The dark haired boy moaned quietly in his sleep.
A stuffy dorm room on a Spring night. A rectangular slit of mid grey running across the top of one wall showed that it was early dawn, and that outside would be May mists and thick dew on the grass.
The boy's eyes flickered behind his eyelids, his expression for the moment insipid.
Coming all across the fields were the echoing hoots of owls, calling one another back to the tower, last catches clamped firmly between their talons.
The boy turned and breathed a deep sigh, muttering vaguely, one thin arm reaching and bringing a pillow in closer, his black hair sliding across the pale cotton.
He was still but for a moment before his hand moved again, fingers trailing lightly down the body of the pillow, a triumphant smirk just visible on his face in the paling gloom.
A loud crash exploded across the dormitory, followed by a hissed swearword. There were a few seconds bated silence before the almost simultaneous sound of bedcurtains being raked back.
"Rosier you gimp!" growled out one tired voice. "Did the hat put you in Slytherin for a fucking joke?"
The accused boy's eyes flushed angrily up. "Shut up! Does it look like I dropped this for fun?"
"Knowing you, you probably did!"
"Whatever you say, Wilkes, whatever!"
"No offence, Rosy.""Fuck off!"
"FUCK OFF YOURSELF!"
There was only one bed in the room with the curtains still drawn. Behind them the dark eyed boy's face grew sharp, smirk twisting into a contemptuous sneer.
"Are you going to Quidditch practice – Rosy – or will I have to make you?"
There was a brief silence as the other boys' eyes stared round at where the voice was coming from.
"I'm not scared of you, Snape," hissed back Rosier defensively.
There was the sound of another curtain being raked back, and Rosier felt his back tingle as the wrathful glare of his most sinister dorm mate drilled into him.
"Disturb my sleep once more and you will be."
Knowing he could not win this, Rosier dropped his glare, snatched up his dropped Quidditch gear and stormed out the door with no further retort.
Following a few muttered swearwords, the sound of curtains hissing back and the bedcovers being rearranged filled the room.
From all but one bed.
The dark haired boy remained sitting motionless, one hand still clutching the curtain. The righteous sneer had slipped away to leave a somewhat sullen mouth, and a pair of uneasy, troubled eyes.
For once in his life he remembered that he actually had a completely pleasant dream.
A fantastic, amazing dream.
A terrifying dream that was both impossible and ridiculous.
For dreams were full of the impossible and ridiculous, weren't they?
His face fell impassive once again, then abruptly hardened.
He needed to forget.
Later that day would find him sitting four rows back in the green draped Quidditch stands watching his house's team losing yet again to Gryffindor. He watched the flyers with envy, wishing he hadn't got a permanent ban for that stupid hex last year.
His eyes sought out one particular player and fixed on them. One of the very best players in the field.
He knew he was staring, but for once he felt almost powerless to stop himself. The way he moved, the way he curved effortlessly around the reach of bludgers, his shining eyes arrogantly bright with the thrill of the game, his hair -
"Thinking up a damn good hex, Severus?" came a posh nasal drawl to his left.
Snape started slightly, blinked and felt his collar grow slightly warm.
"No, I wasn't actually," he replied testily.
Avery raised a cool eyebrow. "Well, excuse me for overestimating your moment of gormlessness."
Snape paled slightly before frowning and turning to his elder house mate.
"I was thinking of a damn good potion, actually," he sneered back.
A lazy grin spread across Avery's face.
"Well really, young man?" he replied darkly, slate blue eyes alive with amusement. "I have heard you are pretty good at brewing them."
"I am excellent at brewing them." returned the younger boy coolly.
The elder boy smirked.
"Well, excellent. But, if you find you need any…special ingredients…you know whose uncle to ask. At no extra cost, of course, especially if it involves taking little Pig-Head Gryffindors down to size…"
Snape nodded once and smirked back at him, but inside of it he was gritting his teeth.
It was no secret he hated Gryffindors. Slytherins always hated Gryffindors. Slytherin were losing miserably to miserable bloody Gryffindor.
And above all Slytherins belonged in their dungeon like Gryffindors belonged in their tower. That was the way it was and should be.
And he would take a measure of Dreamless Sleep tonight to make absolutely sure of it.
Lucius Malfoy had told him when he was in first year that there was a mirror in the castle that showed you your dreams. He had never seen it, but right now with his ears and neck burning and his face aflush with mingled desire and disgust, Severus felt he wanted to search it out and smash it to smithereens.