Severus walked through the outer hall, glancing through the huge open air stone windows and out into the courtyard. The school year was nearly over, and he was glad that it went by uneventfully. In a weeks' time, he would be alone again, and he felt alright it for the first time since his mother's passing. A few older students were lounging in the courtyard, practicing some wand work. A younger student was close by them, watching. He did want to speak with Dumbledore about getting out of the castle a bit more this summer, after all, he was fifteen now.
"Severus!" Dumbledore called out to him, causing him to stop and turn around. The old wizard approached him, smiling, and his turquoise robes were glimmering in the sunlight. "You are a difficult boy to find."
"I'm sorry, I wasn't aware anyone was looking for me," Severus shrugged.
"I have some wonderful news for you!" He was smiling even wider now, peering over his spectacles at him. "Earlier in the year, I reached out to an old colleague of mine who is now a Dean at a well-known wizarding university. I explained to him your situation, in minor detail, and sent him copies of your grades. He has extended to you, an offer, to take university level classes over your summer break."
"University?" Severus couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Yes, my boy. You would begin with taking basic university courses, but if you agree to this you would finish your seventh year here, prepared to go into your apprenticeship for potions. Becoming a potions master is merely 20% course work and 80% actual work," Dumbledore waved his hand in the air like it would be the easiest thing for him to accomplish.
"If I did this, how long would it take me to be a potions master?" Severus squinted his eyes, considering the offer.
"You would be a potions master by 23, and that my boy, is a record. You would be the youngest potions master in modern history," Dumbledore was obviously very tickled by the idea and maybe even a little proud of him. Severus shifted his weight and examined the floor. Reaching up and tucking a strand of long black hair behind his ear, he looked back to his mentor.
"Yeah, ok, I'll do it," Severus nodded.
"Wonderful! That is a wonderful decision!" Dumbledore reached up and took him by his shoulders, patting him sort of roughly. "I shall write to the Dean at once and let him know of your decision. Soon after he will send information regarding your coursework and any necessities you may need. When they arrive I shall accompany you to Diagon Alley to fetch anything you may need."
"Thank you, sir," Severus inhaled long and hard.
"It's my pleasure to help you in any capacity, Severus, you are a good student and a very nice young man. I take my promise to your mother very seriously," Dumbledore smiled at him again, before leaving him to his thoughts.
A potions master by 23 is something that made him pretty happy about his future. He would be done with school and his apprenticeship while his present classmates would still be working on theirs. Severus knew that he could do a lot by a being a potions master, he would be able to move out of the castle and get his own place.
He took off running down the hall, his robe fluttering out behind him. Severus wanted to see Sybil and Lily, he couldn't wait to tell them the news. Not knowing exactly where they were, he thought he'd try their favorite spot on the grounds, by a huge tree that had thick foliage and provided a nice shade for them to read under. As he hurried over the grounds, he spotted them and breathed a sigh of relief that he had been able to locate them. Severus didn't want to have to keep running.
"Sybil! Lily!" Severus called out as he neared them, slowing down and breathing heavy he leaned down on his knees to catch his breath.
"Is something wrong?" Sybil looked worried as she began to stroke the front portion of her hair, shifting her nervous glance from Severus to Lily and back again.
"Slow down, catch your breath, that's it," Lily coached him until he regained his composure. "What is it, Severus?"
"I'm going to university!" Severus exclaimed proudly.
"University?" Lily and Sybil both exclaimed in unison.
"Yes, Professor Dumbledore wrote to someone he knows who's a Dean, and because my grades are excellent he said I can start taking classes over my summer holidays!" Severus beamed. "The best part is, that I will be a full-fledged potions master by the time I'm 23!"
"Oh wow!" Lily put her hand on Severus's forearm. "That is just fantastic!"
"You'd be a very young potions master," Sybil chewed the inside of her cheek. "That is very impressive, mm-hmm."
"I know!" Severus nodded, he was bursting at the seams with happiness.
"You're okay with giving up your summer holidays to take more classes?" Lily rose both of her eyebrows.
"It isn't like I had anything else to do," Severus gave a small shrug. "I figured I may as well use my time productively, right? I mean, I'll be done while a lot of people we know will still be taking classes or doing their apprenticeships."
"That's sound reasoning," Sybil nodded as she grasped the end of her necklace. Her statement made Lily and Severus laugh.
"Thanks, Sybil," Severus couldn't stop laughing.
"What?" Sybil furrowed her brow and looked at her friends, very confused as to why they were laughing.
"Why don't we head in for lunch? Lily shook her head and put her arm around Sybil's shoulders. "It's nearly time, by the time we get there it will time to eat."
"Yes, that's sound reasoning," Severus nodded very seriously before bursting out into a fit of laughter that nearly knocked him over.