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(2011-08-23 08:22:41)









Lily and the Half-Blood Prince



Chapter 1: The Playground.

第一章  游乐场


In a nearly deserted playground a single, huge chimney dominated the distant skyline. Two girls were swinging backwards and forwards, and a skinny boy was watching them from behind a clump of bushes. His black hair was overlong and his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate: too-short jeans, a shabby, overlarge coat that might have belonged to a grown man, an odd smock-like shirt.


He looked no more than nine or ten years old, sallow, small, stringy. There was undisguised greed in his thin face as he watched the younger of the two girls swinging higher and higher than her sister.


'Lily, don't do it!' shrieked the elder of the two.



But the girl had let go of the swing at the highest point of its arc and flown into the air, quite literally flown, launched herself skywards with a great shout of laughter, and instead of crumpling on the playground asphalt, she soared, like a trapeze artist through the air, staying up far too long, landing far too lightly.



'Mummy told you not to!'


Petunia stopped her swing by dragging the heels of her sandals on the ground, making a crunching grinding sound, then leapt up hands on hips. 


'Mummy said you weren't allowed, Lily!'

'But I'm fine,' said Lily, still giggling 'Tuney, look at this. Watch what I can do.'


Petunia glanced around. The playground was deserted apart from themselves, and, though the girls did not know it, Snape. Lily had picked up a fallen flower from the bush behind which Snape lurked.



Petunia advanced, evidently torn between curiosity and disapproval .Lily waited until Petunia was near enough to have a clear view, then held out her palm. The flower sat there, opening and closing its petals like some bizarre many-lipped oyster.



'Stop it!' shrieked Petunia.



'It's not hurting you,' said Lily, but she closed her hand on the blossom and threw it back to the ground.

'It's not right,' said Petunia, but her eyes had followed the flower's path to the ground and lingered upon it 'How do you do it?' she added, and there was definite longing in her voice.

"It's obvious, isn't it? Snape could no longer contain himself, but had jumped out from behind the bushes. Petunia shrieked and ran backwards towards the swings, but Lily, though clearly startled, remained where she was. Snape seemed to regret his appearance. A dull flush of colour mounted the sallow cheeks as he looked at Lily.


'What's obvious?' asked Lily.



Snape had an air of nervous excitement. With a glance at the distant Petunia, now hovering beside the swings, he lowered his voice and said, 'I know what you are'.

'What do you mean?'

'You're...you're a witch,' whispered Snape.

She looked affronted.

'That's not a very nice thing to say to somebody!'

She turned nose in the air, and marched off towards her sister.

'No!' said Snape. He was highly coloured now and one wondered why he did not take off the ridiculously large coat, unless it was because he did not want to reveal the smock beneath it. He flapped after the girls, looking ludicrously bat-like.



The sisters considered him, united in disapproval, both holding on to one of the swing poles, as though it was the safe place in tag.


'You are,' said Snape to Lily 'You' re a witch. I've been watching you for a while. But there's nothing wrong with that. My Mum's one, and I'm a wizard.'


Petunia's laugh was like cold water.


'Wizard!' she shrieked, her courage returned now that she had recovered from the shock of his unexpected appearance. 'I know who you are. You're that Snape boy! They live down Spinner's End by the river,' she told Lily, and it was evident from her tone that she considered the address a poor recommendation, 'Why have you been spying on us?'


'Haven't been spying,' said Snape, hot and uncomfortable and dirty-haired in the bright sunlight. 'Wouldn't spy on you, anyway,' he added spitefully 'you're a muggle.'


Though Petunia evidently did not understand the word, she could hardly mistake the tone.


"Lily, come on. We're leaving!' she said shrilly. Lily obeyed her sister at once, glaring at Snape as she left. He stood watching them as the marched through the playground gate, bitterly disappointed that what he had been planning for this moment for a while had gone all wrong.



The sun was low in the sky and the huge chimney in the distance cast a lengthening shadow across the streets and houses. Two girls were walking down one of the streets - one of them almost running.



'Hurry up, Petunia,' said the younger of the two, glancing back at the other 'It's late, and he may not be there'.



"I hope he won't be there," said Petunia sulkily "You shouldn't try and talk to him. I've already told you. Listen, Lily-' She caught hold of the younger girl's arm, forcing her to stop and turn around. "I heard Mrs. Green tell Mummy the other day, that folk from Spinners end are – are bad!"



Petunia paused, hoping her words had made an impression, but Lily remained defiant.



'She said respectable people shouldn't have anything to do with them,' she continued, but Lily shook her off impatiently.



