He held the book firmly in his hand. The old leather binding was worn and discolored from its time lodged in a gap in the rocks deep beneath the bridge it had fallen from decades ago. It should have decomposed, but the mud of the lake had preserved it. It might never have been found but for the magic that allowed tracing of anything that remained of anyone who had once lived here. There were advantages to being headmaster of Hogwarts. In the quiet of his office, he opened the book, and read.
Hello, my name is Lily Evans, I am 13 years old, and I am a witch.
I'm not an old hag with a hooked nose and all that. I'm just a normal girl who goes to a special school called Hogwarts where I learn all about how to do magic.
I started writing this when Professor Muldavia required a week's diary as follow up to our premonitions assignment in divination. I enjoyed the assignment, but there was so much that I just couldn't write where a teacher might see, so I started my own secret diary.
I don't expect anyone other than me to ever read this. It's just that I have seen how people change when they get older, and I wanted to make sure that I never forget what it's like to be young.
The professor taught us a recollection spell to help us record details accurately, so I'll be using it to help me remember details of the day.
It makes it sound as if someone else is narrating the story, but it will allow me to record details that I can't consciously recall, so I'm pretty excited about it.
When I get back tomorrow night I'll use it. I want to get my sleep tonight though, as I am tired from doing my homework.
The morning started pretty foggy and cool, but before ten o clock the sun had melted through the fog so that the rest of the day was warm and sunny.
Eloise was already dressed when I woke up.
"Lily, hurry up and get dressed. I want you to come with me to the quiddich pitch this morning. Tom Shannon is gonna be the practicing keeper today."
"Louise, can you calm down about Tom Shannon for once? You don't have to go to every practice? I stayed up late to do that essay for Professor McGonagall. I'm tired."
"Please?" Eloise pleaded, her Gryffindor scarf already wrapped around her neck. She clasped her hands as she looked down at Lily sitting on the edge of her bed in her dressing gown.
"Well, alright. Just give me a moment to get dressed will you?"
A few minutes later, they were standing in the doorway of the castle looking out onto a fog as dense as gauze when a pair of girls approached from outside becoming recognizable as they walked into the light.
"Don't bother going down today," Abigail Crantzhill said to Eloise, "They've canceled practice due to the fog."
Eloise's shoulders drooped in her disappointment. She glanced over at Lily, "I'm sorry to wake you up so early, Lily. I was just so looking forward to seeing Tom today."
"I don't know what you're getting so excited about. You see him at meals everyday."
"It's not the same as watching him flying. He looks so dashing when he's flying," Eloise's eyes flashed as she talked.
Lily nodded her head toward the great hall, "Oh come on, Eloise, let's catch some breakfast."
That morning many people were in high spirits because of the spring air and longer days. All except the fifth years who were beginning to seriously panic about their O.W.L. exams. Elias Whitney of Hufflepuff had laid his head down on the table and dozed off during breakfast only to have a pile of chocolate eclairs materialize on top of his head. Everyone had gotten a big laugh out of that. Especially the Slytherins some of whom almost fell out of their chairs when Lucius Malfoy stuck a pastry on his hat in parody.
At the end of breakfast when the morning announcements were done, Dumbledore stood. Everyone quieted down because it wasn't customary for the headmaster to speak at meals except at the feasts, or when there was something important to say, although, Professor Dumbledore's idea of what was important wasn't the same as most people's.
'Good morning" He said, "As the end of term approaches we find that we are marching closer to the time when the the decision will be made as to which house will win the house cup. I can see when I look behind me that last year's champions, Slytherin house, are still in the lead."
A loud cheer rose from the Slytherin table at this, and a few scattered boos came from Gryphindor.
"In the spirit of fair play, and in order to allow the other houses a chance to break the stranglehold that Slytherin has held on this award for the last few years, the teachers and I have decided to make each house point awarded today count as double!"
Someone gasped, and a murmuring filled the hall. Dumbledore raised his hands. "This will give the other houses, some of which were beginning to lose hope, a chance to increase their points through wit, diligence, or daring. And we may even have a final feast where the banners are all yellow."
A cheer rose from the Hufflepuff table, Dumbledore continued, " Or even blue, or red. So straighten your thinking caps on your heads and be on your best behavior. Good Luck and Pip! Pip!"
