It all began on a blustery day in September. The streets were packed with people trying to go from shop to shop, buying an array of things—from cauldrons to robes, books to brooms—all with the same goal in mind: get everything on the list before tomorrow. For tomorrow was the first day of school. Yes, another year would begin for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Amongst the crowd, there was a young boy of eleven with sandy blond hair sitting in disarray on top of his pale head. Amber eyes peered nervously about the streets as he waited for his parents to finish paying for his books inside. He did not like crowded areas, thus he had asked if he could stay outside. Now, here he stood, idly watching other families pass him by. This young man was named Remus Lupin. He was pure blooded, yes, but also part of the poorer society in the Wizardring world. Needless to say, his family was not looked highly upon by the others, especially now that there son was…
Remus was cut from his musing by a strange disturbance in the crowd. He looked up, eyes locking on a short, black-haired boy about his age running through the crowd, black eyes panicked for some reason. As the boy drew near, Remus noticed another disturbance. Though farther back, he could make out a tall blond head darting this way and that. "Severus!" a rather nasty voice called, one dripping head to toe with arrogance, making the young runaway cringe and double his efforts.
Severus came to a halt in front of Remus, doubling over to catch his breath before looking behind him, eyes dancing with fear. The amber-eyed boy watched the terrified child for a few seconds before deciding to help. "Excuse me."
The scrawny child jumped, startled from his observation by the timid voice. Tone raspy from running, he cocked a thin eyebrow. "Yes?"
Remus glanced at the blond head coming closer before moving aside and pointing to the table behind him. It was stacked with many different spell books; the table cloth itself came close to touching the street. Shaggy locks shifting as he nodded towards the table, Remus smiled politely. Severus looked at the strange boy in astonishment, not sure what to think. But, after looking back once more to see his pursuer coming closer still, he returned the smile with a shaky one of his own and proceeded to dive under the table. Remus, then, moved back to his original spot, conveniently hiding the fugitive. It was at that moment that the young man met, for the first time, someone he would come to despise in later days.
Long blond hair cascaded down a proud back, blue eyes looking down at everyone they gazed upon, and a stride that demanded attention—Luscious Malfoy stopped in front of the book store, eyes narrowing on Remus. He did a one over of the shabbily dressed boy, turned his nose up, and continued on his way, all the while calling for the fugitive hiding under the table.
When Remus was sure he was gone, he moved aside to let Severus come out. "Thank you." the black-haired boy muttered as he dusted his robes off.
"You're welcome, Severus." Remus replied with a friendly smile. Severus gave him a startled look, and Remus realized he had not introduced himself; hence it was odd to know this boy's name. Pointing in the general direction that Luscious had disappeared to, he said, "I heard him calling for you, so…."
Severus nodded once. "Yes…Luscious Malfoy." He muttered more to himself then to Remus. He shrugged his shoulders. "Our fathers are friends, so he thinks I will be his playmate while at Hogwarts." A scowl crossed his papery white face as he turned back to look around. He was not entirely sure where he was. Finally, his gaze rested on his savior, who was watching him curiously. He noted the tattery robe and unkempt look, and his instincts almost kicked in. Everything within him screamed 'too good for this', but the imploring was silenced by something in those amber eyes. Those eyes…so kind and gentle, offering something Severus wanted desperately. Those eyes offered him friendship. Smiling a genuine, uncharacteristic smile, Severus extended his hand. "I'm Severus Snape."
Remus took the boney hand in his and shook it. "Remus Lupin."
"Nice to meet you, Lupin. I take it you're here to get ready for school too?"
Remus nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah, and I can't wait! My parents told me a lot of great stuff about Hogwarts!" His excited tone made Severus laugh despite himself. This boy was definitely someone he would want to know better. Perhaps…even become friends with. Before the conversation could continue, however, a stern, almost evil voice broke through their little world.
"Severus!" Severus froze in place. "Come here this instance!" Swallowing hard, Severus cast an apologetic look at his new prospect and turned towards a tall, dark man whose very presence screamed power. Hurriedly, he made his way to his father, never once looking back.
