The Definition of Evil
For nearly a year, Severus harbored a secret crush on Lily Evans, and over that year, the girl seemed to have taken a liking to him as well. She always stood up for him whenever Potter and his gang bullied him, and she had even seemingly broken the ties of friendship she once had with the Marauders, her fellow Gryffindors. The only one of the quartet she still considered a friend after James had set Severus' robes on fire was Remus Lupin, and although Severus was annoyed by this, he realized that he had no control over who Lily was friends with, seeing as he wasn't really an official friend of hers either.
While he was crushing on Lily Evans, Severus tried his best to remind himself that purity of blood didn't matter. Yes, he was a Pureblood, and yes, Lily was Muggle-born, but Severus tried to push this information to the side and ignore it, because even though Lily was what his house-mates called a Mudblood, she was the best person Severus had ever met in his life, and he wasn't willing to forget that just because his fellow Slytherins and his own parents didn't approve of Muggle-borns.
James Potter, starting the middle of their third year after he cursed Severus over a fight about Lily, had become completely unbearable, which was quite the statement seeing as he had already been bullying Severus non-stop since first year. Now James, along with Sirius and the occasional help from Remus or Peter, had taken up the noble art of pranking.
It had all started right before the third years' final exams, when Severus was in the library one evening, studying for his Charms exam. He had heard a little muffled giggling behind him, but thought nothing of it. Probably those stupid Hufflepuffs messing around again, he thought distractedly, referring to the sixth year boys who were studying at a table behind him.
Severus went back to his work, studying up on Summoning Charms and daydreaming about Lily. Charms was her favorite class, and Severus was grateful to share it with her. His mind wandered, and he saw her in his mind's eye, reciting the Charm. Her green eyes were glowing in concentration, her wand arm was bent slightly at the elbow, and she waved her wand, saying the incantation: "Accio …"
"SPIDERS!" yelled a male voice from behind Severus. He turned around, perplexed and annoyed, to see one of the sixth year Hufflepuff boys, looking absolutely terrified at his Transfiguration book, out of which a few large spiders were crawling. Severus rolled his eyes. The idiot, he thought to himself. Of course there's bound to be spiders in an old castle like this. Grow a backbone, you prat.
But as Severus turned back to his Charms textbook, he too yelled out. There were humongous cockroaches, at least half a dozen, crawling all over his book, and more were moving about the table and starting to swarm on the floor around the table.
Severus got up and left the table, books and all, in such a hurry that he tripped over his chair and came tumbling down to the library floor. All over the library, students were screaming and panicking, leaving their homework behind to flee from various insect-horrors. But in the midst of this chaos and commotion, Severus could hear laughter… and it seemed to be coming from behind a large bookshelf behind him.
Severus got up off of the floor to investigate, a feeling of foreboding taking over, along with a sort of dangerous curiosity. He walked around the bookshelf, only to find the Marauders, all four of them, laughing hysterically at the chaos, Severus was sure, that they had caused.
"What did you do?" Severus nearly growled at the four Gryffindor boys.
James and Sirius stopped laughing just enough to enlighten the anti-social Slytherin. Peter's face was bright red, and he seemed to be having a hard time breathing, while Remus covered his enormous grin with both hands, and tried to take in a few deep breaths himself.
"Oh, we just enchanted everyone's textbooks to appear as if large, nasty insect were crawling of them. Quite funny, isn't it, Snivellus?" James replied with a mischievous grin.
"Y-you mean…" Severus stuttered, forgetting for a moment that he was having a semi-civil conversation with his worst enemies, "You mean that the bugs aren't- they aren't real?"
"Exactly, Snivellus, my dear chap," said Sirius as he clapped Severus on the back roughly.
"Even you have to admit it's funny, Severus," Remus put in, avoiding, like he usually did, using Severus' terrible nickname.
Severus just shook his head in shock. "Crap…" he muttered, and when he turned around to see whether or not the cockroaches had disappeared from his books or not, he was surprised to see that they had not; in fact, there seemed to be even more of them than before. It was disgusting!
"Go on, Snivellus, go get your books. I dare you," Sirius said, pushing Severus towards his abandoned table, which was now infested with roaches.
Severus knew that the bugs weren't real. He had read all about the Illusion Spell the Marauders had used for their first prank, so he knew that the grotesque insects were only a figment of his imagination. This didn't stop him, however, from being scared stiff of the roaches.
"Aw, looks like Snapey-poo is scared," James laughed.
"Look, don't worry. The spell should wear off in a few minutes. You don't have to—" Remus started, but he was soon cut off by his two dark-haired friends.
"Yes he does, Remus! Now go, Snape! Get those books," James said, pushing him along with Sirius towards his table, which was still swarming with inch-long, creepy-crawly insects.
"Ten galleons say he doesn't do it," Sirius bet against his friends.
"You're on," Peter squeaked in between squeals of laughter.
But Severus wasn't moving. He was frozen, black eyes wide in terror. There was no way in hell he was going anywhere near those bugs… they were just too gross, and there were too many of them, by now, there must've been hundreds of the tiny monsters. Despite the combined pressure of James and Sirius, trying to make him move neared to the roach-infested table, he wasn't budging.