Dumbledore sat down again and all of the students chattered excitedly. Some students in the Ravenclaw table had their heads together in a huddle whispering while Antonius Goyle leaned back in his chair to eavesdrop on them.
Lily left and went to class. Her day started with history of magic, then transfiguration. Professor McGonagall strode between the desks like a queen on coronation day. "Who can tell me," she said in a high strong high voice, " The use of the spell 'freraverto'' Mary?"
She glared down at Mary McDonald who looked up horrified that she had been called on. Mary's eyes darted around the room landing on Lily who mimed drinking a glass.
"Goblet" Mary said nervously, " It turns animals into water goblets."
"Correct. Five points for Gryffindor." The professor continued to stride down the room away from Mary who wiped her brow. Mary was incredibly shy. It was an open question as to why she had been placed in Gryffindor house. Lily thought that surely there must be some secret store of bravery in her that had, as of yet, remained untapped.
When the class was over and everyone was packing their books to leave, Mary came over to Lily's desk. She bent over to whisper in her ear. "Thank you. I was so afraid of making a mistake with everyone counting on me for points and all."
"It was nothing, Mary." Lily said waving her hands in denial, " You knew the answer. You were just intimidated by the Professor."
"Well, thanks anyway Lily. You're a real friend," Mary said and then clutching her bag to her chest she rushed away.
Next they went downstairs for potions. Eloise and Lily shared a table near the supply cabinet. The Slytherins sat at a table just behind them. Slughorn stood up, "Today, we will be brewing a potion that many of you are sure to be interested in as final exams will soon be upon us. A potion to enhance memory.
'You will find the instructions here on the board. In order to foster your best work, I will offer a prize of twenty five house points for the person who gives me the best potion in this class. That will, under today's special circumstances, gain for the individual fifty points for his house. So now everyone, you may begin."
Students began to dig in their bags, and some jumped up passing close by Lily and Eloise's table in order to get to the ingredients cabinet. Severus Snape stopped beside Lily's table and leaned over her menacingly. "Don't get your hopes up Evans," Snape said softly, "I'm going to win that prize. There's no way Gryffindor is catching up to Slytherin this year."
"We'll see," Lily said smiling slyly, "Don't stir the cauldron before the fire is laid." Snape walked past her into the cabinet and she grinned.
Halfway through the class on the pretext of trying to see the instructions better, Snape bumped into Lily just as she was pouring Eragrostis extract into the cauldron. Her hand jumped and a great glop of it plopped into the cauldron making a splash followed by a large cloud of purple smoke. That rose to the ceiling and and spread along it before dissipating.
"Sorry Evans," Snape said with a smirk as he slinked back to his table.
"That Snape is so horrible!" Eloise said glaring back at the Slytherin table where Snape's housemate was patting him on the back grinning ear to ear. But Lily wasn't paying attention to them. She was staring into her cauldron.
At the place where the cloud of smoke had emerged moments before, the green potion was clearing. The change spread out from the center until the entire potion was as clear as water. Lily looked up again at the instructions. They had said to use only one and one half drams of Eragrostis. Somehow adding more had made the potion clear much faster. She looked back at Snape. He was peering into his potions book. His housemate talking animatedly about the upcoming quiddich match ignoring his cauldron which began to issue a thin black smoke. Lily stirred the potion and added the remaining ingredients finishing her potion ten minutes faster than anyone else in the room.
Professor Slughorn breathed deeply as he peered into Lily Evan's Cauldron. "The clear winner." He said smiling, his hands on his expansive stomach, " Severus yours is also very good, but as Lily Evan solution is slightly clearer, and she finished so much faster than anyone else, the twenty five points today goes to Gryffindor house."
Cheers and groans greeted his announcement. "And that is all for today," Slughorn said before lumbering back to his desk and whipping his wand so that all of his books packed themselves into his open leather bag.
As they all filed out of the room, Professor Slughorn stopped beside Lily and said," Good Job Lily. I hope that you'll be able to make my party next Saturday night. I know that exams are coming up, but I'm expecting Willard Jones, head of the department of magical accidents and catastrophes, a very humorous man who knows how to tell a good yarn."
