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Lovers and Voyeurs

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He rounds the corner to the Transfiguration corridor and immediately spots a familiar head of red hair. His heart hammers in his chest and he just knows that there is an awful, hopeful look on his face that surely would only serve to have his friends -if you can call them that- hex him if they spotted it, for there is Lily Evans sitting on the hard, cold floor, her legs stretched out in front of her. She is frowning as she reads a piece of parchment she is clutching in her hands.

He is curious to know what it is that has her looking so unhappy. At one point in time, he would have been the first person she told; she would have sought him out and thrust the parchment in his face before launching into a long and heated diatribe about whatever is written there. He knows better than to expect that now, though, for it has been nearly two years since Lily has considered him a friend. The most he gets from her these days is a cool politeness that begins and ends with acknowledging his existence when they pass each other in the hallways.

Ever since she took up with Potter and his friends — no, that’s not true. Lily did not align herself with those four great oafs until after she had severed ties with him, all over a stupid word that he did not mean to say to or about her. If he thought it would help his case even slightly, he would walk over to her and apologize. But an apology would do nothing; he has tried countless times to apologize to her, but proud, brave, unthinkably strong Lily Evans wants nothing to do with him now.

If only he could make her hear him out, because obviously she hasn't been listening to him if she has yet to accept his apologies. All he needs is for her to sit silently for a moment, for her not to interrupt him or walk away from him. Before he has even thought anything through, he feels the strong, reassuring weight of his wand in his hand. Through magic, he can make anything happen.

But she is Lily Evans, and aside from the fact that she is Head Girl and one of the most proficient witches in the castle, she was once his best friend. Can he really turn his wand on her the way he once turned his words on her? He stands frozen for a moment, watching as she spreads the parchment out over her half-bared – ever since she started dating Potter, Severus has watched her skirts grow shorter and shorter – outstretched thighs and smooths it out with restless fingers, her neck angled to stare down at it. She clearly needs someone to talk to and he is just the person for her.

Besides, once she properly hears him out, there is no way she won’t forgive him. Before long, they will surely be right back where they once were: best friends. He raises his wand, a paralyzing jinx of his own creation on his tongue. Professor McGonagall can wait a bit longer for his belated essay on human transfiguration.

A door to his left opens and closes loudly and Lily looks up immediately, her gaze turning in his direction. A relieved, sweet smile graces her lips and for a moment Severus thinks she has spotted him and is glad for it, but he realizes that is quite unlikely as the slamming of the door had him diving out of the way and he is now standing mostly hidden behind a suit of armor and she is looking at whoever exited the room.

“Hey! What are you doing here?” A loud, sickeningly familiar voice calls out from where the person is standing just out of Severus’s eyesight on the other side of the suit of armor.

“Waiting for you,” Lily says, turning the parchment over in her lap would-be-casually as Potter walks towards her. Severus’s hand clenches tightly around his wand, now dropped to his side.

“You weren’t waiting long, I hope.” If Severus didn’t know any better, he might think that Potter sounds genuinely concerned that he has inconvenienced her. Lily shakes her head, her neck craned at an unnatural angle to look up at Potter, who has reached her and, towering over her when both are standing, now dwarfs her.

Potter holds down a hand to help her up, but Lily does not take it, instead dropping her gaze to the parchment she is now wrinkling in her hands. “Can we just sit here for a little while?” she asks so quietly Severus almost doesn’t hear her.

For a moment, Potter just stands there and Severus thinks he is going to insist that they go elsewhere - no doubt he has made plans to meet his delinquent friends somewhere soon – but after a moment during which Potter seemingly does nothing but stare at Lily, he lifts one shoulder in a careless gesture and then sits down next to Lily, leaving not even a hint of space between them.

Severus expects Lily to grow annoyed that Potter has turned this into an opportunity to get close to her - she is clearly upset and needs to talk, not have her personal space invaded - but she immediately moves ever closer to him, sliding under the arm that Potter lifts arrogantly and resting her head on his shoulder as his arm settles over her. Potter leans his head against hers and reaches for one of her hands.

They are silent for a moment and Severus is overcome with such a swift and sudden course of envious rage that his wand is in the air before he has even made the conscious decision to raise it. Stupid, conceited, arrogant, bullying, strutting, prattish Potter. Rich Potter. Tall Potter. Potter who has everything he has always ever wanted as well as everything that Severus has ever wanted.

