- A Harry Potter Fanfic -

*Written by Gale*

Disclaimer - JK Rowling's characters belong to her. I'm not getting a dime, and I wouldn't ask for one even if I could.

Important Note - Yes, there be an original character in here. She's mine. As of yet she's unnamed (and for a good reason), but she's still mine. Yes, I know there is hardly a single fic topic in existence that hasn't been used in a Harry Potter fic. The problem is that most of the topics are taken first by people that can't write. I'm hoping that, if my idea's been used, I can do this one justice.

Chapter #1: Nameless Face in a Hundred Slytherins

Everyone knew that it was practically impossible for any teacher at Hogwarts, save perhaps Dumbledore, to know the names of every student attending, even all the names of those in their own House. Well, the staff did, anyway. Somehow, there seemed to be some assumed code among the students that each employee should live by: this involved remembering the name of each kid they taught -- at least when passing out assignments or calling them down. That was theory, anyhow. It certainly explained the shocked and disappointed looks on young faces when an instructor still had to ask a child their name after so many years of teaching them.

For Severus Snape, despite being a glaring perfectionist when it came to his work, this was no different. It became blatantly obvious, too, when he paused in the middle of a lecture to drop a fast admonishment on a Slytherin fifth year, and he realized mid-sentence that he did not know her name. What bothered him most about noticing was that he might not have needed to do anything at all were she not behaving so strangely in the first place.

This student of his was muttering. The word, in itself, does not make the occurrence wholly remarkable, which was why when he first heard the sound and identified it as such, he exercised his craft for bias, paid her no mind and went about with the lesson. It may very well have been two Slytherins in the back of the room gossiping about whatever when they were supposed to pay attention, but being Slytherin, that whole description of action translated into "no problem at all," mainly because Snape liked to watch the Gryffindors writhe. Either way, if the above were true, then the noise should have stopped after a minute or so.

But it didn't. Still muttering. And one voice.

His capacity to ignore the wrongdoings of his own house members could not be considered more admirable given the circumstances, but his tension was beginning to show in the tightening of his diction as he delivered a walkthrough for the day's potion. Still no end within sight, still low murmurs, until finally Snape's loss of patience for the situation at hand carried right into the lecture with him. "…And after properly cleaning the bezo-Are you quite finished, miss?" he demanded, barely stopping himself from slamming his wand down on the worktable he'd been looming over.

That gave the two students sitting there quite a start, but as his attention shifted fully to the back of the room where the ceaselessly jabbering Student still sat, it became clear that only those pupils within reach of him were actually paying complete attention -- and that was out of fear. Most everyone else had also noticed what this girl was doing, and between that and Snape's freely over-boiling temper, there wasn't much to not feel at least wary about.

Lip curling up into a near-snarl, the Potions Master strode back toward her worktable, the eyes behind his perpetual curtain of greasy hair narrowed in consternation. His pace slowed and vastly undermined the amount of sinister drama needed to strike his usual bolt of fear into the heart of his current quarry, however, when he was close enough to hear the nonsense coming out of the girl's mouth.


She was rocking back and forth over her desk, stringy hair obscuring her eyes until Snape was nearer to her, which were a dry red around the irises and sunken deep into her skull, seemingly focused on nothing.

"Stop," he said firmly.


Severus' brow twitched with hesitation before he brought his hand down flat against the tabletop. The resound of the impact made her head shoot up in surprise, and her gaze froze on his.

But she was silent.

That is, of course, until she burst into tears.