Sorry I haven't updated in ages, but the Black Family seriously messed (or expletive of choice) with my timeline and the ages of the different older students. Instead of rewriting the first five chapters, I have decided to stick mainly to book canon; although I did make Bella and Rodolphus seventh years instead of sixth years. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this

Thanks to Verity for checking over my commas.


Chapter 6: Carving a Niche

Severus soon discovered that he had been mistaken about Rosier and Wilkes finally accepting him as a Slytherin. They turned out to be fair weather friends, inviting him in on their evening chats only when it involved a difficult piece of homework that he could help them with. Most of the time, he was beneath their notice. Sebastian Flint, on the other hand, was decidedly loyal. The two soon became friends and spent most of their free time in the library. Flint was a slow learner, but he studied lessons and practiced spells with a dogged determination that Severus admired.

The rest of the fall term sped by in a whirlwind of classes, homework, Quidditch, scrapes with Potter and Black, House points lost and gained, and a detention. More than once Severus rushed to class only to have his school bag split along a seam, dumping its contents in the corridor. Each time it caused him to be late and cost Slytherin points. At first he had brushed it off as merely a coincidence; the bag was old, and his wizarding school supplies and books were much heavier than the ones from his Muggle school had been. But then he noticed that it only happened right before the classes he had with the Gryffindors, and most often it was right before Transfiguration.

One morning--after his bag had split, yet again, in the corridor-- he came stumbling barely on time into Transfiguration. Before slipping into his seat at the back of the room, he was aware that Potter and Black looked rather disappointed. Severus now felt fairly certain they had been the ones jinxing his bag. He angrily tried to figure out why Potter and Black had decided to make him the major target of their pranks.

"Hand in your homework assignments, please," McGonagall called from the front of the room.

Severus grabbed his copy of Standard Book of Spells from his bag, only to discover that his bottle of ink had leaked all over the book and his essay. He stared down in horror at the ruined book and homework. He swore rather foully under his breath--or so he thought.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Snape?" Professor McGonagall was towering over him, her lips a thin furious line. "Such language will not be tolerated in my classroom."

He knew he was in for it. "I'm sorry, Professor; it just slipped out. My ink bottle leaked all over my book and homework."

She looked down at him and the dripping book and parchment. A flash of something that vaguely resembled sympathy flickered across her stern features. She waved her wand, siphoning the ink off of his things. The textbook was fine, but the essay was smudged so badly in several place that it was illegible. "Since you have never failed to hand in an assignment before, and you obviously did complete the homework, Mr. Snape, I will allow you to turn it in at the end of the day without penalty. However, I suggest you pack your things a bit more carefully in the future."

He cast his eyes down, feeling both grateful and humiliated. "Yes, Professor."

Several times during class, he caught Potter and Black casting nasty looks at him. Severus felt his face burn with resentment, and he was so distracted that he managed to cause his teacup to crack when he tried to transfigure it. This, of course, drew snickers from his neighboring classmates. With ten minutes left before the bell, he was ready to give up. It was pointless to keep trying until he was calmer. Finally the bell rang, and he gathered his property and stood up to head for the door.

"A word with you before you leave, Mr. Snape," McGonagall said, and he hung back as the other students filed out of the classroom, whispering among themselves about his possible fate. When the door closed behind them, the Head of Gryffindor House spoke in her usual brisk tone, "I have noticed you have been tardy for this class six times so far this term, young man. Why is that?"

"My school bag keeps splitting, Professor." He wanted to accuse Potter and Black of the crime, but he felt it would be useless so speak against them to their Head.

The Transfiguration mistress took the bag for inspection. "Have you been sewing it yourself?"

He nodded. When he had been smaller, he had watched his paternal grandmother as she mended clothing in the evening. Nana Snape had taught him how to do simple mending stitches, even though she had told him that boys really didn't need to learn such things. He answered, with a hint of pride in his voice, "I used the needle I transfigured from a toothpick in class, Professor."

