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A Sudden Burst of Sunlight

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I. The Lotus Flower

The phone clicks and the familiar voice sounds on the other line, and someone’s voice sounds over it. “Kit? Something wrong?”

 

“Eliza, I think I have a problem.” you say.

 

“What did you do this time Kit?” she asks.

 

You fill your tea kettle with water and put it on the stove to boil.   

 

“I keep having sexy dreams about Snape.” you exclaim, blushing brightly, “I don’t know why this is happening now. But that’s not the point! I’m supposed to be mad at him. He’s still not talking to me.” you say.

 

Please don’t go into detail about your sexy dreams.” she scoffs, “In all seriousness though, the fact that he’s not talking to you right now is pretty fucked up, if you ask me. He’s a bloody dumbass.”  

 

“He’s not a dumbass.” you say, frowning deeply, “He’s just…acting strange. Ever since the closing ceremonies in June, he hasn’t said anything to me. Not even a birthday letter! I even reminded Dumbledore when he finished crediting people and forgot to mention Sev that he was the one who made the potion to revive us all in the first place! I had his back! And what does he do? He responds by giving me the silent treatment! The only thing I got from him is what happened when I was missing in action, and that was in letters! He can’t possibly be angry with me for getting petrified when it wasn’t even my fault!” you exclaim, “I don’t understand. I’m honestly really hurt he had nothing to say to me when I walked into the closing feast bright-eyed and smiling.”

 

“No, it really isn’t okay for him to act like this. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he was mad though, honestly. We warned you he was an asshole.”  she replies.

 

“Something doesn’t seem right.” you say, “…I know! I’ll invade his dorm room and make him talk to me!”

 

“No, Kit. Don’t go invading his personal space like that. I guarantee you that it won’t end well. Also, I’m pretty sure he has his own house and spends summers there.”

 

“And he’s never invited over for dinner!?  How rude! I’m his only friend! Or at least I thought I was. Okay, well, then, how do I get him to talk to me?” you ask, “I’m getting tired of this! All this effort is exhausting me, and he doesn’t even seem to care!”    

 

“You need to approach him and talk about your feelings.” she says, “When will you see him again?”

 

We have to go back next week for meetings and such to start prep for the term.”

 

“So that’s where you need to approach him, then. You could always annoy him by sending him notes again. He might be all huffy and aggressive, but it would get his attention .” 

 

“I don’t want to annoy him.”

 

“Then put Jareth up to it, he’d gladly do it for you, I’m sure.” she says. You glance across the room at the barn owl snoozing contently on the perch in his cage. He’s wearing a galaxy bandanna with his name embroidered in it. You smile sadly. The bandanna was a gift from Severus last Christmas, and Jareth looked very cute right now sleeping with it on.

 

“No. Maybe I could get Lily something?” you suggest, “If I have a gift for his cat, he’ll have to acknowledge me.”

 

“I mean, you could.”

 

“I could deliberately make potions wrong! I-in front of his window! He’s a smart-ass perfectionist, he’ll want to correct me!” you exclaim excitedly, “There’s also the option of me just flying about on my broom in front of his window so he’ll have to notice me! Or maybe I should buy a new set of robes that make me look sexy? He’d notice that! I could dye my hair green-- Ooo! What if I made him jealous!? I’ll make friends with the person who’s gonna be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher! I think his name is Vreemus Lupe? Or something? I’ve seen pictures, he’s cute! O-of course I only have eyes for Severus but—”   

 

“Kit.” Eliza’s exasperated voice sounds on the other end of the line, but she’s smiling with amusement, you can tell, “Take a breath. I’ll happily help you scheme, but I gotta get going soon. I can meet for lunch tomorrow, though.”

 

“Okay!” you exclaim, “I’ve got a bit of housekeeping and things to do, anyway. So, I’ll see you then. Bye!”

 

“Bye hon, I love you!”

 

“Love you too!” You hang up the phone, just as you hear your kettle begin to scream.

-xXx-

You take it off the stove and pour the boiling liquid over the tea bag waiting patiently in the mug with the Hogwarts crest on it. You had been staying with your parents in the muggle world for a few days, and Eliza lived in a flat nearby. She had gotten a place in the Muggle world because she enjoyed the practicality of muggle technologies. The only time you got letters from her was when you were at Hogwarts (which you were, most of the time) or she was working at the Ministry for days on end without sleep and needed to contact you for something.

 

When you’re done helping with housekeeping, you do some research on Capricorns. You hope that, at the very least, reading into the personality traits of Severus’s star sign will help you understand why he’s ignoring you, but he’s way too complex to be defined simply by some basic traits shared by others born under the same constellation.

 

One evening, you’re enjoying a rather casual dinner with your family for the first time in a long time. Your father is watching the news, as he always does, and that’s when you see the headline. The headline that Sirius Black, notorious murderer, has escaped from prison.

 

Your heart drops to your stomach, which twists into unsettling knots. You know that that murderer is a wizard, and you also know that he is the first person to ever break out of Azkaban.

 

His escape causes widespread panic, and that is all you hear about in both muggle and wizard news. And it’s all you talk about whenever you meet up with your friends. The rest of your summer is anything but enjoyable.

 

-xXx-

One evening it is just you and your dad for dinner. He tries to start a conversation.

 

“This Sirius Black,” your father scoffs, “He’s one of yours. One of you magic-using nutters, is he not?” his gaze pierces right into you. You stiffen and draw in a breath.  

 

“He’s a wizard but he’s hardly one of us.” you respond, with a bite in your tone, “Most wizards aren’t murderers.”  

 

“I think you ought to find other work that isn’t part of that world.” he says, “This just proves how dangerous and unnatural the wizard life is. Your mother was smart when she chose to settle down and live normally like the rest of us. Perhaps you should think about that.”

 

You stand up briskly, glaring daggers, “I am perfectly happy at Hogwarts, thank you!” you say, “I don’t care how dangerous it is, that’s who I am. No one can change that.” And then you turn and leave the dining room, vanishing upstairs.  

 


 

When the time comes, you’re relieved to be going back to Hogwarts. After Eliza has driven you to the train station, you’re heading rather quickly to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Only the teachers knew this, but there was a morning train that left two weeks early to transport the staff members who didn’t live on campus back to the school grounds to prepare for the start of the term. Your trolley is loaded up with things, and Jareth’s small, portable cage is right on the top. You quickly scan about to make sure no one else is watching, and then rush headlong towards the brick wall which hides the platform behind it.

 

Once you appear on the other side, you see the Hogwarts Express in front of you. It’s magnificent and shining because it has just been cleaned and lacquered.  

 

“Good morning, Professor Oakley.” says the conductor.

 

You smile, “Good morning.” You answer, nodding. Someone comes along to take your trolley from you, but you whisk your carry on and Jareth’s cage from it before letting him. You climb aboard the train car, and head down the walkway, looking for an open seat. It isn’t hard to find one. You’re about to go and sit down too, when you notice one of the occupied ones has none other than Severus Snape sitting in it. He’s reading a book.

 

You give up having a cabin to yourself and join Severus in his instead. When he hears the noise you’re making, with Jareth’s cage and your small carry on, he glances up from his book. He doesn’t look amused.

 

“There are several empty cabins to choose from, why are you here?” he asks.  

 

“B-because you’re my friend, silly!” you reply, “I want to sit with you. May I?”  

 

He rolls his eyes, “Whatever. Just don’t expect me to carry on a conversation. And make sure that bird stays quiet, I’m trying to read.”

 

Jareth lets out a harsh scream in response to voice his lack of amusement with Severus’s rudeness. The man in question winces at the shrillness of the noise.

 

“Jareth! Be nice!” you scold. He puffs himself up and flaps his wings for a moment, before he adjusts his position on his perch, turning his back to you and tucking his chin, curling his face under a wing. You roll your eyes.

 

“He’s pouting now. That’ll be the last we’ll hear from him on this trip.” you say. You take your book from your carry on and then put it in the storage above you. You accidentally bump the carry-on crate that’s already up there, and the raking of nails and the loud rustle of fur inside causes you to jump. You peer inside. In the dark of the crate, you see a heap curled up in the back, looking at you with wide green eyes.

 

“Oh! Dearie me! I didn’t mean to startle you, Lily, I’m sorry.” She meows at you from inside, and you see the glint of bright teeth and a pink mouth. You pull a biscuit from your coat pocket that’s shaped vaguely like a fat fish, and you push it through the bars of the cage. She cautiously walks over and sniffs it, before devouring it.

 

“You carry around cat treats?” Severus scoffs, “You own an owl.”  

 

“Yes. I carry around his treats as well. As for the cat treats, not usually, but since I knew I was probably going to see you two at some point, I went ahead and picked up a bag of them.” you say.

 

“You’re very odd, you know.” he tells you.         

 

“And? If I was normal, I’d be boring.” you reply. You sit down in the seat and prop your legs up, lounging across it, using Jareth’s cage as a backrest, “Don’t you dare bite me.” you warn him, “If you do, no treats for a week.”

 

The train horn goes off, and the massive locomotive roars to life, and with a brief jolt, begins to chug along the track.

 

With that, you situate yourself and open your book. When you do, the copy of the Daily Prophet you bought earlier falls out. You go to pick it up, but Snape beats you to it. You think he’s going to hand it to you, but instead, he takes it and begins to skim through it. He reads the frugal update on Sirius Black through gritted teeth. Then he folds the paper and chucks it into your lap.  

 

“Excuse you!” you exclaim. You turn to look at him. His expression is twisted with malice, and you immediately go quiet, afraid to ask what’s wrong. So instead you read the update on Sirius Black. Nothing new or groundbreaking, just that he hasn’t been caught yet, and that the dementors who guard Azkaban are out looking for him with the Ministry of Magic. You fear for all your friends, but you especially fear for Eliza, Cas, and Orion, because they’re aurors. You decide then that you’ll make a point to keep in contact with them religiously.

 

The train chugs along to Scotland, and you and Severus sit in the quiet, reading your books. Occasionally, you glance up at him, trying to read his expression. Once he calms down, you have every intention to confront him.

 

“Severus, how come you haven’t been talking to me?” you ask, “Did I do something wrong again? You got mad at me last year for avoiding you and now you’re doing the same thing to me. Is everything…okay?”

 

“I’m fine.” he says, “I was just busy over summer. My house was under renovations and needed a lot of upkeep. Not only that, but my father passed away, so I had to deal with that as well.”

 

“Oh…” you say breathily, “I’m so sorry, my condolences—“

 

“Don’t be. He was horrible. He was horrible to my mother and he was horrible to me. I am not the least bit grieved by his passing.” He says with a bite in his tone, “In fact, now that both of my parents are gone, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”  

 

“My father isn’t too wonderful either…” you say, almost cautiously, “He’s fond of nothing, extremely judgmental, and dislikes everything magic. He believes that all wizards are nutters. Over the summer, he suggested I quit my job. He wasn’t going to let me go to Hogwarts when I got my letter, but when my Grandpa said he’d help pay for my schooling, my mum managed to convince him to let me…” it is then you realize that you had gone off a bit of a ramble, “Oh, sorry! I didn’t mean to ramble on—”

 

“It’s fine.” he says simply. He stops talking for a moment before continuing, “My father wasn’t fond of anything.” The conversation trails off to silence. He turns back to his book, you open Jareth’s cage door and reach into the cage to pet his head. He leans into your touch.

 

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Snape scoffs, “What if he flies out?”

 

You stop and slide your had from Jareth’s feathers, closing his door. “He’s tame enough not to do that, but you make a good point.” you say. Your stomach grumbles. “…I’m gonna run over to the dining car, they have really good Danishes. Want me to grab you something?”

 

“Since you’re offering, I’ll take a cup of tea. Whatever black tea there is, nothing added.” he says.

 

“Righto! I’ll be right back.” you get up and slide open the door. You start to leave, but as you do, you hear Snape’s voice from behind you.

 

“Kit?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Don’t trip on your way out or your way in.” he says. You frown deeply.

 

Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” you say dryly, voice laced with sarcasm. You step out into the hall and slide the door closed behind you.

   -xXx-

You’re extra careful on your way back, practically tiptoeing over the carpet, keeping your head downturned, in case there’s a loose thread or a lump or something that you will most certainly trip on if you don’t see it first. In one hand is a paper lunch back with your snack, and in the other is a steaming to-go cup filled with tea. When he sees you at the door with your hands full, he gets up and slides it open. You hand him the cup.

 

“Your tea, sir~” you drawl, doing your best to mimic a stereotypical butler, “Earl Grey. Hot.”

 

He mutters a quick “thanks”, and then steps aside to let you back in. You walk passed him and sit back down on your seat, pulling your water bottle out of your carry-on bag. In the silence, you force yourself to choke back your awkward laughter resulting from Severus loudly sipping his tea and the annoying crinkle of your paper bag as you pull out your precious food. They’re the only sounds in the room.

-xXx-

Once you’re through with eating, you once again turn back to your book. It’s rather interesting, meant to take place in a place called the Andromeda galaxy a ‘long time ago’. It’s a book full of strange creatures, talking robots, and galactic knights who duel with swords made from light crystals.

 

As you read on, though, you find yourself becoming distracted. The air is frigid inside the train cabin. Gooseflesh stands on end and occasionally you find yourself shivering. You didn't think you'd need them, so you left your sweaters and coat in your trunk, which was currently in the cargo hold. And of course, being an idiot, you hadn't thought to grab a blanket or anything to keep with you, so you were currently curled up in a ball on the end of the bench, rubbing your arm and trying not to shudder with one hand, and struggling to turn pages with the other.

 

You mutter something about being cold. Severus hears you.

 

"Are you actually shivering right now?" He comments, unamused.

 

"No, I'm fine, really. I'm just a bit cold is all. I can deal with it."

 

"It isn't even that cold in here."

 

"You stay in the dungeons at school most of the time, so you're used to it. But I'm a wimp and I have no body mass." You say, "I'm cold all the time." You curl yourself tighter. You turn back to your book and try to distract yourself. A draft of cold air passes about the room and you immediately shudder.

