His life had been a mockery, so too his death it seemed. For what kind of twisted humour would force Severus Snape to relive his greatest regret? To return him to the point in his life where the only person that ever mattered in his life had already turned away.
Upon his canonical death, Severus Snape meets Albus Dumbledore in the afterlife, and is offered a chance to go back to an earlier point in his life (shortly after the breaking of his friendship with Lily Evans), to remedy his many regrets. He accepts in hopes of keeping Lily alive; everything else, he feels, is secondary to that. However, the changes in himself and the changes he brings about once he arrives in the past have the effect of softening her anger toward him and persuading her to give him another chance.
The Peace Not Promised provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents:
- Tobias and Eileen Snape get screen time. Eileen is grossly neglectful, only reacting to Severus' return at the end of the school year by criticising him for not knocking (and she's perpetually drunk). Tobias attacks both Severus and Lily. However, both of them later find a measure of conciliation with Severus.
- Barty Crouch Sr is not physically violent, but is unreasonably perfectionist and intolerant, putting his son under more pressure than he can handle and driving him toward rebellion.
- Affectionate Nickname: Once the two of them are back on speaking terms, Lily usually refers to Severus as "Sev".
- Age-Down Romance: Having been a professor for decades, Severus is very aware that when he first arrives in the past, Lily is young enough to be his student. He still has teenage hormones, though.
- Altar the Speed: Lily wants to marry much earlier than originally planned, when her father passes away suddenly, leaving her with no financial support and unable to have the wedding she wanted (ie having her father give her away) in any case. If she's going to be starting from near-scratch, she'd rather they do it together.
- The Atoner: Severus begins as this, with his whole focus on preventing Lily's death, after his mistakes killed her the first time. He eventually comes to accept that not just her life, but her friendship and love, are within reach.
- Bad Liar: Hagrid really isn't good at covering up the dog hiding in his coat to keep warm.Hagrid: Jus' between yeh and me, I don' got a cough.
Lily: You don't say.
- Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Lily and the Marauders are terrified when Slytherin House falls in line behind Severus (who as far as they know is still a prospective Death Eater), knowing that unity and cooperation will make the House vastly more dangerous and will make it easy to win the hearts of any students who are isolated or otherwise vulnerable. When it turns out that he's protecting the vulnerable in order to reduce reliance on the Death Eaters and hinder their recruitment, Lily's relief is overwhelming.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Saint Nicholas is mentioned in passing to have been a wizard who "gained notoriety through his seasonal flaunting of the Statute of Secrecy."
- Betrayal Insurance: Past!Dumbledore speculates that his future self gave Severus the memories of his regrets so that the two of them would both have leverage over each other, to help them work together.
- Brought Down to Normal: All of Severus' skill in dueling, in alchemy, even in brewing potions, is useless when he loses his right hand; he hasn't trained in off-hand nor wandless casting.
- Callback: When Severus and Lily are saying their marriage vows, in a rushed pauper wedding at her insistence, and he wishes so much more for her, he panics for a moment, not able to shake the idea that he's doing the wrong thing, and has a mental blank; all he can bring himself to say is "Always."
- Chastity Couple: Severus and Lily while at school, even once they're married, though rather against Lily's wishes. Severus' excuse is that it's against school rules, but the truth is that he feels guilty about their mental age gap and wants to wait at least until she isn't a student (since she would be the right age to be his student).
- Chekhov's Gun:
- After reviewing Severus' memories, Dumbledore is particularly interested in some of the magical enhancements that Voldemort invented, such as Wormtail's silver prosthetic hand, and the power of unsupported flight. After Severus loses his hand, Dumbledore finds a way to create a silver prosthetic, allowing him to regain most of his magical skill.
- After Christmas in their sixth year, Lily reflects that she once again received a fine pen from her father, but in order to blend in, she sticks with quill and ink well. She pulls out her collection to help Severus to mark his students' classwork after he loses his hand.
- The Chessmaster: Dumbledore already was this in canon, but his game is greatly improved by the delivery of Severus' memories of his first life, allowing him to plan a different path for the war. However, he still has to decide when to let people die vs when to intervene. And even when he does intervene, it's a calculated move, such as saving the Prouds from assassination in order to provoke Voldemort into lashing out and sending the Diary to the school.
- Childhood Friends: A lot of the reason why Lily gives Severus another chance, reform or not, is because he's her oldest friend and she doesn't want to lose him. She actually feels like the new and improved Severus is closer to how he was when they were children, rather than his dark and angry teenage years.
- Close to Home: During their seventh year, Severus is very aware that although they're married, Lily is of an age to be one of his students when he was a professor. When she tries to seduce him on Valentine's Day, he's quite disturbed.Lily: Professor Snape. Can you imagine?
Severus: Don't call me that!
Lily: But what if I do? Professor Snape.
Severus: Then I'd take fifty points off Gryffindor, Ms Evans. For disobedience.
Lily: It's Mrs Snape, actually. And please don't take my points away, Professor. I'll be good.
