Diagon Alley was quiet. There were few people making their way along the bricked path; lunch was over and everyone had rushed back to their jobs or had moved on for the day. The sun was high in the sky giving a welcome warmth, and mystical glow to the alley.
I couldn't help but want to lift my head and close my eyes; letting the sun soak into my skin would have been a great way to spend my afternoon. It was rare, these days, that I could walk along a street like Diagon Alley and not get flocked by fans. Normally glamour's were needed just so I could go about everyday tasks. Being able to walk along the bricks like I had done as a child with my parents, all those years ago, was relaxing.
Sirius Black, my best friend since the beginning of our first year at Hogwarts, had convinced me that we needed to spend the afternoon together. Apparently, he was feeling neglected, and he needed some advice. But Sirius, being Sirius, avoided talking about himself and asked me all about Quidditch.
Sirius frowned. His hands in his pockets as we walked. "You said that they told you that practice would be on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's, why would they change it at the last minute?"
I nodded. I had been recruited to play as a chaser for ‘Puddlemere United' in my seventh year at Hogwarts. They had wanted me to play that season, but after a long discussion with my parents and friends, I decided to train with the team but wait until I finished school. I got to know my teammates well through the weekly training sessions, and now three years later I was one of the main chasers on the team. "They did," I said. "But apparently the changes couldn't be helped and if we want to get some field time then we better suck it up and deal with it. More likely, Harold complained that he couldn't commit to those days and because he is the golden boy everyone has to deal with what he wants." There were a few teammates that I would have preferred to not deal with, but with like every job, there were people you didn't like.
Sirius smirked. "Because no one ever used their popularity and skill in Quidditch to get what they wanted." He looked pointedly at me.
I rolled my eyes. "That was school. This is meant to be professional Quidditch." If I wanted to deal with favouritism I would have stayed in school.
Sirius reached out and grabbed my shoulder. "It is professional." He smiled. "Do you not see your paycheck after every match? Or advertisement?"
I rolled my eyes again. How I had put up with him for so long, I didn't know. I nudged his hand off me and said, "You know that isn't what I meant."
He nodded. "I know. But working as an Aurora isn't much better. Just this morning, in the break room, I overheard Kingsley and Roberts gossiping like two girls. They were even giggling." He looked weirded out.
I asked, "Who were they talking about?"
Sirius looked away from me. "Mad-Eye got a new assistant. The girl likes to wear low cut shirts. And if I were straight, I am sure that I would have had a go around by now."
"Does Moony know about this girl?" Moony, or Remus, was another friend from school. Sirius and I had met him on the train and dubbed him our mother hen. It wasn't until our fifth year at school that the two admitted they were in love. And had been ever since.
Sirius said, "Yeah. But he knows that he is the only wolf I want."
"Speaking of which, have you asked him yet?" I asked.
Sirius had wanted to ask Remus to marry him for months. But the boy had lacked the Gryffindor courage.
He shook his head. "No. I can't find the right moment." He fiddled with his coats buttons.
I said, "You have had the ring for three months!"
"I know, I know." He waved his hand at me. Shooing me like a fly. "I almost did it yesterday. We just had the most amazing-"
I covered my ears and said, "I don't want any of those details."
He smiled and chuckled. "Right, sorry. But we had finished and just looking at him I wanted to ask."
I asked, "Why didn't you?"
He shrugged. "Because I thought he might think it was lame. It wouldn't have exactly been romantic."
I threw my arm over his shoulders and gave him a squeeze. "Moony isn't some high school girl who wants a dozen red roses and some fancy meal. He wants you to be you. Take him out for a ride on your bike, somewhere you both love, and just ask him. No stress, no mess."
His eyes widened and so did his smile. "That's a great idea." He clapped my arm. "This is why you are my best friend."
"Really? I thought it was because nobody else can put up with you," I said.
"Ha-ha." He poked his tongue out at me. Real mature.
"Is that James Potter?"
Both Sirius and I snapped our heads to the left. Two young girls, most likely teenagers, were standing in the doorway of some shop both staring at him. Their mouths open, completely shocked at seeing me.
"What? Where?" Another girl appeared behind them.
"There!" One pointed at me.
"Oh shit." Sirius grabbed my jacket and nudged me back in the direction we had come from.
"JAMES! OH, MY, GOD! IT IS!" One of the girls squealed and pushed past her friends.
Sirius nudged me harder. "You better run mate."
I nodded. "Yeah, I'll catch up with you later." Turning and taking off, it was days like these I was grateful that Quidditch required me to be fit. It allowed me to escape those chasing me.
"JAMES WAIT!" One voice called after me.
I jumped around a woman who suddenly changed direction. Jumped over a cart of apples, and pushed my way between two men who yelled at me.
I ducked and turned left into another alley. There were more people, and while it slowed me down it also slowed down the girls.
"MARRY ME, JAMES!"
The screaming girls caught the attention of the people around us. More people seemed to notice who I was. I frowned and ducked around another corner.