 

That’s when you hear a rustle of fabric, and a black mass soars across the car and collides with your face, before falling into your lap. You look down to examine it. It’s Severus’s cloak. You glance back up at him. His intense eyes study you. You give him a once over. Without the cloak, you can see that his tunic hugs his torso, curves, and edges just perfectly.

 

“Yes?” he asks, when he catches you staring.

 

“Uh, nothing!” you exclaim, blushing, “Thank you for letting me borrow your cloak.” You wrap it around your shoulders and curl up underneath it. Despite the slight, stale dungeon smell, and the hint of cigarette smoke that’s nearly gone, the overpowering scent of lavender among other fragrant plants fills your nose with a calming aroma.   

 

“Please do not comment on the smell of it like a stereotypical lover. It’s weird.” he scoffs.

 

“I wasn’t going to.” you say. I totally was about to say something…shit! (He totally saw right through you.)


  

The rest of the train ride is smooth and relaxing. The train pulls slowly to a stop, and the few staff members on it begin to file out. You start down the pathway and load the boats to cross the lake. Once you and Severus have stepped inside and sat down across from one another, the boat moves gently along the glassy surface of the water.

 

It’s the middle of the day, so sunlight reflects from the water and envelopes you with the soft warmth of a Scottish summer. You look up at Severus. His expression is stoic, of course. The sunlight illuminates his face with a certain gentleness and casts a shine upon his wavy hair. A soft breeze buffets the strands which frame his cheeks and solemn eyes. You smile at him for a second before darting your eyes about to take in the familiar scenery. You lean slightly, letting your hand glide through the cool water.

 

“If you tip the boat,” Severus drawls, “I’ll not talk to you for a week.” Then he continues, “If you fall out of the boat, I’m going to laugh.”

 

You splash him with a mist of water. His frown deepens. You stiffen and shuffle uncomfortably. He shakes his head and furrows his brow, biting his lip.

 

Uh oh… You feel that familiar sense of panic. He takes his wand from his belt and points it towards the water. He starts to twirl it, making a small twister. He raises it from the water and then he sends it twirling towards you. You’re met with a face full of cold water, which plasters your bangs to your forehead. Your mouth falls agape as you gasp. You blink rapidly to keep your mascara from running.

 

“Severus! That’s FREEZING!” you shriek. He crosses his arms and tosses his hair.

 

“You asked for it when you splashed me first.” he says matter-a-factly. You pull out your own wand and sculpt some water into the shape of a giant bubble and chuck it towards him. It pops on top of his head like a balloon, soaking his face and hair. A few drops drip off the tip of his protruding nose.  He blinks at you.  

 

“Hmph.” you say, triumphantly, lips tugging into a smirk. He raises his wand to strike back, but he is cut off when his eyelids screw together, his head lurches forward, and his now stringy hair bounces with it as he sneezes like a kitten into his sleeve.  He sniffles, before looking up at you.

 

Fuck, that was so cute!  you inwardly scream.  

 

“You'll pay for that.” he huffs, voice slightly muffled by his sleeve.

 

You smile broadly.

 

“What are you smiling about?” he asks, tone slightly demanding.

 

“You sneeze like a cat,” you tell him, “It’s kind of adorable.”

 

“I am absolutely not adorable in any way, shape, or form. Never say that again.” he says sharply, face dusting pink.

 

“Aww.” you reply.

 

“I will actually cast you into the water and make you swim to the castle.” he warns.

 

You frown, “You spoilsport. I’m just trying to have a bit of fun.”  

 

“You still don’t pick up on my sarcasm, do you?”  

 

“Wha—” you cut off. And then in the corner of your eye, you notice a rather pretty pink flower floating on the surface of the water.

 

“Ooo!” you exclaim, raising your wand, “Accio Lotus flower!” The flower floats up from the water and glides gently towards you. You catch it in your hands and tuck it behind you ear. You smile at Severus.

 

“What do you think?” you ask.

 

“I think it’s never going to stay.” he replies. You frown.

 

“…But it looks alright, I suppose.”

 

You blush lightly. “Thanks.” you say.  

-xXx-

By the time you load the horseless carriage, the lotus flower has fallen out of your hair. You look at it sitting there in your hands. It’s so pretty, it’s a shame it fell out. You look up at Severus. He’s sitting across from you. His arm is resting on the windowsill as he looks out at the passing scenery, with his chin resting on his hand. His eyes wander to far off places, and he breathes deeply. Looking at him with a sudden realization, you realize that you could probably braid the flower into his hair.

 

But you refrain from asking him. There was no way he’d let you do that. Still, you keep glancing up warily at him, hope in your eyes. Perhaps he’d pick up on it. He catches you staring.

 

“Yes, Kit?”

 

“Umm…” you glance down at the flower, “N-nothing…”

 

“If that flower means that much to you, I’ll make a preservative for it.” he says gruffly.

 

“Thanks…but I was kind of hoping we could put it back in someone’s hair instead…”

 

“Absolutely not.” he immediately picks up on what you really want.

 

“Didn’t think so…”

 

Silence.

 

“Give it to me.” he says. You slowly hand it over. He holds it flat in his palm, mutters a transfiguration spell, and taps it with his wand. It turns into a rose-gold hairclip. The shape isn’t filled in anymore, the hairclip only forms the outline, but it looks lovely.  

 

“Lean forward.” he says. You immediately comply. His fingertips press lightly to your head, and he slides the clip into place. He leans back against the seat. You pull a small mirror from your pocket and look, turning your head to see it. It’s the perfect fit.

 

“I love it Severus, thank you.” your heart flutters.

 

“Don’t go around telling everyone I made that for you.” he says.

 

You chuckle. “I won’t.” you assure him, “As long as no one asks. But if someone asks I’m not going to lie.”

 

“Fine.” he replies.

 

The carriage slowly comes to a stop in front of the school. Severus swings the door open and steps down. He scans his gaze around to make sure no one is watching before he offers you a hand to help you out. You study him slightly perplexed.

 

“I’m doing this only to make sure you don’t trip and fall in the dirt.” he scoffs, “Come on.”

 

Oh, sure you are…You take his hand, which is slightly rough, lift the hem of your robes and step down.  He closes the door behind you and together you make your way to the entry doors. On your way down the corridor and towards your rooms, you run into Dumbledore. He smirks at you knowingly, eyes glinting mischievously.  Severus glares and you blush and avert your eyes.

 

-xXx-

Once you’ve gotten up to the teacher’s quarters, the two of you split off to get settled in, before you adjoin with the rest of the staff in the dining hall for an informal late lunch. After which Dumbledore calls a brief staff meeting.

-xXx-

“Hogwarts will play host to the Dementors of Azkaban, as they are currently looking for the infamous killer known as Sirius Black. As you all know, they are quite dangerous, so we must be very careful around them.”

 

Snape stiffens beside you, and you find yourself unconsciously reaching, lightly touching his sleeve.

 

“Additionally, although he isn’t here at the current time, we will be welcoming a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Remus Lupin.”

 

Remus Lupin! That’s what his name is! I could never get it right! I’ll be sure to remember now!  You think.    

 

After a few more announcements, he dismisses everyone. However, while everyone else disperses, you notice that Severus stays behind. You slowly gather up your books and notes, trying not to eavesdrop.

 

“If I might, Headmaster.” he starts, “By no means am I trying to question your authority but given the nature of Remus Lupin’s background and his…condition, I do not think he is to be trusted. I am also concerned about the safety of the students.

 

Condition? You perk up curiously.

 

“I understand your concerns, Severus, but they are misplaced. I assure you that my appointment of Professor Lupin will not put the students in danger. Additionally, as the potions master, it is your job to make sure his condition stays under control by keeping him medicated, regardless of what your history with him is or isn’t. Do I make myself clear?”  

 

How rude!  you think bitterly, and in defense of Severus Snape.

 

Snape’s expression hardens, “Clear as day, Headmaster.” he says.

 

Dumbledore smiles softly, “Very well. Good day.” he nods briskly and whisks out of the room, leaving Severus to glare. You make your presence known again by tapping your stack of papers to straighten it. Snape’s gaze whips around. It’s icy, but it softens when he sees you.

 

“I wasn’t eavesdropping, I swear.” you say, holding up a hand in surrender.

 

He shakes his head, “Knowing you, you’ll probably try to make friends with Lupin. I strongly caution you around him, especially in the moonlight.” He turns and makes his way briskly towards the door.

 

“Oh, and one more thing.” he says. You pick up your notes and acknowledge him, “Don’t go philandering with him or I might have to stake a claim on you.”

 

“Oh?” you raise a brow, “Stake your claim on me, hmm? Normally I'd resent being called someone’s property but…” you feel your cheeks go hot.

 

“You’re my sunflower. Don’t. Forget that.” He’s dropped his voice down to his guttural purr, which sends a shiver up your spine in the best way possible. He walks a few paces ahead of you, leaving you to stare after him.

 

Shit, that is SO HOT!  You think, feeling the tremor of heat rise through your body. And then you’re flustered.

 

“Hold on a moment, Severus! You can’t just say something like that and walk away from me, come back here!” you call, and chase after him.    

 

 

Chapter Text

II. Slytherins: Ambitious, Determined, Cunning, Resourceful, Shrewd...Possessive?

When you meet with Eliza and Renee that weekend you can barely control your excitement.

 

“I like your hair clip.” Renee comments.

 

You smile broadly, “Thanks! Severus transfigured it from a real Lotus flower!” you blush, “O-oops…I wasn’t supposed to tell you that…”

 

“Aww.” Eliza gawks, “We won’t say anything, hon. Don’t worry.”

 

“Thanks.” You smile and briefly touch the cool metal of the lotus flower clip in your hair. Since he’d given it to you, you’d worn it every day. You then go off on a tangent about the “romantic” moments you’d shared with him on the way to Hogwarts on Monday. “Okay! But you won’t believe what Sev said!” you exclaim, “He told me to be careful around Professor Lupin—l-like he was legitimately concerned about my well-being. And then he said that if I went off ‘philandering’ with him—Lupin, I mean, that he would have to “stake his claim on me” and he said I was “his sunflower”, “HIS”!” you’re ecstatic, “Normally, I’d hate being claimed as someone’s ‘property’ but…” your face is hot.

 

“Aww, sounds like Kit’s got a boy~friend.” Eliza teases.

 

“No!” you exclaim sharply, “He’s not! At least not yet! We’re finally good friends now. I don’t wanna ruin anything! I need to let him make the move! I mean…I kinda want to now, since my last boyfriend was a narcissistic prick…but…”

 

“I know, I’m teasing you.” she pats you on the top of your hand, which rests on the table, “…Did ya happen to read Lockhart’s last book?”

 

“Pfft, no. I could care less. That man took my virginity and he doesn’t even remember! But I’m going to remember for the rest of my life! It’s awful. It might be for the best though…I was kind of…just lying all limp like, I didn’t even...”     

 

Eliza chokes back embarrassed and uncomfortable laughter.

 

“Ahem.” Renee says softly, “Kit, we’re in public and you’re being a little loud…”

 

“Shit!” you scan your gaze around the café, “Sorry…” you flush.

 

“That’s okay.” She says, “Anyway…so Severus says you’re “his” now? I’m happy for you, since that’s kind of what you wanted, anyway. So, congratulations, I suppose? I’m not really sure how else to respond…”

 

“We’re not together yet, but him saying that is a huge step in the right direction…so, we’ll see where it goes.” You rub the back of your neck.

 

“He’d better treat you right or I’ll fight him.” Eliza says.

 

You chuckle, “I know you will, Eliza.” You sip your iced tea.

 

“If everything goes well for you, he’s welcome to come to the next group get together I host.” Says Renee.

 

You smile, “Thanks. When the time comes, I’ll most certainly ask him if he’d like to.”

 

“What, so he can judge all of our life choices?” Eliza says jokingly.    

 

“He…” you trail off. You were going to say that “he won’t”, but that’s downright false, “He does have the tendency to do that. I’ll make sure I’ll tell him to behave. He actually listens to me.”

 

“He had better listen to you,” says Renee, “That’s all part of his respecting you as another person.”

 

“Yes, of course.”

 

The three of you sip your drinks and eat some more lunch before the conversation continues. After they’ve said their pieces and you’ve all caught up, you rant about how Dumbledore was being rude to Snape the other day and you wanted to fight him. The two of them nod along in a mutual understanding.

 

-xXx-

When you’re back at Hogwarts again, you decide to pay a visit to Snape in his office since you’re bored and want to be with him. He lets you in, says a brisk “Hello” and continues working on whatever concoction he’s working on, while you sit and pet Lily, who is curled up in your lap at the current moment. She’s grown rather fond of you. And, you think, glancing at her human working diligently, so has her owner, apparently. You feel the vibrations from her purrs, and you smile, scratching her under the chin. She licks your hand with her sandpaper tongue, and you shudder uncomfortably. You notice that she’s wearing a collar now, and there’s a tag with her name on it, accompanied by a tiny little bell. Her coat is sleek and shiny, and while you know it’s mostly from her cleaning herself, you also know that Severus has taken the time to brush her.  Her eyes had turned to a piercing green, and whenever she looked at you, you felt she could see right through you. You whisper quietly to her, telling her a secret.

 

“I promise I’ll take excellent care of your human, okay?” She looks up at you and then rubs her cheek against yours, purring. Somehow, this makes you feel like you’re getting her approval, her blessing even. It fills you with warmth.

 

After a while, she tires of you, so she hops off your lap and helps herself to Snape’s desk. She pushes several roles of parchment onto the ground, and they fall with a massive clatter, unrolling across the floor. She proceeds to sit up tall and smug and flick her tail from side to side.

 

“Lily!” Snape exclaims, “I’ve told you not to do that! You won’t be allowed in my office anymore if you continue to behave like this!” he says.