Remus watched him leave, puzzled. He wanted to say, 'See you on the train!', but he could not get the words to come out. Right when his new friend reached the older version of himself, the man began to yell at him. Something about associating with unworthy wizards. Remus's heart clenched when he saw the sad look cross Severus's face. He watched them disappear into the crowd, worry filling him. He wanted very much to be friends with that boy. Just then, his parents exited the book store and ushered him towards Olivander's. For the rest of the day, Remus's mind was occupied with thoughts of how he could find Severus again.
Remus tried his hardest not to be rude as he pushed and shoved his way through the crowded corridors of the Hogwarts Express. Being a first year on a train packed with elder students was a rather tedious predicament to be found in, especially for one as frail in built as Remus. Finally, he was able to find an unoccupied compartment. He sat down with a grateful sigh, looking out the closed window at all the parents lined up to wave farewell as the train rolled off. His parents were among the throng of nervous newbies, all hoping and praying their children would be all right on their own. He grinned once, turning his wolfish eyes to the sliding door separating him from the other students. He began to wonder if Severus was out there somewhere. Just then, the door opened.
"Hey, can I sit with you?" asked a short, chubby boy with squinty eyes and a rather jittery air. His brown hair was ratty, and his teeth seemed a little too big for his face. But, Remus noted, he was wearing the look all first years wore, so with a nod, Remus let him in. The boy smiled gratefully and took the window seat across from the young werewolf. "Thanks. I'm Peter Pettigrew. You?"
"Remus Lupin. It's nice to meet a fellow first year." Remus said warmly, eyes bright with anticipation. Perhaps he had found another friend. "So, Peter, what house do you think you'll get?"
Before the young boy could reply, however, the strangest thing happened. The door to their cabin opened for a moment then closed! Remus jumped in shock, eyes going wide. There was no one there! But…there were voices. Two voices…both laughing hysterically about something. Peter jumped up on his seat, wand coming out in a shaky hand. "Merlin! Ghosts!"
"Ghosts?" said one of the voices in utter confusion.
"They can't see us, ya git!" came the second voice, this one having a slightly deeper tone to it.
"Right. I knew that." A moment later, two boys materialized before the closed door, their invisibility falling from them like a cloak. Both were smirking to themselves, as if they were holding in the punch line of a good joke. "Sorry about that!" the first voice commented as he bent to gather a dark green cloak from the floor, his thin framed glasses sliding down his nose as he did so. Unruly brown hair stuck out at odd angles, some falling over his sparkling brown eyes. As he straightened, the boy ran a thin hand through his locks. "First time using an invisibility cloak. I keep forgetting to take it off." Straightening his glasses, the first sat down next to Remus and stuck out his hand, "James Potter, at your service. Sorry if we scared you."
Remus gave the boy a nervous grin while shaking the offered hand. "No, we weren't scared, where we Peter?"
Peter, who was eying the second boy fearfully, put his wand away and muttered, "Easy for you to say, Remus."
James laughed at this. "Looks like we walked in on the wrong pair, Sirius."
Sirius, the second ghost, laughed heartily at this, his black hair falling easily around his narrow face, dark eyes dancing in merriment. "I wouldn't say that, Potter. I think we've found a nice right pair to meet, eh?" He emphasized his point by throwing an arm around Peter and giving him a playful squeeze. Peter let out a mouse-like eep and tried to pull away, making the entire cabin erupt with laughter. By now, the train began to move. Sirius and James both tried to look out the window at the same time to wave their goodbyes, only to end up tripping and falling on Remus, who, in a panic, threw them off with surprising ease and scrambled to the other end of the cart. James fell on his bum, and Sirius toppled face first into the seat. It was Peter's turn to laugh at the three, his previous embarrassment slipping away into relaxed comradery. After apologizing profusely for falling on him, James and Sirius settled down for the nice, long ride to their new school.