"I'll try my best professor," Lily said over her shoulder as Eloise tugged on her cloak, " Come on Lily." Eloise demanded," Let's get to lunch early enough to get a seat near the quiddich team!"
"You go ahead," Lily said, " I left my potions book under the desk. I'm going to take it back to the dormitory, so I might be a while." Eloise nodded disappointedly and strode off.
Lily walked back into the potions classroom to find that it was still occupied. Severus Snape still sat at his desk. He had not yet packed up his cauldron, and was staring into its empty depths. He looked up at her. His smirk returning. "So, you got lucky despite my interference."
"Stop the show, Severus." Lily said dropping her books on her desk and turning to face him. "You knew what would happen all along, didn't you. You just didn't want to take the chance that you might mess up your own potion in front of Slughorn. You're just trying to keep your reputation as Slughorn's golden boy, aren't you?"
Lily placed her hands on her stomach and leaned back in imitation of Professor Slughorn. " 'Severus Snape? He's a natural at potions! He's sure to go far.' If he knew how many hours you spend hidden in the room behind the back stairs sweating over that cauldron practicing to be a natural he wouldn't call you that."
"If you know why I do it, why even mention it?" Snape said leaning forward his elbows on his desk.
"Seriously Severus, sometimes you are so vain," Lily said.
"Well not all of us have natural good looks to fall back on," he said dropping his eyes when she turned to stare at him. "Well," he began, "are we on for tonight?"
"Certainly, " Lily whispered, " Eloise is sure to go to the evening quiddich practice. I'll slip away after dinner and meet you in the abandoned classroom in the dungeon." Lily reached out and squeezed Snape's hand before picking up her bags and rushing out of the room.
The afternoon was fairly easy. They tried to feed knarls in magical creatures by hiding food and talking animatedly about how they hoped no creature would find it. Some knarls ate the food while they looked away, and some more suspicious ones ignored the food fearing a trap.
In herbology they were out in the back garden weeding cabbages. This gave Eloise and Abigail plenty of time to discuss how great this year's quiddich team looked in their new robes. Lily finished early and rushed off to the commonroom where she was able to finish her essay for Defense against the Dark arts and begin on her tranfiguration homework before dinner.
James Potter and his gang were talking about the upcoming quiddich game too, and as she walked toward the dormitories they sped by her up the stairs so fast that she tripped and fell to the floor. Remus Lupin turned back and helped her to her feet. He smiled shyly at her and apologized for their haste before following them.
At dinner, Eloise was all in a flutter because she had seen Tom Shannon cleaning his broom with the cleaning cloth that she had embroidered and placed in the Gryffidor locker room. Lily used her transfiguration homework as an excuse to leave, but instead of going up to the common room, she sneaked downstairs into the deep dungeons. She used a silencing charm to quiet her footfalls as she walked down the dark hallway and unlocked a heavy wooden door which led to an old unused classroom.
Despite her hurry, Snape was already there before her sitting against the far wall. He stared up at her through his stringy black hair, his face an unreadable mask.
He rose as she entered and brushed the dust off of his pants fussing with his sleeves and collar before gliding toward her, his robes billowing behind him like a bat. Lily laughed out loud. "What?" Snape frowned looking down his pointed nose at her before staring at his chest to check for stains on his robes.
"I'm sorry," she said covering her mouth with her hand, "you just…I don't know. It's just you were trying to come across so imposing like a dark wizard. It just, caught me as funny."
"I suppose that I failed to look sufficiently imposing if it caused you to go into hysterics at the sight of me."
"No, no, you look good. It was just …funny, that's all."
Severus Snape turned away and walked to the back of the classroom. He had cleared a space on the floor and even swept it clean. A stack of pillows stood in the corner. " I borrowed some pillows from the charms classroom. Do you want to continue with stunning spells?"
"No, I've got something more important I want to do today. I want to continue our work on patronuses."
"Patronuses again?" Snape whined, "They are N.E.W.T. level and often not even tested for then. What is your obsession with them?"