 

You try not to laugh as the two of you get on your hands and knees and begin to gather up the parchment rolls. As the two of you are on the ground, instead of bumping heads, you end up bumping noses. Because your noses collide, you feel his warm breath on your face, and immediately, you apologize and rear back, all crimson, as you gather up the parchment in your arms and set it on the desk. Lily moves and takes over Snape’s desk chair instead. He rolls his eyes at her.

 

“You aren’t staying there, young miss.” He scolds. He moves to scoop her into his arms. You hold your breath, thinking she’ll attack him. But she doesn’t. Instead, the moment she’s in his arms, she nestles herself into his chest and rubs her face under his chin, letting out a long purr.

 

“Fine. I forgive you. Just don’t do it again.” He huffs, scratching her between the ears. You heart thumps in your own, and your chest is left fluttering with that familiar dancing warmth. He sits down in his chair. You scoot one of the mismatched other ones in the room in front of the desk so you’re across from one another. Then the two of you make small talk while he pets his purring cat. She near completely blends in with his clothing, if not for her white paws and belly.  

 

“Where’d you go off to, today?” he asks.

 

“Oh, you know, the usual. To meet up with a couple of friends, as I often do.” You say, “We had lunch. What did you do?”

 

“Avoided staff members and messed with potions.”

 

“Sounds about right for you.” you comment.

 

“I have to make Professor Lupin’s medication, per the Headmaster’s orders.” He says bitterly.

 

“If you don’t mind my asking, how come you dislike Professor Lupin so much?” you ask.

 

“Let’s just say that he and his friends were awful to me back in school. I’d prefer not to go into detail right now.”

 

“Oh…” you trail off, “That makes perfect sense, then. I’m sorry…” your voice fades into the silence. You don’t know what else to say, “You know, the other day Dumbledore was incredibly rude to you, if it isn’t too bold to say.”

 

“At this point that isn’t anything new.” Severus scoffs. There’s a strained quiet again, aside from Lily’s gentle purring, “…Look, I don’t want your pity. I don’t need it.” He cuts in, a slight defensiveness in his tone.  

 

“I wasn’t going to,” you say softly. Then you lean forward slightly and take the hand that’s resting upon his desk. It stays stiff in your grip even as you start to rub and knead the top of it with your thumb, “But I want you to know that I really care about you. Truly.” You gaze into his eyes, to emphasize your sincerity. He holds your gaze for a moment, and then you feel him turn his hand and give yours a squeeze.

 

It only lasts for a second, though, because something passes in his gaze, and he immediately loosens his grip and pulls his hand away. Your heart sinks and you lean back into your chair, fingers slowly folding as the heat of your hands touching leaves and you’re met with the chill of the room again on the wrinkled skin of your palms that slightly numb your fingertips.

 

You can hardly take the sharp sting of rejection, and so you find yourself starting to slide the chair back so you can get up, “I’m…going to head to my dorm for the night, I think…” you turn and start to leave the room. The fire crackles and pops in the quiet behind you.  

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Severus.” You say. You’re one foot out the door, when his voice calls you back.

 

“Kit.”

 

“Hmm?”  

 

There’s a pause. He opens his mouth as if to speak, before deciding against it and closing it again. After another moment, he clears his throat, “Ahem. Goodnight. Sleep well I suppose.”

 

You nod, and smile weakly, “Thanks…try not to stay up too late.”

 

“I can’t promise anything.” Subtext: I’ll try.

 

You chuckle, “Okay…umm…sweet dreams, then.” And you turn and leave the room, closing the door softly behind you.

 

-xXx-

This encounter leaves you feeling a bit nervous to meet Professor Lupin. If he was able to bully Snape, then surely, he must be quite intimidating.

 

The night of the welcome feast comes, and your stomach does its familiar nervous turn. A stranger enters the Great Hall with the hoard of students and makes his way over to the High Table. He has sandy brown hair, gray-blue eyes, a mustache, and a goatee. He looks a little disheveled, and his face is slightly sullen, and he has remnants of scratches clean across them. The brown wool he wears is faded and worn. He looks around the table to find somewhere to place himself.

 

“There’s an open seat beside me.” You say.

 

He smiles softly, “Thank you.” he sits down beside you and scoots his chair in. He sees Snape on your other side.

 

“Evening, Severus.” He says with professional friendliness.

 

“Evening.” Snape says gruffly, trying to hide his bitterness.

 

“Ahem,” you offer a friendly handshake, “Professor Kit Oakley.” You introduce. You smile.

 

He takes your hand to mimic your greeting, “R.J. Lupin. Nice to meet you.”

 

You turn back to focus on your food. The Sorting commences, Dumbledore gives is usual speech, and then the feast goes in full swing. Lupin tries to talk to Severus, but Severus isn’t being friendly to him at all, so you take his place and opt to talk to the new hire instead. It’s usual small talk.

 

“You look rather young, how long have you been teaching here?” he asks.

 

“This’ll be my third year here.” You say.

 

“Oh! So, you’re kind of new as well.”

 

“Yes, I suppose you could put it that way.”

 

“And what subject do you teach?”

 

“I teach two, actually: Theatre, and the Study of Ancient Runes.”

 

“Oh, so you must manage a lot of classes, then.” He comments.

 

“I have six, so not quite as many as you think. It’s about average. Long days though, since I have office hours as well.”

 

“And the students, what are they like?”

 

“Most of them are wonderful, although I suppose I’m lucky since all my classes are electives and they want to be there. Most of them are respectful, too, of course, since they don’t want to lose house points.”

 

He chuckles, “Of course, I remember that was always a fear tactic used by the staff to keep us in line. Which house did you get sorted into when you started here, if you don’t mind my asking?”

 

“Hufflepuff!” you declare proudly, “And you?”

 

“Gryffindor.”

 

Small talk continues, and you discover that Professor Lupin is a total sweetie. You become excited when you find out he likes to listen to vinyl records like you do. You talk about the kind of music you like, and you discover you have similar taste, and you agree that jazz is up there next to rock when it comes to favorite genres. The ones you don’t have in common you offer to introduce to one another. This leads to you suggesting you hang out occasionally to share your music. By the end of the evening it seems you’ve made a new friend, yet again. Severus doesn’t seem very pleased with this.

 

When you’re walking back to your dorms for the night, you tease him, “Just because I become friends with Professor Lupin doesn’t mean I’m going to forget about you, Severus.” You say, “No need to be so bitter.”

 

“How am I supposed to trust you when replacing me last year came so easy for you?” he asks.

 

You stand there for a second and try to think how to prove it to him. You think the best way to get your message across is through your actions, so you give him a tight, reassuring hug. When you pull away you say, “That was a massive mistake I made. I learned from it, and never want to repeat it again. Also, as well, I only have eyes for you.”  

 

He studies you quizzically, light blush dusting his cheeks. Then you realize you’re at your dorm room.

 

“Goodnight Severus~” you say, smiling. Then you turn to your door and go inside, with doubt plaguing your mind. You know it’s going to take more than words for him to believe you, and it makes you wonder if you should have kissed his cheek, which was what had entered your mind initially.    


 

You strut into Ancient Runes bright-eyed, and energetic. As you strut, Jareth flaps his wings to stay balanced. You unfold your arm and he climbs onto his perch.

 

“Now, you behave yourself like a good owl, no eating parchment today.” You scold, “If you do, you won’t get your midday treats, is that clear?” He pecks your nose, for you’ve leaned to close to his face.

 

“We’ll have none of that, either.” You say. He lets out a short shriek, shocking the class into silence. Several pairs of eyes turn to study you.

 

“I’m terribly sorry about that, my darlings, Jareth is rather fussy today. Please, resume your conversations, class will start momentarily.”

 

So, they do, and you briefly scold him for being embarrassing. You organize your desk before you call their attention back to you.

 

“Good morning, everyone!”

 

“Good morning, Professor Oakley!”

 

“Last class I went over the syllabus, we did an icebreaker, and I briefly went over the history of these runes we’ll be studying. So today, I’m going to teach you all the alphabet! But instead of having you write it a million times, I’ve written a song for us to learn instead.”

 

Just then, the door bursts open. All eyes turn the back of the room and Hermione speeds in, out of breath, and struggling to hold onto her massive pile of textbooks.

 

“I’m so sorry I’m late, Professor!” she exclaims, red in the face.

 

Your gaze softens. You know she’s taking a massive load of classes, so you smile softly, “No harm done, Miss Granger, I’ve barely started. Just go ahead and have a seat.”

 

Once she’s settled, you do the role call and then start your lesson. “I’ve put my song lyrics up here if you’d like to write them down in your notes.” You say. With a flick of your wand, the record player on your desk starts to play a jazzy tune. You sing the Ancient Runes Alphabet Song, as you’ve called it, pointing to each character as you go. Jareth bobs his head to the music. When you get to the last note and hold it for however may beats it is, Jareth tries to copy you. The shriek that attempts to make a harmony echoes through the room and the class bursts out laughing and applauding.   

 

“Now, I’m gonna teach it to everyone!” you declare, “We’ll review it for the next week or so, until everyone has the characters down! There’ll be a quiz on it, since it’s one of the most important steps to learning runes. We’ll go over each character one by one, and then we’ll sing the song together. With that said, everyone repeat after me…”

-xXx-

      The light mood from your Ancient Runes class leaves you skipping back to the theatre for you advanced acting class, where you’ll be seeing students who’ve been in your program for the past couple of years.

-xXx-

      After that, you put Jareth back in your dorm for a nap, you grab your salad, and then head to the staffroom for a quiet lunch. The only other Staff member in there is Snape. The two of you had been coming in here for awhile now, because, as fun as you had with your classes, students could become overwhelming at times. The moment you get inside, you discover that Snape looks incredibly displeased.

 

      “What’s wrong, Sev?” you ask, sitting down.

 

      “You will not believe this.” He huffs, “Professor Lupin had his students face a boggart, and he told that useless idiot Neville Longbottom to picture me in his grandmother’s clothes to fight it off! The dunderheaded students won’t shut up about it and now I’ve become the bloody laughing stock of the school. I have never been more humiliated in my life.”

 

      When you picture him wearing a form-fitting green dress, furs, and an atrocious floppy hat while carrying a handbag, you have to choke back your laughter. He rolls his eyes and huffs, “You may as well let it out.” So, you lose it. You howl with laughter and pound the table until your sides begin to hurt and tears roll down your cheeks. He sits there and rolls his eyes.

 

“Are you finished yet?” he demands, unamused.

 

“I’m so sorry, Sev…” you splutter through your giggles, before sighing and leaning back in your chair, wiping a stray tear, “Honestly, though. Anyone can rock a dress and hat, in my opinion. Clothing doesn’t have a gender.”

 

Snape shakes his head. “Not this man. I’d rather die.”

 

“B-back to what you said about Neville Longbottom, though. Please don’t be too hard on him. It was Lupin who told him to picture that image. He’s been in my classes before. He’s a sweet boy, and he’s not an idiot. He has a lot of confidence issues. I’m trying my best to help him with that…”  

 

“That boy has caused one too many explosions in my class.” Snape huffs.

 

“I understand it’s frustrating, Sev. But you have to have patience, every student learns at their own pace…” you say, “I’m not trying to criticize your teaching methods, I just…” you sigh, “I don’t know…I guess what I want to say is…how come you’re so harsh on them? I-I mean aside from the fear tactic thing…i-if you dislike the kids so much how come you’re a teacher?”

 

“I think they’re all dunderheads, but that doesn’t mean I hate them.” He says. You perk up.

 

“This world is dangerous and cruel.” He says, “The number of witches and wizards who have died because of dark forces is far too many to count. I’m giving them a taste of the brutal reality they’ll be faced with when they enter it. They need to learn that it won’t ever be kind to them. I’m here to teach, not baby them.”

 

“I guess that makes sense. It isn’t the way I go about it…but if it works for you, then it works, I suppose.” You take a bite of your salad. I just wish you would be more careful and not step out of line so much. You knew this because you constantly overheard students talking about how mean and nasty he is as a teacher. He was extremely disliked, whereas you, on the other hand, were quite liked by everyone.

 

“I suppose I should consider myself lucky.” You cut into the quiet. Snape looks up at you.

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I get to see a soft side of you.” you smile.

 

“…Which you will continue to keep quiet about.” He huffs, “Oh yes, I can hear you, clear as a bell in my head saying, “Professor Snape? He seems mean and nasty, but he’s actually kind of sweet once you get to know him”—I don’t want these impish children trying to “get to know me”, that sounds like a bloody nightmare come to life. How you do it, I’ll never understand.”

 

“Don’t worry.” You chuckle, “My lips are sealed. Also, I wouldn’t want to share your “soft” side with anyone anyway. I enjoy the privilege of having it to myself. Well, almost. Your cat is the only one here I’ll willingly share it with.”

 

“There’s no competition. I like my cat more than you.” he says.

 

You frown, “Yeah? Well, I like my owl more than you too.”

 

“I swear if it was possible the two of you would be legally married, I’m sure of it. It’s abnormally strange.”

 

“I am not attracted to an animal! That’s gross!” you exclaim.

 

“Why do you bring him nearly everywhere?” he asks. He takes a sip of his drink after he poses the question.

 

“The truth is, he helps my anxiety. He makes me feel much more comfortable and gives me more confidence because I know he loves and supports me unconditionally. That he’ll comfort me when I’m sad and always be there for me. That’s the thing with animals, they’ll love you no matter what…in fact, they love you blindly. They can’t see any flaws in their owners, even if they abuse them, which is so sad to me…”

 

“People can be like that, too.” Snape comments dryly. You stiffen. For some reason, you think that that’s directed at you. In fact, you know it is, and you also know there has to be a deeper meaning behind what he’s just said. What it is, though, you couldn’t say.

 

“You’re not wrong…” you trail off.  

 

You finish your lunch in quiet company, before you bid him good afternoon and head to your next class.


 

At dinner that night, Professor Lupin starts a conversation. “I don’t have anything to do this Sunday if you’d like to meet and share music.”

 

Before you can speak, Severus’s hand takes your arm and he starts to talk. “Sorry Remus, but Kit and I have plans on Sunday.”