The corners of McGonagall's mouth twitched almost into a smile, but the older woman seemed to catch herself. "Well, at least one of my students has decided to apply what they have learned in class. However, a Mending Charm would be a better solution, I think." With a wave of her wand, she repaired the bag and handed it back to him. "Now, remember your assignment needs to be in my office before curfew, Mr. Snape."

"Yes, Professor, and thank you." He quickly and carefully packed his newly-mended bag and trotted off to lunch.


As the end of the winter term drew near, the betrothal of Bellatrix Black to Rodolphus Lestrange was announced in the Daily Prophet. While the older Slytherin students—especially the girls—were thrown into a whirl of excitement, Severus couldn't have cared less. It seemed that young Miss Black shared his lack of interest in the upcoming wedding. She refused to tolerate Lestange's courtly overtures, which caused a few nasty scenes in the common room. Having more important things to do, Severus kept out of the complicated romantic entanglements of the seventh-year students.

He continued to maintain his friendship with Lily Evans--a task that was more difficult than he ever imagined it would be. Their conversations were reduced to brief exchanges in the library, where they could frequently pass each other as they pretended to search for books on the seemingly endless rows of shelves. One evening they were in the far corner of the stacks, discussing plans for the upcoming holidays.

"Going home for the Easter holiday, Severus?"

"Yes, and you?"

Lily nodded. "I can't believe there is only one more term after this. What are you going to do over the summer?"

"Stay at my uncle's for most of it, I suppose." He flipped a few more pages of his book, thinking about the long hot afternoons of studying that would be occupying most of his time. "You?"

"Oh, nothing much, just swimming lessons, and spending time with family. I can't wait to see the look on Petunia's face when I get home." Lily's face suddenly sobered. "I don't have much in common with my old friends. I'll miss you, Severus. We could write to each other. I can give you my address if you like."

Severus hesitated. He really didn't want Lily to know where lived. He turned and pretended to look for a title among the many books in front of him, taking one off the shelf and flipping through it. "I'm not sure if I'll be able to write once I'm at my uncle's; he doesn't have an address that can be reached by Muggle post. I might not get my letters until after I get back."

Lily paged through her own book before putting it back on the shelf. "Does he have an owl?"

Of course he did, but Severus doubted that he would let the owl be used for corresponding with a Muggle-born. "I don't know."

"Well, it's only two months. I'll just see you when we come back," Lily said. She looked up suddenly. "Uh-oh, Malfoy. 'bye, Severus."

Severus scowled at her retreating back, more because of Malfoy's appearance than Lily's behavior. He looked up at the prefect defiantly. Lucius stared down at the dark-haired boy, sneering. "Doing a little homework, Snape? I never realized that first years could take Mudblood Studies."

Severus knew better than to admit he had actually been speaking with Lily. He snapped shut the largish book he was looking at. "I'm doing some research for Defense Against the Dark Arts. That girl was looking for a book."

"If you want to be accepted in Slytherin, I suggest you keep away from trash like that," Lucius said disdainfully. "It's bad enough you were raised by a blood-traitor and Muggle filth."

White-hot anger flared up in the younger Slytherin. How dare Malfoy insult him and his parents like that! The boy drew his wand, keeping it partially concealed under his sleeve.

"Put that away before you hurt yourself," Lucius ordered in a harsh whisper.

Severus glared at him, refusing to lower his wand. "I could hex you so badly that it would take Madam Pomfrey a week to sort you out, and you know it."

"If you hex a prefect," he hissed, pushing Severus's wand out of the way in exasperation, "you will find your scrawny, half-blood ass on the next train home."

Knowing that Malfoy would make good on the threat, Severus grudgingly pocketed his wand. One of these days, he would get Malfoy back for treating him like nothing. He would show the sneering toff that in spite of his heritage he was not going to be some groveling toady that could be pushed around on a whim.

"Now there's a bright lad." The prefect gave him a frosty smile. "I have been keeping an eye on you, Severus. If you learn to control that wretched temper of yours, I may find ways that you can be useful to me--ways that will help you earn the respect of your peers."