<Severus flees the room>
- Closet Geek: Lily and Petunia's father is a fan of Doctor Who, though he tries to hide it by claiming that he's actually watching the news.
- Condescending Compassion: Vernon Dursley is a most unpleasant dinner companion, from the moment he shakes Severus' hand.Vernon: You can tell a lot about a man from a single handshake. Like yours are covered in calluses. You dress smartly but I can tell you are a working man. Not the kind one would expect to own a car that can bring its occupants to dinner on time.
- Crying Wolf: A minor example when Sirius tells Lily that his cousin is a metamorphmagus, and she suspects that he's just Trolling.
- Daddy DNA Test: Tobias Snape apparently had Severus tested to ensure that he was Tobias' son. It actually turns out to be helpful, when Severus needs an emergency blood transfusion and Tobias knows they're compatible.
- Damned by Faint Praise: When Lily shows off the domestic spells she's been learning, Severus tries the meal and tells her that "You're not a terrible cook," before he realises how that sounds. She forgives him, but tells him in return that he can be really adorable, "Not in the puppies and kittens way, of course. More like if a Boggart decided to give up its day job and try its hand at being human."
- Dark and Troubled Past: In his first life, Severus joined the Death Eaters, committed or contributed to many horrible crimes including personally murdering his parents as a test of loyalty, and unintentionally but directly brought about Lily's own death. Since he can't risk telling her about all of it, especially the time travel, Lily is sometimes confused about how he managed to fit so much darkness and trouble and trauma into the six months they were estranged.
- Deadpan Snarker: Severus certainly does have a sense of humour, but it tends toward this, as well as being a bit dark.James: C'mon. You'll be okay, mate. Welsh Greens don't eat people.
Severus: Perhaps you could convince it that we are not comprised of meat.
- Death Notification: For Lily's father, delivered by the Head of House, naturally. At Christmas, when Lily was partway through packing to go home and see him.
- Defeat Means Respect: Not a fight in the usual sense, but after Severus beats Slytherin's Basilisk, the Marauders all feel that he's shown them up and out-Gryffindored them, and James insists on showing him respect.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- After a disagreement, Dumbledore leaves some of Severus' future memories sitting in his Pensieve, intending for Severus to see them when he comes back and be reminded of their significance. But putting clear evidence of Severus' first life in a room accessible to (at least some) students, without supervision, was always going to be a bad idea.
- When Lily sells her childhood home, the garden shed is still hidden from Muggle eyes. However, one of the new owner's children turns out to be a wizard, and can therefore see it; he almost hurts himself trying to climb on it, while his siblings and mother can't tell it's there. And at that point it's much too late to remove the spell.
- Dirty Mind-Reading: When Severus starts teaching Lily to shield her mind, by probing her thoughts and giving her the opportunity to defend, she takes the opportunity to flirt.
- Dirty Old Man:
- Severus disgustedly thinks of himself as this after a miscommunication leads him to attempt to push an encounter with Lily beyond what she's ready for (though he stopped in mortification as soon as she objected). Lily is initially taken aback, but after talking with a friend, she ultimately decides it's normal for him to be a Hormone-Addled Teenager, and they are in a romantic relationship, after all; no harm done, just lesson learned.
- He feels even guiltier, if anything, after their wedding night, with her still seventeen and still unaware of his first life and consequent mental age.
- Disinherited Child: Both averted and played straight with the Prince family. Severus visits his grandfather, at Dumbledore's request, and successfully arranges for his mother to be restored to her inheritance on the condition of cutting ties to her muggle husband — which she is willing to do, having long since despaired of her life. However, Severus himself, while offered a similar deal, refuses to give Lily up, and so is forced to cut contact with his mother.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Through everything he's experienced, Severus has always clung to his pride. He nearly rejects Dumbledore's offer of alchemy training until Dumbledore presents it as an investment in him as a valuable asset, feels similarly about Dumbledore paying for his Apparition test until Dumbledore asks him in return for his aid in dealing with Amadeus Prince, and even after nearly two years of Lily's presence, which is able to soften his heart, he almost refuses to wear the new robes that James Potter anonymously buys him for graduation — then after graduation, Severus promptly sells them. In the first timeline, he accepted sponsorship from Lucius Malfoy to help him buy new robes and supplies, rather than the freely offered help of the Evans family, because sponsorship acknowledges his potential while gifts acknowledge his poverty.
- Double Entendre: James and Marlene arrive at the Gryffindor post-Quidditch party together, very late, rumpled, and needing to shower, and James declares, "Great victory today!"
- The Dragonslayer: James Potter heads out into the wilderness, encounters a savage dragon, summons the Sword of Gryffindor through his bravery, and cuts off the dragon's head. It's actually a deconstruction, though; Dumbledore set it all up with the aim of acquiring the sword, sending Severus to keep an eye on James and help him survive the experience, and then in the aftermath, the Ministry charges both James and Severus with poaching a protected species.