 

Hello, what? Since when?

 

“Well, alright.” he says, “Another time then.” He gives you a “don’t worry about it” smile. You give Severus a look. He shrugs nonchalantly.

 

Of course, you confront him about it on your walk back to the dorms. “Sev, what do you mean? We never made plans this weekend.”

 

“No, we didn’t.” he replies.

 

“Then why did you say we did?”

 

“Because I’m making plans for us. You. Me. Picnic. There’s plenty of lakes and mountains to visit that are quiet and away from people. It’s one of the last warm days before it starts getting cold, we’d better take advantage of it.”

 

“You’re bad at asking me out on dates, you know.” You say dryly.

 

“It isn’t a date.” He replies, “We’re friends. Friends go and do things together.”

 

“Should I bring anything for the picnic?” you ask.

 

“No. You said you were bad at cooking. I’ll handle it.” He replies.

 

“Are you sure?” you press.

 

“Positive.” He drawls, slow and disinterested.

 

“Alright then!” you exclaim, “I’m looking forward to it!”  You go your separate ways, and you’re giddy with excitement.

Chapter Text

III. Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon

You adjust your hair in the mirror, clipping back the pesky bits with your lotus flower hair clip. You brush the wrinkles and kinks from your clothing that stick out like bends and folds in a page. You cough and sneeze when you blot makeup powder on your face to seal the natural and simplistic look in. You aggressively take a lint roller to the fabric to get out any crumbs or hairs you didn’t see after triple-checking it. You’re sporting your usual jeans, worn charcoal this time, but instead of your usual warm sweater, you’re wearing a long-sleeved checkered shirt, which you’ve buttoned to your neck and tied with a black ribbon. You knot up the bottom of the slightly baggy shirt so that your midriff is showing. Next, you lace up your red trainers. Then, after you adjust your “I support Slytherin” button on your floppy black hat, you put it on. Of course, you can’t go anywhere without your cloak, so you grab that from where it’s hanging off your bedpost and slip into it, letting it swish about your ankles as you move. 

 

You glance at the time- you’re right on schedule. You’re supposed to meet Severus outside by the gates. You give yourself a final inspection and grab your nude color lipstick and shove it in your bag with your books, record player, and vinyls, bid Jareth adieu, and then set off.

 

-xXx-

Snape is waiting outside with a picnic basket at his feet, as he is leaning idly against the stone wall of the castle. When he sees you, he pulls himself from a leaning position to a standing-up-straight position. His cloak is on and tied, so you can’t see what he’s got on underneath very well, but from what glimpses you catch, you infer that it’s far more casual than normal.

 

“Afternoon, Sev!” you say, smiling.

 

He nods curtly, “Afternoon.” he greets, “Let’s go.”

 

“Alright! I’m starving.” you reply. You walk together to the gates. He reaches for your hand, and you take it so the two of you can apparate to the picnic spot.

-xXx-

You end up in a mountain meadow on a land that’s green but also bursting with brightly colored wildflowers. There’s a lake there. Across from the meadow, the banks of the lake are covered with densely packed fir trees with mountains rising behind them. There are mountains all around you since the flatlands of the green valley are settled in them. The sun rises and glares above the peaks and tree tips, but it graces you with a gentle and calming warmth. The air is crisp and fresh, and the sky is bright blue, with a few small clouds scattered here and there. Occasionally, there’s a draft from the warm summer breeze. It was picture perfect. If only you had a camera you could use to snap a memory.

 

There was always the option of sketching it, but you weren’t very good at landscapes.

 

“It’s lovely!” you exclaim, looking over your shoulder to smile at Severus. He’s found a patch of empty grass, and he’s standing there with the blanket partially unfolded.

 

His piercing gaze is fixed on you, and he seems very impatient, “Yes, and we’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it.” he says, “In the meantime, help me with this picnic blanket, will you?”

 

“Yes sir!” you exclaim, saluting. You hurry over to him and take one end of the blanket. The two of you tug the opposite way to unfold it. Some loose dust and lint falls out and goes in the air, filling your nose and making you cough and sneeze. The picnic blanket is worn and dusty, as if it had been greatly loved, but hasn’t been used in a long time.

 

You shake it out, and as you do, what looks like dead, white flower petals falls from the fabric and onto the grass. The two of you briefly glance down, before Snape quickly looks up again, “Back up a bit so we can completely smooth it out. I hate wrinkled blankets.” You nod and step backwards, tugging each end of the blanket away from one another until it is as taut as you can make it. He does the same. He glances up at you, but he’s only glancing, he isn’t looking at you, not really. It’s like he’s picturing someone else. You try to push that thought away as you smile, but when you do, he averts his gaze back to the task at hand.

 

“We can set this down now.” he says gruffly.

 

“Alright!” you reply. The two of you bend downwards to lay it flat, and when it’s finally on the ground, you both go down on your hands and knees to crawl across the blanket and smooth out the rest of the wrinkles.

 

“Perf—” you trail off when you see another wrinkle in the corner of your eye, “Oh, not quite yet!” you carefully smooth it down, “Now it is!” you declare. The two of you sit for a moment. “What else can I do to help, Sev?” you ask.

 

“You can start taking things out of the basket.” he says. You happily do. You sit cross-legged on the blanket and pull the basket towards you. You open one of the flaps. Starting with the bottle of wine, you then set to work unloading its contents. You begin by taking out all the food: freshly prepared sandwiches, fruit salad, fresh vegetables, and snickerdoodle biscuits. There’s a baguette in there too, with some butter and some water bottles. The portions aren’t particularly large, but they’re perfect for two people to share. Next, you pull out the utensils, napkins, silverware and…beakers? You assume they’re meant for your drinks. He sees you looking at them and immediately begins the explanation, or rather, the complaint you didn’t exactly ask for.  

 

“I would have brought proper glasses but that stupid cat of mine knocked them from my counter and shattered them right before I was supposed to meet you. I don’t understand why she is such a pain in the arse when I saved her from nearly dying, and then proceeded to raise her. I feed her, groom her, and do everything else to ensure she has a good life and she shows her gratitude by breaking my things, making messes, and scratching up my furniture.”

 

“My goodness. The way you describe her makes Jareth sound like an angel and that’s saying something.”

 

“The worst he does is eat parchment and kill your hearing abilities by screaming.”

 

“At least she knocked over empty glasses rather than full beakers of potentially dangerous potions, right?”

 

“Hmph. I suppose.”

 

You smile and lift one of the spotless, shiny containers to the sunlight to look at it, “I don’t mind using these honestly. They add a unique touch to your picnic basket. They’re very you!”

 

When he hears you say this, he relaxes, and his bitter gaze softens. He sighs and leans back onto the blanket, placing his hands on the back of his head, then, he looks up towards the sky, loosening the kinks in his neck, and closing his eyes as the sun kisses his face. His hair doesn’t look near as greasy as usual, which tells you he’s washed it for once. You observe him for a moment, looking unusually peaceful. It makes you happy. He feels your eyes upon him, so he shifts his gaze towards you.

 

“Yes?”

 

“N-nothing!” you turn away, blushing. You begin scrambling to lay out all the food in a way you think looks aesthetically pleasing.

 

“Would you like me to make our plates, Sev?” you ask.

 

“That’s fine.” he says. And so, you set to work, carefully arranging things onto the dishes.

 

“Everything looks amazing,” you gawk, “It must have taken you ages to do this.”

 

“It did. I worked until about 4 AM, slept for three hours, and then finished this morning.”

 

“Y-you could have asked me to help, I would have been very happy to.”

 

“My cooking is just like my potion-making. I’m very specific and very meticulous. Above all, I expect perfection. You told me you weren’t very good at cooking, so I opted not to ask you to help me. And, seeing as I planned it, it was my obligation to bring everything. I also happen to enjoy cooking.” 

 

“Oh…” you reply.   

 

He huffs, “If it really means that much to you, if we do this again, perhaps we can prepare everything together.”  

 

Your face lights up, “Okay!” You make a mental note to brush up on cooking lessons with Stella when you meet again so that you can be better prepared. You listen to the serenity of the quiet nature- the whistling of the breeze through the trees and blades of grass, the babbling of the water, and the occasional birdsong as you finish setting the “table”, but don’t pour the wine.  

 

“Okay!” you finally declare, “The plates are done!” you put the lids back on all the containers, return all the food to the basket, and then set it aside. Severus pulls himself back into a sitting position, removes his cloak, and rolls up his sleeves to his elbows. All he’s wearing underneath the cloak today is a perfectly fitted button down shirt with the first couple of buttons undone. He tugs an elastic from his pocket and puts it between his teeth. He pulls his hair half up so the strands that are usually partially covering his eyes are out of his face. While he’s fiddling with the hair elastic, you notice his left arm still has bandages wrapped tightly around it. That aside, he’s looking very smashing right now, and you really want to say something, but you think he’ll just roll his eyes and respond with a snarky comment, so you opt out.

 

Once he’s done getting his appearance together, he uses his wand to open the bottle of red wine and pour it into the beakers. Then, he corks it up and returns it to the basket.

 

He hands you a beaker. He’s about to take a drink, when you stop him.

 

“We ought to toast to something first.” you say.

 

He lowers the glass from his lips, “Fine, what would you like to toast to?”

 

“Umm…” you trail off, trying to think, “A better year than the last one.”

 

“Good enough. To a better year then.” he replies.

 

“To a better year.” The sound of a clink resonates in the air as you tap your glasses together. You take a sip. There’s a slight burn in your throat as it goes down, but other than that, the sweet taste fills your mouth. You set the glass down and take a sip of water. You start to eat, and you comment about how delicious everything is. You’re particularly fond of the fruit salad.

 

“I made a honey-lime dressing for it.” Snape says, “I modified a recipe I found in a cookbook.”

 

“It reminds me of my Aunt Kelly’s dressing. It’s very good!”  you rave.

 

“You don’t have to compliment everything.” he scoffs, taking another sip of wine.

 

“I know, but I want to, your food deserves it.” you say.

 

“Thanks.” he replies. Then, he continues, “Honestly, your compliments are a bit overbearing, but I appreciate them, I suppose. When I cook, I usually don’t get compliments, not sincere ones anyway. The members of my house are all very harsh food critics.”

 

“You cook for your students?”  

 

“For bribery and control. And only on the conditions that they can go at least two months without any of them getting into trouble and they continue gaining, and not losing house points. I’ve also sworn them all into secrecy about it as well. I can’t have the whole school knowing I bake for my students.”  

 

You chuckle, “I guess that’s why Eliza never said anything about that.”  

 

“I honestly don’t know why I bother, though. They’re ungrateful. They only like my biscuits and even then, they complain that they’re burnt or too thin or whatever the hell else they say.”

 

“Madame Sprout used to make us baked goods every holiday. Every time there was a holiday coming up, she’d do a raffle and draw two names to help her bake. I remember one time Mauve and I got picked. It was an awful lot of fun and it was one of the few times that I managed to make something without making a mistake.”    

 

“Hearing you tell me how bad you are in the kitchen makes me wonder how you managed to pass my potions class with a B when making potions is very similar to cooking.”

 

“It’s because I always prided myself in being a good student, and I had Stella as a partner. I’m bad at making food, but I’d like to think I’m good at making drinks. Though that might have to do with me having worked seasonal jobs as a barista. I also liked studying potions. My favorite classes were potions and charms. I was good at Divination but it scared me, so I didn’t like it as much.”  

 

“Did you like potions because of the subject matter or did you like potions because you fancied me?”

 

“Wha—” you flush bright crimson, “…A bit of both, I suppose. Professor Slughorn taught for the first couple of years I was in school, and I really enjoyed learning potions. My friends and I were all in the same class, so it was even more fun then. Then you started teaching. Even though you were intimidating and harsh, you were still very young and…I thought you were attractive too…but you always looked so sad. I was too scared to ask if you were okay, though…but I often thought about it and I wanted to help somehow. And I always said to myself if you were a little bit less scary that maybe I’d try to talk to you…” you trail off, and then you look up at him, “I’m glad I finally did!”

 

You study his face. It’s unreadable. He takes a bite of fruit salad before he says anything.

 

“You’re intuitive.” he scoffs.

 

“I-I’m sorry, am I being too nosey?” you immediately exclaim.

 

“No. I just find it slightly disturbing that you see through me so easily.”

 

“I-I’m not trying to pry I’m just really good at sensing things and observing other people’s emotions…it’s not on purpose.” You take another swig of wine and wash it down with water.          

 

“No need to start panicking, Kit,” Snape huffs, “For someone like me who has no idea how to properly empathize with anyone, your level of empathy is rather remarkable. But it’s difficult for me to wrap my head around.”

 

“I understand…” you say, “I-I want you to know though…you don’t have to feel obligated to tell me anything you’re not comfortable with. I mentioned I thought you always looked sad, and I still think a lot of the time you still do…but if you don’t want to tell me why, you don’t have to. But from my experience, sharing your feelings usually helps…You don’t have to though!”

 

“I appreciate that.” he says.

 

“O-of course, you’re my friend. I’m always here to support you…no matter what.” you smile softly. You wipe your face with a napkin and then pick up a biscuit from the container in front of you. You take a bite before you pull your wand out. You point it towards your bag.

 

Accio record player.” It floats out of your bag and settles itself nicely beside you. Snape watches you. After it’s been opened and set up, you say, “Accio vinyl- Queen, A Night at the Opera.” the record flies into your hand. You take it out, blow off a tiny bit of dust, and then set it on the device. You move the needle to the groove that starts, “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon”, at a low volume.

 

The music lifts the slight heaviness of the mood.

-xXx-

 

“Your hair looks nice pulled back like this. I can finally see your face now!” you declare.

 

“I would be able to see yours if you took off your hat.” he replies, “Speaking of. What is this?” he taps the button on your hat with his wand.

 

“My “I Support Slytherin” button.” you reply.       

 

“Yes, I know, I can read. But why do you have it?”  

