A trip to the beach doesn't go exactly as planned.
"I'm really worried about Vernon. He disappeared for most of the dance and when I found him, he looked like he was drunk and he was and covered with mud."
"That's terrible, Petunia. Vernon must be a total prat."
"I notice that your boyfriend wasn't dancing with you. What was he up to?"
"He's not my boyfriend. He's just a boy who's my friend. I guess he just doesn't like dancing."
"What about that James you're always writing to?"
"He's just another boy who's my friend. I have lots of friends at school, girls and boys."
At this point, Severus tiptoed back to his room. He did not want to hear the rest of the conversation.
"Anyway, Lily," Petunia continued, "that's not what I wanted to talk to you about. The thing is, I can't believe Vernon was that drunk. He's a big man. He wouldn't pass out after half a bottle of beer. Do you think ...?"
"No. Severus couldn't have done anything like that. He didn't even have his wand with him."
"I'm not saying that your friend was involved but I did hear Vernon muttering something about a Dark Lord."
Lily became pale. "Petunia, please. I don't want to talk about it. I can't talk about it."
"Oh, I know, you can't talk about it even to your own sister because it's all a big secret."
Petunia left the room in a huff.
Severus was looking forward to the seaside outing planned for the weekend. The weatherman promised a warm day. Lily had bought a new bikini. James Potter would be insanely jealous.
The only problem was, what could he wear himself? He had never owned swimming trunks and he had stopped wearing short trousers when he turned ten. He found his oldest pair of jeans, took out his wand and cut the legs short with a severing charm. He tried them on and studied himself in a mirror. It was no good. His legs were a sickly white and his knees were impossibly bony. He re-attached the legs with a Reparo charm.
The sun was shining when the family arrived at the seaside. Severus helped Mr. Evans unload the car. He was amazed at how much gear Muggles seemed to need for a day at the beach. When the last chair was unpacked, he went to look for Lily.
Lily had a tee-shirt on top of her bikini. Severus took off his shoes and rolled up his pant legs. They waded in the shallow water and tossed a beach ball for a short while. Severus saw that Lily was bored. She scanning the crowd for someone. Then he saw a familiar face emerging from the water. It was James Potter. He was tanned and had the figure of a natural athlete.
"Hello, Lily, " he called., "I've been looking for you."
"Hello, James," Lily replied cheerfully, "I'm so glad you could make it. How did you get here?"
"I walked. My parents and I are staying with some friends in town."
Lily's parents saw her talking and casually wandered over. Lily introduced them to James and they stood and talked for a moment.
James noticed Severus for the first time. "Hello, Sniv... er.. Snape,"he said.
"Hello, Potter," Severus replied, in as pleasant a tone as he could manage.
Severus and James eyed one another nervously. They could not meet without fighting, but neither one wanted to pick a quarrel with Lily's parents watching.
Lily broke the tension. "I'm going for a swim," she said.
She pulled off her tee-shirt and ran towards the water.
"Last one in's the Giant Squid!" James shouted, and ran after her.
Severus settled himself on a beach chair. He watched James and Lily playing in the water and told himself he had no reason to be upset. There was no reason Lily shouldn't go swimming with Potter. Potter could swim and he couldn't. It wasn't as though Lily was Potter's girlfriend. She had said that she wasn't. She wasn't his girlfriend either. He didn't want her to be his girlfriend. So, why couldn't he just forget about it and enjoy the day?
For one thing, he was bored. He hadn't brought a book to read. A leather bound spell book would be too conspicuous on a beach. He knew there were magical solutions to his problem. At the last Hogsmeade weekend, Scrivenshaft's had been featuring self-transfiguring dust jackets that would make any book look like the latest Muggle best seller. Potter and Black had bought them but Severus couldn't afford it. He glanced at a few magazines and paperbacks but nothing interested him.
Severus went for a walk along the beach. Potter and Lily were ahead of him, playing in the water. He kept his distance. He did not fancy a soaking in salt water it was too much to hope that Lucius Malfoy would pop by again and dry him off.
Then he noticed a bag on the sand ahead of him. It looked oddly out of place but somehow familiar. He went and had a closer look. It was Potter's. The bag was open and his wand was in plain view. What an arrogant git Potter was, Snape thought. An underage wizard had no business bringing his wand to a Muggle beach.
Then Severus remembered a clever little spell he had learned from Malfoy. He looked around. No one was nearby. Potter had taken his glasses off and Lily was looking the other way. If Potter complained, he could get in trouble himself for leaving his wand in plain view. He reached for the wand slowly, watching for protective spells. There were none. He couldn't believe that Potter had been so careless.
He pointed the wand at Potter and said, "Discingo."
Severus was knocked over and his pants and undershorts flew off him. He had forgotten that Potter was also a very clever git. The Reverse Effect spell was a complicated charm that only skilled wizards could put on their wands. A spell cast by anyone but the rightful owner of the wand would rebound on the caster.
Serverus dropped to the ground and crawled towards his trousers. A gust of wind caught them and blew them a few feet away from him. Instinctively, he pointed Potter's wand and said, "Accio."
Too late, he remembered that the Reverse Effect spell converted a summoning charm into a banishing charm. His trousers were now sailing through the air. He ran and caught them just before they landed in the water.
Potter looked in Snape's direction and laughed. Severus wondered just how bad Potter's eyesight really was. Now Lily was turning around. Potter splashed Lily and she turned to splash him back. Potter dived under water and swam further out. Severus took cover behind a sand dune. He got his trousers back on, carefully crept back to Potter's bag and replaced the wand.
Severus was still hiding behind a dune when James said he had to leave. He felt his chest tighten has he heard Lily say goodbye. They didn't kiss or hug. Lily just waved and ran off. Severus relaxed.
Severus wandered slowly back to Lily's parents. Lily smiled at him as he returned. Either she had not seen anything or she was hiding it very well She said down beside him and passed on some news about their class mates. He tried to keep an expression of polite interest as she told him about vacations and Quidditch matches. Then she said, "James told me that Sirius Black has been grounded for the entire summer."
"No! What did he do?" Severus exclaimed. He was suddenly in a much better mood.
"You'll never believe it. His mother found him with ...." Lily saw that Petunia was looking in her direction. She had obviously been listening.
"Oh, never mind. It's not important," Lily said. She picked up a magazine and started to read..
Note: "Discingo" roughly translates as "to ungird one's loins."