- Dramatic Irony:
- When Lily and Severus first reconcile, she considers telling him about her new friendship with Marlene McKinnon, but hesitates because Severus has always been possessive before — and then she feels guilty about the prospect of restarting their friendship with deceit. While having no idea about Severus' first life and time travel.
- Lily insists that Severus accept her expensive gift for his coming of age, because, "You only get to be seventeen once."
- After all that Severus has done for the school, James Potter arranges for him to anonymously receive new school robes for his graduation (since Severus' robes were thin and full of patches). When he works out who sent them, Severus in his pride is resentful of accepting a gift from his old enemy, but restrains himself from lashing out for Lily's sake. Instead, after graduation, he sells the robes to a second hand store and uses the proceeds to buy ingredients for Lily's contraceptive potion (which doubles as Best Served Cold).
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Snape's first life, in canon, ended with him losing everything, not even being able to keep Harry alive, despite all his efforts and all his suffering. In his second try, he is able to find happiness with Lily, although he faces many new hardships along the way, from the opposition of her friends and family, to the hostility of the Death Eaters whom he didn't join this time, and even the loss of his wand hand. At one point, he even is able to tell Lily about his first life, deepening their friendship and assuring her of the strength of his feelings for her, but then he later has to erase those memories for her safety, setting them back to almost square one. In the end, though, he's happier than he has ever been.
- Energy Absorption: Canonically, goblin silver - such as the Sword of Gryffindor - absorbs only that which makes it stronger, such as basilisk venom. This time, the sword is exposed to dragon fire and absorbs that, manifesting when the sword is swung.
- Engineered Public Confession: When Severus catches Rita Skeeter spying on his home, he calls her out on her illegal Animagus form and invites her to defend herself. He can't actually prove she's an Animagus without revealing his future knowledge, but rather than challenge him, she offers to make a deal to use it to spy for his benefit. And then Dumbledore steps out of the next room.
- Entendre Failure: Played with. Wanting to comfort Severus with touch rather than words, Lily asks him to, "Apparate with me somewhere. Anywhere we can be alone... First place you think of." He completely misses her intent, but takes her to the Forest of Dean, where in a previous life he sent his Patronus, the emblem of their entwined hearts, to guide Harry. Since he can't explain that to her, and doesn't fully understand himself why he did it, he tells her that he's just been studying the plants in the area, making her think his choice was less emotionally charged than it actually was, but she finds the place beautiful and is happy with the outcome. He still doesn't work out what she was after.
- Failure Gambit: Augustus Rookwood probably could have adapted if he had successfully sold Lily on the idea of working for the Department of Mysteries despite him doing his best to present it in a bad light, but that would have made things harder for him and certainly wasn't what he wanted from the meeting.
- First-Name Basis: It takes years for Severus to thaw towards James Potter enough to allow this, but in the end, having everything that is most important to him and makes his life worth living, his bitterness runs out of fuel.Severus: No one begins as friends. But we can begin on first name basis, James.
- Fond Memories That Could Have Been: Inverted; Severus is at last getting a chance to make those memories, after having seen what would happen without them.
- For Want of a Nail: Severus is able to nudge many students away from becoming Death Eaters, often with quite small interventions. Even those who initially resist his efforts, such as Avery and Regulus, often come to him later when they are faced with the harsh realities of serving Voldemort. Barty Crouch Jr is a particularly notable example of redemption through early intervention and sympathy.
- The Gloves Come Off: Severus at first fends his enraged father off with harmless knockback and stinging hexes. But when Tobias then attacks him off-guard and hurts Lily, Severus gets angry too, and immediately strikes him down with a dark cutting curse that could easily have killed him.
- Good Is Not Nice: Although Severus is firmly committed to protecting Lily and the students in his care, defeating the Dark Lord, etc, he's still not pleasant company for most people (particularly the Marauders, but he's not very clubbable in general).Severus: First of all, if you wish to ask me about the potion then do not beat about so infuriatingly aimlessly.
Remus: You had made it clear you didn't like me I didn't think a direct questioning would get me answers.
Severus: But at the very least, it would shorten this conversation.
- Guile Hero: Although he retains most of his adult dueling skill, Severus uses it only sparingly and surgically, and isn't recruited for the front lines of the war.
- He initiates a reform of Slytherin House by demonstrating his superior skill over the upper years, then using that to pressure the Prefects into doing their jobs and protecting every House member. This brings about greatly improved unity and garners widespread support and admiration from the younger years. Once his policies start producing results, rescuing several younger students from tight spots, he declares independence from the Death Eaters, shocking the House but retaining many followers and giving many others a feasible way to stay neutral.
- Severus becomes aware of the Diary horcrux as soon as cockerels start dying. However, he and Dumbledore decide to bide their time, rather than make an immediate move on it, so that they can destroy the basilisk permanently, as well as obtaining its venom.