 

“I made it when I was in school because, I wanted to show my support for your house—and the house that some of my closest friends were sorted into. Also, I hate stereotyping, so it’s kind of my way of showing my opposition to that too, I suppose. Plus, I like the color, green. It goes well with yellow.”

 

“Hmm.” he replies, “But as I recall, you have other friends who were sorted into other houses, so why show so much support for just one other house?”

 

“Because no one else really does and it’s not fair.” you say, “Also because I know how negative reputations feel. People seem to think that Hufflepuffs are weak, stupid, useless, and unimportant, when we’re just as capable as anyone else in any other house. People also think all Slytherins are mean and evil which isn’t true. Eliza and Cas can’t even work for the Ministry of Magic without being under extra scrutiny and dealing with others not trusting them.”

 

“We’re honestly used to it at this point.” Snape replies gruffly.

 

“It shouldn’t be the case.”

 

He shrugs, “The rest of the school says I favor my house over everyone else. Which is true. And that’s why.”

 

“I thought as much.” You reply. Just then, a gust of wind blows your hat off your head, freeing your hair and sending it flying, “Oh dear! My hat!”

 

Snape’s long arm snaps into the air and his slender fingers grab it before it can land in the water. He takes it with both hands and sets it back on your head, tugging the brim down over your eyes. You chuckle and push it back up to gaze at him again.  

 

“Good catch.” you say.

 

“Make sure it doesn’t fly off again because I won’t catch it next time.”

 

“Whatever you say, Sev~” you drawl. Another gust of wind causes you to tug at the brim to hold it in place.

 

You spend the rest of the day lazing around, chatting, and snacking. By the late afternoon, you both start to feel a bit drowsy, and you don’t know if it’s because of the wine or not, but Severus ends up napping in your lap and doesn’t protest when you start to run your fingers through his hair.

-xXx-

He wakes up just as the sun begins to set. He wakes up slowly, blinking. He lifts his head and darts his gaze about.

 

“Good evening,” you say, “Did you sleep well?” you ask, looking down at him. He stares at you for a moment, before his gaze hardens, and then, he immediately lurches off you and gets up when he senses something. He starts to pace and put things away.

 

“How long was I out?” he half-demands.

 

“A couple of hours maybe.” you reply.

 

“We need to go!” he seems disjointed and sporadic.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

“No! We’re in danger!” he puts the last of the containers into the basket and hurriedly puts on his cloak, “Get up, we need to fold this.” You scramble up and put away your record player and vinyl carefully, wondering what on earth his problem was. And that’s when you realize the air is cold with dread.

 

Your stomach churns, and your heart thumps rapidly.

 

“We have to pack everything up and apparate before it gets to us! Hurry.” he exclaims.

 

 “Severus! Wait! What’s coming!?” You rapidly scan your gaze around, and that’s when you see it. A hooded, spectral black figure floating slowly in the air in the distance, coming towards you. That heavy feeling churns in your stomach and takes over. You snap your gaze towards Snape, but he’s too distracted. You don’t have a choice, so you draw your wand and step forward to face the dementor. You steady your breathing and you think of your happiest memory. It’s you, and your friends, smiling. You picture all their faces. You’re sitting around the table at Christmas, laughing and eating. In your minds’ eye Snape is by your side, smiling too.

 

“KIT, get away from there!” Snape yells.

 

Your eyes flash open. The Dementor is getting dangerously to you. You widen your stance. It’s horrible and towering, looming over you, threatening to drain out your life force.

 

“KIT!” you can hear him behind you, running to catch up, brandishing his wand.

 

 Your stomach churns and bile forms in your throat, your vision goes in and out of focus, but you force yourself to keep the memory and you shout the spell.

 

“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” a flash of white light appears, and the dementor screams as your patronus knocks it away.

 

The light fades to serenity again, and you’re overcome with exhaustion. You put your wand back in your pocket and step back. You feel sick. You stagger into Snape’s arms, and you tilt your head to look up at him.

 

“I don’t remember the last time I actually had to use that spell…that took a lot out of me…are you…okay?” you ask breathily.

 

“I’m fine, but you’re not. You look sick. Idiot.”

 

He helps you back into a standing position and scolds you.

 

“You should have told me it found us. I sensed it coming, which is why I started to pack up so quickly.” He says, “But that is beside the point. If you knew performing a powerful spell like that was going to take so much out of you, then you should have let me handle it.” He shoves his wand back into his pocket.

 

“Just because I’m younger doesn’t mean I’m less capable.”

 

“You let that thing get far too close to you.”

 

“So? My technique wasn’t perfect, but I still saved our arses just now! Why are you upset with me?”

 

“You terrified me, you dunderhead!”

 

“Because you didn’t think I was strong enough to do it…” your heart sinks.  

 

“No! Because I…” he trails off.

 

You feel a glimmer of hope, “It’s because you care, isn’t it?”  

 

He sighs deeply. His relent tells you that you assumed correctly.

 

“I’m sorry I scared you, Sev. But I had to protect us.”

 

“I should have been the one to…”

 

You place your hands on his shoulders and turn him towards you, “Severus. It’s not your fault. You had just had a rude awakening. You were a little disjointed. You might have panicked a bit. Maybe gotten angry with yourself for not sensing it sooner. I didn’t even realize that’s what I was sensing too. I started panicking because you were starting to. I knew something felt off, but because I was panicking, I couldn’t quite figure it out. It was only when you said “we have to apparate before it gets to us” that I saw it. And I acted faster than you did. It’s not your fault though, everyone is a little out of it right when they wake up. That’s what happened, see. And we’re both fine.” You go in to hug him tightly, and with the fluid motion and another draft, your hat comes off your head again as you fall into him and wrap your arms tightly around him. But when he stays tense, you pull away.

 

“We need to go now.” he says, “Get your hat.” And then he turns around to finish gathering up your things. You walk a few feet to pick up your hat where it landed and you peer over your shoulder. His back is to you.   


Your evening gets worse when you get back to Hogwarts and discover that Sirius Black has been in the castle, scaring the Fat Lady that guards the Gryffindor common room into another painting. You know that you’re in for a long night after that.

 

All the students are moved into the Great Hall, and you are asked to check the theatre and a few other classrooms to make sure he’s not there. He’s not. Dumbledore arranges a night watch rotation. At the beginning of the night, several first years among other years are having trouble sleeping. Many of them are beyond nervous and beyond terrified. You want to help.

 

“This might seem a bit juvenile, but how about I tell you a bedtime story?” you ask. The middle school age students are very onboard with this. Some of the smallest first years race each other to gather around you. There’s a Hufflepuff boy closest to you on one side, and a Slytherin girl closest to you on the other. Even older students seem interested. You begin telling the story of “The Labyrinth”. the classic with the Goblin king, and the girl who rescues her stolen baby brother, the one that Jareth’s namesake is from. And as you narrate you use a bit of magic to create scenes. By the time your story ends, many of the children who were having trouble sleeping before can fall asleep at last.

 

Proud of your work, you down the rest of the caffeine you’d been consuming the whole night, and then join Snape at the doors for the night watch. Even though you feel better about being able to quell some of the first years’ fears, you still feel a sense of awkwardness between the two of you, and you don’t like it. It’s even worse when you don’t talk, but exchange glances.

Chapter Text

IV. Boop

The students had their first trip to Hogsmeade today, so this weekend was very quiet, and there was no way you would venture to Hogsmeade with a hoard of them after dealing with them all week. Your plan was to lay low and relax. However, it was hard to relax when Severus had been acting so odd lately. Since the day of the picnic, he had seemed…distant. Because you don’t want to avoid him, you decide to go and ask about it.

 

You head down to his office, wrapping your cardigan around yourself because it’s always cold down here. You draw in a breath and knock on his office door. It opens, and there’s Snape, standing there with Lily perched on his shoulders.

 

“Afternoon.” he says dryly.

 

“Hi…” you trail off, “Hello there, beautiful girl.” you say to Lily and scratch her under the chin. She purrs. She sniffs your hand.

 

“Yes, I know, you smell Jareth…ahem.” you look back at Severus, “Do you have a moment? I’d like to talk to you about something. It’s nothing bad. I just want to clear the air between us.”

 

“Fine, but I need a favor first.” he replies.

 

“An-anything.”

 

“Wait here.” he turns around and goes back into his office, picking up a smoking goblet from his work table, “Take this to Professor Lupin. I’m not in the mood to deal with him.”

 

“Umm, alright…”

 

“He was in his office last I was aware.” He says, thrusting the goblet into your hand, “Can I trust you not to spill it?”

 

“I’ll be careful.” you try to reassure, although you don’t sound very confident.

 

He flicks his wand anyway, “There. I’ve enchanted it temporarily, just to be sure.” Evidently, he didn’t trust you with your proneness to being clumsy.

 

“Come back once you’ve done that, and then we can talk.” he says.

 

“Alright! Be back in a bit.” you turn excitedly, the liquid sloshing as you do, and then you make your way towards Lupin’s office.

 

-xXx-

He’s on his way out of it when you arrive, and you nearly bump into him.

 

“Oh!” he says, “Kit. Good afternoon.”

 

“Afternoon Remus,” you say. He looks worried. You hand him the potion to him, “Professor Snape sent me to give this to you.”

 

His face melts into relief, “O-of course. Thank you.” He takes it carefully and lifts the enchantment, turning around to swiftly swallow it, face twisting when he does. He finishes it though, leaving the goblet on his desk, before wiping his lips with his sleeve and turning back to face you.

 

“I appreciate you bringing this to me.”

 

“Of course! It was my pleasure. Well, I’ll umm…see you around, Professor.” you turn and start to leave the room.

 

“Kit?”

 

“Hmm?” you turn back to face him.

 

“Pardon my asking. I don’t mean to pry, but I’m curious. You seem to have a fondness for Severus that I have never seen in anyone before, aside from an old friend of mine.”

 

You blush and rub the back of your neck, “Oh! Well I…”

 

He senses your discomfort, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

 

“N-no it’s alright. You’re right, in fact.” you say, “Don’t tell anyone this, but I seem to find myself madly fancying him…”

 

“You do?” he raises a curious brow.

 

“I do…and I have since I was about16 and in his Potions Class. This isn’t some high school romance anymore.”

 

He hums thoughtfully.

 

“Pl-please don’t say anything!” you exclaim, regretting confessing the truth.

 

“Don’t worry. I won’t.”

 

“How do I even go about acting on it?” you ask.

 

“I’m afraid I can’t help you there. He’s a mysterious one. We weren’t exactly on friendly terms when we were in school, and even now, he remains very harsh and incredibly closed off. So…honestly, I would say that if he opens up to you, even in the slightest, it’s a very good sign. But I wouldn’t rush into anything if I were you. Even if he has opened up to you, I’d still tread very cautiously.”

 

You nod. Everything he has just said reassures you that you’re on the right track.

 

“I’m sorry I can’t be of anymore help than that.” he says, “I certainly wish Lily were here right now. She could help you better than I could…”

 

“Lily?” you perk up, “Snape has mentioned her briefly and so has Dumbledore…but Snape has never mentioned her by name though.” Every time he does, he gets incredibly defensive and looks like he’s about to cry…

 

“Ahh. Of course. Honestly, even though we never liked one another…that situation still makes me feel torn. Lily married James, who was one of my best friends, so of course I was happy for him, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but notice she was the one person we’d ever seen Severus care about. Lily was a wonderfully kind person. She was bold and told you off when you were in the wrong, and she was always good at making people feel better about themselves. She cared about everyone, even when they couldn’t care about themselves. Lily and Severus were friends up until year five. But it ultimately ended in hurt for them both. We didn’t like him, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for him at the same time…what I do know is that, in the end, Lily would have wanted him to be happy, though, no matter how bad their friendship ended,” he trails off, “I-I’ve probably said too much. I apologize. It isn’t my place…

 

“It’s okay Remus….”

 

“If Severus ever finds out you heard anything from me…” he trails off, but then continues, “I hope, at the very least, I was able to help, but I really think you ought to ask him yourself. I doubt he’ll take kindly to it, but…I still think you ought to ask, especially if you care about him the way you do. How you care so much about him…is beyond me…”

 

“Hey…”

 

“M-my apologies. Excuse me…” he turns to leave.

 

“Remus?”

 

He stops and turns back.

 

“Thank you for the advice.”

 

“O-of course.” With that, he whisks out of the room, still feeling bad about the situation. And you feel guilty. You vow to apologize later.

 

-xXx-

 

“Sorry I took so long.” you say, once you’ve gotten back to Snape’s office, “I got a bit caught up talking to Remus.”

 

“Of course, you did.” he huffs.

 

“Hey! I’m allowed to have more friends at Hogwarts than just you.”

 

“I never said you weren’t. I was just giving you a hard time. Anyway, what were you so adamant on talking about?”

 

“Oh…umm…yeah…that…” you take a breath, “You’ve been pretty reclusive lately. I mean, that’s normal behavior for you but lately I feel like you’ve been particularly distant. Since the thing with the Dementor. Is everything okay?” 

 

“It’s impossible to fool you when it comes to emotions.” he huffs, shaking his head, “If you already know something is wrong then there’s no point keeping it from you. But I swear, a word of this to anyone and I will never share anything with you again.”

 

“I promise I won’t say anything, Severus.”

 

“Fine. But we’re going somewhere that nosy students won’t overhear. There’s still a few of them here.” You find your way up to one of the isolated balconies, where you can look out at the view but also be away from people.

 

“The reason I’ve been more distant is because I’ve been angry with myself.” he says, “I was careless and not collected when we got attacked by that Dementor, and I had to be protected by someone else because I wasn’t focused.”

 

“Even the best wizards make mistakes sometimes. And that’s okay. And I don’t hold that against you. Not at all. You’re upset because you weren’t able to live up to your own expectations of yourself, but I don’t think that makes you less skilled.”

 

“Perhaps not to you. But that’s not all. That fact that I had to be protected by someone else makes me vulnerable. I hate being vulnerable,” he continues, “Vulnerability has gotten me nowhere. It’s only gotten me teased and hurt. And you’ve made me feel very vulnerable.”

