Disclaimer: The character of Harry Potter are the property of JK Rowling. Any familiar characters or situations found herein are copyright or Ms. Rowling and Warner Brothers Pictures. No copyright infringment is intended and none should be inferred. This piece is for entertainment non-profit purposes only.

A/N: Thanks so very much to duj for reviewing. :) I'm glad to hear that you've enjoyed these so far. They're such a small sample of what I've written about Snape, but I can't post any of the rest until the stories are actually complete. I've taken your suggestion and moved this last submission into normal prose - hope you like it. :) It definitely reads differently this way, but I think it works better in the prose format now that I see it set up that way.

Being one that was taunted and bullied during his school years, Severus Snape isn't a foreigner to the words expectations or anger. I can imagine a certain Dark Lord seizing upon that naivette and turning it towards dark deeds that Snape now regrets. The first Death Eater mission, especially, must have been harrowing, as Voldemort watched to see if his young protege was up to the challenge.


Spells seem to vary in difficulty level depending on your mood. All those times when I sat in class, under pressure, during test-time . . .

I was doomed.

No one can be expected to work under those conditions. I can't do it.

I can't, until I realise how much time is left. That's the point when I panic, when survival mechanisms kick in. That's when I really lose myself in my work.

Oh yeah.

There's nothing like inspiration to get the magic working. Normal pressure doesn't always cut it – if you want a spell to work right, you have to channel it.

That's what tests do. They make you find the right mindset, the right feeling, and the right power for the right words.

Sometimes spells don't come easily; I can't find the energy, or I don't want to take the time to find it. Sometimes I have better things to do than worry about perfecting a stupid little spell. I don't care at times like these.

But sometimes I do.

That's when they come easily, like popping the cork on a bottle of wine and pouring it out for the world to see. Red liquid, spilling on the ground, running into the cracks, turning the dust into mud.

Easy, right?

It is, especially when you hate the wine as much as I do. Cheap, dirty stuff.

That's why I'm here right now. That's why I'm doing this, why I have someone breathing down my neck waiting for me to screw up. Only, this test is so much easier than the ones I wrote at school. I know what I have to do, and I'm not afraid to do it. This is one exam that I'm actually prepped for, with material I've had taught to me my entire life –


It's time to break another bottle.