Pathetic, simpering, mudblood Lily Evans. Beautiful Lily Evans. Kind Lily Evans. Brilliant Lily Evans who somehow cannot see that Potter is not the hero everyone lauds him as. Lily Evans who is everything that Potter and Severus both have ever wanted. Lily Evans who wants nothing to do with Severus. Lily Evans who has taken to looking at Potter with those soft, affectionate, loving eyes that she never quite had for Severus.

His lip curls in distaste when Potter turns his head slightly and presses his lips to Lily’s hair. They make him sick, with their private moments in public places. But he cannot curse them, not here, not now. If he curses Potter now, he will have to deal with Lily’s wrath, and everyone knows that Lily Evans, despite being Muggleborn, is a formidable opponent with a wand in her hand. He could manage to get the jump on both of them, he knows, because they are cuddling in the hallway, their wands not even out, probably stowed away in their rucksacks. He could do it, but as much as he would love to do away with Potter, he really does not want to harm Lily, jilted as he may be by her. Momentarily paralyzing her so that he may explain himself to her is one thing, but dueling her is not something that Severus wants to do.

“Are you ready,” Potter says quietly, disrupting Severus’s contemplation, “to tell me what the letter says?”

Lily mumbles something in response. She is so quiet and so unclear that Severus is only able to make out something about McGonagall. Frowning, Severus performs a charm to improve his hearing.

Potter’s sigh sounds as though Severus is sitting right alongside them it is so clear in his ear.

“She only wanted to talk to me about my essay.”

“The one you submitted to the Auror Office along with your application?” Lily lifts her head to look at Potter, cautiously excited at the news.

“Yeah.” Potter’s nod is loose and casual, but he frowns and rolls his eyes. “Apparently it was a very good essay, but displayed more my scholarly prowess than my practical ability.”

“It was an essay!” Lily protests quickly, clearly incredibly outraged at the idea that someone might think Potter less than perfect. Hidden behind his suit of armor, Severus scowls at her. “How the bloody hell are you supposed to display practical application of magical theory in an essay?”

“That’s what I said!” Potter exclaims, tossing his hands up in the air. “McGonagall agrees, and said as much to her friend in the Auror Office, but regardless, they think I’m better suited to a more research-based office.” Potter’s expression is one of utmost disgust. “Me? Working a desk-job? Can you imagine?”

Lily is silent for a while, gazing at Potter with sympathy. She takes up one of his hands gently and begins running her fingers along his wrist. “You know,” she begins softly. “I imagine an Auror has to do quite a lot of desk-work on top of the fieldwork. All the paperwork and such.”

“Probably.” Potter sighs. “I just can’t see how the Ministry can possibly be in a position where they’re able to turn away prospective Aurors! Not these days.”

“You think it might be… because of me?” Lily asks hesitantly.

Potter looks blindsided by this suggestion.

“How could it possibly be because of you?” Potter frowns at her.

“Because you’re with me.” She seems unwilling to meet his eyes, focusing instead on their joined hands. “And I’m a mudblood.”

“Don’t say that.” Severus is actually surprised at the tired sound in Potter’s voice. Going off past experience, he had expected a more vehement and forceful reaction. He wonders how many times they have had this conversation.

“It doesn’t bother me anymore, I’ve told you,” Lily says, finally meeting Potter’s eyes again proudly. “Merlin knows I’ve heard it enough this year. It’s just a stupid word. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“It does! It means that there are people out there, a lot of people out there, who hate you for something you can’t control,” Potter tells her. “Maybe it doesn’t bother you anymore, but apparently you’re stronger than me because it bothers me.”

There is a soft look on Lily’s face that makes Severus uneasy and he dreads the next words out of her mouth. But whatever is on her mind never makes it past her lips because Potter presses his unworthy mouth to hers for the longest fleeting moment Severus has ever witnessed.

“McGonagall thinks it’s because no one is sure, anymore,” Potter says, straightening back up as Lily resumes her position with her head on his shoulder. “How it’s all going to end up, I mean. With Voldemort. If he gains control, takes over the Ministry, the entire Auror Office will be purged if there are people there who have only ever worked to stop him, so they won’t take on anyone who is known to disagree with him. On the other hand, if Voldemort is defeated, the Ministry will look terrible if there are a load of Aurors who were followers of his, so they won’t be hiring any prospective Death Eaters either.”