Ten minutes into the train ride, the four found themselves becoming fast friends. They talked about anything and everything, from which house they wanted to get in to the recent Quidditch Finals, which James held particular interest in. It was around the end of that conversation that Sirius asked, "I wonder when golden boy will get the surprise we left him."
This made James snicker rather evilly, his eyes claiming a diabolical air behind his lenses. "Oh yes, I wonder."
Peter looked back and forth between the two, confusion on his face. "What ya talking about?"
"Oh nothing." Sirius answered, leaning back with his arms behind his head, grin in place. "Just a little revenge on a certain blond haired git who likes to fancy himself the Minister of Magic or something like that."
At the mention of a blond, arrogant git, Remus was reminded of his previous wonderings. Where was Severus? Had Luscious gotten to him after that incident yesterday? Was he ok? Worry covered his face as those and other unpleasant thoughts crossed his mind. His expression drew the eyes of James, who nudged him in an attempt to jerk him from his thoughts. Brown eyes locking with amber, he asked, "You ok, Remus?"
"Huh? Oh, I—" The sound of running footsteps stopped him from finishing his sentence. The footsteps were too soft for the others to hear, but being a werewolf, Remus could hear better then any normal human. It was a gift he would easily trade if only to be one of those normal humans. Still, that gate was familiar to him. Eyes widening slightly, he stood and opened the door, stepping into the hall way in time to see Severus turning the corner, once again looking panicked and afraid. "Severus!"
Severus came to a quick halt in front of his one time savior, expression lightening for a moment. "Remus! Hey…" He tried his best to smile, but the fear dancing in his eyes ruined whatever effect the gesture might have had. The black-haired boy looked behind him nervously, looking much like a rabbit in the sight of a wolf.
Remus followed his gaze, his heightened senses picking up a furious set of footsteps coming his way. One light in built but strong in pace and two big in built and heavy in pace. His eyes narrowed angrily. "Malfoy." Severus tried to push past Remus, but the slightly taller boy grabbed his arm. "Severus, what happened?"
Severus tried to pull away, an explanation flying from his lips before he could stop it. "Luscious thinks I put slime in his bag and now he's coming after me with Crabbe and Goyle!"
"Did I hear someone say Malfoy?" Sirius asked as he stuck his head out the door. He was looking down the hall in thought, that grin still in place. "Looks like Goldie Locks got our gift, James." From inside, James laughed. Sirius turned his gaze to the two boys blocking the door; when his eyes fell on Severus, the struggling boy stilled. Sirius cocked an eyebrow in surprise. "Snape?"
Severus met his gaze with equal surprise. "Black! What the bloody hell are you doing here? I thought you were in Azkaban or something like that!"
Sirius laughed, grabbed both of Severus' arms, and pulled the boy inside, closing the door after Remus came in and sat down. "I take it Narcissa has been spreading rumors again, stupid prat." He pushed Severus onto the seat next to James, then jumped on the two. "James, cover please." James nodded once and pulled the cloak over the three boys. Before they disappeared, Remus saw Sirius place a hand over Severus' mouth, stopping whatever protest he was about to make. Remus looked at the seemingly empty seat for a moment before looking up at Peter. Both boys shrugged, deciding not to ask.
A loud, obviously irritated voice filled the corridors, shouting obscenities as doors where thrown open in haste. It didn't take long for a slime covered Malfoy to open their door, his blue eyes glaring death at any he saw. Two tall, well built young boys trailed him, looking rather dunce but well effective in the intimidation department, which was the reason Malfoy kept them around. When he was sure the one he was looking for was NOT sitting with the low grade wizard wannabe and the cowering git in the corner, Luscious moved on, slamming the door behind him. Five minutes later, his voice faded from range. It was then that Sirius rolled off of James and Severus, taking the cloak with him as he broke out into a renewed celebration of a prank well pulled. "DID YOU SEE THAT SNOB'S FACE! OH IT WAS PRICELESS!"
