Hermione found that she was going through the motions once class had started. She somehow knew the best routes to take to get to her classes on time, she knew everything the Professors were going to say before they said it, and she felt...strange. Today, she would be going to have her first Potions class with...him.

The way that he just...glided into the room set her on edge, and the patronizing speech he had given didn't make her feel any better.

"Potter!" Professor Snape shouted, startling the boy who hadn't been paying attention, "Tell me what will I get if I add Powdered Root of Asphodel to an infusion of Wormwood?"

"They make sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death." Hermione answered before Harry could say anything. Snape frowned at her,

"Granger, I did not know that your name was Potter," Snape said. The Slytherins chuckled at this, and Snape turned back to Harry, "Where would you look if I tell you to find me a Bezoar?"

"A Bezoar is a stone, taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from the most poisons."

"Are you hard of hearing girl?" Snape frowned, "This is your last warning."

"What do you think Lilly would say if she saw you picking on her son?" Hermione found herself saying, "I doubt that she'd be pleased with how you're taking your anger out on him."

Suddenly the temperature in the room seemed to drop, and the class went silent. Snape's face seemed to change from annoyance to horror to rage.

"Where did you hear that name?" Snape asked, his voice was low, and his gaze burned into Hermione's. She felt something prickle against her mind, she mentally pushed it back with little effort. Snape frowned, and soon that prickle turned into a sharp drill causing her to feel piercing pain. She forced the feeling back and soon she felt herself falling...

She landed heavily on the ground, and she suddenly found herself in a deserted playground. A single huge chimney dominated the distant skyline. Two girls were swinging backward and forward, and a skinny boy was watching them from behind a clump of bushes. His black hair was overlong, and his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate: too short jeans, a shabby, overlarge coat that might have belonged to a grown man, an odd smocklike shirt.

"Lily, don't do it!" shrieked the elder of the two.

But the girl had let go of the swing at the very height of its arc and flown into the air, quite literally flown, launched herself skyward with a great shout of laughter, and instead of crumpling on the playground asphalt, she soared like a trapeze artist through the air, staying up far too long, landing far too lightly.

"Mummy told you not to!"

Petunia stopped her swing by dragging the heels of her sandals on the ground, making a crunching, grinding sound, then leapt up, hands on hips.

"Mummy said you weren't allowed, Lily!"

"But I'm fine," said Lily, still giggling. "Tuney, look at this. Watch what I can do."

Petunia glanced around. The playground was deserted apart from themselves and, though the girls did not know it, Snape. Lily had picked up a fallen flower from the bush behind which Snape lurked. Petunia advanced, evidently torn between curiosity and disapproval. Lily waited until Petunia was near enough to have a clear view, then held out her palm. The flower sat there, opening and closing its petals, like some bizarre, many-lipped oyster.

"Stop it!" shrieked Petunia.

"It's not hurting you," said Lily, but she closed her hand on the blossom and threw it back to the ground.

"It's not right," said Petunia, but her eyes had followed the flower's flight to the ground and lingered upon it. "How do you do it?" she added, and there was definite longing in her voice.

"It's obvious, isn't it?" Snape could no longer contain himself, but had jumped out from behind the bushes. Petunia shrieked and ran backward toward the swings, but Lily, though clearly startled, remained where she was. Snape seemed to regret his appearance. A dull flush of color mounted the sallow cheeks as he looked at Lily.

"What's obvious?" asked Lily.

Snape had an air of nervous excitement. With a glance at the distant Petunia, now hovering beside the swings, he lowered his voice and said, "I know what you are."

"What do you mean?"

"You're . . . you're a witch," whispered Snape.

She looked affronted.

"That's not a very nice thing to say to somebody!"

She turned, nose in the air, and marched off toward her sister.

"No!" said Snape as he rushed after the two.

The sisters considered him, united in disapproval, both holding on to one of the swing poles as though it was the safe place in tag.

"You are," said Snape to Lily. "You are a witch. I've been watching you for a while. But there's nothing wrong with that. My mum's one, and I'm a wizard."

Petunia's laugh was like cold water.

"Wizard!" she shrieked, her courage returned now that she had recovered from the shock of his unexpected appearance. "I know who you are. You're that Snape boy! They live down Spinner's End by the river," she told Lily, and it was evident from her tone that she considered the address a poor recommendation. "Why have you been spying on us?"

"Haven't been spying," said Snape, hot and uncomfortable and dirty-haired in the bright sunlight. "Wouldn't spy on you, anyway," he added spitefully, "you're a Muggle."

Though Petunia evidently did not understand the word, she could hardly mistake the tone.

"Lily, come on, we're leaving!"

Snape seemed like he wanted to say something, he held out his arm and then-

Hermione found herself being flung back in her seat, she ended up falling onto the ground and hit her head, causing her vision to swim. Professor Snape stood over her, breathing heavily.

"Detention with me for the rest of the year," Snape seethed, "And a hundred points from Gryffindor."