on my knee's "I would give them all up, my Slytherin friends, the cause means nothing to me, nothing, I just wanted to feel like I belonged" I felt it then, how pathetic I really was. "Sorry isn't enough, I know that I need to show you, I would happily belong nowhere just to be your friend" I finally had the courage to look up, her eyes, there was still no pity in them, but there was warmth.

"You have to drop it all" She spoke sternly despite her warm eyes, "And you drop them, there can be no more compromise Severus" and with that, she turned and left.

And there was never anymore compromise. I was a rare Slytherin. I rarely ate in the Great Hall, only when I had to, I sought solitude with Lily whenever I could, outside of lessons I was with her. It wasn't long before there were other Gryffindor friends. They were all so different from myself, but they were warm and most of them accepted me for who I was. The Marauder problem was still there, but there was Frank Longbottom now, he was older, but he had my back until he graduated at the end of my sixth year. His example did a lot for me. I was still part of the 'Slug Club' but now I got to know Slytherins who were not of the same mind as those in my year.

It wasn't all smooth sailing, a friendship with Macnair and Avery wasn't lightly thrown aside and I spent more nights in the Hospital Wing, and by halfway through my sixth year, I was using the Room of Requirement to sleep if things got too rough.

Lily didn't need much time to let go, she always offered protection, but it took time to get the closeness that we had before the strain, and once I got it back, it only grew closer. I also needed the help of the teachers. That was something I didn't want, Lily insisted and dragged me kicking and screaming to Dumbledores office. I think he finally understood what it was like being a Slytherin at Hogwarts, the pressure that we felt and how hard it was not to follow the 'easy path'. I won't deny, going that way would have been so much easier, but I could see everything I held dear slipping out of my fingers that way. She really is everything I hold dear, well until later, later there were other things, but we will get there.

I was made Prefect in my sixth year, and that bit of authority helped, it also helped others, so they didn't end up on the path I had ended up on. I was even brought to special defensive lessons with some select students, and in the seventh year, I had been made Head Boy and Lily Head Girl. We were closer than ever at this point, I loved her so much I could burst.

I had finally pulled myself together to ask her out on a date and bloody hell, she said yes. I remember this day particularly clearly, the following weekend was a Hogsmeade weekend, and we were doing homework under 'our' tree. It was early in the school year and there was a blanket of snow starting to fall. The only way we survived in the tree was a series of charms and enchantments we had around the tree keeping it warm and dry. The blanket I brought out with us wrapped around our legs. Her hair fell in her face as she read the chapter we were studying for Potions, a slight frown on her face as she concentrated.

"Lily" I swallowed hard, nerves threatening to take over, I needed some Gryffindor bravery, I needed to be a bold Gryffindor. Now bravery, I can do that, I had gotten used to it by now, but bold, something I was not.

"Whats up Sev?" she looked up at me smiling, and like I said, her smile makes me weak at the knee's, to this day it sends me spinning.

"I wondered, and honestly if you don't want to that's fine too" I stumbled

"Sev, just ask the bloody question" She laughed

"I want to take you to Hogsmeade next weekend" I blurted out.

"Sev, we always go to Hogsmeade together" She smiled confusedly

"No, I want to take you to Hogsmeade, maybe we could go to Madam Puddifuts?" My blood boiled, not from anger, but pure nerves and embarrassment, I could feel my sallow face turning beetroot red!

"But you hate Madam Puddifuts, you said and I'm quoting 'for silly boys with no imagination to take girls on a date'"

"Considering I'm too nervous to use my imagination, I would like to revise my earlier comment" Then she looked up at me, her expression changed

"Are you?" she began,

"Yes, but like I said, if you don't want to that's ok too, we can go somewhere disgusting like the Hogshead and I'll die a painful death in the friend zone!" I tried to joke, but my heart was well and truly on the line now.

She never responded, to this day she hasn't really said anything to that question, and the subsequent statements, she simply got up on her knees and planted the most heavenly kiss imaginable on my lips, I gathered I was ok to assume I could take her to Madam Puddifuts after that.

And just like that, I had hope in a hopeless world. Lily did become anxious, the pressure started again, they had never left me alone, but as I was due to leave Hogwarts, deemed a strong and capable wizard, and highly proficient potioneer, the Lestranges pursued me to no end. But I had a collection of friends now, even Remus, a former Marauder no less. How that happened, however, is a whole other story. Let's just say Remus didn't take to Sirius tricking me into walking in on him mid-transformation too well.