James had to fight not to join his friend on the floor. Peter leaned against the wall, laughing hard enough to make his sides hurt. Remus grinned, not sure what to think of the recent events, and looked over at Severus to gage his reaction. The newest member of their little group looked nervously at the door, though his lips were twitching into a small grin. "I'm not surprised you were the one who pulled that, Black." Severus commented dryly after the laughter died down. "Knowing your record."
Sirius only shrugged at that, pushing himself up to reclaim his seat next to Peter. James took Remus' seat after the light-haired boy scooted over a bit to ask, "You two know each other?"
"Sort of." Severus said with a mild touch of annoyance. "Our families move in the same circles."
The blue-eyed prankster let out a sharp laugh at this. "Just go ahead and say it, Snape." Turning his gaze to encompass the entire group, Sirius said in a tone full of pride, "I am the proud black sheep of a not so nice wizarding family! A disgrace to them all." Despite his light tone, there was something hidden in those eyes that would make one wonder how much of that statement was true. Did being a disgrace really not bother him? "That is why I plan to get into Gryffindor this year." His dark eyes sparkled at the thought. "I am going to break away from my father's so called Dark Legacy and forge my own path."
Severus went silent at that. He knew exactly what Black meant by being under the pressures of fulfilling a legacy. It was no fun. Jealousy burned inside of him as he muttered, "Yeah." What he wouldn't give to break out from under his father's hold as well. He glanced at Sirius. Lucky git…he can get away with it cause he has James with him. His dark eyes traveled to Remus, who was looking at him with a small dose of concern. I wonder if Remus would help me too…He shook his head, trying to banish the thought. There was no way he would be able to accomplish what it was Sirius was doing. Severus looked around the room. There is no way they would accept me…protect me…He masked his saddened thoughts by rolling his eyes. "Anyway, he and I don't really know each other very well, because the one time we DID meet, he was mean to me."
"I was not!" Sirius protested in a whiney tone.
"You chased me with a stick!" Severus shot back, indignant, something like a pout on his lips.
"Not a big stick!" Sirius protested as he slumped back in his seat, eyes challenging the young boy, daring him to continue this bout. "And besides, that's nothing compared to you sicking your panther on me!"
Peter's eyes went wide. "You have a panther?"
"I did not!" Snape cried. "She wanted her toy back!"
"What panther plays with a stick?" Sirius asked incredulously, looking at James as if the other boy would have an answer.
James was in the same boat as Peter at the moment. "You have a PANTHER?"
Severus went solemn at that. "Not anymore…my father killed her and had her made into a coat for my mother." Tears sprang up in his dark eyes. "He did it cause I wouldn't play nice with stupid Luscious!" Wouldn't behave like the heir he wanted…His tears stopped short when Remus placed a comforting arm around him, shooting an angry look at Sirius in the process.
"What'd I do?" Sirius asked, bewildered. It was not his fault Snape was crying over his stupid panther! Besides…he looked at Severus with a thoughtful expression. Perhaps his old friend could join him in his…break from society.
"You brought it up! Now he's upset!" Remus said in a not so calm tone.
Sirius rolled his eyes and flopped back against the cushioned chair. "Oh please. Get over it, Snivellus." Come on, Sev, take the bait. Prove to me you aren't a doormat.
Severus jumped up, suddenly angry, spine rigid and fists clenched. "WHAT'D YOU CALL ME!"
Sirius jumped up to face him, hand reaching for his wand. He repressed a grin, very pleased with the reaction he was getting. There was hope for the boy, yet. The black-haired rebel bit out a short laugh before his retort. "Snivellus! Why? You gonna do something about it?"
By now both boys had their wands out, ready to hex each other into the next year. Remus grabbed Severus, trying to calm him down. James, on the other hand, was not so gentle. He dive tackled Sirius, knocking his wand from his hand. Peter sat where he was, wondering if he had made the best decision entering this cabin. Soon an all out wrestling match was occurring in the cramped space. Bags where thrown about, the invisibility cloak got caught on the luggage wrack, and wands were sent flying as the five boys fought. Both Sirius and Severus had long since stopped trying to kill one another when the match began. Now they were just enjoying the moment, as painful as it was.
