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Fanfic / The Peace Not Promised

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After all this time. Even in another life. Always.
What if I were to tell you, that not all of that needs to be? If the loss of her friendship was the only regret you needed to relive. Everything else would be up to you.

The Peace Not Promised is a Harry Potter Peggy Sue fanfiction by Tempest Kiro.

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.

Too bad that means there will be no infant Harry Potter to defeat Voldemort this time...

It is published on FanFiction.Net (here) and Archive of Our Own (here), and was completed in December 2021.

The Peace Not Promised provides examples of:

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  • 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 physically attacks both Severus and Lily. However, both parents 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.
  • Accidental Discovery: When Severus creates an alchemical Focus Stone from his memories of the afterlife, he was mostly experimenting to produce something that could manufacture basilisk venom, but the stone proves to have more death-related powers than he expected. Such as killing Horcruxes, granting temporary corporeality to ghosts, and even forming part of a counter to the Killing Curse.
  • Accidental Good Outcome: Severus' wedding ring is set with chips from both an alchemical Death Focus Stone and a Philosopher's Stone. He only intended it as jewelry, but the combination of the two powerful magics turns out to be a protection against the Killing Curse.
  • Action Girl: Lily doesn't have Severus' lifetime of experience, nor does she have serious combat instincts, but she can take care of herself.
    • The first time she's seen clashing with Slytherin bullies, she humiliates Mulciber badly enough to cement his loss of status in the house and Severus' ascendance (though that wasn't her intention).
    • She tries to keep herself safe, but can't resist going out to make a difference during the Battle of Hogwarts, such as distracting Bellatrix Lestrange from attacking the wounded in the Great Hall, thus saving many lives.
    • She eventually kills Tom Riddle, stabbing him with the Sword of Gryffindor after his Horcruxes are destroyed.
  • Affably Evil: Upon encountering Evan Rosier on his first day in the past, Severus is reminded of how he liked Rosier for being cordial to everyone — even those he was about to murder.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Once the two of them are back on speaking terms, Lily usually refers to Severus as "Sev".
  • Afterlife Antechamber: Upon dying, Severus finds himself in a featureless white void, and then Dumbledore appears and greets him, telling him he's not ready to find peace and giving him a choice about what happens from there. Severus takes the offered chance to go back and try a different path in life.
  • 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 Apprentice: Damocles Belby, inventor of the Wolfsbane Potion, offers Severus an apprenticeship upon learning of the refinements he's made to the recipe. Severus is initially keen, but ultimately accepts a position teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts instead, so that he can keep leading Slytherin House.
  • Artificial Limbs: Dumbledore is intrigued to hear about the silver hand that Voldemort created for Peter Pettigrew in the original timeline, and would like to recreate the spell, but he suspects that part of the process involved Voldemort carving a piece from Pettigrew's soul, which Dumbledore is unwilling to do. He eventually succeeds instead in creating a silver prosthetic by making a detailed study of anatomy and exactly mimicking a hand, restoring most of Severus' spellcasting ability. Lily promptly takes on the task of learning enough to be able to renew the prosthetic as needed.
  • 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. When he enters the afterlife a second time, he discovers that the Dark Mark is no longer on his soul.
  • 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.
  • Black Comedy: When Severus and Lily are having a serious discussion after she sees some of his memories of his first life, he tells her that he was killed by Voldemort.
    Lily: Hey, we have something in common!
  • Body Double: The Aurors use a Polyjuiced decoy to lure people who would wish to ambush Severus on the way to his trial, with considerable success.
  • Brits Love Tea: During weekly meetings with Severus, Dumbledore has a habit of bringing out his more exotic tea selections, like rose-infused oolong — although Severus has simple tastes and would rather have simple black tea, or even coffee.
  • Butterfly of Doom:
    • 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.
    • Dumbledore has to strike a balance between using Severus' information to make the war go better, vs leaving things predictable. He chooses to draw a line and make a large splash, with accompanying ripples, by preventing the assassination of Benjy Fenwick, the Order's spymaster.
      This was where the course of the war would change well beyond Snape’s prediction or control. His black eyes met those piercing blue ones, and in that moment his worst fears were confirmed. But he had always known that this would come to pass, for no true victory could be had following that script, not without incurring cost too terrible to consider.
  • 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."
  • The Cavalry: Most of the Auror force arrives Just in Time to save the day with the help of Dumbledore's Deluminator giving them permission to apparate into Hogwarts.
