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A Spring Lament
Lily's Embrace
yemeron
I was inspired to write this fic back in October when I found a bit of poetry by Richard Wright, author of Black Boy and Native Son. I was finally able to sit down and write it yesterday, so here it is.

Title: A Spring Lament
Character: Severus Snape
Pairing: Snape/Lily
Rating: G
Warnings: DH spoilers (but, really, I think most of the folks on my flist have read DH; better safe than sorry)
Summary: Guilt, grief, and obligation haunt Snape on a spring night.
Disclaimer: I don't want to be sued. Y'all know these characters don't belong to me. I'm just doing this for fun.



A sleepless spring night:
Yearning for what I never had
And for what never was.

—Richard Wright

A Spring Lament

31 May 1992

Dearest Lily,

     I cannot sleep. As I write this letter to you, you are, to the detriment of the world, resting eternally. It is your slumber—and, I believe, my role in it—which is keeping me awake this night.

     Winter may have been your favorite time of year, but spring was when you came alive. The newness and beauty of the world was reflected in your smile. Your laugh. Your eyes. You are everywhere this time of year. I can remember the anticipation I felt every spring—anticipation of those few precious weeks each summer when I could have you to myself. If I concentrate hard enough, I can almost feel you near me. I can almost feel your delicate hand in mine or smell the scent of your shampoo. I cannot escape the memory of you. Maybe I am not supposed to. Maybe you are supposed to haunt my every waking moment—the punishment fits the crime quite well, does it not?

     Memories of that time long ago are keeping me awake tonight. They lead to other thoughts—dangerous thoughts. What would my life be if only I had listened to you all those years ago? Would life still flow through your veins? Perhaps. Would I still have lost you to that detestable scab? It pains me to admit this, but, yes, most likely. I should have fought harder for you. At the time, I thought I was. I was a fool—a selfish fool. Could I have made you happy? True happiness was known to me only when I was in your presence. Even then, I was aware enough to know that you would not have said the same.

     I am comforted by the thought that, even after our estrangement, a small part of me lived in you. I introduced you to this world of magic, of endless possibilities. I was the one who helped you to realize you were a part of something extraordinary, something that only a fraction of the world’s populace could ever fathom. All the knowledge of our world that I shared, nothing and no one could take that away from you. It is something you carried with you until the end of your time on this earth. Perhaps it is with you still. Most nights, these are the thoughts that aid me in drifting into uneasy dreams—except in the spring. In the spring, there is no escaping you.

     Of course, these days, escaping your memory is an exercise in futility, no matter the season. Teaching your son is like watching history repeat itself. He is very much his father’s son—in looks and attitude. After my first cursory observation of the boy, it was quite obvious that Potter’s chromosomes bullied their way into dominance. And yet, some small part of you would not be moved. His eyes—your eyes—have been commented on by many of my colleagues, ad nauseam. It is unnerving to see them fixed on me with such malice. I suppose I only have myself to blame for that. I may have promised Dumbledore—promised you—to protect him, but I refuse to give the boy preferential treatment. I watched everyone treat his wretched father like a celebrity for seven years; I will not contribute to that same idiocy with his son. Besides, I know you would not have wanted that for him.

     I would never admit this to anyone else, but the boy is like you in other ways as well. He shows the same loyalty to his friends that you once showed to me. Most people would attribute that quality to his father—I know better. And though his face may be his father’s, the facial expressions are all yours. I had forgotten that fierce look of resolve you would give me anytime you had stubbornly made up your mind about something. The boy gave me that very same look today. With his father’s penchant for rule-breaking and your willfulness, it did not take Legilimency to know that he was up to no good. Perhaps that is what is keeping me awake tonight—your little troublemaker is up to something, and my vow of protection will not let me rest until I know he is safe. It will be a long night, indeed.

     Summer will be here soon. The young green of spring that so reminds me of you will give way to the familiar, muted green of summer. In a few short weeks, I will not have to deal with these hormonal time bombs on legs we refer to as children, nor will I have to be concerned with the affairs of your calamity-prone son. I will be able to sit in peace and remember summers past—summers when you reserved your affections for me alone.

With all the love I possess,
Severus

*~*~*~*

Severus carefully folded the letter and sealed it inside an envelope. He rose from his desk and walked across his chambers to the fireplace. With reverence, he placed the letter on the glowing embers, stepped back, and murmured, “Incendio,” setting the letter on fire. He always burned the letters he wrote to her—not because he was afraid someone would read them, but because he hoped that the sentiment of his letters, if not the words, would somehow find its way to her. It was a foolish ritual, but at times, the hope gained from it was the only thing that kept him going.