- When Regulus Black approaches Severus, willing to defect, Severus advises him to do nothing rash, but strike back carefully and secretly.Snape: Do you know why patience and subtlety are a Slytherin's weapons? Why we deal with information, threats and measures considered underhanded by those of rash dispositions? A wound struck in silence and left to fester will always cut deeper than one detected and allowed to heal.
- HeelFace Turn: Several students who were on track to become Death Eaters are persuaded to change course.
- Mulciber starts the story as nearly top dog in Slytherin, based mostly on intimidation, but falls in with Severus after being humiliated, thus losing most of his standing, and becoming dependent on Severus' influence to maintain position. He eventually has enough positive exposure to other ideals and other students to make the change stick, even in the face of his family's opposition.
- Regulus Black's changing of allegiances is canon, but Severus smooths his path, rather than having him vanish on a suicidal revenge mission.
- Rosier and Avery lose faith in Voldemort; one stays with the Death Eaters out of fear, but no longer serves wholeheartedly, while the other flees the country.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Severus has always made it clear that he would die to keep Lily alive. When Voldemort is using the Imperius Curse to make him kill her, Severus resists just long enough to cut off his own wand hand to stop it from happening.
- Hormone-Addled Teenager:
- Downplayed with Severus, who is hardly obsessed with sex, but he does blame teenage hormones for various immaturities in his thinking, easy blushing, etc.
- Turned Up to Eleven with Sirius Black, who has slept with most of the school and has a steady casual relationship with a girl for hookups between relationships.
- Hypocrite: Zigzagged with Amelia Bones. In Severus' first life, she hounded him incessantly, with only Dumbledore's repeated intervention keeping him out of prison. In his second, however, he's finding her to be, while serious and straightforward, also relatively merciful to those whom she catches breaking rules (such as the Marauders being out after curfew to visit Peter in hospital), which galls him. Her explanation is that since she's only a prefect, she can afford to be forgiving and let those above her override if they so choose. Still, she seems to advocate in principle for mercy, which he finds unfair. At the same time, he's aware that he of all people shouldn't hold a grudge against someone for behaving differently the first time around.
- I Am Not My Father: Severus struggles to persuade Lily's father of this, especially since he knows that he actually made worse mistakes than his abusive father did. He's only learned better by hard experience, which he can't share with unprotected minds.
- I Gave My Word: When Remus expresses his thanks for Severus' help despite their history, Severus makes it clear that he is helping because he promised Lily he would. note
- I Have No Son!: Mulciber mentions during his talk with Severus at James and Marlene's wedding that he was disowned by his parents for abandoning the family's pure-blood ideals.
- I Have Your Wife: Severus was never going to be able to resist following Lily into a trap. He does assist her escape, though at a heavy cost to himself; he loses his wand hand and Voldemort becomes aware that he has future knowledge.
- I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: James Potter is able to reach a point of genuinely wishing Lily happiness with Severus once it's clear that she's made her choice. (It doesn't hurt that he's in a happy relationship with Marlene at that point.)
- Insecure Love Interest: This is basically the story of Severus' second life. He does gain more self-confidence after they're married and graduated.
- Insistent Terminology: Severus has on several occasions reminded others that the DADA position is not cursed, it's jinxed.
- Internal Reveal:
- Lily finds out about Severus' first life, where his reform came about due to her death, not merely the passage of time. Then her memory of it is erased for her safety. And then, much later, she gets it back once it's clear Voldemort is targeting her anyway.
- She also sees him with his shirt off when buying new robes, and finds out that his back is covered with scars from his father's beatings.
- After Mulciber sends Susan a Forged Message, hoping to have a friend use Polyjuice potion to impersonate Urquart at a private rendezvous, Snape learns that Urquart is biologically female, and concealing the fact. Snape is ambivalent in his support, but does provide a convenient lie to help Urquart explain away the fact that the Polyjuice gave Lester a clearly female body.
- Intimate Healing: The first time Lily and Severus share a bed is platonic; she finds him having a bad nightmare and her presence calms him. He's rather startled when he wakes in the morning with her cuddling him.
- It's Personal:
- Travers and Wilkes' attack on Lily didn't start out this way; it was just meant to send a message to Severus. When she fights back and hurts them, though, Travers decides he's going to enjoy it.
- Severus' retaliation, on the other hand, is definitely personal.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Severus, naturally. The gold gets to shine through a little more under Lily's tender care.
- Kangaroo Court: When Severus is brought up on charges of poaching, the court seems to be stacked against him, and he doesn't understand why. He's not given a copy of the prosecution's brief in advance, not until he insists on it while actually standing in court, and then he's denied a recess to study it and prepare his defence. The investigating Auror's account of interviewing him conveniently omits any mention of his defence, and the judge doesn't allow him to grill the Auror on the contents of it. And it's pretty clear that there is not a presumption of innocence until proven beyond reasonable doubt.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Lily loses selected memories on several occasions.