  • 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 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; it's easier to use a pen off-handed than a quill.
    • Dumbledore gives Lily his Deluminator. When she activates it during the Battle of Hogwarts, it summons allies from across Britain, giving them his permission to apparate into Hogwarts, despite his death.
      Dumbledore: May it light your way when the night seems the darkest.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • 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. Later, after Severus loses his hand, Dumbledore finds a way to create a silver prosthetic, allowing him to regain most of his magical skill.
    • Lily is established early on to be naturally talented with silent casting, and with wandless magic, but struggles to combine the two; Professor Flitwick challenges her to practise this if she wants to pass Charms, and she eventually achieves some basic competency with it. Which is how she stabs Voldemort with the Sword of Gryffindor after he immobilises her.
  • The Chessmaster: Dumbledore already was this in canon, but his game is greatly improved by the delivery of Severus' memories, 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.
  • Commonality Connection: 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.
  • 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.
  • Cry into Chest:
    • Lily breaks down on Severus' chest in relief when he confirms that he was serious about rejecting Voldemort and never becoming a Death Eater.
    • And later for different reasons, when her father has suddenly passed away.
  • 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.
  • Deader than Dead: Multiple ghosts pass on to the afterlife, which normally is not possible because they cannot grow and therefore cannot let go of regret.
    • The Grey Lady finds peace by using the Resurrection Stone to reconcile with her mother, and vanishes.
    • The Bloody Baron tests Lily's enchantment on the Sword of Gryffindor, which infused it with the power of a Patronus, and reports that it felt like hearth and home, that he could sense a peaceful realm beyond. Snape persuades him to test it in full, as a final act of service, and when he does, he vanishes in light.
  • 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.
  • De-power:
    • 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.
    • He later loses the power of unsupported flight, when Voldemort recognises it and strips it from him.
  • 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: Exploited by Lily; when Severus starts teaching her to shield her mind, by probing her thoughts and giving her the opportunity to defend, she takes the opportunity to flirt.
    "What am I thinking?" Lily had asked one evening in a strangely low-pitched voice. Perhaps that should have been Snape's first clue.
  • 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 inverted 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.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Severus has strict rules about physical contact in the lab, but Lily is a bit careless about them at times, leading to an Almost Kiss — with Explosive Results, as Severus lost track of his brewing.
    Lily: What happened?
    Severus: … I wasn't watching the time.
  • 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 Legilimency skills, 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.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: This is Lily's internal reaction when she's looking for someone to agree that she and Severus are Just Friends, but Marlene's comment is instead that, "Well...You do spend a lot of time with him lately." And again when Pandora McGonagall raises the idea of participating in Lily's Patronus lessons, but Marlene suggests that Pandora would be the third wheel.
  • Exact Words: When James gently chides Severus about the scar on his chin, Severus replies that he "wasn't exactly afforded an opportunity to block," letting James believe that it came at the hands of Death Eaters. In actuality, he was trying to shave one-handed with a straight razor.
  • Explosive Results: Lily visits Severus' lab and they share an Almost Kiss — until he realises that he's lost track of his brewing, and pushes her to the ground just before the cauldron explodes.
  • 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.
  • Fighting Back Is Wrong: Professor McGonagall doesn't actually punish Lily for stepping in to shield a third-year Hufflepuff from a seventh-year Slytherin who wanted to throw his weight around, but she does sternly tell Lily off. Her take is that since the bullying wouldn't have resulted in hospitalising anyone, whereas the resulting altercation did, Lily ought to have gone after a teacher instead. Since Lily's only spells were used to shield herself and then confuse Mulciber into attacking a different target (who was the one hospitalised), Marlene isn't impressed.
    Marlene: Someone was getting attacked who didn't deserve it. We acted when they needed help the most and bullocks to any who says otherwise.
  • 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.
  • First-Person Dying Perspective: The fic opens with Severus Snape looking into Harry's eyes as he dies, seeing how much they look like Lily's and reminding him of how he failed her, which is his last thought. (Until he awakens in the afterlife and encounters a chance to try things again.)
  • 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.
  • Forgiveness: This is a major theme of the story.