'Well, I don't care what Mrs. Green says – she's a pompous, old scarecrow! And anyway, he's the only one who ever looked remotely pleased and excited when I did one of my strange tricks, Tuney. Even you hate it when I do it – you keep calling me weird, remember?'



Lily looked accusingly at her sister, then continued more quietly: 'Even Mum and Dad look worried when it happens, though they don't say anything. So, now I want to know why ... if ... if it is what he said.'



'But Lily, it's getting late. Mum will be ..."



"Tuney, I wanted to go to the playground earlier, but you kept getting excuses. And I don't care if he's from the poorest part of town; I want to speak to him. Now come on!"



She turned to go, this time practically running, so that her sister had no choice but to hurry up after her. They turned a corner, and there, in the distance, surrounded by overgrown bushes and shrubs, was the playground. It was deserted except for a lone boy seated crosswise on a swing. He was slouched over a book, his long dark hair falling over his face. He had his back to them, so did not see them coming through the playground gate.



Lily hesitated for a second, her momentary joy at finding him faltering – they hadn't parted on such good terms yesterday. However, she had been forced to admit, that same evening, that Petunia had been rude first, which had resulted in him calling her names, (though she wasn't quite sure what he had meant).



Then she marched determinedly towards him, leaving Petunia, who seemed to think she had done more than enough by coming, sitting on the roundabout, scowling at them.



Something made the boy look up and turn around. He saw her coming towards him, long red hair ablaze in the setting sun. He stood up, almost holding his breath – she had come to look for him, after all. He had spent all day in or near the playground, hoping she might come back, that she had believed his words… The book dangled forgotten in his hand as he clung to the rusty chain of the swing, waiting for her to speak.



She stopped in front of him, looked him straight in the face, and smiled hesitantly.



'Hello,' she said, 'My name is Lily. Lily Evans"



'Hello, Lily,' he said in a low voice, and a smile lighted up his thin face as he uttered her name for the first time. The red light of sunset, as well as relief at her smiling approach, suffused his pale face with a warm glow, so he did not look as strange and intimidating as when he had first jumped out of the bush at them yesterday.


Seeing this, Lily gathered her courage and asked him what had been tormenting her all last night.



"Yesterday you said… you said I was a witch because you saw me doing those things. Have you seen someone else who can do it too? Can you – does it happen to you too? What did you mean? Is it true?"



She stopped. She thought she was starting to sound incoherent. What if he had just been taunting her yesterday?



But she needn't have worried; he did not laugh at her, but came towards her, holding out the book he was reading.



"Yes, Lily, it's all true. What I said yesterday. Look - this book is about Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. I'm reading about it because that is where I'll be going in a couple of years – to learn about magic,' He paused, looking intently at her, 'That is what you are doing – Magic!'



She looked up into his eyes. They were very dark, like his hair, but she saw that he meant it, and that it was the truth that he was telling her, without the added evidence of the book which she now held in her hands.



The book! Suddenly, as she held it open in her hands, the pages started flipping back and forth wildly, as though blown by a mad wind, though there was hardly a breeze. She looked up at him in alarm, but he was smiling.



"I can do magic, too" he whispered.



Suddenly, she felt a great sense of relief. Finally, someone like her, who understood her, who would not look worried or angry if she did something strange, and who could, perhaps, give her answers.



The book finally flipped to a stop. It had strange, moving photos inside - fascinating views of a large castle with turrets and ramparts that gleamed majestically in the sun. She would have loved to sit on a swing and read it right there and then, but knew that would be rude – she hardly knew this boy after all.



"I'm sorry. This is your book,' She made to hand it back "I don't even know your name,' she grinned.



'Severus Snape,' he answered.



It was an odd name, Lily thought, like every thing else about him.



Just then Petunia, who had been swinging herself back and forth on the roundabout, came up to them scowling.



'I want to go home now,' she said flatly to Lily



'Okay, Tuney, I'm coming," she said.



Petunia did not even wait for her, but set off towards the playground gate. Lily hesitated, but Severus Snape anticipated her.'Will you come again tomorrow?' he asked eagerly 'I'll get more books. There's so much more you need to know…'



'Yes, Okay,' Lily replied. "I'll be here earlier – at midday. Bye!' And she skipped off after her sister, with light-hearted steps, red hair swinging.



'Bye, Lily' whispered Snape, but she had already gone



He stayed there much longer, till the first stars appeared, hardly daring to believe how happy he was. Since he had first seen her weeks ago, and seen her magic, she had been like a promise of joy, and something to look forward to. It even eclipsed his carefully nurtured dreams of one day becoming a student of Hogwarts and never having to come back to that miserable place he called home. He leaned back on the chains of the swing – why, perhaps he might even hope to have something that had eluded him all his life – a friend!




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