Disclaimer: HP isn't mine.

Notes: This story is a companion piece, of sorts, to Pet Names. It can, however, be read on its own. Takes place two years before Pet Names, as a matter of fact, so no worries.


When Vera Potter was five years old, she found her role model.

It was a chilly Tuesday in November, and her father had been invited to give a lecture on Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. After much wheedling and pleading and even a bit of mild blackmailing, Vera got her father to promise to bring her along.

She hadn't been to Hogwarts before, and as far as she was concerned, it was a case of love at first sight. Hogwarts was grand and beautiful and felt like home, and not just because her father was there with her.

"Wow," she whispered, staring up at the castle in admiration. "And I'll go here?"

"When you're eleven, Snakelet," her father agreed.

Vera smiled as she always did when her dad called her 'Snakelet'. It bothered Mum to no end, but Dad insisted she was a Slytherin through and through, and Mum usually agreed, though she insisted that Vera got all her snakish tendencies from her father.

"No Weasley has any Slytherin in them," her mum often said.

"Will we see Grandpa Albus?" she asked eagerly, clutching her dad's hand as they entered the school.

"Yes, we'll see Grandpa Albus," Dad agreed.

"And Aunt 'Nerva?"

"And Aunt Minerva."

"And Uncle Hagrid?" she queried, already knowing the answer but wanting to hear her father's voice. She was a bit nervous, after all, because there'd be a lot of big kids around, and Vera was small for her age.

"Yes, Uncle Hagrid will be there, Vera," Dad said with an indulgent smile, one that Vera couldn't help but return.

They stopped outside the doors to the Great Hall, where a tall greasy-haired man was waiting for them.

"Potter," he sneered, looking at Vera's father with distaste. His eyes were piercing, and the subtle twist of his mouth could inspire terror in the hearts of just about anyone.

Vera was in awe.

Clearly, this was a man to emulate.

Then he was looking at her, and she would have felt afraid if her dad hadn't been holding her hand.

"Hello," she said with a dignified nod, something her father often said shouldn't have been possible, given her age.

Thin, elegant eyebrows rose, and Vera nearly squealed in delight. The expression was almost enough to reduce someone to a quivering mass of tears. She wanted to be able to do that! Stupid Ben would stop stealing her dolls, then.

"I wanna be like you when I grow up," she said truthfully.

The strange man looked utterly gobsmacked. Vera's father tried to hold in a laugh, but ended up wheezing. Vera frowned and imperiously demanded, "What's so funny?"

"Nothing, Snakelet," her father said, snickering. "Nothing at all."

The greasy-haired man frowned. "Did you just call your daughter Snakelet, Potter?"