 

“Me?”

 

“I’m allowing myself to open up to you more than I want to, and I absolutely hate it.” he says, “But you make it so I can’t help myself. I used to be far more sensitive and far more emotional. And where did it get me? It got me into one horrible situation after another and it earned me a nickname in my school days that I hate. Lupin and his friends used to call me—” he cuts off.

 

“Wh-what did they used to call you?”

 

“Snivellus.” he says bitterly, “Because of my physical appearance. And that insult still gets to me to this day. Every time I show vulnerability, it reminds me of that. I’m living up to that weakness and I can’t stand it.”  

 

A small part of you wants to fight Lupin now, for taking part in that, but the rational part of you says you can’t get angry with him for being an asshole when he was an adolescent because that was in the past.

 

“When I woke up to find myself sleeping in your lap, and couldn’t act fast enough to defend us, I felt weak, and I hated that.”

 

“I didn’t see you as weak. Letting yourself open up to me and letting yourself be comfortable enough with me to lie in my lap doesn’t make you weak, Severus. And I would fight anyone who tries to say otherwise. I want you to be open with me, we’re friends. I’d never hurt you, either. You know I’m incapable of that.”

 

“I don’t,” he replies, “Especially when you already have once.”

 

“You mean last year? I know, Severus. We were both hurt, and I deeply regret that. But I apologized sincerely, and I have no intention to do it again.”

 

“That doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lack of trust there, now.”

 

“How can I prove to you that you can trust me, Severus? Please. I really want this relationship between us to work…no matter what. I care. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now and I wouldn’t have risked my life to protect us. I’d do anything to prove you can trust me! E-even take a truth serum!”

 

“It shouldn’t take a truth serum for you to be honest with me.”

 

“That’s not what I mean. I’d be honest with you anyway. But if that would be the only way to prove it to you, I’d do it. Ask me anything, I’ll tell you the truth.”

 

“Out with it, then. What did you really come here to talk to me about?”

 

“I told you. I’m worried and I want to know why you’ve been distant from me.” you say.

 

“I don’t think that’s all. There’s something else you’ve been aching to know that you won’t ask me. And I’m sure it’s the same thing you talked to Lupin about. So be frank. Ask me.”

 

“I want to know about Lily. What she meant to you. Why you named your cat after her. Why you get so defensive at the mere mention of her name. And why, whenever she comes up, you do everything in your power to force yourself not to cry. Why does she make you so upset? I avoid mentioning her because I know it gets to you, and I don’t want to make you upset like I did last year ever again. But the truth is I’m aching to learn about her from you. Dumbledore told me, but it wasn’t his place to tell me your story…Remus gave his two senses too…”

 

His gaze hardens, “What!?”

 

“I DIDN’T say anything about you! I just made a comment about how you and Dumbledore have mentioned Lily before, and then he started talking about you two, a bit…”

 

He grits his teeth, “That bloody....” 

 

“…I’m tired of hearing about you and her from everyone else but you.”

 

“But yet you still don’t ask me until now! You let other people talk about me to gather information but--How many times have I told to be frank with me, Kit? If you want to know something, you ask me.” Frustration is prominent in his voice, “This is why it is difficult to trust you. Because you aren’t frank with me and I’ve asked you so many times to be.”     

 

“I’m afraid to ask about something so personal.”

 

“Are you afraid to ask because you don’t want me to react aggressively or are you afraid to ask because you don’t want to upset me? Or perhaps you’re afraid because you don’t want to hear the truth.”

 

“I don’t want to hurt you by talking about something so triggering.” you say, “Especially after you’ve just told me you hate being vulnerable.”

 

“Yes, I do. But as I’ve said before I’ve already made myself very vulnerable by opening up to you. And as much as I hate it, I am willing. But it always seems to come down to you don’t want to be frank with me because you’re afraid of my reaction. We should be passed this. But we keep going ‘round and ‘round in circles, and it’s beginning to frustrate me. I’m starting to question if you really want to have a relationship with me or if you’re just toying with my emotions like every other person who I’ve interacted with.”

 

“O-of course I do!” you exclaim.

 

“That stop being so afraid of me. What do you really want of me?”

 

Your heart aches. You doubt that the truth, the real one, the one about you being in love with him, is going to go anywhere. Especially when this Lily person has been lingering constantly in the back of your mind, and by this point, you know that his feelings for her are more than just friendship. The signs are too clear. You don’t want to get in the way of that, but at the same time…you know she’s gone. That he can never have her. And you want to offer yourself. But you can’t take the potential rejection. You don’t think yourself strong enough. But you feel, at the same time, nothing could show he can trust you better than telling him a truth like that. But if your assumptions are correct, then he’s still grieving her, and you need to let him grieve and make an effort to learn about her first before telling him your true feelings. Because now is not the best time. You need to wait for the opportune moment. You need to take it one step at a time.

 

So, you draw in a deep breath, “I want you to tell me about Lily.” you say, “Let’s start with that.”

 

He’s silent, before he draws in a breath, “She was the most wonderful person I ever knew…” He averts his gaze from you, and looks out at the stars for a moment, his voice softens in a way which you had never heard before.

 

“We met when we were very young. Before we even started at Hogwarts. We might have been childhood loves, but for me that never went away. I was the first person to tell her she was a witch, and I taught her everything I had been learning all the way up until we started school. We were best friends. But when we started school we were sorted into rival houses. At first, it didn’t seem to matter that she was in Gryffindor and I was in Slytherin…

 

 “It’s okay, Sev,” she told me, “Our houses don’t mean anything for our friendship. We’ll always be friends, no matter what!” But despite that, I still felt isolated from her. And, as time would have it, she started to make new friends, and among them were James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black. I never made any new friends, not real ones, anyway…” his voice raises slightly, and his expression hardens at the mention of Sirius Black. Your stomach churns uneasily.   

 

“…For the longest time, it was only her. Her friends would bully me, but she would always stick up for me, she would always side with me. Her friends got physical with me when she wasn’t around. She started to get closer to James and I resented him and all his friends. Despite this, though, I still had her. Or, at least I thought I did. We were drifting apart, and we had been since we were sorted into different houses. It didn’t help that our interests were conflicting. I was getting bullied now, by not just the Marauders, as they were called back then, but by everyone. I was that weak, pathetic boy who always had to be defended by the same girl because he couldn’t defend himself.”

 

This added another layer of understanding to his resentment of being vulnerable. And you felt so special at that moment because he was sharing this information with you. You feel him stiffen beside you. You study him in concern. He’s paused for a second, and he’s avoiding your eyes. You reach out and lightly touch his arm. He glances down at it.

 

“You can stop talking about it any time if you don’t feel like you can continue.” You say gently, “It’s okay.”

 

“No.” he says, “I started the story. I need to finish it.” He draws in a shaky breath.

 

“…One day, I lashed out at her out of humiliation. I said something that I will regret for the rest of my life. I tried to apologize, and to tell her my feelings. And she said, “I loved you once, but I was never in love with you. I could never be. You’ve changed for the worst. I don’t even KNOW you anymore!” And then, she left. That was the last thing we ever said to each other. We never spoke again after that. I tried to win back her affections, but I never could.

 

From there, everything just got progressively worse. And there was the threat of You-Know-Who. When he found out about the prophecy, I knew that Lily was in danger. I knew that. I tried everything I could to save her. But I…I failed. She was murdered. I couldn’t protect her.” he draws a shaky breath, “The last memory I have of her…I stepped over the body of her husband…and I followed the sound of her crying baby…and I found her dead. I can’t even describe the horror and pain I felt then…my head was spinning…I fell to the ground and took her…I took her in my arms and held her…and I cried…I could never right my wrongs and I’d never forgive myself for the horrible things I’d said to her. But above all I will never…never…” his voice breaks at last and he trails off, “…I will always love her. Nothing will ever change that…there’s a part of me that will always be hers…”

 

You think you feel your heart break. He’s remained chillingly calm through the whole narration, although now his voice is shaking and breaking, and his eyes are red and misty. He draws in a breath.

 

Your shoulders are shaking and your eyes sting. You avert your gaze. That story is so sad you don’t even know what to think and you can’t find anything to say.

 

“…Kit?”

 

You slowly look up with blurry eyes, “That’s so sad…I’m so sorry…” you almost wish you could go back in time and take Lily’s place. Die instead of her. So that he could have her back and at the very least they could still be friends. And in that moment, you feel guilty for loving him and even thinking you could admit your feelings and have them returned. He meets your gaze. His eyes are completely glossed over with tears, and there’s one that starts to slowly trickle down his cheek. And that’s when you throw yourself into his chest and cry. His arms wrap tightly around you, and you feel a single hot tear hit the back of your neck.     

 

-xXx-

After that day, you became wary of your romantic feelings towards him. What he was thinking on the matter, what his feelings were, you couldn’t be sure. You feel a tinge of heartache, a distance you hadn’t experienced before.

 

And as if the current state of you and Snape’s relationship wasn’t enough, Lupin has been rather ill lately. He’s been missing meals, and missing classes. Whenever you see him, he looks sick and weary. On the night of the first full moon, you hear strange noises coming from his office. They’re whimpers of a creature and not a person over the sound of an old, staticky record. You try to visit him, but when you raise your fist to knock, a hand tightly seizes your wrist. You glance over your shoulder to see Snape.

 

“Get away from there.” he hisses sharply. You tear your wrist free.

 

“But Severus, he’s been in there all night, I’m worried about him. I want to check—”

 

“No! he’s horribly ill. If you go in there, you’ll catch his incurable disease.” he snaps.

 

 “Now you’re just being mean, Severus!” just then there’s a loud thump against the door followed by a sharp, unsettling cry, and snapping teeth. You yelp and jump back. Snape pushes you behind him and glares at the door.  

 

“Go back to sleep, Remus!” he snaps, “Mangy mutt!” there’s a whimper on the other side of the door and the movement gets farther away, telling you he’s circled around back to his office. Once he’s gone, Snape grabs your arm and leads you away.

 

“He’s a werewolf in case you haven’t figured that out. He keeps his mind when he transforms, thanks to the elixir I’ve been giving him, but he goes from being a man to a beast nonetheless. If he bites you, you’ll get infected. I do not have the energy to concern myself with more than one of you.”  

 

You’re not listening to him. You’re too upset because of what you’ve just heard, “Calling him something so dehumanizing is wrong on so many levels. Make him feel worse about himself, why don’t you!? The poor man already feels terrible about the whole thing, I’m sure of it.  Especially since he can’t help it! Maybe he snapped at the door just to scare us off because he was afraid something might go wrong, and he’d end up hurting us.”

 

Snape rolls his eyes. He clearly does not care. You glare at him. “You know what—” you turn around and cross back to the door.

 

“Kit, come back here!” he exclaims. You press your ear to the door and start to speak.

 

“It’s okay, Remus. Ignore Severus, he’s being a bitter arse. Everything will be fine, okay? You’ll get through the night, I promise. We’ll still be friends, no matter what your condition is, and I won’t say anything to anyone about this, either.”    

 

Your response is another whimper.

 

“Alright, that’s enough!” Snape says, “You’ve made your point. Now get away from the door.” You smirk. Your anger has faded, and now you’re just playing.  

 

You cross your arms, “Or what?”

 

He draws in a breath, and says lowly, “Or I’ll force the issue.” Despite his sharp enunciation, his voice comes out as more of a warning purr and less a threat. It sends the best kind of shudder down your spine.

 

“You wouldn’t.” you reply.

 

“Is that a challenge?”

 

“Perhaps. Perhaps not.” you smirk.

 

His brow twitches with irritation.

 

“Goodnight, Severus dear.”  you turn and swagger down the corridor, humming a tune, and leaving him flustered behind you. While you normally wouldn’t behave so bratty, it’s to make up for all the times he’s pushed your buttons.

 

“For the last time, I’ve told you to be frank with me! Come back here this instant!” he yells.  

 

You glance briefly over your shoulder. His face is all huffy and blushy in the dim candlelight.

 

“Shove off, Severus, you’re making a scene.”

 

He stiffens, “Why you little…” he’s fighting the slight tug of a smirk.

 

“Mwah!” You kiss your fingertips. A tiny, glowing heart appears, floating above them. Keeping your gazes locked, you blow it his way. It travels across the corridor and pops on the tip of his nose.  He turns even redder than before.

 

“Perhaps it’ll be on the cheek next time~” and then you turn again, making your way, skipping and twirling down the hall, singing a ludicrous tune. You’ve never been more amused with yourself.   

 

“How dare you toy with me, Kit Oakley!” he exclaims, “You’re going to pay for that!”

 

You stop, and then turn. “Sweetheart, I’m just fooling around. No need to get so angry with me…”

 

His gaze softens immediately when he sees the hurt on your expression

 

But it slowly melts to a smirk, and you giggle, “I got you again!” You giggle and skip back over. You playfully poke the tip of his nose, “Boop!”

 

“What are you playing at?” he demands, “What are these childish behaviors?”  

 

“Oh! Just little things my friends and I do to communicate and all. For example, when we want to say “I love you” and we’re messing around, we say…” you go to poke his nose again. His head pulls back.

 

“Don’t.”

 

 You lower you hand, “Pfft. Fine. When we want to say “I love you” we say “Boop”!” you explain. And then you flush a deep shade of red, “…Because you’re my friend…a-and I love you…”

 

Silence.

 

“…Ahem! Anyway~ I’m tired now, so I’m going to go to bed! Hope I didn’t fluster you too much! Goodnight!” And you turn and you run down the hall towards your dorm, with your heart pounding, your face bright with embarrassment, butterflies fighting each other in your stomach…and a tinge of guilt and heartache at the bottom.

Chapter Text

Sugar and Spice, why can’t Severus be Nice?

 “AHHHHHHHH!” you exclaim, “Ahh! I’m such an awkward dunderhead!” you beat your forehead against Renee’s kotatsu. You, Renee, Eliza, Cas, and Stella are sitting around, having a little tea party. You tell them about the “boop” situation.