“So, what? They’ll only take on neutral parties from now on?” Lily asks, distaste plain in her tone.

Potter shrugs casually, but Severus suspects from the furrow of his brow that Potter is far more concerned than he is letting on. Potter sighs. “It’s what McGonagall thinks.”

“But how can anyone really maintain a neutral position on the issue? Either you are for the murdering of countless innocent people or you are against it. There can’t really be a middle ground!”

Privately, Severus disagrees with her. He doesn’t think this particular issue is nearly as black and white as Lily does. There are people out there who don’t necessarily agree with the murders that are happening or those that are imminent, but still align themselves with the Dark Lord simply for their own safety and that of their loved ones. After all, it is quite unlikely that the Dark Lord will be stopped at this point.

“Well, I suppose it’s more… people who don’t disclose which side they’re on.”

Severus is less than pleased to admit to himself that Potter is probably right. Perhaps the wisest people out there are those who are lying low and not aligning themselves with either side. When the outcome is more predictable, then these people will throw their support behind the victorious party, thus ensuring their continued safety. However, those people, the spineless masses who will hide behind the ones wielding the power will never truly be rewarded. Those who participate in the efforts and aid in securing victory will be the ones who will truly shine in the outcome.

A quiet, feminine sigh shakes Severus from his contemplation.

“So then it is because of me.”

“What are you on about now?” Potter sounds weary to be back on this topic.

“You’re dating a mud-… a Muggleborn, so clearly you’re anti-Voldemort.”

“Lily. I’ve been getting into duels with future Death Eaters since our very first trip on the Hogwarts Express. I would be in this very same situation even if we weren’t together.” His voice is strained, his tone not warm, but not exactly cold either. Annoyed. For a moment, Severus allows himself to hope that an argument is brewing.

After a moment of silence, however, Potter softens. “Although, I think I would be significantly more upset to have been passed over if I were single.”

“And why is that?” Lily asks.

“Because now that I am sure to be unemployed after Hogwarts, that leaves more time to spend with you,” Potter says, his voice warm now, all aggravation gone. Severus can feel his lip curling in distaste and he moves further behind the suit of armor so that he cannot see the hot look in Potter’s eyes or the pretty redness in Lily’s cheeks.

“So confident we’ll be together after Hogwarts. What makes you think I’m not right this very moment planning how best to ditch you?” Her tone is light and teasing and Severus is momentarily surprised that she so willingly accepts Potter’s subject change. When they were friends, she would hound him until her interest in the previous topic had been exhausted. But Severus has not been in receipt of her friendship in some time, so he doesn’t exactly know how insistent she is in private conversation these days.

“Because you’re madly in love with me, that’s why,” Potter says with the confidence of one who has heard it straight from her lips several times. But Potter has always been one to fake such confidence. Still, Severus’s insides are taut with nerves, strangely enough, as he feels himself compelled to peek out from behind the safety of his hiding spot and watch for Lily’s reaction.

“Oh, yes, that’s right. And there’s the humility which so attracts me.” The soft smile on her lips makes Severus’s heart drop to the pit of his stomach and he feels his jaw clench at the confirmation. Lily is not only dating Potter; she is actually in love with him. How could she possibly be? For years, she always agreed with him that Potter was arrogant and aggravating and a reckless, careless, cruel bully. How could she suddenly take a complete turn and decide that Potter is actually worth loving and he, Severus, is not even worth friendship? Unless she had never actually held Potter in as much contempt as she had let on.

Lily sighs and leans her head back on the wall behind her and Severus desperately wishes that his were the shoulder she moves it to instead, seeking greater comfort than stone.

“What’s on your mind?”

“We’re eighteen, James. And we’ll both be unemployed after school.”

“Yeah, so?”

“So, I’m going to have to find money somewhere. I’ve been thinking… I might have to leave.”

“Leave?” Potter sits up quickly, jostling Lily’s head off his shoulder as he turns to look at her, panic plain in his face.

“Not you! Just the community. I may have to return to the Muggle World.”

“Why would you do that? I understand the Muggles aren’t bad - most of them, anyway. But you’re a brilliant witch, Lily! You belong here! Your magic belongs to you and you to it. You can’t just… give it up.”

“Well, I don’t want to!” Lily says defensively. “But I need money, James! Unlike you, I don’t have a massive trust fund to fall back on!”

