Title: The Last of the Great Slytherin Wallflowers
Age-Range Category: Two
Characters: Severus Snape, others
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
Note: Disclaimer: Harry Potter and its characters are the creation and property JK Rowling.
Summary: Sometimes life gives us the greatest of expectations. Then there's reality.
"It's super cool, Lils, I promise you."
"You make it sound like a fairy tale, Sev."
He glanced over, trying not to look like he was looking. The way the sunlight hit her hair, giving her a red-gold crown of pure light, made her look totally like a princess from one of those Muggle stories. He wasn't much of a prince, despite his heritage, but once he got to Hogwarts, all the dreams would come true. They would learn what they needed about magic, and when they grew up, they would always be together, and he would never go hungry and never suffer harm again.
"You'll see, Lily. There will be professors to show us how to do stuff, we will do magic, everyone will be dressed in smart uniforms, and there will always be plenty of food to eat. We'll get to ride brooms, and everyone will be magical, so no one will call us freaks."
Tobias vacillated between a sort of gladness that the freak he'd begotten would be leaving soon, a sort of jealousy of the opportunities afforded said freak, and drunkenness. He was adamant that none of his hard earned money should go to a freakish endeavor, and ensured that point by drinking the money that didn't go to the rent and utilities. He found himself quite popular with the lads at the corner as a result, and as the days of August went by, his point of view tended more toward gladness and drunkenness.
Eileen and Severus had much to do to prepare. Fortunately she hadn't used her wizarding clothes or books much in the last twelve years, so with some washing and modification, he could be outfitted pretty well. There were a few books to purchase, books that were newer than had been used when she was a student, so they made the trip to Diagon Alley and she counted out her sickles and knuts very carefully. She watched the other parents with a sour face, envious of their carefree attitudes while handing over stacks of galleons and receiving stacks of books in return. She could only hope her child would make up for his lack of funds with his smarts.
September first arrived, none too early for the children and none too late for the adults. Eileen felt the Evanses come beside her as the train pulled out. They were sending their child to a complete unknown, yet they had been relieved to discover a world where she was normal and everyone was like her. Lily would do all right; she always landed on her feet, that one, and Petunia could live as the only child she had always wished she was. Eileen's thoughts were more mixed. She knew what she was sending her son into. She could only hope that in the world she knew contained certain differences he would find his way. She knew he would make the best of the educational opportunity; she wanted him to have chances in the social world as well, and in the maternal recesses of her heart she also yearned for him to be able to hold onto his boyish dreams, too. The Evans woman was saying something to her, and invitation to an outing of of some sort. Eileen shook her head and declined. Muggles were so odd, and these ones were entirely too friendly.
The ride on the train, which started poorly, improved greatly once Severus and Lily found a compartment to themselves.
"How does it work?" she asked, "the sorting, I mean?"
"There's a hat. They put it on your head, and somehow it knows."
"Why do you want to go to Slither-thing?"
"Slytherin is the house of people who want to do great things. If we both get in, we could rule the world together."
"What if I don't want to rule the world?"
This was inconceivable to his way of thinking. He didn't have an answer, although he tried several times, opening his mouth and then pressing his lips together in a frustrated line.
"Never mind," she said. "What's that other house, Gilded-door?"
"Griffindor," he said. "The people there never think things through. They just jump into everything."
"I'm jumping into magic without any family or anything."
"You have me."
"I know, but it's not like when the magic is in your family, is it?"
He looked at her, the way she always seemed to glow, and shook his head. "It doesn't matter in the least. Besides, there's also Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Maybe you'll be in Ravenclaw. Those people don't do anything but study and read. And Hufflepuffs are very loyal, but they tend to get kicked around."
Lily nodded her head. "And the hat just knows?"
Severus shrugged. "Mum says she's heard of people telling the hat what they'd rather." Lily looked thoughtful. "And once the sorting is over comes the feast!"
"Are you looking forward to that?"
"Mum says there's ever so much food. I've never eaten until I was completely full before." He turned a little red; he hadn't meant to tell her anything like that.
Lily smiled sympathetically, maybe even in pity. "I'm sure you'll think that part is very nice, then."
Severus turned toward the window. He didn't want her pity. There were too many other things he wanted. Fortunately, the snack cart came.
Watching Lily go to Gryffindor felt like betrayal, and he told the hat as much when it was set on his head. The hat didn't have much to say after that. "I can see there's only one house for you. SLYTHERIN."
The young man wearing a prefect's badge who greeted him at the table looked like a silver and gold god. "Welcome, Snape! You're related to the Princes, right? Yes, we've been looking out for you."
"You knew I was coming?"