"No," he managed to spit out. "No, no, no…"
But then, Peter joined in, trying to push Severus towards the table, and finally, the scrawny, greasy-haired teen budged. Not only did he budge, he fell face-first onto the floor in front of the table, where many of the fake roaches were crawling about, over and under one another.
Severus could almost feel them as they crawled over his hands, and later onto his face. Their tiny legs were tickling his skin, and he shuddered, afraid to breathe, lest they crawl in through his mouth. He heard the Marauders laughing whole-heartedly somewhere in the distance, for his mind had left him long ago.
He felt nauseous, and just after a cockroach scampered over his upper lip, he vomited all over the library floor, and, much to his own--as well as the Marauders'—disgust, himself. He got up quickly, shaking the imaginary insects off of him, and got ready to round on the idiots who had done this to him.
Their laughter stopped for a moment, only to intensify two-fold as few seconds later the imaginary roaches finally disappeared. Severus watched as Madam Pince, the librarian, gave the four Gryffindors a good talking to, a week of detentions each, and fifty points from Gryffindor.
She then escorted Severus to the Hospital Wing, a pitying look in her eyes. He had told her that he was fine and that he only needed a toothbrush, but the old woman would hear none of it.
While he left the library, Severus heard James say to his mates, "Next time, we should work on not getting caught. We need a bit of subtlety for next week's prank."
Soon enough, third year was over, and the exams out of the way. Severus went home in a deep depression that his parents didn't appreciate at all. He didn't care, though. Most of his time was spent in his dusty old bedroom, staring up at the ceiling, deep in thought. Needless to say, Severus Snape had a miserable summer, and he wasn't looking forward to returning to Hogwarts, either. In fact, the only thing that made him want to return was the hope that some day, Lily Evans would fall in love with him as deeply as he loved her.
Much of Severus' fourth year was spent dwelling upon daydreams of Lily, and his grades soon began to suffer for it. He just didn't care anymore. What was life, anyway, when no one loved you, not even you parents? Severus became resentful towards all of the people around him, and spent all the time he wasn't spending doing schoolwork or thinking about his crush reading up on even more advanced Dark Magic. He found the spells in the musty old books refreshing and invigorating; reading about them gave him something to dwell on other than his own sorry life, and he welcomed the release the Dark Arts gave him.
Severus, who was convinced that the entire world was against him, and only him, was therefore shocked to learn that he was to be partnered up with Lily Evans in Potions class for the second term of his fourth year. All during the first term, he had been partner up with Tobin Zabini, a Slytherin boy who tolerated him, but really reeked at making Potions. Lily was going to be a welcome change, since her grades in Potions class rivaled his own.
"Hi, Sev," the red-haired beauty greeted him politely as she sat next to him and set her schoolbooks aside.
"Hello," he said with a hint of a smile.
The Professor put the instructions for brewing a Strengthening Solution on the blackboard, and Severus and Lily set to work on the potion. Well, Lily set to work, Severus just stared at Lily.
"Look at that slime-ball!" said an angry James Potter from across the room, staring irately at Severus, who had been stuck in a trance for the past few minutes staring at his Potions partner. "He's staring at Evans like she's a…a…"
"Piece of raw meat?" his new partner, Remus Lupin, suggested as he added beetle eyes to their potion.
"Yeah! It's sickening! As if a slimy git like him could ever have a chance with her."
Remus looked up from their cauldron, and stated, "As if you have a chance, either, the way you act around her."
James stared at him in shock, "Whose side are you on, anyway?"
Remus just shrugged and stirred the potion, but James could've sworn Remus' lips were turned up in the tiniest of smiles. James decided to cut up his knot grass and ignore Evans and Snape.
Meanwhile, across the room, Severus had finally stopped staring at his partner enough to actually work on their potion. He found it difficult, however, to concentrate on the task at hand when such a beautiful creature was sitting right next to him. He went to add the knot grass into the bubbling mixture before him, only to be stopped by Lily's hand.
"Severus, that's not supposed to be added until after I stir the potion four times clockwise," she reprimanded, but Severus was distracted once again by the feeling of her hand on his arm.
"Right, sorry," he said quietly, unable to look the girl in the eye.
He let her add the knot grass to the potion, and instead focused on skinning his shrivelfig. This became ever more difficult when Severus realized that Lily was humming a tune under her breath as she worked. It was the most intoxicating sound he'd ever heard, and he thought it was beautiful beyond measure. He stopped himself just in time before accidentally cutting his own finger.
"Be careful!" Lily exclaimed exasperatedly, seeing that he'd almost cut himself. "Want me to do it?"
"No, sorry," Severus said, still not looking his partner in the eye. "I'm usually very good at Potions, you know. I'm just feeling a bit off is all."
"I know you are. Mind telling me what's wrong today?"
Severus finally gathered the courage to look Lily in the eye; those sparkling, lovely emerald eyes. He felt like looking away, afraid that she'd see something of the truth if he looked her straight in the eye, but decided against it. They were too beautiful, she was too beautiful, for him to look away just yet.
