Type: Art & Fic
Age-Range Category: Two
Characters: Severus Snape, Lily Evans, Sirius Black, James Potter, Lucius Malfoy
Artist & Author: mywitch & grooot
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
Summary: Today is Severus Snape's thirteenth birthday. Will it be a good day?
A very freshly minted thirteen year-old Severus sat on the edge of a stool. His best friend Lily sat in front of him on a small, pink chair, which he assumed she'd brought from her room.
He looked around at the bathroom. Lily had brought him here because she said no one ever used it. Severus very much hoped that. He looked back at Lily, whose head was bent over his right hand.
She sighed in satisfaction and sat up. "What do you think. Cool?" Lily asked him, grinning widely.
Severus looked down at his hands and the ten black fingernails. "Um. Sure," he said a little hesitantly.
She frowned a little. "Oh, don't be like that! Wait until I've done your face."
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"Are you sure boys do this?" he asked. He'd certainly never seen his da with coloured fingernails.
Lily huffed and tossed her hair. "Sev. Everyone is doing it," she said and gestured towards the magazines she'd brought in with her. There were pictures on the covers of musicians who Severus could, indeed, see were wearing many things Severus's da had previously made clear were definitely not for boys.
"Okay," Severus said. After all, it was Lily's birthday present to him. What had she called it? A makeover. Severus wasn't necessarily interested in the makeover, but was certainly interested in spending the day with Lily.
"Did your mum and dad send you something nice?" Lily asked as she clambered behind him clutching a hairbrush.
"Oh, I'll probably get something next time I go back home from da," Severus said lightly. He was at school. He didn't want to have to think about mam and da and Bad Days.
She giggled. "I love how you say da. Everyone in Gryffindor says dad. What about in your House?"
"Oh, they say all kinds of stuff," said Severus vaguely. He didn't want to get into it. Every time they talked Houses they always ended up fighting.
"Hmmm," said Lily as she pulled the brush through his hair. It felt nice.
"What's your favourite subject this year so far?" Severus asked, knowing the answer but asking it anyway. It was a Safe Question.
"Potions. Of course! Professor Slughorn says I'm one of the best students he's ever taught," Lily said satisfactorily. She was brushing the hair at the nape of his neck, rolling the brush and he could feel the not-unpleasant scratch of the bristles against his skin.
"Okay," said Severus. He knew, unlike Lily, that adults said lots of things. Some of them were true; some were not. It was always better to assume something was a lie until it was proven otherwise.
"Okay," Lily copied him, laughing teasingly. "Don't be jealous!"
"I'm not! I'm not," Severus said defensively. He wasn't. Even if he was the best student in Potions. He just didn't tell everyone about it all the time. And the reason no one noticed was because he was quiet, that was all.
"That's done. Your hair looks really cool like that," commented Lily.
Severus looked at the mirror in front of them. His hair, previously flat against his head which provided a handy shielding ability, was brushed back from his face. It had a slight wave now which made it fan out slightly at the ends.
"Great," he lied, thinking to himself that it looked like how the older pureblood boys wore their hair. He could not return to the Common Room with the hair. It felt too open. Too obvious. It wasn't safe.
"I know! I'm really great at hair," said Lily happily. "You look like a rock star!"
"Thanks," said Severus. He was pleased because Lily was pleased. But he also a little sad she liked him better when he didn't look like himself.
"Now to the face," Lily said determinedly. She walked in front of him and opened the clasp of a silver box. Severus could see all kinds of things in there that he was almost positive would not meet the approval of his da.
"Are you sure?" he asked warily.
Lily turned to him and she narrowed her green eyes."Very sure," she said and put her hands on her hips and stared at him, her foot tapping against the ground in an annoyed staccato.
Severus' stomach tightened nervously."Sorry. Yes," he said meekly.
"Yes! Trust me!" Lily grinned happily at his reply and his stomach settled back down.
