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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, but my favorite half- kneazle Octavius belongs to me.

Crossroads Chapter two- Smoke

"A mess of beautiful contradictions make her whole, she wears fire for skin but a storm lives in her soul." -Nikita Gill

She was from France, and recently moved to England to connect with the other side of her family. Her familiar was only half-keazle, the other part was unknown because she found him wandering the streets of Paris, and apparently she liked to read. Lily managed to get all of that information before they even made it through the castle doors.

Severus sank into his seat on his ghostly carriage, and like every year he silently wondered what enchantment caused them to move on their own, he felt his eyelids droop with drowsiness. Across from him Lily sat upright, she wound her wand through her hands and tapped her foot in excitement.

"Why do you bother to get so excited over a girl that you will probably never talk to?" Severus grumbled. "Everyone is acting like she's a brand new display in a zoo exhibit."

"Sev, you know I resent zoos, and to answer your question, she's interesting. When was the last time that we could approach someone that knows nothing about us? She hasn't heard any rumors, seen any embarrassing accidents, and most importantly she has no friends that she can run off with." Lily waved her arms for effect, which caught some confused stares from the carriages of students surrounding them. "She's a breath of fresh air, and I am determined to get to know her. Especially since she stood up to the Marauders for… well, I guess it was for us."

"She doesn't know us Lily, and yes, she stood up to the Marauders. That's one of the reasons why we should stay away from her, she messed with the Marauders and now she's their target. I'm not trying to get mixed up with that, so you can be friends with her, but don't bring her around me. I deserve a hiatus from the Marauders." Severus muttered, he saw the hurt cross Lily's features but he would stick true to his word, if the Lovegood girl wanted to take on the wrath of the Marauders so be it, but the two would never be friends.

Lily stayed quiet after that, but he could feel the disapproval radiating off of her. There was no doubt that she would recruit the Lovegood girl as a friend, Severus sighed as the reality of the situation settled in.

"We're here." the carriage slowed to a stop and Severus helped Lily get down, she turned to face him and bobbed her eyebrows as the Lovegood girl swept past them, her kneazle still by her side. "I bet that she's going to be a Gryffindor." Lily cheered.

"Oh no kitty cat, that black sheep is headed straight to Slytherin with your little grease-ball friend." Sirius Black swept up to Lily just as Severus stepped off the carriage, he glared at raven haired boy, who responded with a cocky grin.

"Listen dog, go follow James and leave us alone." Lily hissed, she grabbed Severus' hand and led them away from the boy, but that didn't stop Sirius from following them.

"Kitty cat and dog, we're like a forbidden couple, and while that gives me all types of fantasies I have to ask. How do you two know our little black sheep Lovegood?" Sirius kept pace with them and followed closely next to Lily. "Now we all know she turned sweet little Peter into a rat, and she honestly did a great job, those ears were on point!" Sirius exclaimed, he flung his arms wide as soon as they entered the castle and grinned wickedly. "She did it for a reason and we- your friendly neighborhood Marauders, want to know why. You see James assumed that it was because you two managed to somehow turn her into an acquaintance, and well, I know that that's bullshit."

Lily glanced at Severus in confusion, Sirius laughed at her look and pointed at her. "This is why I like you kitty cat, you agree with me without words. So here is what's going to happen, I tell James that you two had nothing to do with Peter's little "incident" and we will leave you and little grease boy alone."

"Okay?" Lily approached the great hall and released Severus' hand. "What's the catch?"

"Don't try to save her when we bring her down." Sirius lost his smile and his face twisted into a scowl, then he walked away towards the Gryffindor table.

"What the hell was that?" Severus whisper yelled it at Lily, who looked equally shocked. "Does he have issues?"

"No, I think that's just Sirius, I have to go now, be nice to the first years."

Nice to the first years, that's funny.

Severus rolled his eyes and crossed over to his table, no one greeted him, and few attempted to make eye contact with him. Of all the Slytherin students, he was the most feared after Lucius graduated, but he was also the most respected because he took on most of the abuse from the Marauders. A few of his classmates scooted over to give him room so he could sit down, then they all turned their attention to Albus Dumbledore, who quietly stood from his seat. Everyone fell silent as he approached his podium, the first years gazed at the richly robed wizard in wonder, Severus felt like falling asleep.

"Students, old and new." He winked down at the first years and smiled. "I welcome you all to Hogwarts, as your headmaster I will go over a few rules that you all must follow. After that we may begin our festivities."

Severus sighed and looked around the room, the first years looked like they were frozen in wonder, and professor McGonagall looked rather giddy. As she entered the room a student followed close behind, all he had to do was catch a small glimpse of curly hair to know that it was the Lovegood girl. She looked far less excited than the professor next to her, a frown was etched on her face and she held her hands clasped together in front of her. It looked like she was about to serve detention rather then getting sorted into a house, Severus looked on silently and was sure that Lily was doing the same.