"I'm Lucius Malfoy. My father is on the board of directors. He makes it his business to find out about all the students who are likely to become Slytherin." Malfoy looked over toward the dais, where the last student was being sorted. "Oh! zabini! Well done!"
Dinner was served soon after. Severus found himself nudged this way and that. Dishes were passed up and down the Slytherin table, and he couldn't seem to get his hand on a serving spoon.
"Oi! Slytherins eat like civilized folk!" A girl prefect reached in and several serving dishes stopped in front of Severus. "You hungry, Snape?" She elbowed a few kids whose size was between that of herself and Severus and moved a couple of serving dishes right in front of him. "Go on, then. Dig in."
It appeared all that was left were some potatoes and sausages. It wasn't the sumptuous feast he'd been hoping for, but there was still enough of it, he consoled himself. He wasn't quite done when the headmaster started to talk. Seeing that most of his house rolled their eyes and whispered among themselves at almost everything he said, Severus kept eating and kept one ear on Dumbledore and one to the students at the table.
Severus watched mournfully when it came time for the students to go to their dormitories. Lily went up the stairs, while he followed Malfoy and the girl prefect down to the dungeons. After being told that the house password was "Bat-entry," he stepped into the promised land he'd learned about since infancy. Everything was in shades of green and gray. There were elegant divans and chairs set around coffee tables, but there were also over-stuffed couches near the corners. On one side of the room was a roaring fire. Severus nodded to himself: this was home.
A few older students dropped onto couches and chairs, however the prefects called for the first years to follow them. "The girls' dormitories are over there, and the boys are this door," said Lucius. "Come on, boys, I'll show you where your room is."
The other first years shoved Severus out of the way, chosing their beds as they walked in and leaving him to one near an artificial window. A tiny but steady trickle of water flowed from a corner of the window and down an equally small hole in the floor. It was chilly, and Severus shivered as he opened his trunk and arranged his things. However, his corner of the room was the largest, perhaps as compensation. He was able to cast a warming charm after closing the curtains, but the noise never went away. In third year, he would discover, while researching for a charms essay, that the trickle was due to a spell cast years before. After that he had control of it, making it louder or quieter and changing the color to suit his fancy. Unfortunately for today it simply made his new home a little less hospitable.
The next morning, excited to start his new life, he quickly got dressed and took his books down to the common room. A little girl who was also a first year, last name Thomas if he remembered, looked him up and down. Then she whispered behind her hand to the girls she was standing with, an assortment of Averys and Travers and such, and the entire group burst out laughing.
"Wouldn't Hufflepuff have been a better fit?" Thomas asked. "You're clearly not quite our type. You know, our parents can afford to have us in Slytherin. Your parents obviously cannot."
Severus flicked his wand and the sleeve of her robe started to unravel at the cuff.
"The hat put me in the right place," he answered.
When he got to breakfast, he was earlier than most of his housemates, so he was able to have just as much as he wanted of all the things he saw. Lovely meats and cheeses and eggs and pastries were there. Fruits he couldn't even name passed over his lips. By the time Slughorn came around to hand out class schedules, he actually felt just the slightest bit ill from overeating. He'd never done that before in his life. He entered his first charms class feeling as though this would be the wonderful new life he'd been promised after all.
It did prove to be easier to get what he wanted at meals if he could get there early. He made a note of it. He also quickly learned to avoid certain house-mates who were obsessed with the unimportant things like clothing. Worrying about such things was girlish, anyway. Once they'd seen him in Charms and Transfiguration, word got around to most of his housemates that he knew enough to be dangerous.
He finally got a chance to be with Lily in Potions class on Wednesday afternoon. He slipped into the chair next to her, not noticing that she made a face. "Lils!" he said, with his whole heart in his voice. He'd been waiting for days to catch up with her.
"Oh, um, hi, Sev," she answered while looking across the room.
"How has it been?"
Now she warmed up. "It's brilliant! It's just like you said. Now I'm around people who understand me and like me for what I am. I have so many new friends."
He let that go. Friends weren't important, except for Lily.
"Did you make your feather float?"
"Yes! Not on the first try, but the second time, it went quite well. How about the match stick?"
"I got both the feather and the match stick on the first try," he said proudly.
"If you can't do that, you're probably a squib," said a voice from behind them.
Severus and Lily turned around and saw James Potter behind them. Severus snarled while Lily rolled her eyes. "Roll away, Pot." She whispered to Severus, "He's the worst of the worst. He will NOT leave me alone. Mary McDonald is dead gone over him, though."
Severus and Lily turned and saw that he was still there. Severus stood. "I believe the lady asked you to leave."