    • Severus is shocked to realise that Lily was never hung up on the slur he used; what she wanted all along was simply for him to not join Voldemort. That was the reason she pushed him away in the first timeline. When he makes it clear that he won't, that he has turned his back on Voldemort and his promises, she readily forgives and embraces him in tears.
    • Severus is very reluctant to extend his own forgiveness to the Marauders. He is eventually able to be cordial with James and Remus.
  • Gentle Touch vs. Firm Hand: Lily and Severus have rather different approaches as Head Girl and Boy.
    Lily: Welcome, student leaders. My name is Lily Evans, your Head Girl for this year. For those of you who don't know me, I take a far less strict approach to managing student life than my predecessor had. And hope this year for us to focus on actual issues, rather than minutiae.
    Severus: I am Severus Snape. And you don't have to know anything about me to do as I say.
    Lily: What this prickly bundle of sunshine means to say is, he looks forward to working with you.
  • 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.
    • Eventually, after they arrange for Voldemort to be tricked into throwing away his last chance to create a backup Horcrux, Severus' and Albus' cunning is recognised by the Elder Wand, which recognises Riddle's defeat and accepts Snape as its new master.
  • Heel–Face 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. Avery later comes to the defence of Hogwarts in the final confrontation.
  • Hell Is Lonely: The first thing Severus becomes aware of after his death is a blank white void. He assumes that it's a personalised hell. (Fortunately for him, it's merely the Afterlife Antechamber.)
  • 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.
    • Much later, he Apparates to right in front of Voldemort, stabbing the Locket with his Death Focus Stone to render Tom mortal, but unable to prevent Voldemort from cursing him.
  • Homework Slave: Upon arriving in his younger body, Severus is surprised and somewhat disgusted to learn that he's been involved in completing other students' homework for them. Putting an end to it precipitates an early confrontation with Owen Mulciber, who isn't pleased about Severus stepping out of line — but Severus still has all his adult dueling skill and is more than prepared for him.
  • 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.
    • Sirius Black 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.
    • Justified in that it's much easier and quite different to be merciful with misbehaving students who break the rules compared to criminals and Death Eaters who break the laws. Prefect Amelia Bones being merciful with misbehaving students isn't contradictory with Auror Amelia Bones being relentless in pursuing criminals and Death Eaters, which Severus was in his first life. It's not so much hypocrisy as different standards for different situations in different contexts.
  • 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 of his own at that point.)
  • Insatiable Newlyweds: Subverted; Lily would have liked to, but they can't afford enough contraceptives, nor can they afford an immediate pregnancy. Severus doesn't admit that he would also feel guilty about it due to their mental age gap; he already feels guilty about their wedding night. Chances are that she could have persuaded him, though, if it weren't for the pragmatic concerns.
  • 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.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Dumbledore's death as a result of going after the Horcrux in the cave still occurs, albeit differently.
    • Many of Voldemort's casualties in the first timeline still die in the Battle of Hogwarts, such as Gideon and Fabian Prewett, and Dorcas Meadowes.
  • 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 his crush Susan a Forged Message, hoping to have his friend Lester use Polyjuice potion to impersonate her crush 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.
    • Severus meets with the Order of the Phoenix to tell them that he is on his second life and has seen a possible future.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Echo: When Severus starts showing more spine and less compliance, Mulciber tries to shove him around and tells him to "Remember your place." A minute later, with Mulciber on the floor and Severus' wand at his throat in front of a crowd of witnesses, Severus repeats it back to 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 (namely, they didn't set out to poach it, just defended themselves), 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 guilt is 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.
  • 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; he pushed her away and he's not her responsibility. She's not necessarily wrong, but much later, when she learns the extent of his father's abuse, leaving Severus' back covered in scars, and she wishes she had known and could have done something about it, Severus tells her that it wasn't her responsibility, which cuts home.
    • Rita Skeeter brushes Lily off, derisively stating that she's trying to talk to Severus Snape, not "the leader of the Quidditch cheer squad." Mere seconds later, she finds out that the girl she just dismissed is Severus' wife, who is quite happy to throw her rudeness back in her face.
  • Last-Name Basis: Initially, Lily emphasises their split by referring to Severus, when she has to interact with him, as "Snape". Since they were friends for many years, using his surname sends a clear message.