- Severus takes her memories of seeing his future memories in Dumbledore's Pensieve, and their resulting week together with her in the know, because it's too dangerous for her to know about the future when Voldemort can read minds. This sets their relationship almost back to square one, but it has to be done for everyone's safety.Lily: Don't you dare give up on me Severus. Don't you dare block yourself off into your isolated heart. You find me you hear? You find me. And remind me to care. You will promise me Severus.
Severus: I promise.
Lily: You promise me you won't leave me be, no matter what I say. You find me and make me listen to you.
Severus: I promise.
Lily: You will tell me of your heart. Make me see the new you. Let me see the different man you've become.
Severus: I promise.
Lily: And <beat> Severus. Make me fall in love with you. Promise me.
Severus: I promise.
- When she turns down a job at the Department of Mysteries, she's left only with a memory of failing a different interview. However, the interviewer was actually a Death Eater with more nefarious intentions.
- After Lily bids farewell to the Grey Lady, Dumbledore takes her memory of the encounter so as to protect knowledge of the Resurrection Stone, and the special Focus Stone that allowed a ghost to use it.
- Severus takes her memories of seeing his future memories in Dumbledore's Pensieve, and their resulting week together with her in the know, because it's too dangerous for her to know about the future when Voldemort can read minds. This sets their relationship almost back to square one, but it has to be done for everyone's safety.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- Severus uses his adult magical skill to impress the members of Slytherin House and gain influence, then demands unity and mutual protection within the House, much to the delight of the younger years. When the Marauders catch him in an ambush and have him at their mercy, one of the younger Slytherin students intervenes for just long enough for Severus to free himself and turn the tables.
- In a moment of temper, Lily lets words slip out that put a rift between her and her good friend Marlene (in this case, revealing Marlene's crush on James Potter to witnesses) — rather like how Severus lost his temper and alienated her. Fortunately, just as Severus found redemption and forgiveness this time around, Lily and Marlene eventually reconcile too.
- At the start of the year, Lily repeatedly tells herself that if Severus looks unhappy after the end of their friendship, it's not on her. She's not necessarily wrong, but much later, when she learns the extent of his father's abuse and wishes she had known and could have done something about it, Severus tells her that it wasn't her responsibility, which cuts home.
- Let's Wait a While: Lily's father requests that they wait for the wedding night, and while Lily would gladly assert her independence and adulthood and dismiss it, Severus is keen to gain his approval and agrees. It also helps that he feels guilty about their age gap; she's young enough to have been his student.
- Limited Wardrobe: The uniform policy isn't enforced very strictly, but Severus always wears his uniform robes anyway throughout his school years — because he doesn't own much else.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Lily is undoubtedly this for Severus. While he can function without her — and did so for many years in his first life — even that was based on remembering her and fighting to protect her legacy, and it still left him a bitter, angry, jaded man at a mere 38 years old. On the positive side, actually having her in his life makes his heart grow steadily softer, quicker to forgive offences and with less bite accompanying his bark.
- The Lost Lenore: Although Lily is alive and well, Severus can never forget that in a former life his choices killed her, and that remembrance shapes everything he does.
- Love Confessor: When Lily chooses between James Potter and Severus, it's James she needs to tell. It almost gets awkward when he respects her decision even after her own memory of it has been removed.
- Love Martyr: Several of Lily's friends worry that she's becoming this, and she isn't able to talk them out of it for quite some time. It doesn't help that Severus really is a gruff and prickly person, sometimes even with her; she just also gets glimpses of his softer side and his strength of character.
- Love Redeems: As per canon, Severus' love for Lily caused him to turn against Voldemort. But further, her loving him back gradually softens his sharp edges and makes him a little more tolerant and forgiving. Eventually.
- Memento Macguffin: For her seventeenth birthday, Severus sends Lily a crystal bottle containing a silver substance that forms into the shape of a doe if it's allowed to rest. To her, it's a beautiful reminder of his Patronus, showing that she's in his heart. Which is true, but unbeknownst to her, the silvery substance is her own memories, from the week where she was aware of his first life, waiting for the right time to be shown to her again.
- Metaphorically True: Severus is able to partially explain his nightmares to Lily, by telling her that Voldemort tested him by implanting a memory of her dying and it being his fault. In reality, Voldemort gave him the (accurate) memory of her death as a very twisted "gift".
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Not quite a mirror, but Severus' new Focus Stone, made from memories of death and the afterlife, is able to reveal his soul, showing the aged hands and Dark Mark from his first life.
- Moment Killer: Remus walks in on Severus and Lily in the prefects' bathroom, and is mortified.Lily: It's not what it looks like.
Remus: No, no. It's my fault. What did I expect trying to take a bath on Valentine's Day?
- Mood Whiplash: Severus' social awkwardness reaches new highs when on the morning after their wedding, after gradually waking up and gazing at each other, he suddenly gets up, and the first words out of his mouth are, "I need to brew," ie a contraceptive potion. Because he doesn't want pregnancy drawing other students' judgement, or morning sickness interrupting N.E.W.T.s.Lily: That has to be the least romantic thing you could have possibly said to me first thing this morning.