"No," he squeaked, his deep voice for once reverting back to that of an eleven-year-old's. "I'd rather like to keep that to myself, but thanks for asking."
He looked away, then, and just as he was about to dump in the skinned shrivelfigs, something small and round plopped into his potion and a dark blue cloud formed above the cauldron, smelling distinctly of dung. Severus looked immediately towards James Potter, and saw to his immense displeasure that the messy-haired boy had a huge grin on his face, and that his friend Remus was covering his mouth, trying not to laugh. Remus was stealing looks towards Sirius Black, who was partnered up with Severus' old partner, Tobin Zabini.
Severus followed his gaze only to be hit directly in the forehead by another stink pellet, courtesy of a giggling Sirius Black. It was then that Severus and Lily's cauldron exploded, showering all the students within a five foot radius with the hot, stewing mixture. It was unfortunate that the Strengthening Solution only worked if consumed, because Severus would've liked the extra strength to pound Black into a bleeding pulp.
"Order, order! All students covered in the potion, it will not harm you, but please wash it off in the sinks to the right of the room! Evans, Snape… you both shall receive zero marks for the days work and ten points from both Slytherin and Gryffindor." their Professor called out to them.
"Maybe you should wash your bloody hair for once while you're at the sinks, Snivellus," Black shouted from across the room. Severus made a move to take out his wand, preferably to curse Black, but a touch from Lily dissuaded him.
"Ignore them," he heard her whisper under her breath. "They're complete morons, the lot of them."
Severus sneered at her, his good mood from being around Lily temporarily hampered by the fact that he was soaked in Strengthening Solution. "What about Lupin, though? Surely you don't think he's a moron. You two are such good friends…"
She shook her head as she wiped the potion off of her face and out of her long red hair with a damp old towel. "He's just as bad as the rest of them. When has he ever stopped them from doing anything illegal or against the rules? Sure, I can tolerate his company, and he can be all right when he's not around the other three, but once they're together… he, too, joins the ranks of Hogwarts' most notorious morons."
Severus laughed, and Lily smiled. "Here, you've missed a spot."
Severus froze as Lily leaned in and rubbed some of the potion off of his cheek. Once she was done, she smiled. "There. Good as new."
It was then that the bell rang, signifying the end of class and the beginning of their lunch hour. Lily turned to go back to their desk and retrieve her books, but Severus, overcome by some foreign source of courage, put a hand on her shoulder, and said, "Wait."
She turned around, confused. "If this is about our zero marks, don't worry, we'll make up for them—"
Severus elaborated, the words spilling out of his mouth in a rush. He had no idea why he was saying these things, but he knew that he had to. He was tired of keeping secrets. "No, no, it's not that, it's just…Lily… I think I love you. I have since third year! That's why I couldn't concentrate on our potion today. You were humming a song, and it was so pretty; what was it? It was like you were enchanting me with every note you hummed, and I couldn't concentrate for the life of me! D'you know what you do to me, Lily? You're the only good thing in my miserable life."
Lily stood in front of him, frozen and speechless. Severus scanned her face, trying to discern her feelings, but her face was blank and pale.
"Lily? Say something. I've just confessed my undying love to you!" Severus pleaded nervously.
Lily's mouth opened, as if she was about to say something, but she was interrupted by a voice calling out, "That's disgusting!"
Severus turned around, only to see the last person he'd want to see while confessing his love to Lily Evans: James Potter. Apparently, he'd hovered outside the classroom door, and had heard everything Severus had said.
"None of you business, Potter," he growled.
"Yes, it is, especially since you're hitting on my girl!" James shot back as he pulled out his wand.
"Your girl?! I do believe I just heard Lily say that she thought you and your gang of Marauders to be 'morons' a few minutes ago!" Severus added as he took out his own wand, ready for the worst.
"Well, at least we're not slimy, good-for-nothing, hook-nosed, Slytherin gits like you!"
"At least I have the courtesy to treat others like people, and not target practice, unlike you!"
"SHUT UP!" surprisingly, this last bit had come from Lily, whose face was as red as her hair.
"Potter," she hissed at the messy-haired boy across the room, "there is no way in hell that I'd ever go out with you, or be your 'girl', so just lay off for once, okay?"
James stood wide-eyed at Lily, who turned, slightly less angrily, but still fuming, to Severus. "And you, Severus… I don't have any feelings for you, save pity. I'm sorry, but that's the way it is."
"But—" both boys echoed each other at the same time.
"No buts. I'm going to lunch now, and if the two of you start fighting while I'm gone, I'll never speak to either of you again. You've been warned." And so, she left the potions classroom, leaving only a shocked and disappointed James Potter and a heartbroken Severus Snape in her wake. Neither boy felt much like hexing the other at that point.
A/N: I don't believe I've said it in earlier chapters, but please review! Also, I doubt I'll be able to update from July 16th through August 3rd, since I'm going on vacation and I don't know if there will be computers. Sorry! :(