"I LOVE YOU!"
I spotted a bookshop on the corner and pushed my way past a man who was exiting. Stumbling inside, I slid behind a shelf and knocked into someone.
I took a second to take a deep breath and relaxed. "That was a close one." I then noticed the person I had knocked into dropped four books on the floor. "Oh, sorry. I didn't see you."
"Clearly." He sounded annoyed and put out by my sudden appearance.
I collected the books and stood. "Here."
He took them from me and tucked them under his arm. "Thank you."
I couldn't help but admire the handsome young man. He was certainly not some I expected to find in a bookshop. He had shiny black hair that fell just below his shoulders. His skin was pale but it suited him. And his eyes were the darkest eyes I had ever seen, but they looked warmer than any other. I smiled at him and tried to look apologetic. "I am sorry. Had to dodge a few girls."
He frowned and wiggled his nose. Like he disapproved of me. "Trying to keep your multiple lovers from discovering that they exist?" he asked.
I let out a soft laugh and scratched the back of my head. Clearly, he either didn't care who I was or wasn't a Quidditch fan. Which either it was, I found it refreshing. "No. They want my autograph. And to marry me."
His frown didn't lessen. Instead, he moved to walk past me.
"I think he went in here."
I frowned at the voice. It was one of the fan girls.
"I'll check down here," said another girl.
"Shit." I stepped closer to the young man, I needed to do something so they wouldn't think it was me.
"What are you doing?" The man took a step back.
I grabbed his shoulders and said, "Shh. Just act natural."
He tried to step out of my grip. "I am. You are the one who is acting weird."
I looked around, but I couldn't think of anything.
The young man was glaring at me now. But his eyes still held a warmth that made my heart skip a beat. He was beautiful. He shoved at my stomach but instead of letting him go I pulled him closer. "Wha-" I cut off his words with my lips.
His lips were warm and soft against mine. His breathing and body froze for a second before his tongue touched mine.
I cupped his cheeks and allowed myself to feel every inch of his mouth. My brain was screaming at me to not let this end. And my body wanted to feel more of him.
He was the one who pulled away.
I had to hold down the whimper that wanted to protest the loss of his warmth against me. "Wow." It was the only word I could manage.
His eyes were filled with shock and desire. "That was…" He touched his lips and looked down at the floor.
"Wow?" I asked, hoping he would agree.
His face changed quickly. His eyes turned sharp and he glared at me. His hand lifted up quickly and struck me across the cheek. "Don't just go around kissing people who don't know you." He struck my cheek again before turning away and storming out of the store.
"Wait, what is your…name," I called after him but he was gone. "Damn it!"
"What kind of man does such a thing?" I dusted off my shoulder as I stood next to the Floo. The whole way home, I couldn't believe the nerve of that asshole. Who just sticks their tongue in someone else's throat. "And then has the audacity to imply that I enjoyed being molested by a complete stranger." I stepped out into the hallway, heading down to my room.
"Do you make a habit of talking to yourself?"
I jumped and said, "Shit!"
Behind me stood my mother. Eileen Snape. She was always surprising me. "Language."
I forced a smile. "Sorry ma, you surprised me."
"I don't know why. I live here too," she said. Moving past me, we entered the kitchen and with a wave of her wand the dishes started to dance along the bench top. And with another wave, the broom in the corner began to clean the floor.
I said, "I thought you were out today."
She said, "My plans were cancelled."
"Oh." I had been hoping to visit Lily and discuss what had happened, but I knew my mother liked us to spend time together. And with my busy schedule as an apprentice, we hadn't seen a lot of each other.
She asked, "Did you get the books you wanted?"
I nodded. "Some."
"Were they out of the others."
"Then why didn't you get them?"
"Does it have to do with a ‘stranger molesting you'?" She smirked. It was like she could read my mind.
"Maybe," I said. It was something I really wanted to discuss with my mother.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
I shook my head. "Not really, no."
She shrugged. "Okay. Well, I will be out in the garden if you want me for anything."
I nodded. "Okay. I was going to head over to visit Lily, anyway."
"Very well. Tell Lily I said ‘hello'." She waved me off and walked out the door.
"I will." I stood in the kitchen for a moment and looked around. Feeling the magic as it danced through the kitchen was a relief after all these years. The house had always felt hollow when my father was alive. He had hated magic and didn't allow either of us to use it.
My father, Tobias Snape, had been a horrible man. From the day, he was born to the day he died. My mother had tried to tell me that before he found out about the magic that he was a completely different man. He had been loving and caring; everything her family wasn't. I never believed it.
It wasn't until my sixth year at Hogwarts that he finally died. I received a letter from mum, it was short and simple. I was given permission to attend the funeral but refused. Why would I want to pay my respects to a man that I hated?
Everything was better after that. I returned home for Christmas and was delighted to find that mother had cleaned and fixed the house. A Christmas tree, beautifully decorated, stood in the corner. My home was unrecognisable. And my mother even brought me presents. Our relationship had grown since, and I knew that this was how a mother and son were meant to be.