Still clutching the wand in his pocket like a talisman, Severus narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the arrogant face before him. He had been well aware of Lucius Malfoy's gaze following him at mealtimes, in the common room, and in the hallways between classes. Once or twice after he had managed to hex Potter or Black undetected, Malfoy had given him an appraising look. His uncle had spoken frequently of the Malfoy family, and Severus had gotten the impression that they were more than the equals of the Blacks. If Lucius had decided he was worth the effort to notice...

"What do you mean there might be ways I can be useful?"

With a cryptic smile, Lucius said, "Meet me in the common room after midnight and keep your mouth shut about it."

Severus watched the prefect sweep away from him, drawing appreciative glances from several girls and envious ones from several of the older boys. As soon as Malfoy was out of sight, Severus went to search for Lily. She was sitting at her usual table with Remus Lupin and some Gryffindor girls. With a disgruntled scowl, he headed off to another table to scribble down some notes.


As he lay wide awake in his bed, it seemed to take hours for his dorm mates to go to sleep, but finally, Flint's breathing changed to a snore. Severus counted to fifty before climbing out of bed fully-dressed, with his shoes in one hand and his wand in the other. He exited the dormitory, taking care not to make a single sound.

His feet were freezing, and he quickly headed to the common room so he could put his shoes on. As he rounded the corner, he could hear whispered voices. Stepping into the common room, he saw the shadowy outlines of several older students in the faint firelight. He made his way across the common room; just as he was about to speak, five lighted wands were pointed in his face. Severus stumbled backwards with a little yelp of surprise as his backside connected with the cold stone floor.

"What are you doing here?" a deep voice demanded, and a strong hand yanked him to his feet.

Severus glared up at Rodolphus Lestrange and rubbed his arm, answering, "I'm coming with you."

"The hell you are!" Rodolphus snapped in a harsh whisper, and Rabastan, his brother, kicked Severus's shoe across the room.

Bellatrix Black pointed her wand at Severus. "How did you--"

"I asked him to come," Lucius interrupted coolly as he entered the common room, Summoning Severus's shoe.

Bellatrix's beautiful face was twisted into a scowl. "You did what, Lucius?"

"You heard me. I believe that young Severus has many worthwhile talents, so I invited him to join us."

"You're a fool to trust half-blood riffraff, Lucius. Go back to bed!" Bellatrix ordered Severus in a threatening whisper. "We have no time for little boys who want to tag along."

Lucius stepped between Severus and Bellatrix. "He will be joining us, Bella."

"He isn't old enough." There was a stubborn set to her jaw.

"He has a decent amount of power and ambition; that's all I care about." Lucius stood his ground. "Severus is coming with us."

"I don't take orders from you, Lucius," she said haughtily.

"You need to learn to do what you're told, Bella!" Rodolphus said, grabbing hold of her arm. "The first thing I intend to teach you --"

A sharp slap echoed in the common room as her hand shot out and connected with the young man's face. Rodolphus let go of her arm, and Bella hissed at him, "Don't think that you will ever lord over me, Rodolphus. If you're so eager to have a doormat for a wife, you would be much better off with one of my sisters. If he gets us caught, Lucius, I'll kill you both."

"You'll do no such thing," Lucius snarled, pressing the tip of his wand to Bellatrix throat. "No one will get caught if you remember to keep your head, Bella. You need to learn to temper your zealous nature and think with your head first." He shoved her away and, without taking his eyes from the young witch, said to Severus, "Follow me, Snape, and keep your mouth shut no matter what."

Bella slipped out of the common room with the Lestrange brothers close behind her. Severus followed Lucius, and the two other sixth year boys, Crabbe and Goyle, brought up the rear. The small group silently made their way to the main floor of the castle, constantly on the lookout for Mr. Filch and his cat, Mrs. Norris. There was a close call when Goyle bumped into one of the large decorative vases, causing it to wobble precariously. Cursing Goyle's name, Rabastan righted the huge piece of pottery. They slipped out through one of the house-elf service entrances and made their way to the edge of the Forbidden Forest.

Once they were clear of the wards, Bella turned to Severus and asked in a mocking voice, "Do you know how to Apparate, little boy?"

