The Sugar Quill
Author: A_Wash1979 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: A Spring Lament  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

A sleepless spring night:

This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling.  No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.


Author’s Note: Thanks to all my early reviewers at LiveJournal, to Albie, who gave me some vital feedback that helped with the ending, and to PirateQueen for her beta reading duties.


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

—Richard Wright


A Spring Lament


31 May 1992


Dearest Lily,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


With all the love I possess,





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


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


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

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