I left the books I had bought up in my room before apparating to Lily's. She had only recently moved out of home and was living a muggle apartment. I let myself in and found her lounging on the watching the television. She smiled at me and told me to pour myself a glass of wine before joining her.
Sitting on the floor, I told her what had happened.
She sat up rather quickly with a cheeky smile on her. "So, you are telling me, that a man grabbed you and kissed you for no reason."
"Yes, that is what I am telling you." I took a sip of my wine and dropped my head backwards. "What kind of person does that?" Another sip.
Lily asked, "Was he ugly?"
"No. Does that matter?"
"Old?" she asked.
I frowned. "No."
"Then what is the problem?" She looked surprised. "A handsome guy kissed you. I wish it happened to me." She took a sip of her own wine.
I took a large gulp and grabbed the bottle to pour more into both of our glasses. "The problem is that he kissed me without my permission."
She frowned. "Was he that bad at kissing?"
"Yes! Well, no. Actually, it was rather enjoyable." His lips were rather soft, and he certainly knew what to do with his tongue. I found myself licking my bottom lip. I frowned and shook my head.
Lily shrugged. "Then who cares. You got to make out with a hot stranger. Let it go."
I rolled my eyes. "You are no help."
Lily laughed and slid down to sit beside me on the floor. She grabbed my hand. "If it was me who, as you put it, got ‘molested' by a handsome stranger who was a good kisser, I would have at least asked for a name."
"I was too busy slapping him."
Her mouth dropped open. "You slapped him?"
I nodded. "Twice." Another big sip of wine.
Lily smirked. "Wow, you must have really enjoyed it."
I nudged her shoulder. "I did not."
She laughed. "Oh, stop it. I know you, Sev. It is why you are so flustered and haven't shut up about it since you arrived."
I blushed. "You are the one who has been questioning me about me."
Lily just giggled and drank her wine. "What did he look like?"
I shrugged. "Why does it matter?"
"Because I want to get a good visual so if I spot him one day, I can try him out myself."
"You're so gross." I screwed up my nose.
"Anyway, details!" She clapped her hands together, almost like by doing so she made it a demand.
I sighed and took another sip of wine. "From what I noticed he was around six feet. Black hair. He wore glasses, and had hazel eyes."
"If you weren't interested in him, why do you remember the colour of his eyes?" she asked.
"Because before he grabbed me I may have been eyeing him up a bit." It was true. His eyes were the first thing I noticed behind his glasses. Next was his bum. But that didn't matter anymore.
"Did he give you a reason for his actions?" she asked.
"He said something about avoiding fangirls or whatever. He probably wanted to avoid his girlfriends."
"Wait. Fangirls?" Lily grasped my arm.
I nodded slowly. "Yeah, fangirls."
She placed the wine glass on the table and stood up. "Hazel eyes, black hair, glasses?"
"Did you happen to notice if he has a scar over his right eyebrow?" She picked up a stack of magazines and grabbed a newspaper.
She had a copy of the Daily Prophet. "This is why." She placed the copy down on the table.
There on the sports page section was a picture of the man who had kissed me. Except he was holding a broom in one hand and dressed in a uniform. He had a big smile on his face. He wasn't alone in the picture, but he was clearly the favourite. "Hey, that's him. Why is he in the prophet?"
"Well, this handsome young man is a chaser for ‘Puddlemere United' and he has been scouted for the English team for the World Cup. His name is James Potter."
So, the man had a name. And one that suited him well.
"And he is one of the best players around at the moment. Everyone loves him." Lily was only into Quidditch for the boys. A guy liked it when a girl new about sports.
I shrugged again. "Well, I've never heard of him." I took another sip.
"You also never liked Quidditch." Lily sat back down.
I frowned. "I don't do sports."
"Besides that, you got to snog England's most eligible bachelor. Lucky sod." She poked my shoulder.
"You should try and get in contact with him." She picked up her wine again.
"Why would I do that?" I reached for the bottle.
"Because then you can get another kiss, or maybe something more."
"I think I'll pass." But if it did happen again, I don't think I would complain so much.
"Or maybe put in a good word for me."
I emptied the bottle into my glass. "Seriously?"
"You are such a prude, Sev."
I took a sip. "Better a prude than a slut."
She pouted. "Hey, don't be mean. I merely like to have sex. At least they aren't strangers. I know the people I sleep with before I shove my tongue down their throat." She teased me by flicking her tongue from side to side.
I groaned. "Why do I put up with you?"
"For the free wine. Should I grab another bottle?"
"Yes. And do you have any chocolate?"
"Of course, I do."
I smiled. "That is why I put up with you."
The idea of running into James again wasn't such a bad idea. Kissing him again, on my terms, wouldn't be such a bad idea either. It wouldn't happen though. Running into famous people happened very rarely, and it was doubtful to happen twice. James would just be a funny story that I would tell people.