He stared straight ahead as Lily drew around his eyes with some kind of pencil. He sat very still because when she first started he blinked, and she'd stabbed him in the corner of the eye. She huffed in annoyance as they then had to wait for his eye to stop watering.
"Do you think about after school?" asked Lily as she drew. She was concentrating hard on what she was doing.
"Not much," said Severus honestly. He mostly tried only to think about Hogwarts when he was there, not beyond it.
"I think I'd like to be Head Girl in a few years," she said, starting her pencil work on his other eye.
"Maybe I could be Head Boy," Severus said.
Lily stood back and stared at him critically. "Yes that looks good. It would be great if you were Sev, but Demelda says there hasn't been a Head Boy or Girl from Slytherin in years."
"Maybe I could be the first," Severus said petulantly.
It was annoying, Half the things in the school seemed to be no-go zones for his House. It was hard enough trying to get somewhere as it was, when he couldn't even talk about Hogwarts at home. If life was fair, thought Severus, someone who had a hard time at home would have an easy time at school. But he'd long discovered life wasn't fair. It just was.
"Maybe you could," she agreed. "It would be fun if we both were. We could do rounds together."
She evaluated him again and nodded. Severus looked across to the mirror. His eyes had dark around them, making him look like a ghoul almost. He didn't think he looked like a rock star, unless he looked like a rock star who'd been dead for a while, then dug up and perhaps died a second time just before a performance. But he was warm inside from her comment… It would be fun if we both were.
Lily turned away from him and opened the small, white box that had been sitting next to the silver one. She turned back around and he saw she was holding a small cake."Happy birthday!" Lily said, thrusting the cake at him. It was obviously chocolate with a strong suggestion of being gooey and sweet.
"Thank you," Severus said a little croakily. It didn't matter she hadn't made the cake. It mattered she'd thought he should have a cake. Like he deserved a cake. He was lucky to have Lily as a best friend.
They ate the small cake together with the forks Lily had brought. It was as sweet, gooey and chocolatey as its appearance had promised.
They separated, as always, on the way back to their respective common rooms. Lily walked up to Gryffindor tower, and Severus made his way down to the dungeons. After he watched Lily turn the first corner and she was out of sight, he hastily tried to remove the black from around his eyes, and return his hair to its normal state. He couldn't do anything about the nails, but his robe was too big for him anyway, which made it easy to hide his hands.
Severus looked ahead of him into the gloomy corridor and thought about how far the Slytherin Common Room was. Three corridors, four sets of stairs, and the password. He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment.
He wasn't scared.
He wasn't scared.
Severus took out his wand and concentrated. He'd been reading a book that he'd found in the library, and he'd been practicing hard to try and get the spell he'd been searching for right. Without opening his eyes he moved his wand in the manner described in the text, and murmured the incantation. A sickening, trickling cold feeling began moving down from his head and he clenched his teeth together to stop the involuntarily whimper.
He opened his eyes and looked down at his woozy, transparent body. A flame of excitement burnt up his spine. Yes! He'd done it. He briefly longed to share the moment with his mam, or even Lily. It was a proper spell after all. Not one for kids. But he daren't tell anyone. Secrets, after all, were his best protector.
In a better mood now, Severus began to walk carefully down the corridor, and relaxed more as he passed along it seeing no-one but sleeping portraits.
He'd entered the second corridor after the first set of stairs when he came across them.
"I thought you said he'd be coming this way," a bored sounding Black said, as he leant against the wall, flipping his wand end to end.
"Well, I heard Evans say she had a birthday surprise for him in the old bathroom up beyond. This is the only way to get back to the dungeons from there," answered Potter.
"A birthday surprise in the bathroom. Gross," Black made an over exaggerated gagging sound. "It's perfect for him though, isn't it? He's such a little shit."
"Don't know how Evans is friends with him," laughed Potter, and Severus watched as Potter ran a hand through his thick hair.
