Hi! This is my very first story on FF.net, so please go easy on me. I've never been a writer really. I'm an artist. I'm also drawing a few scenes from this for yall to enjoy. ^_^ the scene where the marauders harass severus is obviously not mine, I'm just trying to make it all fit in. check back soon to see some snape sketches!

It had all begun innocently enough. Morning came to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and a fifteen year-old boy named Sirius Black gradually fluttered his eyes open to see the sunlight breaking through the many windows in the Gryffindor dormitories. A thin t-shirt was twisted and knotted around his slender frame, the result of tossing and turning all during the night. Glossy, dark brown hair flopped back onto the massive pillow at the head of the bed. As he lay splayed out under red and gold sheets, gradually becoming conscious, the last traces of a dream left him. A dream of trying to save someone trapped in a dark cloud. They had been calling out…a thin figure with dark, intense eyes…

Severus Snape had awoken as well on the far side of the Hogwarts grounds, thought he didn't have the luxury of lounging about, half-awake. The moment his Enervator woke him at five a.m., he leaped out of bed out into the cold air and briskly grabbed his bag of bath items, a towel and a change of robes from inside his nightstand. Creeping quietly past the other four-poster beds that were still emanating snorts and grumbles, careful to not make the floor creak, he made his way towards the Slytherin commons room.

Once he had escaped out past the portrait hole, he was able to straighten up and walk hurriedly down the hall towards the washroom. The thin sandals he wore made almost no sound save a slight swooshing on the rough limestone floor. When he reached the washroom door he quickly glanced up and down the hall, and then warily cracked the door and looked inside.

Seeing the lack of the usual gaggle of chattering, splashing boys in the showers, he thought, oh good. Empty.

He walked in and chose the closest shower to the entrance. The room was white with green accents, and the showers lining the walls each had thick, tapestry style curtains hanging that had been enchanted with the Impervius charm to make them water-proof. Making sure that the curtain completely obstructed his shower from view, Snape systematically began to undress his scrawny body. He had to be quiet still, just in case someone came in. He twisted the chrome hot water knob, and the shower choked to life. Taking one last peak outside the curtain, he pulled it back and stepped into the scalding stream.

This is how Severus's life had been for the last four years. In his first year, he quickly found that something about his personality particularly annoyed people, sometimes to the point of violence. After learning the hard way once or twice while going to shower, he fell into the habit of showering before anyone else had woken up.

Since even the members of his own house hated him with the same passion as everyone else, he could not afford to let anyone catch him. If one person saw him, no matter how their feelings towards him, it could almost certainly be made known to someone interested in making the routine more…difficult. It wasn't that he hadn't fought back in the past; it was just easier to deal with the lack of sleep than it was to hide bruises from concerned professors who were trying to be helpful.

Often enough, there were people who got to the showers before he did. Those were the days when he would simply have to do without showering; the alternative would be too risky. Sometimes he would have to go days at a time without being able to wash his long black hair, giving it time to become limp and make his face shiny with grease. He hated the slick, gritty feeling that built up at his hairline and in the creases on the sides of his hooked nose. When he finally did get the chance to shower, he would scrub his face raw, trying to clean every pore.

This was a lucky day. Severus finished his routine with no interruptions and dried off in silence. He put on the fresh robes and reveled in the way the newly washed fabric felt against his own squeaky-clean skin, and then headed quietly back to his dormitory.

"GET UP!" Through the darkness, Sirius suddenly felt the wind get knocked out of him as something soft whacked him across the midsection.

"Oof! Mpph…go away," he mumbled before turning his back to his attackers.

Sirius's best friend, a slim boy with short black hair and glasses, climbed onto the end of Sirius's bed and stood frowning. "Hit 'im again Peter," Peter Pettigrew looked up at the boy hesitantly, then shrugged and drew back the pillow again.

Sirius flipped back over. "No! Wait! Ok, I'm up, I'm up." He threw off the covers and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "Sheesh, James," he huffed, rubbing his eyes.

"Hurry up and get dressed. I'm starving. Remus already went down." James Potter said impatiently, then jumped off the bed and marched out of the room. Peter followed, looking back at Sirius meekly.

The boys reached the great hall to find that Remus Lupin was indeed already there and eating, but had saved seats for them amongst the crowd of other students. "Good morning" he sang and grinned, then stuffed a whole pancake into his mouth.

"Is it?" Sirius said and sat down with a groan, his hair falling into his face. "I honestly don't know how you do it. I didn't get enough sleep even though I slept a whole 'nother hour than you did."

"Practice, Sirius my boy, lots of practice," said Lupin before starting on the next pancake, still grinning. Smiling made his angular features more prominent under a mop of wavy light brown hair, and his eyes twinkled. "So what's the story? Ready for O.W.L.s: day one, then?"