Time flew by for the five friends. The cabin was in complete disarray by the time they tired themselves out enough to stop. Peter leaned against the window, panting heavily, James stretched out next to him, glasses askew and hair even more a mess then it was at the start of the day. Sirius sat on the floor, one arm locked securely around Severus' neck as the smaller boy rested against him, too tired to try and pull away. Remus lay on his stomach, clutching the invisibly cloak for dear life. Clothes were thrown everywhere, bags laying open and forgotten in the oddest areas. None wanted to even try to clean up. Not yet. Too tired…
The door slid open. "Excuse me, but has anyone seen my cat?" Five pairs of eyes turned to see a young little witch with long red hair and green eyes looking at them innocently. She was dressed in the robes of a first year, a bright smile on her face. "I'm afraid I lost her while getting dressed."
Remus, not picking his head up, muttered, "A cat ran down the corridor a few minutes ago, chasing the snack cart. If you look for that, you'll find her."
The girl's smile got brighter, if that were possible. "Thanks!" She closed the door, continuing her quest to find her kitten.
Sirius chuckled softly at that. "Hey, Sev," Severus muttered something incoherent as a reply, shifting slightly, half asleep against the other boy. Black ruffled his hair a bit, causing his companion to squirm. He knew Severus hated that, despite not knowing him very long. The non-coherent victim swatted pathetically at the offending hand, mumbling a curse. If his wand had been in his hand, Sirius' hair would be pink now. Sirius smirked. He knew that spell! Deciding to stop his irritating action for the moment, he continued his sentence, "You should get a cat."
"Wha?" Severus rolled over as best he could in his head lock. He opened bleary eyes took look up at the other boy. "But…" he began, voice thick with fatigue. "My dad would hate that."
James shifted to his side, propping his head up with his hand. "Yeah, it would be great!"
"You don't know my dad." Black eyes hide behind heavy eyelids as he twisted onto his side and curled up to get warm. The train was a bit drafty he realized belatedly. If he were not so tired and if he were not being held captive, he would have looked for his robe.
Remus frowned at the mention of Severus' dad. He didn't bother moving; he was far too comfortable, plus James' cloak made a wonderful pillow. "He does seem like a rather unpleasant man." The Lupine child ventured softly, hoping Severus wouldn't be too upset by the comment.
The reaction he got was far from upset. "You don't know the half of it!" Severus tightened his ball as if it would protect him from the man they were currently speaking of. "He expects me to be his perfect heir, and if I don't act accordingly, he…he…" The black-haired boy went silent, realizing he was about to admit something he shouldn't. These four didn't want to hear about his family troubles. He failed to see the concerned look exchanged between James and Sirius. Sirius, out of all of them, understood full well the ramifications inflicted on one who did not conform to the Dark Arts society.
The silence stretched on for a while longer before Remus, gathering courage from an unknown source, whispered, "You don't have to be your father."
"Looks like we're almost there." Peter said suddenly, breaking the serious air with his proclamation. He jumped up from his seat, climbed over Sirius and Severus, and reached over Remus to grab his trunk. "We need to get dressed!"
Grateful for the diversion—as well as saving him from having to answer Remus' suggestion—Severus moaned. "I dun wanna get up yet!"
"Yeah, well…" Sirius muttered, not wanting to move either but knowing it was an inevitable struggle. Bracing himself against the bench he was resting against, he continued, "Your pillow is getting up, so…" Without warning, he stood, dropping the black-haired boy onto the clothes-covered floor. Severus hit with a muffled 'oomph!' and shifted just enough to glare at Sirius. The look in his eyes made Sirius grin, his thoughts racing. You could do it, Severus. You could break away. You really could...just trust yourself… trust US…The taller boy shook his head and sighed before bending back down. "Get up, I think you're on my pants."