"She feels sorry for him," said Black. "I mean, I feel sorry for him. Imagine having to wake up to that face every day."
"The nose," added Potter as he laughed.
"The clothes," Black said in disgust.
"Everything," said Potter. Severus watched Black shrink into his body and slink over to the wall in a grotesque mimicry of Severus' own, jerky, nervous walk. Potter laughed uproariously, slapping the wall and nodding as he laughed.
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Severus flattened himself against wall and slipped passed them as they continued their joking. As he made it to the final set of stairs he could only hear them as a faint echo behind him. He saw the hidden entrance to the common room ahead of him and he felt himself relaxing as it came into view. He raised his wand and whispered Finite Incantatem!, and his skinny hand clutching the wand and the fingers topped with black nails reappeared into his view.
He had made it into the common room and was pleased with his unnoticed entry when one of his Housemates tapped him as he walked past them towards his dormitory.
"Snape, Malfoy wants to see you. He's waiting near the fire."
The girl moved on before Severus could ask why. He felt a bubble of anxiety in his stomach. Why did Malfoy want to talk to him?
Severus walked towards the fire where the seventh form prefect was sitting in one of the armchairs. Malfoy had long, blond hair and Severus knew he was very rich. The other boys talked about him in hushed whispers. He was very powerful, and it seemed even some of the teachers were frightened of him. Severus had tried to keep out of his way as much as possible.
"You wanted to see me?" Severus asked nervously.
The older boy turned towards Severus and smiled.
"Snape! Yes. I heard it was your birthday today," Malfoy said warmly, and the feeling in Severus's stomach tightened agonisingly.
"Yes, today, yes," he stammered and was mortified at how he sounded.
"I have a gift for you," Malfoy's voice was pleasant, but Severus couldn't relax.
"Oh… you do?" he asked.
"Yes," Malfoy replied, tapping his fingers against the armchair. His nails were gleaming in the glow of the fire and Severus' mind reminded him of the chewed, black, Muggle nails under his cloak.
"Thank you," Severus said automatically.
"I've been taking an interest in you, Snape," Malfoy said languidly. He gestured towards Severus.
"Oh," was all Severus could think of saying.
"Yes. Slughorn says you're the greatest potion talent he's seen in decades and McNair tells me you have, well, let's say you have quite the flair for the Dark Arts."
"The D-D-Dark Arts?" Severus asked nervously. He didn't want to get his mam in trouble. She'd taught him things and he'd promised not to tell anyone.
"Oh, of course I meant Defence Against the Dark Arts," corrected Malfoy with a slight smirk.
"Oh, yes. I find it interesting," answered a relieved Severus.
The older boy reached into his pocket and passed a small box to Severus. Severus took it, trying to hide his nails. He opened it and gasped. It was a robe pin, cast in heavy silver with a green stone as an adornment. It was quite a strange pin: a green, glassy skull with a yawning maw out of which a snake was curling out, its face twisting and hissing. Severus traced the skull with the tip on one finger. It looked like an emerald. Knowing what he knew about Malfoy, it probably was. Which meant he was probably holding something worth more money than his da made in half a year.
Severus frowned. If he'd learnt anything from life it was that nothing was free, and nothing was given without conditions and expectations.
"I know what you're thinking," said Malfoy smoothly. "What's the catch?"
Severus didn't say anything, but he looked up and met Malfoy's eyes with a question in his.
"There is no catch," said the older boy as he stood up. "I happen to think you're talented. And I think there are a lot of options for someone with your talents. Not everyone is as small-minded as the people at this school."
Severus looked up at Malfoy, who smiled again and placed a hand on Severus' shoulder. A spark of warmth bloomed inside him. Even Lily didn't think he was the best at anything. And now this boy, one of the most fearsome in Severus' House, was talking to him, and giving him a birthday present! He felt the feeling rush through him. Recognition. Malfoy knew he was someone.
"I'm sure we'll turn out to be very good friends," said Malfoy.
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