He felt his cheeks flame. Of course he didn't know how! Of all the things his uncle wouldn't let him try, Apparition had been one of them. "No."

"Too bad." Bella spun on her heel and vanished with a sharp crack. The Lestrange brothers laughed at him and disappeared. Crabbe and Goyle followed suit with a sound nearly as loud as a canon blast.

"Idiots," Lucius grumbled, shaking his head. "Have you ever done side-along Apparition?"

"Yes," Severus answered.

"Good, take my elbow and don't let go."

Making himself relax, Severus exhaled to minimize the squished feeling during the Apparition process. A pop signaled the end of the journey. The boy opened his eyes and looked around. They were in what seemed to be a torch-lit cavern. Severus could smell a slight saltiness to the air and hear the rumbling of waves.

He looked up at Malfoy and asked, "Where are we?"

"I can't tell you that, but we come here to train and perfect our use of curses... Dark curses." Malfoy's face became stern. "You can't breathe a word of anything that happens while you're with us. If you do, you may not live long enough to regret it. Do you understand?"

"I understand," Severus answered solemnly, the back of his neck tingling with a mixture of excitement and fear.

"Nice to see you didn't lose your little leech on the way." The look of disgust on Bella's face strongly suggested that she was disappointed that he hadn't been lost along the way. His heritage was no secret—a lowly half-blood in a House that valued purity in one's lineage. Bella and the Lestrange brothers had made it abundantly clear that they considered him to be less than a servant. It had been obvious that they didn't like him. Without Lucius Malfoy's support, Severus was certain that he would have been ostracized by the older students or worse... A shiver ran through the younger boy. Had that been the intention: to make him vanish without a trace?

A jet of red light shot from the end of Bella's wand and narrowly missed Severus's shoulder. Caught off guard, he threw himself to the ground.

"Damn it, Bella!" Lucius snapped returning fire. "If anything happens to him, it will be too easy to connect it to us. We were told no one was to learn about our activities."

"Don't worry, Lucius, I won't let your precious little poppet come to any harm," Bella called with a laugh. "Let's see what the wee lad is made of."

Lucius helped Severus to his feet. "You heard her. Let's see if I was right to bring you along. Just don't use anything that leaves an obvious injury or there isn't a counter for. We want to avoid any trips to Pomfrey's infirmary."

The younger boy nodded. While Lucius turned to spar with Bellatrix, Severus watched the others. They were sending hexes and curses at each other, causing their opponents to freeze on the spot and fall over. Crabbe and Goyle had managed to cause their feet to stick to the ground. The older Lestrange brother had trapped the younger on the ground in a Full-Body Bind before turning his attention to Lucius and Bella. Midway through casting a spell, Rodolphus spun in the youngest boy's direction and sent an electric-blue jet of energy at him. Severus ducked and sent a Stinging Hex at Rodolphus. He hadn't had time to be careful with his aim, but he could tell by the retching sounds emitted by the hunched-over form that the hex had found its mark.

He soon realized that his significantly smaller size was an advantage. Small, quick targets were much harder to hit than large, lumbering ones. The only person who even came close to him in speed was Bellatrix. That, combined with deadly accurate aim and the ability to cast spells without saying the incantations, made her a formidable foe. Severus, who hadn't mastered nonverbal spells, was whispering his curses, hoping to keep his intentions secret. It slowed his ability to return fire and gave Bella just enough of an edge. She caught him off guard, knocking him off of his feet.

"Let's see how you do with following orders, little boy." She raised her wand. "Imperio!"

Severus felt his mind go peacefully blank, and a warm, buzzing sound filled his ears. He felt relaxed... peaceful, and he could just barely hear Bella's voice.

"You look hungry, Severus," she crooned. Now that she mentioned it, he was hungry. "Pick up some dirt and eat it." Dirt? He didn't want to eat dirt. Bella's voice continued, "Come on now, Severus, you're really famished." He felt hungrier. He had probably eaten dirt when he was little. It wasn't too terrible. He scooped up a handful. It didn't look appetizing, and he decided to drop it. Bella's voice insisted, "Now be a good little boy and eat that dirt."