As he watched the edges of the envelope curl and blacken, a silvery white phoenix soared into the room, illuminating his chambers with its pure, ethereal glow. Severus frowned at the sight of Dumbledore’s summons. He said he would be at the Ministry tonight, he thought, his mind racing back to the parting words the headmaster had uttered earlier that day. Something is wrong. His eyes returned to the charred remains of his letter.

“It looks as though I was right, Lily,” he whispered. “Something is going on, and as sure as I am breathing, your son is in the thick of it.” Refusing to be seen outside of his bed chambers in his nightclothes and dressing gown, Severus dressed quickly. “There truly is no rest for the wicked, is there?” he mumbled. Taking a deep, fortifying breath, he strode out the door to fulfill his vow.


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It moved my to tears, it's unbelievable sad :*(

Very well written, thank you!

You were really moved to tears? That's such a compliment, you have no idea. (Sorry I made you cry, though.)

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

Wah. Sev!!1!! I liked the ending. It fits. There really is no rest for the wicked. If only... the saddest romances and the hardest futures to lose are the ones that never happen.

*gives Wally some roses*

Re: Tortured SOULS!

*Wally accepts Albie's roses, tearfully*

My crying Buffy icon's gettin' a workout today!

I got up this morning, and I just tried to figure out a way to loop the ending back to the beginning. He started off talking about not being able to sleep, and his final words were related to that.

Thanks for the feedback, babe!

Sorry I didn’t respond sooner but I was out of town!
Okay so, first off, I really like the poem that all this was inspired by. It is really delicate. It works nicely with the Snape Character.

Your story (though short) was lovely. (Am I right in assuming this takes place in OotP?) Snape’s love for Lily gets more and more heartbreaking with every new fic I read. He lives in the past. He reserves “all the love I possess” for someone who is nearly two decades dead. And yet he still lives in memories of “summers past—summers when you reserved your affections for me alone.” He dwells on the scent of her hair and the feel of her hand in his (those two descriptions made me catch my breath. Why oh why did they have to lose their friendship!!!?? *sigh*) yet he is realistic enough to realize he probably never meant the same to her and she did to him. He still would have lost her to James.

I adored his little insights into Harry. We can see the canon Snape who seemed to so viciously detest Lily’s son and yet we see a more secretive side in which he realizes he is more than his father’s clone and has his fair share of Lily in him as well. I like that Lily’s eyes looking at him with malice disturb him. When Snape refers to Harry as your little troublemaker it seems almost affectionate. I can almost see a different future, one in which the Potter’s didn’t die and Severus discusses Harry’s Hogwarts escapades with his mother, perhaps on one warm spring evening. (Can we say Uncle Sev? Tehehe, how demented)

Once again, you write Snape’s character very well. He is so disturbed and tortured (writing leters to dead people and burning them..errrrr?) and yet snarky. And sexy. Did I mention sexy? “as sure as I am breathing, your son is in the thick of it” he (you) has such a way with words. “There truly is no rest for the wicked, is there?” Did I mention sexy?

Okay so, first off, I really like the poem that all this was inspired by. It is really delicate. It works nicely with the Snape Character.

When I saw the poem, my "Snape-dar" went crazy. It captures so much with so few words. I had to write something based on it.

Am I right in assuming this takes place in OotP?

No, actually it's supposed to be taking place the night the Trio went after the Sorcerer's Stone. I'm sure Dumbledore would've summoned Snape afterward. Even if he didn't need his help to get the kids to safety, he still would've filled Snape in on what happened. I made sure to ask my beta if the setting was clear. I tried to set it up subtly, so as not to hit the reader over the head with it. Maybe I was too subtle? I may need to add and/or tweak a line or two to make it a bit clearer.

Snape’s love for Lily gets more and more heartbreaking with every new fic I read. He lives in the past. He reserves “all the love I possess” for someone who is nearly two decades dead. And yet he still lives in memories of “summers past—summers when you reserved your affections for me alone.”

JKR did a great job of setting the stage for Snape's tragic love for Lily. That one scene of him crying over her picture and a letter with her signature (her freaking signature brings him to tears! SOOOO tragically romantic) captured his guilt, longing, and even the selfish nature of his love (with him tossing the remainder of the picture aside without a thought). I tried to show the type of thing he may have done in all the years leading up to that moment.

I like that Lily’s eyes looking at him with malice disturb him.

Yeah, that would hit a little too close to home for him, I think. Would remind him of how she looked at him the day of the Mudblood Incident.

I can almost see a different future, one in which the Potter’s didn’t die and Severus discusses Harry’s Hogwarts escapades with his mother, perhaps on one warm spring evening.

Have you been spying on my brain? Are you psychic or something? I honestly almost put a line in the letter where Sev says he wishes she was still alive so he could tell her about Harry's escapades face to face, like a parent-teacher conference (or something like that).