“Yes, you do!” Potter insists loudly. Severus flinches at the voice so loud in his ear and he accidentally hits the side of his head against the suit of armor. He withdraws and freezes, waiting with his wand tight in his grip for one or both of them to come investigate the noise, but neither of them appears to have noticed. Instead, Potter continues much more quietly. “Not that I know what a trust fund is, mind, but I’m assuming it’s a Muggle term for money. In which case, you do have a trust fund to fall back on.”

“I really don’t, James. And I won’t have much of an inheritance, either. My parents are barely making ends meet lately! I’m not going to be able to live with them and let them support me forever.”

“You’re not understanding,” Potter says, and Severus realizes quite suddenly what Potter is trying to say. He quickly feels his rage rising with his understanding.

“Clearly not.” Severus is glad to hear annoyance in Lily’s tone. Perhaps she won’t take too kindly to Potter’s suggestion once he explains himself.

“Lily, I love you. Did you really think I wasn't going to support you in every possible way I can?”

Severus can imagine in great detail the swelling indignance overtaking her entire being. He is not expecting to hear her voice, suddenly so soft and shy, in his ear.

“Are you… are you asking me to live with you?”

“I…” For the first time, Potter falters. Severus gets the distinct impression that he hadn’t intended for his promise of support to come across in quite that manner. “Yeah. I guess I am.”

“I thought you were planning to move into Sirius’s flat.”

Severus isn’t surprised to hear that. Not that he cares, but those two imbeciles are all but inseparable. Likely, they would be incapable of functioning without each other. He wouldn’t be surprised if Potter was expecting her to just move in with him and Black.

“At first, yeah. Not so much anymore.”

“Sirius will hate me.”

“Nah, he won’t. He’s stopped talking about me moving in lately. I think he knows I’ve been considering other options and I don’t think he minds all that much. Actually, I think he’s been trying to convince Remus to move in with him now.”

Severus frowns – it sounds as if Potter is suggesting he has actually given some thought to this matter. Perhaps he had been nervous, not surprised, at her interpretation of his earlier vow.

“Not Peter?”

“Nah, Pete’s mother’s been ill lately, so he’s going to stay at home for a while at least.”

“I would still get a job, though. I won’t just live off of you.”

“Well, yeah, I suspected as much. Not that I would mind if you didn’t. I probably won’t. Wait. Does that mean…”

Severus can’t help himself; he peeks out from around the side of the suit of armor.

“I’ll think about it,” she says casually.

“Lily.” Severus can’t see Potter’s face anymore from this new angle, but he can see Lily’s and he can only imagine the idiotic, stunned look on the other boy’s face, judging by Lily’s amused smirk.

“On one condition, though.”

“Yeah?” He sounds so eager, and Severus is certain that at his point, he would agree to anything she said. Hate him though he might, Severus can’t blame him; were Lily Evans considering moving in with him after school, Severus would do everything he possibly could to convince her to do it.

“You may think Sirius won’t mind, but I don’t know that for certain, so to alleviate any tension there may be, we would have to live very near to him.”

Severus slinks back into the shadow hidden from their view; he can’t believe what he’s hearing. Lily potentially agreeing to live with Potter is one thing. She has, for some reason, deluded herself into believing she is in love with him, after all. But Black? And apparently the werewolf as well? To want to live near enough to Black that he wouldn’t even notice her potentially stealing his roommate? That would have to mean that she actually thought she cared about him as well. Murderous, obnoxious, rude, abrasive Sirius Black. She had, at one point in time, hated him as much as Severus had. At least, so she had led him to believe.

She had never pretended to dislike the werewolf, no matter how Severus had tried to convince her that he wasn’t the little darling she thought he was. She even probably knows he’s a werewolf by now. And still she wants to live near him, be friends with him, have a good, long, lasting relationship with him after school? Severus will never understand her reasoning there.

Potter’s earnest voice draws Severus’s attention. “Hell, Lily, if you want to live near Sirius, there’s no doubt I could convince him to let us both move into his place.”

“Near him, James. I said we should move near him, not into his flat.”

“You’ve slept in the same room as him before; I’m sure you could handle sleeping in the same flat.”

Severus’s chest tightens at this, swelling with rage and disgust. If she had slept in the same room as Black, she must have also slept in the same room as Potter. Probably in the same bed as Potter. Probably nude as the day they were born, the both of them.

“Sleeping there, sure, but you’re the only bloke I want to live with.”