It took a great deal of effort for the five boys to get changed. A lot of "These aren't mine!" and "Whose socks are those?" and "You wear smiley face boxers?" and the like were exchanged as they jumped around the moving train on one foot or two. Remus tripped a good few times, sending one of them, mainly James, flying into the wall. At one point, Sirius lost his balance while trying to put his sock on and fell into the hallway. Needless to say, what energy they had left after their wrestling match was quickly used up by the time the train stopped in the Hogsmead station. Somehow, the five boys managed to join the throng of students filing out of the train. While, exiting, Remus felt Severus nudge him. "Hey, Remus?"
"Hey, Sev?" the Lupine child asked as he paused. The line was at a halt now that they were near the door.
Severus paused, suddenly too afraid to ask. He wanted to ask Remus if he thought it was actually possible for him to not become his father, but now that the moment was upon him, he didn't think he had the guts. Instead, he asked, "How did you know the cat was with the snack cart?"
Remus blanched at the question. He didn't know how to answer that. He had heard the cat scamper by while they were wrestling, but it would be near impossible to explain that without telling about his hearing enhancement. Biting his lip, the shaggy blond said the first thing that came to mind. "I…uh…heard the Cart Lady say something about the cat following her while she passed our compartment." He flashed an innocent grin to Severus, hoping the young boy would believe him. Severus nodded, taking in the answer with a thoughtful "ok." Little was said after that.
Once out of the train, a bellowing voice called out, "First years, this way! First years, this way!" The five boys broke away from the crowd, their eyes all going wide as a GIANT came into view. He was a massive creature with thick, ratty black hair and the makings of a beard forming on his chin. He held up a lantern, the soft glow illuminating his friendly smile. "All first years follow me to the boats!"
"Boats?" Peter whispered, confusion in his voice.
James and Sirius jumped in as one, exclaiming, "The first years take boats to the castle! It's a tradition." Severus chuckled at their enthusiasm. He had known that as well, but then again, anyone who has read Hogwarts. A History. knew that. An undeterminable amount of time passed before they reached the shore. Sirius and James raced forward and grabbed the first boat they could reach, waving for the others to hurry up. Remus smiled to himself. His new friends were certainly enthusiastic. He made his way over to them, arriving just as Severus was getting in. The boney youth turned and reached out his hand to help Remus get in. Remus eyed the boat for a second. It looked pretty full; would he be able to fit?
Severus extended his hand some more. "Don't worry," he said with a knowing grin. "This thing cans hold up to 700 pounds. You'll be fine. Come on." The blue-eyed child locked an astonished gaze upon his companion, who only shrugged. "What? Haven't you read Hogwarts. A History. before?"
Remus shook his head, but decided not to explore the subject. He quickly climbed in, and he and Severus took their seats just as the boats began to move. James and Sirius were silent for the first time since their adventure had begun, occupying the two seats in the front, eyes wide and expectant. Peter looked nervous as they moved across the dark lake. Severus was a mix of the three, Remus noted, looking both nervous and excited. He, James, and Sirius seemed to know what was coming. He wondered what it was…
They had turned a bend and there it was.
The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…there…in all its glory. Each stain-glass window had a candle burning brightly on its windowpane, casting dancing colors into the night air. The towers seemed to reach up into the sky, going on forever. Flags and banners waved in a magic breeze. The site was truly breath taking. Remus knew that he would never, ever forget this moment for as long as he lived.
The magical moment passed as the boats continued on to the dock. The small group proceeded up the stairs to the castle, nerves beginning to set in as they were ushered into a small room. Waiting at the front was a stern looking woman dressed in a long, flowing green, silver, and black robe. Her dark eyes demanded attention. The doors behind them closed with a resounding bang of finality. Thick silence hung in the air, until the woman spoke. "Greetings, first years. I am Professor McGonagall. I teach transfigurations here at the school. I am also the head of one of the four houses of the school.