- Mundane Solution: At one point, Lily is trying to keep Severus from bleeding out after he cut off his own hand with Sectumsempra to keep himself from killing her while under the Imperius Curse, but the dark magic inflicted wound is proving resistant to her attempts to heal it with magic. Severus' father just makes a tourniquet to cut off blood flow to the area and performs a blood transfusion.
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: Lily thinks that she missed out on saying goodbye to the Grey Lady, but in fact they did have a tearful farewell; she was simply made to forget.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Well, some of them do. But people are so suspicious of Severus, especially to begin with, that he frequently faces retaliation for doing good.
- His efforts to unite Slytherin House and have all the students protect each other, thus nullifying a major recruitment incentive for the Death Eaters, spark great alarm. Not only in Lily and the Marauders, who are terrified at the prospect of the snakes cooperating, but even within Slytherin, when Sebastian Urquart assumes that he's recruiting for the Death Eaters. Severus is attacked repeatedly, and nearly faces a repeat of his earlier shaming by James Potter, before he can publicly set the record straight.
- When Severus agrees to continue brewing Wolfsbane for Remus indefinitely, at Lily's request, Remus' reaction is to assume that he's holding his compliance hostage to keep Lily's friendship.
- Helping to rescue James from a wild dragon gets Severus brought up on charges alongside him.
- Noiseless Walker: Severus has developed this through years of catching students out after curfew.
- Not So Different: Severus is given some of Albus' own memories to take to the past, and as a result, he learns about the champion of the Light's own regrets, his flirtation with darkness and culpability for his sister's death, even as Severus was responsible for Lily's death. This is implied to be a deliberate move on the future Dumbledore's part, to facilitate trust and cooperation between them.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Petunia and Vernon are this, of course, since they're pretty much obnoxious to everyone. Severus' lackluster appearance is taken by Vernon as an excuse for tardiness, as he doesn't look like he could afford a decent car. His employment prospects are immediate fodder for Vernon to boast about how he himself is already settled in management. Petunia is upset about their engagements happening at the same time, but comforted by Vernon pointing out — in public, at a restaurant — that Lily's ring is merely silver while hers is gold with diamonds. Severus actually manages to make a better impression than James Potter canonically did, though, by the simple expedient of restraining his temper in the face of their abuse.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: Severus hesitates at the idea of intimacy (usually because he's very aware of their age gap), but Lily won't let him forget the one time he was eager for more than she was ready for.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When Rosier uses a racial slur against Lily, Severus knows something is up; he's normally more refined than that. Sure enough, he's under the influence of Tom Riddle's Diary.
- Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Severus and Lily's spirited discussion at breakfast in the Great Hall leads several members of staff to assume that she's pregnant. And then dance around the subject — such as keeping her away from alcohol — without directly approaching her to discuss it.Severus: Between children and beasts, your envisioned future will bring about white in my hair.
Lily: At least that'll lend some contrast to your all black ensemble.
Severus: Am I going to have any input in this?
Lily: As the dad, I sure hope so.
...a short time later, in reference to mentoring a talented student...
Lily: You know, kids need breaks.
Severus: And I'll ensure that he takes it throughout the day.
- Parental Marriage Veto: Lily's father is kind, and understanding of Severus' difficult childhood, but still concerned about the prospect of a cycle of abuse being perpetuated — especially since Severus did previously lash out (verbally) at Lily and cause their temporary breakup. By the time they're actually engaged, though, he's seen enough of Severus' reform to accept him.
- Parting Words Regret: As per his canon motivation, Dumbledore wants to cleanse the Ring Horcrux without destroying the Resurrection Stone attached to it, so that he can apologise to his sister and parents. When he succeeds, he learns that it was his own curse, in the fateful duel, that struck Ariana down, as he had always feared; yet still, the opportunity for closure brings him some peace.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: A rather one-sided example when Lily and Severus meet Vernon and Petunia for dinner. Vernon observes that Severus' callused hands indicate that he's a working man, and probably doesn't own a decent car, so their lateness is understandable. Petunia makes a point of having ordered wine for herself and Vernon, but soft drink for Lily and Severus since they're underage. After several minutes of continuing rudeness in this vein, Lily has had enough and storms out. Severus largely restrained himself while in the restaurant, but does note afterward that with the size of Vernon, their untouched meals will at least not go to waste.
- Past Experience Nightmare: Not only does Severus have plenty of his own, he even gets some extras from the memories that Dumbledore sent back with him. At first they're too fragmentary for him to understand, until he's able to view the memories in full while conscious.
- Perpetual Frowner: Severus has very few smiles except for Lily (and even around her, he's often broody and scowling, and his smiles are often tiny).
- Please Don't Leave Me: With a dash of the possessive variety. When Lily tells Severus that she wants to join the Order of the Phoenix after graduation, he sharply forbids her to do it, and warns/threatens that he won't live long if she dies. Lily, naturally, is quite upset at his attempt to control her. There is more to it than she knows, though, from the fact that he has lived through her death before and almost been destroyed by it, to his ongoing work with Dumbledore to end the war from the shadows.