Sirius sighed. "I think so...I don't know. I stayed up till one o'clock last night studying for the Dark Arts exam. I think I'm ready. I can't wait to get started."

"What d'ya mean you can't wait? Are you crazy, or just trying to follow Remus's bookworm act?" James questioned as he leaned over Sirius to spear a sausage.

Sirius suddenly looked flustered. "I...just mean that I can't wait to get it over with" he quickly replied. "I've been so worried about this." Because I HAVE to do well on it.

"Well, I'm not worried at all," James gloated. "I found a way to do well on the essay without studying nearly as much as you lot. In fact, not only will I ace the O.W.L.s, I will have barely cracked a book."

Remus sipped his tea and looked skeptically at James. "Jim, you could just study. The rest of us do, and it generally works. You're not going to write hints on your arm again are you? Remember that jinxed ink?" Sirius snorted at the memory of James's arm suddenly screaming out the answers in the midst of an exam the previous year.

"Well, I studied for once, and I'm pretty confident in how I'm going to do on it," said Sirius, reassuring himself as much as Remus.

James rolled his eyes. "Hah! Yeah, awful. If you're so confident, why don't you go talk to Lily? She's had her eye on you all morning." James nodded his head down to the end of the Gryffindor table, and when Sirius turned, the redheaded Lily Evans was indeed smiling right at him.

Sirius had never been very interested in girls at all, not that he would ever let any of his friends know that. He didn't want them to get the wrong idea about him. He thought that maybe he just wasn't attracted to anyone at Hogwarts. But lately, he was feeling quite the opposite, though he would never admit that, not even to himself.

"Yeah, I see her," he said quietly around a mouthful of sausage.

James frowned. "So go talk to her you great git! She would obviously be open to the idea. Too bad she wouldn't be open to it with me. Go on while she's interested!" he said as he shoved Sirius's shoulder.

"Jeez, ok, alright. You don't have to guilt me." Sirius stood and straightened his robes and put on his most charming smile. "How do I look?" he asked Remus.

"Simply smashing," Remus drawled and rolled his eyes. "Go for it."

I guess I'll just get it over with, he thought. With that, Sirius picked up his plate heaped with food and set off.

Severus was sitting by himself at the far end of the Slytherin table tossing grapes into his mouth. I don't even know why I bother to shower. No one ever gets close enough to see that I'm clean, he thought bitterly as he swallowed. Three years ago, that thought may have brought tears to his eyes, but now all he could feel about it was spite. What is it about me? I'm not the most outgoing sort, but I'm not that bad. He threw another grape onto his tongue. Sure you're not, he silently retorted.

And the fact that you're ugly… he threw in another grape.

…and stupid… another grape.

…and clumsy… another grape.

…and all around awful has nothing to do with it, I'm sure.

"Oy! Lily!" he heard somewhere close behind him as he threw the last grape. It missed his mouth completely and landed behind him in the aisle. He instantly turned to pick it up, and as he twisted his head around, he saw Sirius Black step squarely on the little fruit.

The next moments moved in slow motion. He saw Black's face go from a mischievous grin to a shocked, open mouth gape as his feet slipped out from under him. The plate of food he was holding was thrown high above him, each item separating in mid-air. For a millisecond, he was suspended completely off the ground, as if he was levitating on his back. Then, as if the air could no longer hold him, time snapped and the boy fell flat on his back and was then splattered with an assortment of falling breakfast foods.

Groaning and reaching up to peel a sticky pancake off his face, he turned and found himself looking directly into Snape's black eyes. Abruptly, his feelings of shock melted away to a deep burning rage. It was Snivilus, he silently mouthed.

Everyone had turned to see what the noise was as Sirius slowly got to his feet. Laughter and applause started as he held out his arms and forced a grin at the crowd. James's hooting and hollering could be heard along with Remus's behind him. He turned momentarily towards Severus who was looking up at him, appearing to be stifling a smirk. Seeing the look on Sirius's face stopped him.

Through clenched teeth, in a voice only the other boy could hear, Sirius whispered, "I'll get you for this, Snivilus," and calmly walked back the way he had come.

After letting Sirius go wash off the syrup and change his robes, the boys were on their way to beginning the first exam. The subject was Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Sirius did feel he was prepared for it. He was actually fascinated with the subject, and fantasized about maybe someday being an Auror. There was just something so enticing about the idea of defeating Dark wizards for a living; he couldn't get it out of his mind.

"Well," he said facing James, "Lily sure won't ever talk to me again." I hope. That fall was a blessing. "Why don't you have a go at it sometime, Jim?"

James was surprised for a moment, and then looked thoughtful. "Alright."