"Now, past these doors," She motioned to the double doors behind her. "Is the Great Hall. In there, you will be served all your meals. While at school, you are not allowed to miss a meal without a liable excuse. Awaiting you there are the rest of your school mates as well as your professors. You will be seated according to the house you are sorted into. The houses are Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff." She paused to let the news sink in. Almost simultaneously, the five young boys secretly whished to get into Gryffindor. "While at school, your house shall be your home; your housemates shall be your family. You will do your best to earn points for your house in hopes of winning the House Cup, which is awarded at the end of the year." A soft smile broke over her hard features as she motioned to the doors. "We will now begin the sorting process."
Severus stood nervously at the front of the room, awaiting his turn to be sorted. All the while, he could feel Luscious' eyes boring into his skull. He had to resist the urge to turn several times. Remus' presence helped him do that. The young boy, along with Potter and Black, made him feel a little more at ease. Black had already been sorted, Severus noted with a grin. The prat had actually made it into Gryffindor, Merlin only knows how. Maybe…Severus bit his lip, watching as another student was sent off…maybe he could make it to Gryffindor. Maybe he wouldn't have to follow in his father's footsteps and go into Slytherin. Yes…maybe he could break away…just like Black did!
Remus gave him an encouraging smile. "See you at our table." he said with a soft pat on the back before walking calmly up the steps. Severus watched anxiously. Had the amber-eyed boy been reading his thoughts? Had he known what Severus was hoping for? It did not take long for the Hat to sort his new friend. "Gryffindor!"
Remus smiled, ecstatic at his destination. He raced down the stairs and took the seat next to Sirius. The two boys exchanged high fives before turning back to the ceremony. For a moment, Remus and Severus locked eyes. Remus nodded once, that encouraging look in his eyes. Severus grinned back. Yes, he could do it.
Peter looked around nervously before going up. He sat stiffly, waiting. Severus watched intently. Finally, the hat called out, "Gryffindor!" A loud cheering came from that table as Peter ran over and sat down across from Sirius.
James flashed him a quick thumbs up before bounding confidently up the stairs. Severus couldn't help the grin crossing his face as he watched James. The boy acted like he could take on the world. What confidence! Severus hoped he could learn that from him. They could be friends, right?
The hat called out, "Gryffindor!"
James looked over at Severus, his eyes saying, "Hurry up, Sev! The seats are running out!" He was confident the pale boy would be following them soon enough. Severus nodded hurriedly, saying he got the message. He WOULD join them no matter what!
Names were called and students were sorted. Severus was so nervous that he almost didn't hear McGonagall call him. "Severus Snape!"
Snape froze for a moment, his eyes locked on the hat. All sound faded from around him as he slowly stepped forward. His heart was pounding in his ears. His breathing was shallow and labored. Sweat beaded on his forehead. He reached the first step.
"Come on, Sev!" It was James. Severus glanced over his shoulder. James, Sirius, and Lupin were standing, their eyes bright with excitement. They called out to him, cheering loudly as if the decision had already been made. Severus took courage from them. He WOULD become a Gryffindor.
He reached the second step…
He turned again, this time to eye the Slytherin table. Luscious was watching him, eyes cold as ice. His gaze read, almost audibly, "If you fail, I will find you." Severus almost faltered under that gaze, but then he heard Sirius call out, "Black sheep, Snape! You can do it!" Yes…I can do this…His friends were waiting for him. He would be joining them soon enough.
He reached the stool. McGonagall smiled softly at him. "Welcome, child," she whispered softly. "Have a seat."
Severus shot one last look at his friends before he sat on the rickety stool. He kept his gaze on his small group of encouragement until the hat slid over his eyes.
Hm…difficult… the Hat whispered in his head. You have a malleable mind, fit for Ravenclaw. Then again, there are the seeds of great loyalty and devotion. There is also a desire to prove yourself. All traits of Gryffindor. But…there is also a strong family history in your blood. You are a legacy for Slytherin.
Severus panicked. His mind screamed desperately, Don't send me to Slytherin, please!