 

Stella’s squealing fills the air, making you all wince, “Awwwwwwww! That’s so cute, mate!”

 

Renee calmly shows her sympathies for your embarrassing situation. Eliza splutters with laughter. Cas smirks knowingly.   

 

“It’s not though!” you groan, “I feel so torn about the situation.”

 

“Let me get this clear…” Eliza starts, “So, Severus insulted your new friend, Remus. And you didn’t like it, so you got mad at him. You basically gave him a big “fuckity bye” in response and stood up for your new friend because he was being an asshole, which is his normal behavior, Cas and I have told you this, and when Professor Tall, Dark, and Moody relented you were still bitter at him so you started to fuck with him. Then he ‘flirted’ back which made you all hot and bothered because his voice is very sexy to you, and then you continued to be a flirt, to a point where you blew him a kiss, but you were still bitter so you were bratty about it, and then he got all flustered because he didn’t know how to respond to your flirting, and you freaked out because you thought you upset him for a second, but you didn’t really freak out because you were still messing with him and then you booped his nose, and he asked why you were behaving so childishly, and in the process of explaining yourself you ran off because you almost confessed your love but you weren’t ready to. So now you think you’ve made things awkward?”

 

“Yes…that’s pretty much the problem here…” you reply lamely.

 

“Well, I mean, it’s the first time you’ve actually flirted with him, isn’t it?” Cas asks.

 

“Sort of…I wouldn’t count usual banter as flirting but this last one was for sure…”

 

“So, it’s gonna be a little awkward, but it’s not going to drastically affect your relationship in a negative way.” Cas continues, “It might make it awkward for a bit, but it’ll pass, and it’ll be something you can laugh about later.”

 

“But confessing your love will.” Renee says, “It could work out well, kind of well, or not at all. I’m not trying to discourage you or encourage you, but I’m trying to make you aware of all that.”   

 

“Of course…” you say, “B-but that’s not it! By this point I’ve accepted the fact that I madly fancy that man, so I’ve subconsciously began to act on it…but I don’t want to…I’m honestly afraid to be rejected…and I feel guilty because I learned that he’s still incredibly attached to his first love…she’s gone now…as in dead…but I’m pretty sure his heart still lies with her…a-and I don’t want to get in the way of that…it’s been over 20 years and he’s still…I want to be with him, but how can I be when…”  you sigh.

 

“Of course.” Cas says, “That fear of rejection is always gonna be there. It’s perfectly normal.”

 

 “…And you’re afraid you’d be getting in the way of something. But at the same time…how can you get in the way of a relationship when…well…when one of the parties is dead and the relationship can’t actually happen?”  Eliza says logically.

 

“But Liza…” says Renee softly, “If it’s his first love that’s no easy thing to get over…some people never really do.”

 

“I mean I get that…” Eliza says, “But he needs to recognize at the same time, that, if she cared about him at all, she’d want him to be happy. And not lose himself in grief.”

 

“Exactly, and she’d want him to move on.”  Cas adds.

 

“That’s much easier said than done…” you say dryly.

 

“Think about it this way for second, Kit,” Stella begins, “From what I understand, he’s already lost himself in grief a little. Maybe finding someone who loves him like you, it might help him, ya know? Don’t rush into anything, but at least talk to him. Let him know you care, and that you want to help, and see where it goes. Really stop to think about it and gauge the other person before acting. Avoid jumping to conclusions, overreacting, and making random judgement calls. I know you’re afraid to be hurt. I get that, but also be aware that that makes you defensive, and being defensive can cause you to make judgement calls and assumptions without fully understanding.”

 

“He hates when you do, anyway.” Eliza inputs, “How many times has he told you to be honest with him and ask for clarification when something is puzzling you?”

 

“A lot…”

 

“Exactly…But don’t just straight up say something like, “Am I getting in the way? I’m guilty because I think I’m getting between you and Lily. Are you still in love with Lily? You are? Oh…well, she’s sort of dead now but I think she’d want you to be happy…here, let me help you get over her…” or whatever.”

 

“Well, obviously not! That would be a terrible way to handle it…”

 

“I know, I know. I’m exaggerating. But you know what I mean. Be frank with your questions but don’t be so blunt that you sound horribly insensitive. Don’t be like me. That’s not like you. Plus, if you’re defensive, he might just think you’re jealous and selfish. That sounds like about something he’d say.” Eliza says with a scoff.

 

“Honestly, it’d probably make him feel like his love for Lily means nothing to you. And that you only care because you want him to forget she existed and love you instead.” Cas points out.

 

“That’s absolutely not what I want…” you say, “But…that brings me to something else that’s bothering me…”

 

You look up slowly, “…We went for a picnic a few weeks back…we were setting up the blanket and he looked at me…there was this look in his eyes…it was like all the sorrow had faded and it was replaced by a happiness and gentleness I’d never seen before. But even though he was looking at me…I felt like he was looking through me and picturing someone else…I shook it off but…it’s still been bothering me…especially after he told me about Lily…I…if we ever do end up together…I’m afraid I’ll just end up as a stand in for her…I’ll just be used as a vessel for…”

 

I’ll have to listen to him call out her name instead of mine…  

 

“Now I think that’s going a little too far.” Eliza says.

 

You stiffen.

 

“We recognize it’s because of trauma from your last boyfriend who was an absolute—” Renee’s voice briefly rises but then cuts when she bites her tongue, so she won’t say any profanity.

 

“Toxic narcissist.” Cas finishes.

 

“Fucking prick.” Eliza adds.

 

“…Horrible, disgusting, abusive son of a bitch.” Stella finishes.

 

“That relationship was toxic, Kit.” says Cas, “Lockhart used you and abused you. He traumatized you and scarred you in ways that no one deserves.”

 

“We know it’s hard to get over something like that,” Renee says.

 

“But at the same time, you have to recognize that Severus Snape is not Gilderoy Lockhart.” Eliza continues.

 

“He cares about you, Kit.” Renee says, “He’s bad at showing it, but he does. I think, honestly, that if his feelings for you are beyond platonic, if he really does feel the same way about you that you do about him…It’s you he feels that way about, and he’s not actively seeking to use you for his own selfish benefit, or as a stand in.”  

 

“You are the first person in over twenty years he has ever opened up to on a personal level like the one you brag to us all the time about.” Eliza says.

 

“He won’t say it, but from what we’ve heard, his actions show it.” Cas continues.

 

“Kit, listen to me.” Renee furthers, “You are special and important to him. If you weren’t, he’d treat you just like everyone else.”

 

“And let’s be real here, mate,” Stella says, “You’d probably hate him as much as the students do, if that was the case. You can’t stand assholes. Like, there’s good assholes, and bad assholes, and it’s the bad assholes you hate.”

 

“I’ve told him off for being one a couple of times…” you say.

 

The group sniggers. “Do you want to know what I really think?” Cas asks.

 

You perk up.

 

“I think he’s completely into you.”

 

The rest of them seem to agree.

 

“Oh yeah, absolutely.” Eliza adds.

 

“Honestly, we can’t believe how oblivious you are, mate.” Stella teases, chuckling.

 

“STELL-AAA!” you groan, blushing deep.

 

“No ordinary person can sass Severus Snape and get away with it,” Eliza says, “Honestly.”

 

“No ordinary person gets Severus Snape to flirt back to them, either, Lyze.” Cas adds.

 

“No ordinary person can be friends with Severus Snape.” Stella exclaims, “And have him openly call them that.” 

 

“Stop it…” you mutter, flushing up to the tips of your ears and averting your gaze.

 

“Guys, your embarrassing our Kitty.” Renee scolds gently. They all shut it immediately and look up at you. You stick your tongue out at them.

 

“With that said…” Renee continues, “While I agree, it’s up to you when or if you want to tell him how you feel about him.”

 

“The main thing to remember, Kit, is that if you’re still unsure, if it still makes you that uncomfortable, don’t do it.” Cas finishes rationally.

 

“We’re here to support you, no matter what, mate.” Stella says, putting a hand on your shoulder.

 

“Thanks.” They all dogpile on you for a warm and loving group hug. When they pull away, Stella comes up with a brilliant suggestion.

 

“Hey, you could bring him to the Christmas party!” she declares.

 

“Of course. He’s welcome if he wants.” Renee agrees.

 

Eliza sets her hand atop yours, and pats it, “Only if you want to invite him, though. Don’t let us pressure you.”

 

“I’ll…think about it…” you say, “But wouldn’t it be like…extremely awkward to bring our old teacher as my plus one?” 

 

“It won’t be if you don’t make it.” Stella says.

 

“That said, since we’re all adults, and he isn’t our teacher anymore, it technically means we’re all equals now. So, if he starts being an unreasonable ass, I’m calling him out on it.” Eliza warns.

 

“Fair enough.” Stella says.

 

“I love you, Eliza, but please don’t start a fight in my house…” Renee trails off.

 

“Aww sweetie,” she gawks, “You know I won’t. It’ll just end up as a war of words at most.”   

 

“If I choose to bring him to the Christmas party, that is…” you say softly.

 

“If you do, he’ll be welcome just like the rest of you.” Renee smiles.

 

“Thanks.”

 

“But if he ever hurts you, I’ll hurt him worse.” Eliza finishes.

 

“And the rest of us will help!” Stella finishes.

 

And that was that.

 

“…On a more positive note…” you say, adjusting the lotus flower in your hair, “When we were having our picnic a few weeks ago…he totally fell asleep with his head in my lap. He let me play with his hair too.”

 

“So basically,” Stella concludes, “He’s pretty much a cat.”

 

“I mean I guess…”

 

“I mean he’s pretty catty if you ask me.” Eliza says.

 

“Ey!” Cas clicks their tongue and uses finger guns.

 

Stella and Renee laugh. You’re not amused.


 

Ultimately, as it turns out, your friends aren’t the only ones who seem to notice you’re something special to Severus Snape.

-xXx-

Quidditch again. Usually you’d be rooting for Harry Potter, but since Gryffindor is up against Hufflepuff today, you’re not. You’re looking forward to watching Cedric Diggory play. Not only was he a popular and athletic student, but he was also in a couple of your acting classes and had landed principle roles in more than one of your productions. You gave him some credit for popularizing your drama program as well. 

-xXx-

You show up to the match early, so you can secure good seats for you and Severus and also get snacks before there’s a dreadful line. You’re dressed warmly, decked out in all your house pride, and carrying the yellow and black pom poms you’ve kept with you all these years. There’s only one thing you’re wearing that isn’t strictly house pride, and that’s your sunflower flower crown, which you’ve clipped your lotus flower pin into.

 

Snape shows up a bit later than usual looking unamused. “I could go blind from all the yellow you’re wearing.” he scoffs.

 

“Oh, whatever!” You’re very passionate about the match today, and you hope that Hufflepuff wins. But you won’t be sore if they don’t, because you know they’ll all try their very best, “You wear green to all the Slytherin matches, anyway. It’s the only time I ever see you in color.”

 

“Yes, but I don’t go near as overboard as this.”

 

“It’s not overboard. Overboard would be if I painted my face on top of all this. I just have a very loud expression of my house pride, while yours is more…subtle. Our expressions are different and they highlight personality traits. There’s nothing wrong with tha—” you trail off.

 

“What?” he questions. You’ve noticed the scarf he’s wearing peeking out from the collar of his coat. It’s a bar scarf but it doesn’t match any specific house. It’s yellow and green. Because he was wearing black, but also yellow and green, it meant that he was wearing both of your house colors.    

 

“Your scarf! It’s green and yellow!”

 

“Subtlety.” he says dryly. He was showing support for your house in his own way, well, that’s what you wanted to think anyway…although the rational part of you guessed it had nothing to do with thinking of you but everything to do with not supporting Gryffindor. You decide not to ask. Nor to say, “that’s sweet of you”, but your blushing face says it all, you’re sure of it.

 

“If our houses were playing against one another, which one would you show support for? Both perhaps? Or just yours?”

 

“Mine, obviously. We’re called loyal for good reason.” you say, “But depending on my mood and if or if not, you pushed my buttons recently, I might subtly show my support for yours too. A scarf perhaps, or I’d wear the button on my hat.”

 

He hums in response, “Thought so.”  

 

“I’d take it you’d only show support for your own?”

 

“Yes. I’m head of house, I’d never hear the end of it if I showed even subtle support for the other side. And I’d get an earful from the Malfoys, and that’s the last thing I want to deal with. But, seeing as my house isn’t playing today, there’s nothing wrong with me subtly supporting yours.”

 

Your heart soars, “W-well I appreciate that! It makes me happy~” your face feels warm.        

  

“Kit.” Snape says.

 

“What?”

 

“Your headpiece is crooked.”

 

“It is?” you play dumb, for you may or may not have done that on purpose, “Is it bothering you, Sev?” You wait for an answer. His expression hardens to a “No shit Sherlock” variation. You “attempt” to fix it. I.e., you intentionally make it worse.

 

“There.” you grin. He rolls his eyes.   

 

“That’s worse, and you know it. You can’t fool me. You deliberately did that on purpose, so I’d adjust it for you. Well, that isn’t going to happen.” He turns away from you to stare at the field, where the players are warming up.

 

“You’re no fun.” You huff. You adjust it yourself, but it’s a bit too big for your head, so it keeps falling lopsided. Then, your clumsy ass drops it at Snape’s feet and slightly under the bleachers.

 

“Bloody hell. Stupid thing.” you huff. You bend down to pick it up while Snape stands there and watches you out of the corner of his eye. The nerve of that prick!

 

When your fingers touch the crown, you end up pushing it farther underneath, “Seriously…” You’re on your hands and knees at this point. You’re reaching, but you can’t quite get it. You pull yourself into a sitting position and reach for your wand, but it slips from your grip and rolls away.