And sexy. Did I mention sexy?

I can't help it! Most people are more formal in their writing than they are in their speech. Snape is not only formal in his writing, but a bit poetic as well (at least my Snape is). There is something amazingly sexy about a man who spends his life pining away for the deceased woman he cannot stop loving. Very sad and pathetic, but sexy, too. Maybe I'm just a little warped and like my men broody.

That was lovely as ever. I am truly touched.

It's good to know that I am capable of writing something short and meaningful. Every time I set out to write a short story, it grows into something much bigger than I originally planned. My last one-shot was nearly 10,000 words long! This one was just over 1,000, and I'm extremely proud of that. To hear that you were touched by it means a lot.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

A few days ago i cried for sanpe and now i cry for lily and snape. I loved this fic. I am writing a fic of my own i have a prolog and maybe two chapters. I am planning to post it as soon as i can but i need to find a beta reader, know of any good ones? Keep writing but Sev and lily will always be alive to me.
Love D.L.
P.S. Hows chapter 16 coming?

I'm glad you liked it! I really should venture out and write fics with other characters, but I love Snape and his angst so much.

I would offer to beta read for you, but I'm about to begin grad school soon. I won't have time to take on another writer. You should go to Perfect Imagination. You can find an accredited beta reader there.

I actually started working on Chapter 16 yesterday. I'm hoping I can get it finished before then end of the month.

I really don't know what else to say. That was just beautiful.

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I was almost crying while reading this letter to his late and only love. It would move anyone to sadness, this anguish infinite and deep, never fading love. Would you mind me translating your story into Russian? I feel like I have to do it, the words are forming in my head.

I'm happy the story moved you so much. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I had to think about your request. If you translate it, where would you be posting it? Here on LJ? I know OWL has a foreign language archive. Anyway, I don't mind if you translate the story as long as you link back to the original (either here or at one of the sites where it's posted) and I'm credited (of course).

Happy New Year, by the way!

I gotta be honest and say that the idea of Snape writing a letter to deceased Lily really makes me sad. Very, very sad.

So sad that I hope to God he never did it.

It was a good fic, though. Very much enjoyed it. I loved how Dumbledore summons him.

I feel you! It breaks my heart every time I think about it!

Writing love letters to a deceased woman who couldn't return his affections even if she was alive is a depressing thing to do, isn't it? But then again, so is stealing and crying over a letter with her signature on it. When I found the poem that I used at the beginning, I immediately thought of that scene from "The Prince's Tale". So I used that very poignant, yet depressing scene as a springboard for this fic.

I'm glad you liked it. As sad as it is, I really enjoyed writing it!

I just found this and I'm glad that I did so, I'm a sucker for angst.

And this is just too heartbreaking. I was almost sobbing by the end, and it's not something I do often. Thank you for this great fic.

I just love Lily and Severus together.

By the way, I stalked your journal (that's something I do often XD) and I wanna be friends :) Is that okay? You have an adorable cat, btw ^__^

I'm glad you liked it! Lily/Snape is the best unrequited pairing ever, don't you think? I've got another one-shot ("Where Would I Be If I Didn't Know You?") at FictionAlley, Sugar Quill, and On-line Wizarding Library (where this story and my other one-shot are up for some awards). I've also got a novel-length work-in-progress ("The Awakened Sleeper") at all of those archives.

Sure you can friend me! And Baby (my kitty) is sleeping right now, but I'm sure he'd appreciate the compliment!

Bad Dreams

(Anonymous)
Hmmm, don't know if you check this LiveJournal anymore since all the comments are very old but on the off chance you do....(only posting this anonymously because I don't have a LJ account).

Enjoyed this short and actually 'get' the whole writing a letter to the dead. But what I really want to comment on is "The Awakened Sleeper". Got to it via a link I believe thru DeviantArt. Was under the impression it was a finished piece when I began for some reason. I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I was left hanging not knowing how things would work out between Cressida and Lily and Sev and Lily. I even had sad/bad dreams about losing my best friend. Here's hoping you continue with it, even tho it's been a few years. ~Phyllidia

I actually do check my journal when I get comments. I'm waaaay overdue for an update. Anyway, thank you for your comments about my stories! I'm sorry you got into "The Awakened Sleeper" not knowing it's a WIP (and that I gave you nightmares!). The last few years have been kinda rough on me, but I still hope to finish it at some point. The next chapter has been in progress for some time now. I'm hoping I can get it finished soon. Whenever I get to a point where I feel like the next chapter is ready to share, I'll probably post an excerpt or two here on my journal. It'll be posted in it's entirety at Fiction Alley.

Thanks again for letting me know you're interested in reading the rest of the story. It helps motivate me to get the damn thing finished!

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