Title: Dripping with Gold
Age-Range Category: Two
Characters: Severus Snape, Lily Evans, Eileen Snape, the Evanses, James Potter, Sirius Black
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
Summary: Getting on the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
"Severus! Severus, over here!"
Smiling at the sound of his friend's voice, Severus broke away from his mam to try to spot Lily through the crowds at King's Cross railway station. She was sitting on a bench with her folks and her snippy older sister, so he pushed his heavy-laden trolley over to them.
'Hiya, Lily,' he said.
She was bouncing up and down on her heels, all nervous energy. 'Hi to you. I was worried you wouldn't come, and then how would we find the platform?'
Rubbing the back of his neck, he explained. 'Our bus was late. We were supposed to get in a half hour ago, but we rushed over as quick as we could.' What he didn't say was that his family couldn't afford to come to London the night before and stay in a hotel, unlike the Evanses, so they left their gaff in Cokeworth while it was still dark that morning in order to walk to the coach station in town and catch the world's slowest bus southwards.
The Evanses weren't dripping with brass, but they weren't poor like the Snapes were poor.
'So sorry we're late,' his mam sad to all, finally catching up with him. 'You can't rely on the timetables from the National Express at all. I hope it weren't too much of a problem waiting on us.'
'Not at all,' Mr. Evans said, taking up the mantle of politeness while his wife stared at the patched elbow on Mrs. Snape's jacket and Petunia ogled a group of older boys noshing on sausage rolls outside of the Greggs stand.
He seemed like a nice dad. Fairly decent, as Muggles went.
Not that Severus ever saw him much—usually he and Lily were running around outside together, down by the river or at the playground beside their school. It was best to avoid her nasty sister at all costs, and her mother was a bit daft about boys and girls playing together, even if they were the only kids with magic in the whole of Cokeworth.
Last month, Professor McGonagall had come to Spinners' End to chat about a Muggle-born witch nearby who needed their help finding their way to Platform 9 3/4. 'So we take a care to match each Muggle-born student with a magical family. You can act as a sounding board if they have any questions about this new world and its customs, and most immediately, you can help them at the train station on September 1. Walking through the barrier is quite off-putting to most Muggles, and we can't do it in a large group if we want to avoid being noticed.'
After some hesitation, his mam had agreed, and the three of them walked over to the Evans place. McGonagall had been surprised to hear that the Severus and Lily already knew each other.
'Severus is my best friend,' Lily had said defiantly. 'He'll always be my best friend.'
Lily's mother turned a little green at that, but Mr. Evans had made sure to shake his hand before they all left. 'You'll be sure to watch out for my girl at this new school of yours, won't you? Watch out for her and explain the magical things she needs to know?'
He had just nodded furiously at that.
'Good lad,' the man said.
As if the man needed to ask.
Severus would do anything for Lily.
So now they all stood together, a mismatched crew of people who didn't much care for one another, all waiting to walk into a wall.
Severus wanted to believe his mam that it didn't hurt, but it didn't seem like it was possible. Truth be told, he always talked up living as a wizard to Lily to impress her, but he hadn't seen much magic at home. Not even when his dad weren't around, yelling and arguing. So he gritted his teeth when she asked him to go through first to please show the others.
And he did it, moving a little more slowly than he'd intended to.
One by one, the others all came through: Mr. Evans. Mrs. Evans. His own mam.
Even Loony Tuney, whose arms were crossed and whose face looked like she'd just eaten a lemon and gotten lamped with a cricket bat. She'd probably been finger-waggling and moaning at Lily again like she had been all summer. Severus could still hear her shrill parrot voice ringing in his ears. 'Freaks! You two freaks need to leave us normal people alone! I don't need you embarrassing me in front of all my friends!' She'd been trying to get rid of her Northern accent as long as he'd known her, but she couldn't hack a posh voice like she wanted to.
In a flash, the horde of Londoners faded away, and they were surrounded by other families seeing their children off under a large, well-lit clock. Similar trolleys carrying trunks and boxes lined the tracks, and a number of birdcages carrying owls could be spotted in the mix.
Walking around amongst all these new people, Severus could feel a deep sort of thrumming vibrating in his chest, like the feeling you get when you're waiting for the underground and you know the train is coming. He didn't know if it was the magic of the Hogwarts Express or if it came from all the magical people around him, but he knew it was different.
When he glanced over at Lily and she smiled back at him, he knew she could feel it, too.
'Nice kecks, by the way, Severus,' she said, looking at the new trousers he'd gotten for school. He usually wore whatever awful clothes were found at the local Oxfam shop, but this time his mam had picked up something that could have come from any M&S.
He felt a flush on his neck as Lily complimented him, and he noticed she was wearing new things, too. Her jumper's sleeves were rolled up a few times at the end, a trick he recognised. She'd be able to grow into it and wear it for longer. 'Thanks, Lily.'
And in the rush around them, Severus heard people talking from all over the country. He was pretty good at placing people by their accents, and there was a Mancunian family behind them. He asked Lily the question his dad had posed earlier. 'Why'd yah think they make people from the North come down to London just to go back up again? Can't the train've stopped in Newcastle or someplace else?'
Lily shrugged. 'Dunno.'
He noticed that her knuckles were white as she clutched her wand, and she wasn't paying him much attention as she took in everything and everybody around them. Was her arm shaking?
'…and the house-elves packed three of my father's old cauldrons,' said a poshly dressed boy with jet-black hair and hazel eyes. 'A brass one, a copper one, and a gold one. I don't think I need the gold one, but we have so many at home that—'
'Walburga insisted that I bring along a gold one, too,' another boy said in response. He looked like a right tosser, Severus thought, wearing a jacket with a family crest with some French words on it.
'You're lucky she can't hear you calling her by her first name,' the first boy said, sniggering under his breath. 'Dear Regulus would never dream of disrespecting her.'
'Gold?' Lily asked, her voice a whisper. 'As in solid gold? We don't need those, do we?'
'Bobbins,' he replied, trying to sound confident. 'They're just proper snobs, showing off with their parents' fancy things. We don't need 'em.'
'Does it make a difference at Hogwarts, being… well, not being rich?'
Severus hesitated. He really hoped not, because this was his shot out. Once he was through with Hogwarts, he was never, ever going back to Spinners End. Never. 'No,' he said. 'It doesn't make any difference. Not where it counts.'
'Good,' she replied, relaxing just a bit. Walking back to the clock, she called over her shoulder, 'I'm going to find Tuney before I go.'
He watched her wander off, and he headed back to the trolleys next to Lily's dad. While Mr. Evans carried Lily's trunk on board, Severus heaved his own battered trunk up onto the car behind it.
'Severus,' Mr. Evans said, reaching into his pocket to pluck out a few gold coins, 'I don't remember if I gave Lily anything for the train. Could you pick out something to share with her? A brew maybe, or a few pops? Some toffees?'
'Yes, sir.' The boy stared at them, knowing for certain that they could buy more than just a day's sweets. 'Er… I think this is too much.'
The man winked at him as he pressed them into Severus's hand. 'You keep the change, lad.'
Severus returned to say his goodbye, glancing out of the corner of his eye. Mr. and Mrs. Evans were buzzing with excitement, watching all the students climb on the train and pointing out every owl or cat they saw. A few feet away, Petunia hissed something at Lily that made her turn beet red.
'You'll be all right now, Severus,' his mam whispered into his ear. 'You're so smart, you know. You're nothing like your dad. You can do anything, be anyone you want to be. You be good in school and mind those that need minding, and you'll have whatever life you want for yourself. You'll do it because you're so clever. You'll see.'