- The Power of Trust: Inverted when Severus and Lily are captured by Voldemort. Severus intends to pretend to sell out and become a spy in order to protect her and get her away regardless of whether Lily trusts his reasons. Unfortunately, since she does implicitly trust him, she works out what he's doing, and Voldemort can read it from her mind, so the plan fails.
- Primal Scene: Never on-screen, but Lily is rather embarrassed to find her robes and underwear cleaned and neatly put away the next day, and isn't sure she can face the house elves to ask for breakfast to be brought up.
- Rejected Apology: After Severus proves his sincerity and commitment, both James and Remus try to put the past behind them and reconcile with him, but he's not interested. Only his devotion to Lily's happiness keeps him remotely civil to them, and only her ongoing influence, over a long period of time, softens him enough to eventually accept.
- Related in the Adaptation: Professor McGonagall's niece Pandora was Xenophilius Lovegood's wife in the original timeline.
- The Reliable One: Part of why Lily appreciates Severus is his dependability. He's punctual, methodical, and she feels like he's given her a whole new definition of what it means to keep promises.
- Resigned to the Call: Severus knows before he travels back to the past that Dumbledore is The Chessmaster, and he doesn't look forward to being a pawn, but he also knows that realistically, working with the old Headmaster is by far the most effective and reliable way to protect Lily, so he does it. To his relief, Dumbledore at least doesn't want him to become a double agent this time.
- Revenge by Proxy:
- Disaffected Slytherins try to send a message to Severus by targeting Lily. Fortunately the Marauders were using their map to keep an eye out for her.
- When Dumbledore personally intervenes to prevent the assassination of the Proud family, Voldemort retaliates by sending the Diary to Hogwarts with Evan Rosier, intending to hurt Dumbledore by hurting his students. Too bad for him that Dumbledore planned it that way in order to locate and destroy the Diary and the Basilisk in one swoop.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor:
- Lily herself doesn't let this influence her thinking much, although she can't help but feel the crimp when her father passes away, leaving her with only a house that she has to sell to clear the mortgage, and she and Severus start out so poor that they decide against even attending a cinema together. Severus, however, is perfectly aware that in another lifetime she married James Potter and would never have had to worry about money again. Still, he has good prospects for future income until he loses his right hand.
- Severus actually has to make a similar choice. His wealthy and titled grandfather is impressed with his skills, and offers to accept him back into the family to produce heirs, on the condition of cutting ties with muggles. Severus turns the offer down to stay with Lily — and has to permanently say goodbye to his mother, who accepted the deal.
- Sarcastic Confession: After Lily and Severus watch Remus' first full moon with the Wolfsbane Potion together, and Severus' nobility in supplying the potion leads to their First Kiss, she comes back to her dorm after curfew, and her roommates want to know where she went — so she tells them that she was "snogging Sev under the moonlight, of course." They're so quick to dismiss him as a potential boyfriend that she might have gotten away with it, too, if the memory of the kiss hadn't made her blush and given away that she was serious.
- Secret Secret-Keeper: Lily has actually known that Remus' was a werewolf for years but never revealed that she did until the first time Severus brews Wolfsbane Potion for him because she felt that it wasn't her business. This makes her feel horrible when she comes off as Innocently Insensitive by using the "tuck your tail between your legs" idiom and can't apologize without tipping him off.
- Seduction-Proof Marriage: With less bitterness at the world and more of a reputation for heroic deeds, Severus starts attracting attention from Hogwarts' female students, but Lily feels merely amused rather than threatened; she knows he's all hers.
- Self-Made Orphan: Canon does not specify the fate of Severus' parents, but in this story, Voldemort instructed Snape to kill them (in the first timeline) in order to get access to the Prince inheritance. Even in his second life, though he has no intention of committing murder, he declares to Dumbledore that he wouldn't feel regret if they died again.
- Shoot Your Mate: The only way for Severus to convince Voldemort to take him on as a spy is to kill Lily. He ultimately cuts off his own hand rather than let himself be magically compelled to do it.
- When Lily suggests a decoration on Severus' new robes rather than plain black, telling him he looks like a vampire, he replies that "I assure you they have ridiculous sparkling twits among their numbers as well."
- Lily's father is mentioned to be a not so secret fan of a children's television show starring a time-traveling space wizard in a box.
- And later, when he's trying to cover up his reasons for not wanting to patrol with Amelia Bones (namely, their antagonistic history in his first life), he claims to dislike Hufflepuffs' "friendship is magic mindset."
- When talking about plans for New Years, Lily suggests going to the cinema to see a super popular science fiction thriller about space wizards with laser swords.
- Slain in Their Sleep: Played straight in the first timeline with Eileen Snape, who had merely been neglectful and cold toward her son. Deliberately averted with her husband Tobias, who was violently abusive; Severus woke him from a drunken stupor so he'd know what's coming to him.