"… and lastly try to avoid the fireblossoms, they are quite explosive in the fall months. Okay students, keep those rules in mind during the school year, and let's turn our attention to professor McGonagall." Scattered applause broke out after Dumbledore finally finished his list, though everyone seemed to distracted by Lovegood to fully show their appreciation for the headmaster.

"Students, we will have to start this sorting ceremony in a slightly unconventional way, we have a transfer student who will be attending this school for her fifth year and possibly beyond that. She must be sorted into a house before the first years, so Miss Hermione Lovegood please approach the stool." Professor McGonagall picked up the sorting hat from the stool and waved Hermione over, the girl took one look at the tiny chair and opted to stand while the professor shakily rested it on her head. The hat shifted slightly and let out a groan.

"Ah, it's the beginning of the year already? Oh, and I see that we are starting with an older student this year." The hat shook on her head as it spoke and it seemed to have a wicked smile pressed permanently on its face. "Hermione Lovegood, you are a peculiar one for your type. Lovegoods that I've sorted before have had a more… hidden display of intelligence. Yours is bold and proud, but you're not a Ravenclaw, that is clear." A murmur of disappointment traveled throughout the Ravenclaw table, some protests were yelled out, but were silenced by one of the staff members. "You show that you're brave, but you're clever for reasons that I likely can't say, so I think that you'll make a fine addition amongst." The hat paused and seemed to look right at Severus, he shuddered as it's grin grew wider. "SLYTHERIN!"

The Lovegood girl carefully removed the hat and blushed slightly as the entire Slytherin table broke out in cheers, Severus was too shocked to move his hands. What did that ridiculous hat just say?

Professor McGonagall started to name off more first years as the Lovegood girl walked away, he could tell that the professor was disappointed that she wouldn't be in her house.

He turned and searched for Lily, he felt a pang when he noticed how sad she looked while she watched the girl take her spot amongst the Slytherins, she truly wanted her as a friend. A couple of seats away Sirius and Peter stared after the same girl, Peter was frowning and Sirius looked on with enthusiasm. James and Remus sat out of Severus' view but he was sure that they were also watching her like a bunch of hawks.

"I know that she's going to get demolished because of it, but I have to respect the new girl. I'm proud to say that Hermione Lovegood, the girl who turned Peter Pettigrew into a rat, is in my house." A boy with silvery hair next to him declared this and sneered at the Gryffindor table, Slytherin students around him nodded in agreement to his statement. She truly was one of the few who was bold enough to stand up to the Marauders, Severus leaned over the table and spotted her sitting near the front , a frown was once again plastered on her face.

"She could take them down you know, there's just something about her that seems… powerful." A girl with dyed purple hair commented.

"Not on her own, I don't care how powerful she is.." Someone else commented, Severus didn't see who said it because he was too fixated on her. Something changed after he left her at the train station, she was incredibly bright and inviting when he first saw her. Now it was like someone put a dark blanket over her, the girl with the purple hair was right. She did look powerful and she also looked lethal.

"That's it for this year's sorting ceremony, I encourage that you all get to know and help each other. Your house is your family for the next seven years, and possibly even beyond." Professor McGonagall finished her small speech and then looked over to Dumbledore.

"Let the feast begin." the headmaster spread his arms wide then sat down at his table, as soon as he did so, food popped onto the dinning tables and students frantically started piling food onto their plates. Severus yanked his eyes away from the Lovegood girl and went to spoon some potatoes on his plate, but as soon as he grazed his fingers along the spoon he felt fire climb up his arms. He grabbed his hand away, and yelled, but that was drowned out by the panicked shrieks of the entire Slytherin house. Students fell out of their seats as the entire table went up in flames and Severus batted at his robes, which had caught on fire.

"Get away from the table!"Professor McGonagall's voice rang above the startled screams, the other houses jumped to their feet and whipped out their wands. Once he put the flames out Severus grabbed at his own and tried to wipe at his burning eyes at the same time, when he opened his eyes he could only see black smoke.

"Aguamenti!" he joined the mass of students using the same spell to extinguish the flames, all of the teachers were doing the same, prefects herded younger students out of the halls. Severus felt a bump against his shoulder, he didn't have to look to see that it was Lily. They went on for ten minutes before the flames finally died, the students who stayed behind to help huddled together and stared sadly at the charred table. Some left shortly after because of the smoke, Severus noticed that the Lovegood girl stayed to help, her hair looked singed on one side, and her robes were soaked. Dumbledore whispered amongst the other teachers, he raised his voice a few times, his face red from anger. Before long all of the students started leaving one by one, Severus left with Lily, and the only student left after them was the Lovegood girl.

Severus didn't see her for the rest of the night. Though, she never left his mind once, her honey colored eyes seemed to be permanently branded into his mind.

Who are you Hermione Lovegood?

That's it for this chapter! How do you like this story so far? Thank you to everyone who has viewed, reviewed, favored, and followed this story!