“What are you thinking?”
Smiling at the ceiling, Severus replied, “I’m thinking that I’m dreaming.”
“Oh?” said Lily as she pushed herself up onto her elbows, her hair disheveled and wild about her bare shoulders. “Because I’m here?”
Snorting, he shifted onto his side and drew one of his arms out from under the covers to brush his fingers across her shoulder and down her arm. “Because you’re here in my bed,” he replied matter-of-factly. His eyes unfocused for a moment, staring blankly beyond her, as he added, “I never imagined I was worthy of you…ow!”
Flinching back, he blinked several times while rubbing his shoulder where she’d smacked him.
“Don’t you do that,” hissed Lily, her eyes blazing furiously. “Not to me, Sev.”
“It’s the truth,” he said sharply. “I didn’t think I was because of what I’d said to you and…” Trailing off, Severus’ eyes flicked down to the wrapping that hid the Dark Mark from view. He didn’t need to add anything else to his words because he’d already told her everything months before after her father’s funeral. She knew exactly how he felt about it.
Lily sighed and sat up suddenly, the sheets falling away from her body and giving him a view he hadn’t been fully able to appreciate the night before. Folding her legs underneath her, she let out a huff of breath before saying, “Sev, we’ve had this conversation. I forgave you months ago.”
“Which still puzzles me.”
“Because you came back,” she said sharply. Then, smiling, Lily leaned forward and cupped his cheek, her thumb brushing across the skin underneath his eye. “I got my best friend back.”
With a snort, Severus said darkly, “Only because he realized what a total fool he’d been.”
“And,” she pointed out, “you went to Dumbledore.”
“Mostly because you insisted upon it.” Grimacing, he sat up and scooted back across the bed so he could lean against the headboard. “That is one thing that worries me about this…about…us.”
Lily’s face fell and he instantly knew she’d taken that the wrong way. “No, no, no,” Severus exclaimed hurriedly, reaching out to grasp her hands. “I don’t mean to lose this. Not after finally getting it. Not after giving you some shred of happiness after Potter.”
“What I mean,” he continued, “is that I’m worried about them finding out. I can play the spying both ways, Lily. There’s no way I can play you and I together unless I tell them I have you under Imperius and that I killed Potter. And I won’t.”
Tears welled up in her eyes at the mention of her missing and presumed dead husband and she said very quietly, “You hated him.”
“Because he was a selfish, spoiled prat,” he snarled, old anger rising up. Grasping it and wrestling it back down, Severus took a deep breath and lifted her hands to his face, pressing a kiss onto the knuckles of her right hand. “And you loved him. I may not have liked him, may have never grown to, but I’ll at least respect your feelings.”
Lily just stared at him for a moment, her mouth slightly open and her eyes full of tears, then she breathed, “Sev.”
He looked down, embarrassed, at the grateful tone in her voice then felt her fingers on his chin. They pressed upwards, guiding him back, and when he finally allowed the slim digits to do so it was to meet her lips in a slow kiss. His hands drew her into his lap as their mouths danced and when they finally parted his hands were buried in her hair and hers were flat against his chest.
“Thank you,” she whispered and he shuddered.
“That is the least thing I need thanks for,” he replied hoarsely, not wanting to speak of all the nights and days he’d hated James Potter for getting the one thing he’d ever wanted to keep for himself.
Lily shook her head and laughed. “No, silly,” she said, “thank you for growing up.”
Frowning lightly, Severus grumbled, “I’m not sure whether I should feel insulted or not.”
She then smiled sadly and moved her hand to his arm, fingers resting lightly on top of the white wrapping. Then she bowed her head and as he slid one hand down to her cheek, Lily breathed, “Lie to them.”
“I don’t care,” she nearly screamed, eyes flying wide. A half-broken sob came from her and she clasped her other hand over her mouth while the one still on his arm curled fingers around the cursed spot. “I already lost one person I care about,” she gasped between little hitches of breath. “I can’t – I won’t – lose another, Sev.”
“Alright,” he breathed, gently massaging his fingers into her scalp in an effort to calm her. As she began to relax, he said quietly, “I’ll only do it if it’s brought up. I won’t brag about that, Lily, even if it is a lie. I don’t want to be more like them then I have to be.”
“Promise?” she asked.
Closing his eyes, Severus nodded and replied, “Promise.”