Maybe I was far too outspoken about the Lestranges, I hated the pressure that they all came under because of the house that they belonged to. Slytherin did not need to mean 'prejudice' I feared for younger students that were impressionable and often looked up to those that used the word 'Mudblood' a little too freely, so many were like me, needing to belong somewhere, and they got it. This is what was responsible for my frequent trips to the Hospital Wing, eventually Professor Dumbledore even offered me separate quarters for protection, I declined thinking of the younger students and wanting them to have a strong and positive Slytherin role model, they seemed so rare, and there is nothing in our make-up that says we must be prejudice. My seventh year was far to like Romeo and Juliet for my liking, even without the prejudice, Slytherins and Gryffindors did not date. It didn't just come from Slytherins either, there were many Gryffindors, including the rest of the Marauders, who felt that I was simply defiling the beautiful Gryffindor Rose. But it bonded me with Lily more than ever and it was in this pressure that us the strong foundation, I deeply love Lily, to this day. I thank the cause for pursuing me, for making it so hard, it was a great foundation for our marriage. Though that happened after we left Hogwarts.

The only protection I had ever accepted from Dumbledore was the specialised lessons in Occlumency and Legilimency. I became quite proficient and this enabled me to work with him many interesting ways. I was subsequently joined the 'cause' It took a lot of working my way up to the Lestrange brothers, Bellatrix, the wife, never trusted me, but I was able to get Professor Dumbledore exactly what he needed to end the cause, I prevented a muggle attack on Lily's parents, that's when I was found out and tortured, but that was ok, I survived, the 'cause' was ended, I know others are likely to pick it up, prejudice won't die out so easily.

It was as I was lying in the hospital wing, having just returned to Dumbledore, that I asked Lily a burning question, we would graduate in mere days, and I wanted her to do that with a ring on her finger. I lay on the bed, exhausted and I heard her running down the halls getting closer. I saw her rush through the doors her brilliant red hair flying behind her, my Lily.

"Sev!" She rushed straight to my side, her hands clasping mine in an instant, "Oh, look at you!"

"I'm fine, I mean who hasn't taken a good dose of the Cruciatus Curse these days?" I smiled, all I wanted to do was set her mind at ease.

"Whoever said Slytherins couldn't be brave needs to meet you" She smiled, I just about managed to reach my hand behind her neck and pull her towards me, capturing her lips, my all time favourite thing to do.

"I love you" I smiled at her

"I love you too"

"That's great, but I'm trying to say something here!" she giggled, "I love you so much, you have no idea, I wish you could see it, I wish you could see what I think of you, there are no words for it, I love you doesn't cover how I feel, you are everything" Tears filled her eyes at this point and I knew she got the hint, she knew exactly where I was going, but that didn't matter, only the answer mattered. "I want to take care of you for the rest of our lives, just like you have taken care of me, Lily will you marry me?"

Her delicate pink lips spread into a glorious smile as the tears fell down her cheeks, her head nodding furiously.

"Say it" I whisper into her ear

"Yes, I'll marry you!" Her smile somehow grew.

"Help me up" and I'm no longer ashamed to need her, to have her stand up for me, to have her help me, my arms wrap around her, and hers around me and she pulls me so I am sat on the bed. I open the drawer and pull out the small ring box, her eyes bright, she's deliriously happy, and that just makes me happier. I slide off the bed and down on to my knees, I open the box to reveal a ring, gold with a small diamond, after all, I was not even close to being a rich man, I have upgraded the ring for her since, but I know that she prefers the one I asked her with.

"Marry Me?" I asked again,

"I already said yes!"

"Yea but I'm doing the 'down on my knee bit', I only get to do this once, I need to do it right!" She got on her knees in front of me and handed me her left hand.

"Yes" she whispered into my ear, and I slipped the ring on her finger, and I kissed her furiously all over again.

After leaving Hogwarts we were married, the wedding was quite small, I didn't know much of my family at that time, and my mother would not come without my father, and I would not have my father there. Lily's parents were there though, and that meant that Petunia and her husband made a show. Apart from them, it was friends, the Longbottoms, Remus, the Prewitt brothers, Albus even came, and for some reason Horace Slughorn. Potter and Black, of course, weren't around. The grudge never did die. He didn't need to work, but I often saw Sirius at work, he worked in the Ministry of Magic, in the Department for Magical Games and Sports, clearly changing the world. I worked in the Department of Mysteries, not as an Unspeakable, but the potions division, research and creation of spells. Initially, I worked checking spells, potions, curses and jinx's that had been created to ensure that they were safe, people were often creating and forgetting important components of the make-up of magic. I proved to be a talent and was soon a part of the team that came up with the Wolfsbane Potion. From there, there was only up.

It was in 1980 that our first child was born. The moment she told me was magical, I have never been as excited in my life, and I will never forget the day I brought my son home. That was the day that Lily wasn't everything, Harry was with her in my everything. Lily insisted on having my name in there, I insisted on something else for his first name, there was no way I would saddle the poor child with 'Severus', Harry. Lily's father, he had always been a kind man, to this day he means a great deal to me, if it were not for him I wouldn't know what a father was. Harry Severus Snape was born 1st August 1980.