Why not? It's not going to hurt me. He brought it to his lips and opened his mouth, ready to take a bite.

"That's enough, Bella!" Severus barely heard Lucius's voice through the power of the spell. "It's time to go back."

The spell lifted, and suddenly Severus was once again in his right mind. He threw down the handful of dirt that was merely inches from his gaping mouth, humiliated about what he had almost done. Bella tossed her hair back from her face. "You're always spoiling my fun, Lucius."

With a harsh laugh, the girl vanished and the rest of the small group followed her. Lucius looked at the scowling boy. "Congratulations on not being completely taken in by that Imperius Curse."

"She still got me."

"True, but now you know how it feels. You also didn't comply right away; it looked like you were trying to resist it. That's... impressive." He offered Severus his elbow. "We need to get back."

Fifteen minutes later, Severus fell across his bed, exhausted but bolstered by the fact that Lucius Malfoy had taken notice of him. As he fell asleep, he knew this new turn of events would please his uncle. Morning came all too soon, and Severus side-stepped Sebastian's many questions. As much as he liked Sebastian and enjoyed his company, having someone as important as Lucius Malfoy befriend him meant respect and status in Slytherin.

As the final term progressed, Severus went on a few more excursions with the older Slytherins, waking the following morning with scrapes and bruises. Sebastian only tried to pry the truth out of him once more before giving up. Wilkes and Rosier continued to ignore him until one evening when Lucius Malfoy invited Severus to join him for a game of wizards' chess. Severus proudly took his place at the table across from the prefect and didn't mind losing fifteen minuets into the game. After that, the two of them made an effort to include Severus beyond study sessions in the common room. While Severus would never consider them friends by any stretch of the imagination, it was a pleasant change to see the looks of awe on their faces when he brewed potions flawlessly or perfected charms before everyone else in class.

Shortly before final examinations began, Lucius requested that Severus sit with him during the evening meals. Flattered by such an honor, the first year sat with the older students, much to the consternation of both his year mates and Bellatrix Black. Lucius approved of him, so he didn't care what she thought. After the spring term, she would be finished with school and married to Rodolphus Lestrange by the end of the summer; Severus would no longer have to deal with her. It seemed as if respect was indeed coming his way.


When the final day of the term arrived, Severus and Sebastian boarded the train for the long journey home. Since Lucius was going to spend most of the trip in the prefect car, Severus doubted that he would be allowed to join the older students, so he and Sebastian settled on sharing a compartment with Wilkes and Rosier. They stowed their luggage on the racks overhead and took their seats. It was stiflingly hot on the train so they decided to leave both the window and the compartment door open. After the train started to move, Rosier pulled out a deck of Exploding Snap cards and began to shuffle them. Three games later, he put the cards away and looked at Severus.

"What did you do to get Lucius Malfoy to notice you?" he asked.

Lucius had told him to never, under any circumstances, tell anyone anything about the practice sessions. No matter how much he wanted to impress his dorm mates, Severus knew betraying Malfoy's trust would have consequences he didn't want to deal with. He let a cryptic smile drift across his lips. "Lucius Malfoy knows true talent when he sees it."

"Is it all of those curses you know?" Wilkes asked.

"Maybe."

"Could you teach us some of them?" Rosier was eyeing him skeptically.

Severus returned the gaze, his dark eyes not blinking. "I could. Are you willing to let me demonstrate on you?"

The other boys paled, and Sebastian looked uncomfortable, as if half-expecting himself to become the target. Severus wouldn't do anything to his friend unless he absolutely had to. Rosier and Wilkes, on the other hand, would be worthwhile targets; it would be payback for a year of them treating him like nothing. Severus drew his wand. Luckily for his travel companions, better prey in the form of Peter Pettigrew wandered by the open compartment door. It wasn't Potter or Black, but he would have to do.

"Furnunculus!" Pettigrew yelped as the boils popped out on his skin. Even if Potter and Black dared to pick a fight with him—which Severus was certain they would—he felt confident that he wouldn't have to face them alone. He turned to the others. "Satisfied?"