Lily opened a large leather-bound book ignoring his question. "I found another book that mentions them." Lily sat herself on the stack of pillows and began to read. "The patronus charm is used to summon from the heart of the witch or wizard a spirit animal. This animal will fly from the wand and can chase away evil, forming a shield that protects the caster from harm. The spirit animal summoned is different for each user, and is thought to be a representation of their deepest soul."
"We've been trying the spell all year, and nothing happens," Snape said crossing his arms and scowling," Why don't you give it a rest, Lily?"
"Because I want to know. I have to know!" Lily sat up straight her brows touching in her concern," What will my patronus be? Will it be pure and innocent like a unicorn, or something more evil like a spider, or a snake?"
"Hey! watch the snake references. Slytherin here," Snape said drawing himself up haughtily.
"Sorry," Lily said before bending over to continue her reading. "To summon the patronus one uses the spell 'expecto patronum' with very clear enunciation."
"We've done all this before," Snape said leaning his head against the wall as he stared across the top of the book into her eyes.
"Wait, there's more," Lily said. "It is not enough to simply say the charm, however. The patronus can only be summoned by a magic user whose heart is filled with joy. Therefore the witch or wizard must prepare themselves by first thinking of the purest, happiest, thought they can find. This will feed the patronus. The happier the thought, the stronger the patronus, the more effective it will be in repelling evil. Now, Severus, let's try it."
Lily rose from the pillows dropping the book to the floor with a bang. She pointed her wand firmly across the room and cried out.
Nothing happened. Snape laughed.
"This isn't funny, Severus, I'm trying to do a spell!"
"But it's supposed to be funny isn't it? You're so serious. You have to think of a happy thought."
Lily stood straight her face calm. Then she put out her wand and cried. "Expecto patronum." A thin white light streamed out of her wand and then puffed away into nothing.
"What were you thinking of?" Snape asked.
"I was thinking of what joy it would be to finally know what my patronus is."
Snape walked over to Lily's side. His hand reached out as if to touch her, but dropped before it did. "What's wrong Lily?" He said, his voice full of concern. Lily leaned toward him resting the tip of her head on his shoulder. Severus stiffened. Then taking a deep breath, he placed his arm across her back.
"Severus, I'm afraid that I might be a bad person," Lily said, her head bowing even further so he had to reach out with his other arm to support her. "I was reading some of the books in muggle studies, and they said that muggles fear witches because they believe they use their spells only for selfish gain. The book said that witches use their spells selfishly, and do not contribute to the communities that they live in, but like parasites they sap strength from the community causing disharmony and strife.
"I tried to disprove this, but when I look back on the things I've done, it seems like I am only interested in making things better for myself. I'm afraid that my patronus will be a leech or a cockroach because I only use magic for selfish reasons. I'm afraid that Petunia is right. That magic is freakish, and I'd be better to give it all up and lead a good, normal life as a muggle."
Severus had his eyes closed, his cheek sitting on Lily's red hair. As she said these last words, a scowl crossed his lips. "That's utter rubbish!" he snapped, "Muggles fear witches and wizards because we are more powerful than they. We are more talented. We are cleverer. We are blessed with a special property that muggles lack. It is jealousy, pure jealousy, that makes muggles hate us. Jealousy and fear. No matter what kind of words they use to rationalize it, It is their fear, and has nothing to do with you, Lily Evans. Why do you even take muggle studies, Lily? Doesn't a sister and two muggle parents already make you an expert?"
Snape put his arms on her shoulders and turned Lily so that she looked into his eyes. "There is no possibility whatsoever that your patronus is cockroach. You are pure and beautiful and your patronus will be also. Try it again and you'll see."
Snape pulled Lily upright and stood back. She breathed a few times, and then a smile seemed to cross her lips, and she said clearly and easily, "Expecto patronum."
Light shot out of the wand and there before her stood a doe. Its glow lit the room like a beacon. Its eyes appeared moist and dewy as it turned to look at her. Lily turned her eyes toward Snape and laughed in joy. His black eyes stared into her green eyes as she laughed, and without turning away from her, he pointed his wand aside and cried out "Expecto patronum".
A silver fox leapt from his wand and jumped around the room. It ran up to the doe, and the doe began to chase it. The fox running across the desks and up the walls as the doe fairly flew behind it. Lily's green eyes were wide as she watched the two patronuses cavort around the room. A wide smile lay frozen on her lips, but despite the amazing spectacle before them, Severus Snape's eyes never strayed from watching Lily Evan's face.
