Title: Ribbon in the Sky Fandom: Harry Potter Books Author: devilinthedetails Timeframe: Before the books. Set during the Marauder era at Hogwarts. Characters: Severus Snape; Lily Evans (later Potter) Genre: Friendship, General Summary: On a spring day, Severus and Lily look for shapes in the clouds. Author's Note: Written for the NSWFF prompt "Ribbon in the Sky." Ribbon in the Sky “Thank you for joining me out here,” Severus said awkwardly to Lily, whom he often thought of as his only true friend at Hogwarts as she spread a Gryffindor red blanket over a carpet of green spring grass and they both sprawled across it, gazing out over a lake still as glass that served as a mirror to the azure sky above.”I know none of the Gryffindors understand why you hang out with me and whisper about it behind their hands whenever you do.” “I don’t care what they understand or what they say.” Lily gave a dismissive head shake that made the copper hair she had tied back in a golden ribbon bounce with her defiance that Severus envied because he would never be able to emulate. He might pretend a sneering contempt for the judgments of others, but beneath that, he was a bullied boy forever fearing the mockery of others. Lily, by contrast, always seemed impervious to the insults of others, secure in her image of herself, unassailable in her smiling confidence. “You’re my friend, and I’ll hang out with you whenever I want, Sev.” Severus glowed inside, feeling his icy features thaw into a twisted grin at her bold declaration of friendship and the nickname only she called him. “Only you wouldn’t care what people say about you,” he snorted, a derisive sound only she would understand was a compliment. “You shouldn’t care what people say about you.” She nudged her shoulder against his, and Severus wished that this fleeting contact would last forever–that their bodies could somehow stay eternally joined. It was a foolish fancy that nonetheless lingered like spiderweb tendrils in his mind. “Especially not on a beautiful, sunny day like today.” “Oh?” Severus arched an eyebrow at her. “What should I do instead?” “Look for shapes in the clouds.” Her head tilted closer to his as her emerald eyes scanned the sky for interesting shapes drawn in cloud-white, and he had to squelch the temptation to run his fingers through her hair. He was distracted by a sudden, irrational surge of jealousy for the comb she must use every day as she asked, “What do you see in the sky?” “Clouds.” Severus rolled his eyes to hide the fact that he couldn’t take them off her long enough to study the sky. “Nothing but clouds.” “You’re no fun.” Lily wrinkled her nose at him then pointed her finger at a long, thin cloud stretched over their heads. “I see a ribbon in the sky.” “A ribbon in the sky?” he repeated, lips curling. “That’s impossible. There could never be a ribbon in the sky.” “There can be with magic.” Lily reached back to undo the golden ribbon in her hair. Pulling her wand from the pocket of her robes, she waved it at the ribbon so that it flew ever higher in the sky. As it rose toward the clouds, waving an endless stream of farewells down at them as they stared up at it from below, she added smugly, “Now there really will be a ribbon in the sky.” Severus wanted to marvel over her magic–over her–but instead he grunted. “If it reaches the clouds, the fabric will be ruined and the color leeched out of it. Clouds are nothing more than rain that hasn’t fallen yet.” “And you’re a perpetual thundercloud.” Lily’s words were tart, but her sparkling gaze told him that she was happy being the ray of sunshine to his cloudiness, and that was all he needed to see to feel warm as a sun-bathing toad inside.