James smirked, "Oh? And what are you going to do about it?"
Severus' wand was out in an instant. "She doesn't want you here."
Potter doubled over, laughing. Lily's mouth twisted into a guilty grin.
Severus was pushed back from where he was standing. He tripped backwards over a chair and fell. He still had his wand, however, and pointed it in the direction the spell had been cast on him.
Sirius Black started to teeter and had to reach for a table to keep from falling to the ground himself. Severus rolled over to miss whatever spell Potter was aiming at him and then sent an antler jinx back.
Suddenly all of the spells stopped, including one that Black had just uttered. "What is the meaning of this?" asked Professor Slughorn. "I thought we would make a simple Boil-Cure potion, not practice Defense Against the Dark Arts! This is most irregular! Potter, Black, Snape, you will all come to detention on Friday night!"
Severus didn't win any friends when he placed a finished Boil-Cure potion on the table despite being hampered by having to clear up his mess, but a grudging acceptance by his house mates was prize enough.
The rest of the week found a pattern. Severus found ways to get to meals before the other members of his house so that he could get his choice on the meals. He found paths through the school and places to study where he wasn't subject to trouble from his peers. He got a chance to see Lily again and arranged to meet her several times a week in the library. It wasn't the fairy tale of his dreams, but it was starting to take shape as a pleasant enough situation.
Friday night came, and Severus went to the Potions dungeon to find out what Slughorn wanted. Black and Potter sauntered in at the last moment and smirked at Severus, who kept his right hand in his wand pocket.
"Aha! Gentlemen!" said Slughorn. "I was going to have to make the Boil-Cure, but Severus has already done so. If I may brag a little about a student from my own house, Severus, yours is better than I've ever seen a first-time student make. Your partner, Evans' was almost as good but not quite.
Potter and Black stood behind Slughorn, imitating his demeanor and putting their fingers in their mouths as though to mimic puking. Severus was good at ignoring such things from seeing it at school for the last several years and looked away.
"Therefore, Potter and Black will work on the potion. Yes, it's right there in your books. Snape, you come with me." Slughorn led Severus to the ingredient closet and pointed at a shelf. "You clearly know your way around potions and ingredients. I want you to sort through these and put them in order. I'll have a prefect come by in about half an hour to take you back to Slytherin."
The half hour passed quickly, and a Slytherin prefect put her head into the stock room. "Are you Snape?" When he nodded she said, "Come along then."
"Oi! Andy!" Black shouted to the hallway as the prefect and Severus passed by the classroom.
"What is it?" She put her head in that door.
"Can you give me a hand?"
"I can't do that."
"So you really are just like the rest of them? You're going to help the snake and leave me to hang? What if I tell them your secret?"
She clenched her teeth and looked at the ceiling. "What I wouldn't give..." She put her head back in the classroom "Can you think like the Slytherin you were raised to be for maybe two seconds and understand why I can't help you?"
There was silence. Then Black said, "It would be worse for both of us, wouldn't it?"
The prefect dryly observed, "You're smarter than you look, Black. Prewett will be down to get you two later; try not to be idiots."
They walked down the hallway quietly but companionably. Severus thought for several minutes and then asked. "Aren't you a Black, too?"
"Guilty as charged."
"So he's your cousin?"
She made a face. "He's a monster, but yes, he's my cousin."
They walked for a while more. She looked at him and asked, "How are you, Snape? It's pretty rare for a half blood to be sorted to us."
"My mother is a Prince," he said stuffily.
"Oh, no offense, just making an observation. How are you doing amongst the Sacred Twenty-Eight?"
Suddenly, it all came out, about being hassled on the train, the uniforms and the meals, and being jostled in the halls and set upon by pure-bloods who supposedly didn't even believe in pure-blood superiority as well as those who did.
"Yeah, that's a pretty rough week. I think I can beat it, though. One week my younger sister tattled on me and my older sister hit me a Crucio just because I didn't hex a Muggleborn when I ran into him in the hallway.
"Yeah. Bella got detention for that, but she still uses the spell when she feels like it. Meanwhile, no one in my own house will talk to me because they're all afraid I have mud germs, whatever that's supposed to mean. I've been the official Slytherin Wallflower for five years. Thank Merlin I graduate next year and get out of this horrible place.
"But Hogwarts is so much better than home!"
She nodded her head. "Yeah, that's the shame of it, that this is better than the place where they supposedly love us."
"We can do magic here, and when we leave we can become anything we want!"
She gave him a twisted smile. "Keep thinking that Snape. It might even be true for you. in the meanwhile, I think I know who the next Slytherin Wallflower is. Long live the king."