When the two patronuses had faded into darkness and they had stowed away their wands. Severus asked lily, "What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking of that day that you told me that I was a witch, and I realized that I wasn't strange or evil, but just different. The day that I knew for sure that I was special, and that there were others in the world just like me who would accept me and love me." She smiled broadly. "And what were you thinking of Severus?" She asked. But he would not tell her.
It was with excitement Lily crawled back into the portrait hole into Gryffindor tower. She climbed into bed and opening her diary she tapped her head and said 'remembro'.
Her arm flew almost of it's own accord across the pages, and then, with a blissful smile, she closed the book, and fell asleep.
Lily and Snape sat on the bank of the lake enjoying the weather which still felt like summer. The branches swung back and forth over their head rhythmically like dancers at a ball. Although both of them had their defense against the dark arts textbooks open, Lily was staring out over the water absentmindedly chewing on a sugar quill.
"I wish I knew when the next Hogmeade weekend was," Lily said wistfully, "I'm almost out of sugar quills."
Snape looked up peering at her through his stringy black hair. "How is that possible? You bought a huge number of them in Diagon alley. You must have quite a sweet tooth."
"It's not my fault," Lily said putting aside her book as she sat up, "I gave some away, and classes have been everso stressful. I need something to chew on when I get nervous."
"Well, don't worry, you'll be able to get more, soon," Snape said slyly.
"You know when it is? The date? How did you find out?" Lily asked climbing to her knees, and leaning closer to Snape in her curiosity.
Snape lifted his chin up, " Well, when one knows the right people, everything is possible."
"Tell me Severus," Lily said, " When is it?"
Snape crossed his legs and turned his head slightly away from her. He spoke haughtily, "What one has received in confidence it is unseemly to tell another. Perhaps you should seek the information within your own house." Shape looked back at Lily to find that she was on her feet wand drawn. He jumped back, but was too late to avoid her spell.
"Legitimens!" Lily cried, and then they were in the Slytherin common room. The light glowed green as it flowed from the windows where small fish swam. Lucius Malfoy stood leaning against the the mantlepiece surrounded by ardent admirers. His long gold hair contrasting with the green of his robes. A shiny 'head boy' pin on his chest. "Yes, it is true …" Lucius began, " The second weekend in October, that is when the first Hogsmead visit will be. Slughorn and I were talking to Elias Rancible, the undersecretary for the Minister of Magic when he let it slip. When one knows the right people, everything is possible."
Severus rolled across the bank away from Lily breaking the connection. Then he sat up pulling his wand from his robe, but Lily had put hers away and reopened her book, a self-satisfied smirk on her face.
"Don't do that!" Snape yelled, "If you learn any more secrets of Slytherin house, someone will find out, and I'll get … I don't know, kicked out!"
"Then learn to be a better occlumens." Lily said absentmindedly turning pages in the textbook. "Besides, you can't be kicked out of a house. Not without being expelled."
Snape sat down beside her but did not turn his eyes away from her. "Perhaps in other houses one can offend whomever they wish and be fine, but in Slytherin house we value loyalty above all other things."
"That's a surprise," Lily smirked, but then when she saw Severus' stricken face her expression softened. "I'm sorry Severus," she said, " I won't tell anyone. I promise."
They stared at each other for a moment, and then Snape slouched down and put his wand away, but when Lily made a feint for her wand, Severus whipped his out before her, "Better." Lily said, and they laughed.
The sun had lowered and a long golden red streak of light spread like a dagger across the lake. The call of birds flying for home began to fill the air. Lily watched them soaring and circling over the water as she whispered, "Severus?"
"Yes Lily," He replied.
"Will we be able to …I mean with Slytherin loyalty and all … will we be able to … still be friends? Because I don't see anyone else..like us, that is."
"We'll always be friends, Lily," Snape said passion in his voice, "Best friends. I promise."
A droplet of water fell on the page. He reached up to find it was a tear . Severus Snape held out his wand and said very clearly “expecto patronum”. A silver doe flew out and rushed around the room before turning to face him. He stared into its soft, kind eyes. They were green.