"See you," Sirius told his friends as they parted to be alphabetized. The Great Hall had been cleared of the morning meal, and instead of the usual long tables, the room was full of one-person desks. Professor McGonagall, in her tall crooked hat, was standing in one of the archways organizing the students.

"Students whose first names start with the letters 'J' through 'S', please come forward now for the Defense Against the Dark Arts exam please."

Sirius gingerly stepped forward and was directed to a desk in the third row. He sat down and began to twiddle his quill, going over key points of the subject in his head. I don't know why I'm worried about this, he thought. I've got it down.

Also being an "S", Severus stepped forward at the call and was directed to the second row. He saw with great dismay that his seat was directly to the front right of Sirius Black's. Great. Just don't let him notice me. He quietly walked to the desk, his robes whirling about him as he turned and sat. Even though he was relatively warm, his hands were freezing and clammy.

Professor Flitwick finished helping the remaining students to their desks, and then climbed onto a short stool at the head of the room. He pulled his wand out with a stubby arm, and with a wave, a piece of parchment appeared at every desk with a short "pop!" He cleared his throat shrilly, smiled, and stated, "You have thirty minutes. You may begin."

Severus began to look over the questions, and to his delight, he realized that he could write volumes on several of them. He wrote quickly and feverishly, filling every gap that he could, covering every aspect of the answers. He had always had small, cramped writing; he often resentfully thought about how it reflected his personality. But now he was writing even smaller than usual. He was so focused that he didn't even notice that as he scrawled his face got closer and closer to the parchment.

Sooner than Snape had hoped, Flitwick squeaked again. "Quills down, please! Stay seated while I retrieve your parchment! Accio!

The parchment that Severus had been gripping flew out of his hands along with hundreds of others towards the professor, and he leaned back and sighed. He picked up the question parchment that was left on his desk. Recovering his satchel from the floor, he stood and turned to leave while everyone else was preoccupied with the flying parchment. Pushing through the crowd, he began to go over the questions again, this time armed with his Dark Arts textbook. Ha! I knew that one! he thought, flipping through the pages. He made his way down the hall towards the front doors, still studying the parchment, thinking that he would go over the rest of the paper sitting outside on the lawn.

Upon reaching the outdoors, in an uncharacteristic gesture, he stretched his arms out wide to the fall sun and sighed. There was a cool breeze that blew the sheets of raven hair off of his face, and he purposefully strode towards some shady shrubs. Perfect, he thought as he seated himself, crossing his legs and re-opening his book.

After finding that he had remembered almost every detail to each question, Snape leaned back with a look of sour insatiateness on his face. There was something rather dissatisfying about making good grades if there was no one to show them to. Well, at least it will make things easier back home, he concluded grimly.

He glanced towards laughter from nearby, and realized that Potter's gang was lounging under the enormous beech tree on the shore of the lake. Black was there. Quickly remembering the breakfast episode, he packed his belongings back in his satchel, and stood up slowly, in hopes of avoiding his schoolmate's eyes. He stopped. What am I doing? he berated himself. Have I really become this beaten down? Disgusted with his behavior, he thrust his chest out resolutely and started off across the lawn, not twenty feet away from the beech tree.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that Black spied him and had developed a hungry look on his face. Get ready…Just keep walking. Black got to his feet and walked over to take a place next to Potter as Potter smirked and abruptly yelled out, "All right, Snivilus?"

Now! Severus delved into his robes for his wand, and had just raised it to hear "Expelliarmus!" and felt the instrument slip from his fingers. He stood slightly crouched, whipping about to face his attackers. Black was clutching his stomach with laughter. If I can just get my wand!

Spotting his wand behind him, he made to leap after it but heard "Impedimenta!" and felt his limbs slow, as if he was wading. Luckily the ground was soft as he fell onto it face-first with a sickening thud. He looked up helplessly to see Potter looming over him, and approaching was a small crowd of jeering onlookers.

"So…how'd the exam go, Snivelly?" Potter sneered.

Black gazed down at him with a cruel smile. "I was watching him, his nose was touching the parchment. There'll be great greasy marks all over it, they won't be able to read a word." Wait a minute, thought some part of Severus's mind. He was watching me? He began struggling against the jinx, fighting the bonds that weren't there. He looked up again to see the crowd laughing at his predicament, and his anger began to glow white-hot.

"You – wait," he gasped, the jinx making breathing difficult.

Potter smirked. "What, you going to wipe your nose on us, Snivelly?" he laughed.

Severus saw red. "Expelliarmus! Diffindo! Oh, Engorgio, anything! You stinking bastard, I'll kill you!" He looked at his wand, willing it to come to him.

"Scourgify!" Potter muttered, and Severus was suddenly choking and hacking over a mouthful of soapsuds.