“Oh, so now you want to live with me. You’re not just considering it?” Potter’s tone is light and teasing, as if he is amused by her slip up.

“I want to live with you.”

Severus feels nothing but pain and rage at this revelation and, for the sake of his own sanity, performs a silent finite to end the charm that has been enhancing his hearing. He knows he should just leave and save himself the pain of having to listen to any more declarations of love and commitment, but the Transfiguration corridor he finds himself in with Lily and Potter is a short one, leaving him relatively close to the couple having a romantic moment in a perfectly public corridor, as deserted as they may think it to be, and he runs the risk of them noticing him appearing from behind the suit of armor if he does try to leave now.

He sticks his head out from behind the suit of armor just in time to see the messy back of Potter’s head tilt slightly to deepen the kiss he and Lily are immersed in. This would be the perfect opportunity to leave; they are clearly distracted and Severus doubts even the castle wall exploding right behind them could separate them. For a moment, he is tempted to destroy the corridor and find out.

Even though he knows he should leave, that Lily would not appreciate knowing that he is standing here witnessing the particularly enthusiastic snog she is engaged in with her arrogant boyfriend, he feels as though he is the victim of a well-cast Body-Bind jinx. Rooted to the spot, he watches as Lily’s hand lifts from Potter’s lap to twist in his hair while the other clutches at his biceps.

He can only imagine how it would feel were that hair a bit longer and less disheveled, if that biceps were a bit more scrawny - although Severus personally thinks that the silly girls in the hallways who so love to gossip make too much a deal of Potter’s arms, Severus knows, loath as he may be to admit it, that the Chaser’s arms are more toned than his own from his years of Quidditch practice.

It is the strangest feeling, watching them together like this, when they think no one is watching - the two of them are always sickening in their public displays of love, Severus thinks with a sneer, but he realizes now that they must make an effort to maintain some semblance of decency in public because this is something different entirely. It is as if they have forgotten that there are other people in this world, in this school, who may need to venture down the Transfiguration corridor.

Their mouths part with a soft suctioning sound that has Severus feeling oddly aroused rather than disgusted as he normally does when he sees them kissing in the hallways, in the Great Hall, the library, out on the grounds. When Potter’s lips trail smoothly down her neck to latch onto the base of her throat, a soft mewling sound the likes of which Severus has never heard escapes Lily’s lips. His mouth goes dry.

Lily shifts suddenly, tossing a leg over Potter’s lap and pressing herself against him firmly. It is absolutely indecent, and Severus has never been so disgusted in himself as when he starts to react to the sight.

For no immediately discernible reason, they stop quite abruptly. Potter reaches down between them and Severus cranes his neck further around the suit of armor – were they not so engrossed in each other, they would surely see him now – for a better view of what they’re doing. He is both relieved and disappointed when Potter merely extracts a crumpled piece of parchment from between their bodies. The letter that she had spread out over her thighs, Severus realizes. It must have gotten caught between them, made some noise, or been uncomfortable or otherwise distracting.

He expects Potter to toss it carelessly off to the side and resume their snogging. He is surprised when Potter strokes her hair gently and kisses her forehead instead. Lily says something quietly. Against his better judgment, Severus improves his hearing again.

“It’s okay,” Potter assures her softly when she drops her head to rest her forehead on his shoulder. “Now do you want to talk about this?”

Lily lifts her head, looks at the parchment he is still holding onto, and sighs as she takes it from him. She climbs out of his lap and resumes her spot next to him, crossing her legs in front of her as she stares down at the letter. “What about it?”

“You’ve been staring at it for three days and still haven’t told me what it is. Now, I get the whole privacy thing. Yeah, I’m not entitled to know everything. But I think you want to talk about it. Otherwise you’d have just thrown it away or at the very least you wouldn’t be carrying it around with you at all times.”

Severus wants to scoff at Potter’s presumption that he knows what Lily wants better than she does. He knows from personal experience that Lily does not take kindly to people assuming her thoughts and feelings. She turns her head away from Potter, towards Severus’s hiding spot, which has him lunging back for cover to await her retort.

He scowls at the back of the suit of armor when she concedes with a sigh. There is the rustle of parchment as she presumably hands the letter back to Potter, and then silence as he reads it.

“So she’s getting married,” Potter says after several torturously silent minutes. “That’s nice. Weddings are always good fun.”