- Spared, but Not Forgiven: Severus has the skills and experience to really put the hurt on the Marauders this time around, and would really like to do it, but for the sake of setting a good example to his House, he repeatedly settles for merely defeating them and walking away when they cause trouble. He agrees to end hostilities for Lily's sake, and even helps them out when he feels indebted to them for rescuing Lily from Slytherins who resent his leadership and wanted to punish him by hurting her, but he still doesn't want anything to do with them, and rejects several attempts by James and Remus to reach out to him. He slowly comes around, to some extent, as James develops more maturity.
- Starving Student: Zigzagged with Severus. Hogwarts provides abundant food for its students, but he was half-starved during the holidays and used the school year to recover. Even then, however, he has little taste — or endocrine tolerance — for anything rich, and is quite content to live on unsweetened porridge, brown bread, and black tea. His second time around, he makes a conscious effort to eat more protein, in part so that he'll be less self-conscious on their wedding night, but doesn't easily take to it.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Lily's efforts at marking potions give a clue as to why Severus hated teaching the subject: the students are so clueless that even with a very basic follow-the-steps recipe, they turn in a whole rainbow of different results, baffling Lily as to just how they managed it. Notably, Severus himself has such long experience that he has no such difficulty; he can immediately identify each mistake.
- Take That!: When discussing plans for dealing with the Heir of Slytherin and whether the Diary is the only threat, both Severus and Dumbledore scoff at the idea of Voldemort having a child.
- Tempting Fate:
- Severus insists, repeatedly, that he will never be a teacher again. To be fair, he did genuinely hate teaching Potions, because he loved the subject but the students never measured up. When he's over a barrel and needs the job, he compromises and teaches Defence instead.
- Lily ponders on Severus' nightmares and the need for them to eventually have a full talk about where they come from, but tells herself, "Let this not be what ruins Christmas. It isn't; a moment later, she is summoned to Professor McGonagall and given the news that her father has passed away suddenly.
- Troubled Abuser: Discussed. The main reason why Lily's father is so against her relationship with Severus is because he grew up in an abusive household and would be at risk for turning abusive himself (not helped by the fact that he had already called her a highly offensive slur the prior year).
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Even in a non-visual medium, this is in full force with Severus and Lily. Her friends, especially Marlene, can't seem to overlook his looks. He himself is painfully aware of his unimpressive appearance (and he knows he won't particularly improve with age). Lily doesn't really care, she likes him for his mind and heart, and she finds the disparagement annoying. However, it's undeniable that she's the one who has to quietly dispose of piles of Valentines each year while he gets none.
- Unable to Support a Wife: Despite wanting her, Severus is more reluctant to marry than Lily is, because he has no home or employment or savings. He does have good employment prospects for the future, at least. In the end, they marry early anyway, because Lily's father passes away unexpectedly; she's no longer being supported by anyone else, and can't have her dream wedding without her father to give her away, so there's no more reason to wait.
- Unfinished Business: The Grey Lady is trapped as a ghost by her regret at refusing to visit her mother's deathbed. She finds peace by using the Resurrection Stone to speak with her mother, after which she passes on.
- The Victim Must Be Confused: Remus is automatically suspicious when he learns that Severus promised Lily that he would continue brewing the Wolfsbane Potion for as long as Remus needed it, assuming that Severus must be using his compliance as leverage against her. Lily is upset when she works it out, although she does try to think the best of Remus' intentions.
- Weapon of X-Slaying: Since alchemical focus stones are intimately connected with memories, Severus tries making one using the memory of his own death and his brief glimpse of afterlife. The resulting stone becomes a connection between life and death, which can give ghosts temporary corporeality, and kill Horcruxes.
- What Does She See in Him?: For a while, most of Lily's friends are hung up on Severus' shabby looks, dark past (which they're not convinced he's truly abandoned), acerbic personality, and poverty for good measure. As time passes, she's able to hold his achievements over their heads, such as his gold medal for groundbreaking contributions to alchemy, brewing the Wolfsbane Potion for Remus Lupin every month — including dramatically improving the recipe — and slaying Slytherin's Basilisk.
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Voldemort used legilimency to implant his own memories of killing Lily in Snape's mind. The really messed up part is that Voldemort intended it to be a "gift" for being a loyal servant.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
- Lily tells Severus this repeatedly, after seeing how he continues to sacrifice his own time and convenience and comfort for necessity, for duty, and above all, for her.
- Dumbledore tries to be encouraging to his retiring Divination teacher, whose Sight has apparently been mixing up the old and new timelines ever since Severus returned, and who consequently believes he's losing it.
- Yowies and Bunyips and Drop Bears, Oh My: Xenophilius Lovegood brings tales of Australia when he's present at James and Marlene's wedding; he initially assumes that Severus' silver prosthetic hand is infested with "Fluorescent Bushwongles", which he's seen in a mossy Australian cave (probably glow-worms), and later goes on about the Drop Bears that several Australian wizards swore they had seen. Note that the author is Australian.