Sirius had been vastly entertained by the spectacle of Snape being picked on, but now the show was getting a little too extreme. He watched James laughing as Snape sputtered and spat, trying to get rid of the suds, and felt guilt well up inside. "Jim, shouldn't you-"

"Leave him ALONE!" cried an unfamiliar voice. The soapsuds began to subside and Severus lay panting with his face in the grass.

Potter cleared his throat, and in a more mature tone greeted the owner of the voice. "All right, Evans?"

"Leave him alone," the voice repeated. "What's he done to you?"

Severus looked up at his savior to see that she was none other than Lily Evans. Her bright green eyes flashes at James. "Well," James kicked the ground and grinned up at her. "It's more the fact that he exists, if you know what I mean…." This comment got a laugh out of almost everybody. Lily surveyed the boy disapprovingly.

"You think you're so funny, but you're just a arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter. Leave him alone."

"I will if you go out with me Evans. Go out with me, and I'll never touch old Snivelly again," Potter promised. He turned briefly to Sirius to see a look of approval.

Severus had wriggled almost to his wand, straining his arm against the remainder of the Impediment jinx. Lily looked disgustedly at James. "Why, you…I wouldn't go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid!"

"Bad luck, Prongs," said Sirius, who turned to see Snape pointing his wand towards James. "Fer-Fernunculus!" Snape snarled. The jinx shot past Sirius to graze Potter's face, spattering blood. James spun on his heel and yelled, "Mobiliarbus!" and an instant later, Severus was hanging upside-down, his robes fallen about his head. Blinded, Severus began thrashing at the fabric, trying to push it over his face, and then, judging from the laughter, had the sickening realization that everyone could probably see his dingy underwear.

"James Potter, you let him down!"

Instantly, Severus fell with a thud to the ground, and struggled to stand. He grasped his wand and pointed it directly at Sirius.

Oh, dung. Sirius yelled out the only hex he could think of, "Locomotor Mortis!"

Severus's limbs snapped to his sides, and again he found himself with sod in his mouth.

"LEAVE HIM ALONE!" screeched Lily, finally whipping out her own wand and directing it at the offenders.

James instantly stopped laughing and glanced warily at Sirius then back to the menacing wand pointed at them. "Don't make me hex you, Evans."

Lily looked incredulous. "Then take the curse off!"

James kicked the ground again. "You're lucky Evans was here, Snivillus," he sighed, and mumbled the countercurse.

Severus stumbled and leapt to his feet, furious. He was humiliated enough, but to not be able to fight his own battles was simply mortifying. He spat, "I don't need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!" but was immediately sorry. He had his prejudices, but never voiced them. Lily looked momentarily hurt, but then indifferent.

"Fine. Next time I won't bother." She turned to walk away, then paused. "And I'd wash my pants if I were you, Snivillus."

Potter looked enraged. He aimed his wand again at Snape, and yelled "Apologize, now!"

Lily turned her cold stare on James. "I don't want you to make him apologize."

James and Lily verbally sparred for a minute more, not noticing Severus trembling, struggling to properly stand. My wand! He knelt and picked up his wand from the grass, and quickly stowed it in his robes. He managed to get to his feet just as Evans whirled and left James yelling after her. "Right…" he said turning back to Sirius. "Right." Severus was slowly hobbling away when he felt himself once again flipped into the air.

"Who wants to see me take off Snivelly's pants?" James announced maliciously. Sirius saw the dangerous glow in his eye, and put a hand on his arm. "Jim, let's go back inside. Come on then. It must be almost lunch."

Severus saw his chance as Sirius momentarily distracted James. "Flipendo!" he yelled just as his robes fell down over his face. Both other boys went flying backwards and landed on their backs a few feet away. With a crack, Severus fell onto his head. Sirius was the first to be up again, and suddenly didn't feel sorry for Snape. He drew his wand up with a wave and –

"Mr. Black. I'd advise you not to do that." Sirius felt a wiry hand clamp down on his shoulder and was stunned to look into the solemn face of Professor McGonagall. "Mr. Potter, would you be so kind as to help Mr. Snape to his feet." James looked disgusted, and walked over to the boy who was still floundering in his tangled robes. James grabbed an arm and roughly helped Snape up. Upon seeing who aided him, Severus wrenched his arm away and scowled.

"Mr. Snape, I'm surprised at you, participating in childish fights. You're usually so well behaved. Forty points from Slytherin." Severus's eyes widened and he opened his mouth to protest, but the professor had turned to face the other two. "And you…I wish I could say this is unexpected. For the both of you, sixty points from Gryffindor. Now, come with me."

The three of them were marched back into the castle.

Come on. Push that little purple button fellas. I need the encouragement. :P