“She doesn’t want me there,” Lily mumbles and Severus has the distinct impression from the muffled sound of her voice that she has once more pressed her face against some part of Potter’s torso.

“Nonsense. You’re invited. Look, it says ‘try to bring a normal date’ which means she assumes you’ll be there.” Potter’s tone is light and cheerful, but Severus senses something not quite sincere in it.

“It also says ‘I didn’t want to waste an invitation on you, so I’m telling you in this letter that I expect you to at least try to bring a normal date when you arrive.’ She didn’t want to waste an invitation on me because she doesn’t want me there!”

Were Severus actually part of this conversation, he would tell her to not even bother going to her awful sister’s wedding – because who else would be so cruel to Lily as to write a letter informing her of their wedding while strongly hinting that they would rather not even have to invite her. But he is not part of this conversation, so he can do nothing but continue cowering like he has been behind this suit of armor.

“I bet my parents made her tell me about it. She probably would have just gone ahead and gotten married without even telling me if it weren’t for them.” She is whispering now and Severus has a sickening image of the two of them sitting there, huddled together, faces mere centimetres apart.

“You don’t know that, Lily.”

“You don’t know Petunia.” Her voice is louder, firmer, a bit mutinous. Severus can all but see the determined set of her expression.

“Fair enough.” Potter doesn’t argue with her, which Severus takes as confirmation; she will not be convinced, so what is the point in arguing, after all?

They go quiet for a few minutes and Severus wonders if they have resumed snogging. He risks a glance around his hiding spot and to find that, shockingly enough, they are just sitting there in silence, doing nothing but holding hands. It is so strange to him – whenever he sees them in public, they are always either talking or snogging. In the six months since they went public with their relationship, Severus doesn’t think he has ever seen them sitting quietly.

The silence lasts so long that Severus decides he had best just leave. He doesn’t want to be stuck behind this suit of armor all afternoon, and he has no clue how long these two plan on just sitting outside of McGonagall’s office, not seeming even to care that the woman herself might come out and interrupt their rendezvous at any moment.

“On the topic of bringing a date, though,” Potter murmurs suddenly, and Severus freezes where he is, crouched and preparing to escape his alcove.

“What?” Lily asks when Potter doesn’t finish his thought. She sounds confused, which doesn’t surprise Severus. They hadn’t, after all, been on the topic of a date.

“I know I may not be the kind of normal your sister has in mind, but I would be very disappointed if you chose any other date.”

Severus scowls; it is one thing for them to dream about living together after school, something that may or may not actually happen. Who knows what the future holds for them? For all they know - and Severus privately hopes this will come to pass - they could have a falling out before then. It is another thing altogether for him to accompany her to her sister’s wedding, to meet her entire family and cement himself as an important and lasting fixture in her life. Once upon a time, Severus had been the one person from school to know her parents, to step foot inside her childhood home, to torment her sister for her. Now it would be Potter.

“Really? You want to go with me to my awful sister’s wedding?” She is clearly surprised and uncertain. Severus wants to leap out from his alcove, reveal himself, tell her not to bring Potter along with her, convince her to bring him instead. Lily sighs, though, and Severus hears in that sigh a kind of agreement. “Are you sure? It’s going to be dreadful, and you know how she feels about anything even remotely unnatural. Vernon is the same way; they won’t be kind to you.”

“I know. But just think how much fun it will be to see their reactions to the news that we’re getting a flat together. In London. Muggle London. They’ll be livid. It’ll be brilliant.”

“Muggle London?” There is such hope and positivity, such brimming excitement in her exclamation that Severus feels his heart shatter. They are not just dreaming at playing house together, he realizes. They are going to see this through to the end. She actually wants it, and not just because she will be hurting for money and he will not. She wants Potter just as desperately as Potter wants her.

“You said you wanted to live near Sirius. Sirius’s flat is in Muggle London.”

This time when they go quiet, they are not entirely silent, and Severus knows that now they have, in fact, resumed snogging. When Lily giggles breathily, he wants to shout, he wants to rip his hair out, he wants to kill James Potter and take his place in Lily Evans’s life.

Instead, he turns and flees the corridor, his Transfiguration essay forgotten. What do essays matter in the long run, after all? He knows what he’ll be doing after Hogwarts, and so do they all. No one will remember his grades or his lack of popularity or anything that happened to him in school when he ascends to the top under the Dark Lord’s guidance. When he kills James Potter and all of his friends.