 

“Oh! Come on, really!?” Luckily, Severus’s foot stops it just in time. You glare up at him. He holds your gaze for a moment, before he picks it up and uses it to perform a charm, “Accio flower crown.” It trembles for a moment, before it slides out from under the bleachers. But instead of going to his hand like it’s supposed to, it ends up on his head. You laugh. His frown deepens. You smile. He looks adorable. He doesn’t think so. He glares at you, unamused, handing you back your wand. He tugs at the crown, but it won’t come off. His face twists with irritation, getting all huffy and blushy again.  

 

“Get. This. Off me.” he says.

 

“Alright, alright. Hang on.” you put your wand back in the holder on your belt, and then you try to stand on your tiptoes to reach, but he’s too tall and won’t bend down so you can have better access. So, you step up onto the bench and pluck it off. It comes off with hardly a tug, and when you place it back on your head, it shrinks to fit you perfectly.

 

Using his shoulder as leverage, you hop back down onto the ground. You smile innocently.  

 

“Why are you being so bloody ornery lately?” he huffs.    

 

Because you’re bitchy.

 

“Because your sarcastic smart arsery pushes my buttons.” you say, “Also, I like to play with you because you’re uptight, so you’re easily flustered. And it’s not like you don’t tease me too! We tease each other! Because that’s what friends do, silly~ b-but I promise I’m not doing it to be mean!”

 

“Obviously. You’re incapable of being mean.” he says dryly.

 

“And you’re incapable of being nice.” you say, “You’re bitter like oversteeped tea.”

 

“And you’re too sweet.” he replies. You blush. You can’t think of a retort for that one, honestly.

 

“Oh Kit, look at you!” you hear the voice of Madame Sprout near you, and you turn to face her. She and Professor Flitwick have arrived for the match at last.

 

“You look like a glowing ball of sunshine!” she says.

 

Your blush deepens, “Thank you, Professor.” you say.

 

“Did you make that flower crown?” asks Professor Flitwick, hopping up on the bench next to you.

 

“I did.” you say.

 

“Splendid job!” From the corner of your eyes, you see Snape roll his. Evidently, he’s still salty because the crown that is receiving such praise was the same one that stuck itself to his head from spite.

 

“Please, you’re too kind, sir.” you reply, although you’re beaming.   

 

Your colleagues glance briefly between you and Snape, examining the two of you together. One with a warm and beaming face, wearing bright, cheerful colors, and the other, cold and stoic-faced, in green so dark it's almost black, with pallor skin like the moon.

 

“Like night and day, they are, aren’t they Filius?” Ponoma asks.

 

“Indeed.” he agrees.

 

“Could we cut the metaphors, perhaps?” Snape huffs.

 

“Sev, they’re just saying we complement one another.” you defend, “There’s nothing the matter with that. Opposites attract, you know.”

 

“Mmm. Kit’s right.” Filius says.

 

The match starts before Severus can say anything else on the matter. Although his expression has become strangely thoughtful.

-xXx-

The match goes wonderfully until Harry Potter falls, followed by a hoard of dementors, and ends abruptly with Dumbledore’s fury. On the bright side, Hufflepuff still wins. But given the circumstances, you find yourself unable to truly be happy about it. Thank stars Harry was fine though, because he’d taken an awful spill and had fallen at least 100 feet. Another layer of dread sets over Hogwarts castle.

 

That evening, as you and Severus are making your way from the dining hall, you overhear a group of young Gryffindor students talking. They were upset at outcome of the match, and very vocal about it.

 

“If you ask me, there should be a rematch. It was an unfair win. Gryffindor clearly had the upper hand the whole time. We would have won if those Dementors hadn’t made Harry fall off his broom.”

 

“Well obviously. Hufflepuff could only ever win by sheer luck like that and never actual strategy or skill. They’re way too passive. They haven’t won the house cup in years.” You clench your fists and feel a stab of pain through your chest. You bite your lip, preparing just to walk passed and ignore it, but that way of doing things doesn’t fly with Severus Snape. Before you can stop him, he’s left your side and made his way over to them. They shrink back when they see him.

 

He looms over them, glaring down over his nose at them, “10 points from Gryffindor for poor sportsmanship and disrespecting another house.”   

 

“B-but sir—”

 

“It’ll be fifteen if you don’t shove off to your common room.” They scurry away immediately.

 

“Insufferable dunderheads.” he mutters lowly.

 

“Severus, you didn’t have to do that…”

 

“What, so I was just supposed to let them get away with it?”

 

“There was no use causing a row over something so small…” you sigh.

 

“I wouldn’t have if you hadn’t shown obvious signs of being upset.” he huffs, “You’re welcome for standing up for you.”

 

“Truly, I appreciate it! D-don’t get me wrong…I just…I don’t know.”

 

“You hate taking away house points and punishing students.” he says, “I’m very aware. As I said earlier, you’re too nice. If anything, this should serve as a learning experience for you too. To not let others tread all over you.”     

 

You bristle, “Is it possible for you to do anything nice with being a bloody…”

 

“What?” he smirks, “Go on. Insult me.”

 

You glare.

 

“I’m waiting.”

 

“A bloody…dunderhead.

 

“Using my own insult on me? Aren’t you creative.”

 

“Oh, shut it! You bloody brutish meanie.”  He continues to smirk, and you want to slap him.

 

“It isn’t funny! Wipe that smirk off your face!”

 

“Or what?” he asks.

 

You dig your nails into your palms. “Or I’ll do it for you!”  

 

“The fact that someone so small can get so massively flustered amuses me.” he says. He ruffles your hair, and then whisks around and continues down the hall. The only thing your befuddled and flustered self can think to do is use your wand to pull his hair again. But he doesn’t even flinch.

 

“How dare you insult my height you tall, lanky brute!”  you call after him. But he doesn’t acknowledge you. “Come back here, Severus! I’m not through with you!”  It is at this point you realize that there are a few curious students watching you.

 

“What are you looking at, you lot?” you exclaim, “Back to your common rooms!” They hurry off in a fit of giggles, and you think you hear one or two of them say “my god, just shag each other already…”

 

Flustered, you practically storm back to your room to go for a shower. When you get out, you’re still complaining.

 

“Can you believe his nerve, Jareth!? I certainly can’t! What is it about that prick that makes me love him so much!?...I don’t know…”

 

Unbeknownst to you, Severus has stepped outside. While leaning over the battlements, he’s smirking, shaking his head, and being smug about his triumph.

-xXx-

A couple of mornings following this event, you receive a note from an unnamed sender. On it is a cheesy poem:

 

“Snape is salty, and Oakley is sweet, put them together and they’re complete. Kit is sugar, while Severus is spice, perhaps they should stop flirting in the halls and get together, wouldn’t that be nice?”

 

You blush a deep red. You cautiously glance next to you and you see that Snape is also red, clenching the note, no doubt the same one you received, with his furrowed brow twitching and his face twisted in irritation.

 

You glance around the great hall, trying to figure out who the hell could have possibly sent this. Finally, you catch Dumbledore’s twinkling eye and you immediately know the answer.  


 

It’s the last trip to Hogsmeade before the holidays, and because neither of you want to deal with children for more than five days a week, you’ve elected to stay on campus and spend some time together in the snow. The cheer of the holidays seems to have slightly lifted the dread of Sirius Black. Not for Severus, though, you can’t help but notice. Any time the name is even mentioned at the staff business meetings he goes as stiff as a pole and glares daggers at Professor Lupin that could kill him if looks could kill.

-xXx-

This afternoon the two of you are by the lake. There’s a powdery layer of snow covering everything. The lake is beautiful, completely frozen over. You’re building a snowman while he’s reading the Daily Prophet. 

 

“Sirius Black still not found! We will not be at ease for the holidays…” that’s pretty much it.

 

“I can’t believe this…” he huffs, “If he is found, I would pay to see that Dementor’s Kiss…” You shudder at the mere thought.

 

“Why would you want to witness something so awful?” you ask.

 

 “James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew…the four trouble makers of the school…called themselves The Marauders. They were also the same gang of bullies that humiliated me, and so in retaliation, I was always trying to get them expelled. Sirius and Remus pulled a horrid prank that nearly killed me.” he says.

 

“Wh-what?” you ask, sweet Remus tried…you had an incredibly difficult time wrapping your head around this. It was too unbelievable to you.

 

“It was during one of Lupin’s transformations. Black told me that if I wanted to find out what they were up to, all I would have had to do was go into the Shrieking Shack, and that I could get there through the Whomping Willow.”

 

You shudder at the mere thought of that old haunted building.

 

“That’s where Madame Pomphrey used to take Lupin when he would transform, before the potion was created that would let him keep his mind. Back then, when he transformed, he became a mindless beast. Had I gone inside the shack that day, I would have been mauled to death by a giant amalgamation. I was stopped by James Potter. Of course, he could have cared less if I was mauled to death or not, but had they been found out, all of them would have been expelled. He only saved my life so he and his stupid friends wouldn’t be…of course, I can’t just let something like that go until I have vengeance. If I ever find Black…” his venomous voice trails off, “Not only that, but Black is the reason that Lily is dead.” Your heart lurches painfully and drops to the pit of your stomach, “He betrayed his so-called “best friend” and sold the Potters to You-Know-Who. That’s how he was able to find them, and that’s how my best friend was murdered.”

 

You stay silent, for you do not know how to respond to the information you were just given. The air feels very heavy now. This is not at all how you planned for this afternoon to go. As far as you were concerned, a desire for vengeance for some high school mishap seemed a bit…overboard, but the part about wanting to avenge his best friend was reasonable.  

 

“Do you see now, why I believe Professor Lupin is not to be trusted? As far as I know, he could be conspiring with Black right under our noses.”

 

You hate to admit it, but you can see where he’s coming from. You nod slowly. However, this isn’t something you can just completely agree with. You don’t just want to jump to conclusions and assume that Remus is conspiring with a murderer, because he’s your friend. But given the bad blood between Snape and the Marauders, and the part of Lupin’s history you now knew, it only made sense why Snape would be suspecting him. You just hope his suspicions aren’t proven right.

 

It seemed at this point, the heavy conversation has reached its standstill, so you try and change the subject, “Do you reckon the lake is solid enough to skate on?” you ask.

 

He pulls out his wand, raising it to perform a charm, “Glacius!” You watch as ice glitters out from the tip of his wand, freshly coating the solid, glassy surface of the lake.

 

“Now it is.”

 

“Oh no!” you’re suddenly hit with a realization, “Do you think the squid is okay?”

 

“This lake has frozen over a number of times and its managed to survive. The squid is fine, Kit.” he says, “I’d be more concerned about the mermaids. If you disturb them, one could probably break through the ice and drag you down to your death.”   

 

“O-on second thought I don’t think I want to skate on top of the lake anymore…” you say.

 

“I’m joking. They won’t actually do that.” In irritation, you make a snowball and throw it at him. When it makes contact with his shoulder, his expression stays stoic and unamused, he glances at it, and then dusts off the powder.

 

“Did you really do that just now?” he says, “Have you run so empty on insults that you can think of nothing better to do than resort to petty “aggression” by making a pathetic snowball and throwing it at me?” Another snowball sails through the air and claps his chest.

 

“Apparently so.”

 

“Hmmph!” you narrow your eyes, turn, and begin making some more. Amid your vigorous and flustered snowball making, you hear a thump and feel an explosion of cold powder on your back. You stiffen and turn to face him with a glare.

 

“This means war!” you growl.

 

Snape, that prick, just glances up for a moment, before turning back and sitting there idly, lazily using his wand to make an arsenal of perfectly round snowballs. You look down at your pile of lopsided little ones and you’re infuriated.

 

“There is no competition. I’ll win.” he says.

 

“Like hell you will.” you reply, posing with one hand on your hip and the other holding your freshly made snowball. Another snowball thumps against you, breaking in the middle of your chest.

 

“Hey! I wasn’t ready yet!”

 

“You were armed and open. I took my opportunity and took advantage of you distracting yourself.” You hurl your snowball at his face. He rolls his eyes and dodges it effortlessly.

 

“That was pathetic and painfully obvious.”  And now you’re riled. The snowball war begins, reaches a stalemate, and then turns into a wrestling match. You both end up rolling about in the snow, bodies going numb from the cold, and faces flushing scarlet. Of course, he had the upper hand from the beginning, and that’s emphasized when the wrestling match ultimately ends with him bent over you, holding you down in place with your abdomen between his knees and his hands gripping your wrists and holding them above your head. Your sides heave from the strenuous physicality of the match. Your gazes are locked, and your faces are numb, and your throat feels dry and scratchy from thirst, but your chest swells with happiness.

 

“Did you honestly think you could best me, Kit?” he asks breathily.

 

“Of course not.” you say, “But it got my frustration with you out and I had fun trying!” You smile brightly.

 

“Right fine.” he says, “But that’s enough for one afternoon. Let’s get up before—” something catches his eye in the distance. You swear you hear a rustle in the bushes. He stiffens like a pole and his grip tightens around your wrists.

 

“Severus, what—”

 

“Shh.” Strained silence.

 

His intense eyes hyperfocus for a moment, you try to follow his gaze, but your current position makes it difficult. He blinks and shakes his head. “I swear I just saw…” You squirm beneath him. Muttering “oww” quietly. He’s gripping too tightly for your comfort level.

 

“Severus, that hurts. Your gripping too tightly!” He looks back down at you, teeth gritted, and expression initially cold as usual, before it softens in an apologetic fashion, his grip loosens, and he pulls himself into a standing position.

 

“Get up. That’s enough for one day, you’ll get hypothermia if you lie there any longer.” You pull yourself into a sitting position and he helps you off the ground.

 

“What did you see back there, Sev?”

 

“It looked like a giant black dog….” he says bitterly. There’s an immediate shift in mood and you feel uneasy. He curses under his breath, and before you can protest, he’s tugging you by the wrist again and he’s leading you back to the castle. The thought that Severus may have just seen a death omen fills you with churning unease. And suddenly, now, you can’t wait to leave Hogwarts for the holidays. You’d made plans to stay with Eliza, because you don’t want to stay with your family.