  • 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. He later uses the memory of his choice not to sleep with Lily, to create a "purity" Focus Stone for silver; discussion with Nicolas Flamel reveals that it was successful, not precisely because of the moral purity, but because he acted against his own interests to protect someone who touched his soul.
    To Snape this did not feel like drifting further away, this felt like things taking a turn for the serious. It was getting over his disbelief that he had been so lucky as to be granted a chance and his adult mind finally triumphing over his stupid teenage urges to set up respectable guidelines over how he should be taking this. That there was going to be a future involving Lily and her family. A future free of solitude.
    It honestly frightened him.
  • 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.
  • Literal Disarming: Severus cuts his own hand off to stop Voldemort from forcing him to kill Lily.
  • 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 blind to Severus' faults and throwing her own life away in a misguided attempt to save him from himself, 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, his strength of character, and his capacity for selflessness.
    Marlene: Lily! You will not martyr yourself out of pity! Dating someone because you don't want him to feel discouraged is by far one of the dumbest things I've ever heard! What about you huh Lily? Don't you want someone that's actually worth you? And what about him? You going to be his girlfriend or his Parole Auror? That would be worthy of neither of you!
  • 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.
  • Love Triangle: Owen Mulciber has fallen for Susan Bones, who is attracted to Sebastian Urquart, who is biologically female and not interested in her. Shenanigans ensue when Owen goes to unusual lengths to get Susan's attention; he tries to have a friend impersonate Sebastian in order to push Susan toward Owen, but the Polyjuice potion, naturally, gives the friend a female body, causing consternation and chaos.
  • Lured into a Trap: Dumbledore and Severus plan carefully to draw out and defeat the basilisk, pretending that Dumbledore has left and that they suspect nothing.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Hagrid completely misinterprets a breakfast conversation between Severus and Lily, then spreads his mistaken conclusions to all the staff, who proceed to keep alcohol away from Lily, flip out about her helping to brew potions that might affect a fetus' development, etc, all without actually discussing it with her. It takes days before either of them realises what's going on so they can clear things up — and Severus hears the rumour before Lily does, and assumes it's true.
  • 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.
  • New Child Left Behind: Lily finds out that she's pregnant just in time for Severus to go after the final Horcrux, and is very worried that he'll never know.
  • 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 using his compliance as a bargaining tool 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.
  • Non-Action Guy: Dumbledore arranges for Peter Pettigrew to be moved into a noncombatant role in the Order, ostensibly due to his poor duelling performance (which is likely true), but actually because of Severus' knowledge that Peter could eventually turn traitor out of fear for his life. It works; without having to regularly put his life on the line, Peter remains loyal to his friends, even through the defence of Hogwarts.
  • Noodle Incident: At some point in third year, Severus and Lily snuck into Petunia's bedroom and—at this point one of them always cuts the other off, not wanting them to finish the sentence.
    Lily: Alright, alright! Okay fine, your memory was never your weakness. I don't know why I doubted it.
  • 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.
  • O.O.C. 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.
    • Petunia later sends Lily a letter, congratulating her on baby Albus not looking as "hideous" as his father.
  • 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.
  • Peer as Teacher: Severus Snape is hired as the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor as a new graduate of Hogwarts, even though professors are not normally appointed younger than twenty-three. Abraxas Malfoy points out to the board of governors that no professor has been appointed at that age before, even internationally. However, Snape's able to command the students' respect, because he killed a basilisk the year before.
  • 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).
  • Plain Palate: Severus is pleased to have plenty of food available at Hogwarts, unlike his childhood home, but he has no interest in the elves' fancy cooking, and can't tolerate much grease. He eats strictly for nutrition.
    Dry toast and porridge was more than adequate for a morning meal. Perhaps a little egg as well, he was in desperate need of protein.
  • 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.
  • Pregnancy Test Plot: Brewing a potion to test for pregnancy is quite a bit more involved than a modern pregnancy test, and it's harder to do in private, which leads to an unplanned pregnancy reveal. On the other hand, the potion can tell you the sex of the baby at a very early stage.
  • Prehensile Hair: During a transfiguration lesson, where the students are practising changing their hair colour, one accidentally makes his hair sentient, and has to be promptly rescued by the teacher "before it scalped the boy and mauled his neighbour."
  • 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.