I…He paused, not sure what to say. There was so much he wanted, so much he didn't want.
You have great hope, boy…what is it you are wanting so badly?
Severus rolled his head back, something he did a lot where he was nervous or afraid. A tear fell from his trembling eye and rolled down his face, soaking into the brim of the hat. I want to break away from my father…This inner voice reflected to turmoil racing through his veins. It trembled, desperate for someone to listen. I want to define myself as something more…something other then the son of a Dark Wizard. A fiery determination began to build within him as he continued. I don't want to follow my father's legacy! I don't want to be a Death Eater! (The Hat gasped at this…this boy was the son of a Death Eater?) I want to be in Gryffindor with my friends! He went silent. He had no other argument to make. Now, it was all up to the hat.
Silence reigned for what felt like an eternity. Severus felt his nerves straining. His heat was still bounding, thumbing hard against his ear drum. He was holding his breath; his teeth were buried in his already abused lip. What was the Hat's answer? What was it going to say?
Well…It said softly, almost amused, When you put it that way…
The heavy silence that had fallen over the crowd was shattered when the Hat cried out with a clear, strong voice, "GRYFFINDOR!"
Severus didn't wait for McGonagall to take the hat off. He threw it off his head in his haste to get down. The entire Gryffindor table was on their feet, clapping and cheering loudly. Severus launched himself into the arms of his companions, laughing louder then he ever had in his life. Remus held him tightly, yelling over the rest his exaltation. James grabbed him from behind and rustled his hair, laughing and letting out a whoop of excitement. Sirius, however, was the most excited of them all. He pulled Severus from Remus' arms and put the poor boy in a head lock. He would never admit it, but he had hoped Severus would do as he did…break away from their families' legacies of evil and forge a new path. Now, they could do it together. He released the frail boy, only to pull him into a bone breaking hug. He silently swore to make sure Severus traveled his own path, one free of all darkness.
The cheering died down after nearly five minutes, and Severus happily took his seat next to Remus. Part of him felt cold, for he knew Luscious was glaring at him from across the room, but for the moment, that didn't matter. HE wasn't in Slytherin. His father was not going to be pleased with this, he thought with a grin. Black caught his eye, a knowing light dancing there. They both would be disowned for this. The two boys began to laugh, as if it were a secret joke. Oh well!
The rest of the students were sorted without much of a hassle, and then Albus Dumbledore himself stood up on the podium to welcome everyone. The speech was short, thankfully, for the first years were quite hungry. But, before the Headmaster sat down, he looked, briefly, over at the Gryffindor table. "Hogwarts," he said cheerfully, "Is a place of new beginnings. And I hope…" He locked eyes with Severus. "I hope you blaze a great trail from here. Thank you." He sat back down and the feast began.
Severus looked over at his new friends, his smile still in place. Some would say it was the brightest smile at the Gryffindor table that night. James was laughing at some joke Sirius had just told, the candlelight flickering in his glasses and casting shadow over his unruly hair. Remus was eating a healthy serving of chicken; Severus wondered if he would finish it. Peter was smiling nervously next to a second year, adding his own comments here and there to James and Sirius' conversation. As he watched them, the black-haired boy thought over the Headmaster's words. "…blaze a great trail…" Sev had a feeling he could do just that as long as he had his friends there with him.
A.N.: It has always been a speculation of mine…what would happen if Severus and the Marauders had been friends instead of enemies. I guess it is obvious who my favorite character is. I had started this fic a while ago, hoping to make it a series. Originally, Severus would have been sorted into Slytherin like the Books dictated, but I fell out of it for a while. Then, when I finally had the inspiration to finish it, I already had another story in the works that incorporated a lot of the ideas I voiced in this work. So, for those of you who liked this piece, be on the look out for my series: The Marauder's Seal. It is a very unique interpretation of the past and its effect on the future. It will be an AU based in the 4th year. For those of you who hated it, well…I can't do much about that. Sorry. Well, I guess that's it. Review! Review! Review! Thanks.