Pink Green Blue

A Christmas Vow by Alexannah

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Rating: R. Created: November 15th, 2014. Updated: December 20th, 2014. Read Reviews (0)
Disclaimer: Characters, the magical world, etc, is property of J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros, not the owner of this fic.

Chapter One: Broken Promises

Severus was fuming as much as his student as Harry Potter slammed the office door behind him. It was only the thought that it would be incredibly petty that stopped him from re-opening the door to slam it harder.

Instead, Severus strode into his quarters, intent on breaking out the Firewhiskey and mentally cursing the brat to hell. He was stopped in his tracks when he saw his friend, mentor and employer sitting on his sofa.

"So," Albus said. "How did the Occlumency lesson go?"

It was only incredible self-restraint that stopped Severus from biting his head off. "Fine."

"So I heard."

"Well, what did you expect?" Severus rounded on him. "The boy's even more insufferable now than he was last year! Why couldn't you just teach him yourself?"

"If you recall, I tried during the summer," Albus said calmly. "Voldemort seized the opportunity and nearly ripped his mind open in his effort to get into mine. Harry was lucky not to end up permanently in the closed ward of St Mungo's."

Severus ground his teeth, but the now rather stern look Albus was giving him over his half-moon spectacles seemed to be daring him to argue with that.

"All right, I get it! But Potter's not even trying!"

"I think you'll find that's not true, Severus," Albus said, getting to his feet. "Harry is trying very hard; it is you who is making things difficult, as I warned you about last year."

"I'm trying, he just won't co-operate because he blames me for the mutt's death."

"That's enough, Severus." Albus didn't shout, but Severus knew he had pushed it too far and shut his mouth. "Look, we will talk about this later; I have to see the elves about the present deliveries." He made his way to the door, then paused before he left. "Merry Christmas."

"Hmph."

Once Albus had gone, Severus searched his cabinet for the strongest Firewhiskey he had. He always needed a large dose to get him through Christmas. The most painful memories he had always seemed to surface around now. He was going to need it even more this year, what with Potter giving him such a headache and now Albus--one of the few people on the planet who actually liked Severus--angry at him ...

"Severus Snape!"

Severus jumped, and dropped the bottle on the floor. Mercifully it didn't smash, but he didn't even notice as he whirled around to see who was angry at him now.

Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw.

"How dare you!" She strode right up to him, eyes flashing, fury all over her face. She raised her hand to slap him, and Severus automatically flinched, but it only passed through his cheek like someone had thrown cold water over him. She stopped, and stared at her hand.

"L-Lily?" Severus whispered in disbelief.

"You didn't think I'd find a way to come back and haunt you if you hurt my son? You really don't know me at all, Severus!" Lily shouted.

"B-but ... Severus couldn't process what he was seeing. Lily was silvery and translucent, and floating slightly rather than standing. "Y-you're a ghost?"

"No." Lily paused. "Well, I suppose I am now. At least for the moment." Her eyes narrowed. "You and I have some unfinished business."

Severus swallowed. There were very few people he was actually afraid of. Lily, when she got that expression on her face, was one of them.

"But--how did you even ..."

"I've spent the last fifteen years looking to find a way to talk to you," Lily said coldly.

Severus blinked, unsure how he should feel about that. "You ... have?"

"Yes! You broke your promise!"

Promise?

"If something were to happen to me ... would you take care of them?"

"Of course I would."

"You promise?"

 

"Yes!"

Oh, right ... that promise.

"Um, Lily," Severus tried, his heart beating very fast with a combination of fear and, well, seeing the woman he loved again; "I didn't--I mean--I have been looking after him."

"Sev, taking care of someone doesn't just mean stopping other people from killing them! Not that I'm not grateful for the times you saved his life," Lily said quickly, "but you've been hurting him."

"I never lay a finger on him!" Severus said, outraged.

"You threw a jar at him last year!"

"I--he invaded my privacy! And I wasn't aiming for him, I just threw it at the wall--"

"And those Occlumency lessons? Don't lie to me; Harry's already mentally scarred from this summer and you're only making it worse!"

"What would you have me do, give up trying to teach him?"

"For Merlin's sake, you know how fragile the mind is! You've got to stop being so bloody stubborn and be gentle with him! It's the only way he's going to learn!"

 

"All right!" Severus shouted. "Okay, I'm sorry I threw the jar." And he was, actually; he knew he could well have hit Potter if his aim had been even slightly off. As much as he detested the boy, Severus never intended to harm him. "And--maybe I've been a bit too ... harsh with the Occlumency." That took a lot to admit. "But I've never hurt him in any other way!"

"Severus! You of all people know that you don't have to physically harm someone to hurt them!"

He blanched. He'd always known that Lily would far from approve of how he treated her son, but he'd always tried hard not to think about it. It was far easier just to think of him as a Potter. A lot less ... painful.

"I know I might have--crossed the line slightly--once or twice," Severus admitted, cowering at the fresh glare she sent him. "But honestly, Lily, he needs taking down a peg or twelve. With the way everyone else fawns over him, I'm barely making a difference--"

"Oh, you're making a difference all right," Lily said quietly.

"Er ... I am?" That was news to him.

"Yes, you are." From her tone, it was clear she didn't think this a good thing.

Severus paused to catch his breath, his mind whirling. If he had ever imagined seeing Lily again after she died--not that he had ever entertained the thought in the least, knowing all too well it was impossible; no, not at all--he had hoped for a reunion rather more ... friendly. Certainly without all the shouting.

Everything he had ever wanted to say to her seemed to have deserted him in the shock. Assuming this wasn't a hallucination, he had a chance here to finally make amends ... but the words failed him and he found himself falling back on his old standby: arguing.

"Lily, do you really want a pampered, conceited brat for a son?"

"Severus." Her voice was now dangerously quiet. "There's something you have to see."

Lily held out a hand. Severus looked down at it. "Er, Lily ... you're a ghost ... how am I supposed to--"

"Just take it."

He hesitantly took hold of her hand. It didn't feel quite ... solid ... but all the same, somehow he was able to grasp it.

For a moment, all he could think about was the fact that, for many years, he'd never imagined he could ever hold Lily's hand again. Then the wind started; whipping around them both, throwing Severus' hair into his eyes so he couldn't see a thing. Once it had died down, he realised the temperature had dropped. There was still a strong breeze, though not a whirlwind anymore. They were outside.

Severus looked around. They were standing in a frost-ridden residential road filled with identical houses. Muggle Christmas decorations glowed in every window and around every door. The house directly in front of them seemed to be the worst offender, covered in tacky snowmen and Santas, as if the occupants had desired to outdo all their neighbours.

"Where are we?"

"Number Four, Privet Drive," Lily answered. "Christmas past."

TBC �

 

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