  • Reformation Acknowledgement:
    • Lily's father Martin is initially opposed to her and Severus dating, knowing that Severus comes from an abusive household, and that he has called Lily by a racial slur once when he lost his temper (but not knowing that Severus is now several decades older and has spent that time regretting his choices), and Severus acknowledges that he has cause. However, after observing Severus over the summer holidays, seeing his dedication to keeping his word, his sincere devotion to Lily, and his respect, Martin decides that he has indeed changed.
      Lily had told me you are a changed man. Something I am inclined to agree with, but I suppose that is what growing up is about. I had been so worried for my daughter when she first told me about her plans with you. But you laid them to rest with your behaviour and demeanour over the holidays. You are not the boy you once were, and you are certainly not your father.
    • After Severus kills the basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets, James starts seriously reining his friends in, figuring that Severus has proved himself to be a good guy and doesn't deserve harassment anymore.
      James: If that's not worthy of respect what is?
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: Lily asks Marlene not to let Severus know that it was Susan who spilled all sorts of personal details about him and Lily to a reporter — and half-jokingly adds that it's not to spare Susan, it's because being expelled just before graduation would be unfortunate for Severus, and murder would look bad on his resumé.
    Marlene: Oh, I reckon he's crafty enough to get away with it.
  • Slain in Their Sleep:
    • Played straight in the first timeline with Eileen Snape, who had merely been neglectful and cold toward her son.
    • Defied 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.
  • Stand Your Ground: Severus gambles everything on luring Voldemort to Hogwarts for a climactic battle. Retreat is doubly impossible because the anti-apparition spells at Hogwarts make it difficult for either side to get away, and they won't get a better chance to bring Voldemort down permanently.
  • 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 a diet that might suit a regular Starving Student; 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." Sure enough, that isn't what ruins Christmas; a moment later, she is summoned to Professor McGonagall and given the news that her father has passed away suddenly.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Somewhat justified by the fact that magic depends on intent and willpower, when Lily uses wandless magic to throw a chain wrapped around the Sword of Gryffindor and impales Voldemort with it.
  • Totally Trusting Love Interest: Lily knows that Severus is steadfastly loyal to her, so she instantly sees through his pretense that she was just a fling and his offer to become a spy for Voldemort, and realises what's really happening (ie he's just stalling in hopes of creating an opening to Portkey her to safety). Unfortunately, since she isn't protected from mind-reading, she inadvertently gives everything away and ruins his plan, as explained by the narrator giving an Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!.
    She did not believe for one moment that her husband would betray her. Such a firm conviction that everything Snape had said was a lie, that he might be planning what he was planning... in that unprotected mind.
  • Transmutation: The major use of alchemy is to truly and permanently change one substance into another, drawing on principles from transfiguration and potions; essentially, the substance is broken down and rearranged at the atomic level with the help of a catalyst Focus Stone. The process is much more complex and difficult than regular transfiguration, and the yield is dependent on the skill of the alchemist but will invariably be less than the input; however, unlike transfigured items that merely have an altered appearance, alchemically produced materials have all the properties of the true material.
  • 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:
    • Severus is offered the chance to go back to his teen years and try again, because "your regrets chain you to the living". He can't find peace in the afterlife, even though it's available to him, because he can't let go of his mistakes.
      Severus: Was death not supposed to take that from me?
      Dumbledore: If death was all it took to wash away regrets, then ghosts would not exist.
    • 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 Bloody Baron considers being trapped as a ghost forever to be his penance for killing her. He relents when not only has she found peace and passed on, but his own passing will serve a greater purpose by testing the enchantment on the Sword of Gryffindor.
  • 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.
    • After Lily enchants the Sword of Gryffindor with the essence of love and joy, in the form of the Patronus Charm, it can cause ghosts to sense a peaceful realm beyond, and pass on.
  • Wham Episode: Severus and Lily's journey is substantially altered by Voldemort kidnapping her. Not only does Severus lose his right hand rescuing her, which cripples his ability to use magic and earn a living, but also Voldemort learns that Severus has future knowledge, so they have to hide away in Hogwarts for safety. And with Voldemort already knowing that much, Severus restores Lily's memories of learning about the first timeline. Their life together is quite different in the aftermath.
  • 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.
  • What If the Baby Is Like Me: Severus is well aware that he doesn't have a good role model, and that that doesn't bode well for his own prospects as a parent.
  • Woken Up at an Ungodly Hour: As the Slytherin head of house, Severus is on-call all through the night, with a signal device that loudly honks to wake him up if he's needed at the castle. Lily doesn't enjoy it much, but she's proud of him and the work he's doing.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: In the first timeline, 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.
    Voldemort: You are right. She, was, very beautiful.
  • 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. Dumbledore, of course, has an inkling of the cause.
  • 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.
  • Zip Me Up: Defied by Lily's father, when she asks Severus to help her into a dress for Petunia's wedding; he asks Severus to leave the room and does it himself, to Lily's grumbling.
    Martin: You do not ask an unwed gentleman to 'do up your dress'.
    Lily: Fine. If I tear it, I'm going in my knickers.

Dumbledore did not seem fazed. "Indeed Severus, so I think you know what you must do."
Bring this knowledge to Dumbledore. The still living Dumbledore of his time. To pledge his service once more.
For the chance to save Lily.
"I will do what it takes."