The other boys nodded, clearly impressed, but Sebastian stared out the window. Severus sat back in his seat and crossed his arms across his thin chest. The little witch with the trolley stopped at their door, and the boys dug into their pockets and ordered off of the cart. Severus didn't bother; he knew he only had a Sickle and a handful of Knuts in his pocket.

"Want anything, Severus?" Wilkes asked, grinning at him. "Cauldron Cake? Berti Bott's?"

Severus had eaten more than normal at the school in preparation for the trip to Kings' Cross Station. He didn't care much for sweets, but he knew refusing would be rude. "Maybe a Licorice Wand or two and a Chocolate Frog."

The items were tossed into his lap. He ripped open the package of one of the wands and took a bite. The bitter flavor of the licorice filled his mouth. When he finished it, he opened up the Chocolate Frog box, capturing the frog before it hopped out of the compartment. Elladora Ketteridge, who discovered the use of gillyweed in the early eighteenth century when she nearly suffocated after eating it and recovered only when she stuck her head into a bucket of water, smiled up at him. He stuck the frog back in the box, deciding to save it for his mother. He joined in on the Quidditch talk with the others.

Wilkes was going on about Puddlemere United when James Potter and Sirius Black stomped up to their compartment door with their wands drawn and a whimpering Peter Pettigrew in tow. Remus Lupin stood behind Pettigrew with an indignant look on his face.

"Snivellus, only cowards hex someone in the back," James snarled. He and Sirius raised their wands.

Severus jumped to his feet. "I'm not a coward!"

"Then why did you hex him in the back?" Remus demanded, pushing Sirius out of the way. The sickly boy's amber eyes, which were normally gentle, seemed to glow with rage. Severus had never seen him angry before.

"Is there a problem, gentlemen?" said a lazy voice. Lucius Malfoy and another Slytherin student, Agustus Rookwood, were in the corridor, towering over the much younger Gryffindor boys. The prefect's eyes flicked to poor, boil-ridden Pettigrew. With a wave of his wand, Lucius reversed the spell. "I think it's time for you to return to your own compartment. And this time, be sure to stay there."

The four of them stalked off, giving Severus and the other Slytherin first years filthy looks.

"Little wankers," the other boy said, glaring down the hallway.

"I don't suppose you want to tell me who hexed the little lump from Gryffindor, do you?"

Lucius asked. He looked as Severus knowingly; there was little doubt in his mind who had cast the hex. "If you have any other problems, Agustus will be in the next compartment along with Antonin Dolohov and Arcturus Flint. Enjoy the rest of your trip."

"Call on Triple A if you have any problems," Rookwood said with a wink.

Severus saw Lily pass by their compartment with one of her friends. He fleetingly wondered if she had heard about him hexing Pettigrew in the back. Well, it was too late to do anything about it if she had. Sebastian was quiet, speaking only if spoken to. When Rosier and Wilkes made a trip to the loo, Severus asked him about his silence.

"It was really low of you to hex Peter Pettigrew in the back like that, even if he's only a Gryffindor." He looked up at Severus, concerned. "What's gotten into you, Severus?"

Severus was irritated. "As if any of them have ever passed up a chance to hex me."

"That's not the point. I just thought you were above that, that's all." Sebastian turned back toward the window.

"Taking a Gryffindor's side over mine?"

"No."

"Then why should you care?"

"I just thought you had a sense of honor; I guess I was wrong." The other boy leaned over a fiddled with his shoelace. "You're clever, ambitious and hard-working... someone I wanted to be like."

Severus was stunned by the words. Sebastian looked up to him? He became uncomfortable. The numerous times Potter, Black and Pettigrew had used spells on him over the course of the year came to mind—unsolicited attacks for the most part. Sure he had done the same to them, but he was only one person; they were always two against one—sometimes three, even four. No! He would not feel guilty about what he had done. Guilt was for the weak, according to Lucius Malfoy and his uncle. Severus was not weak; he couldn't afford to be.

The rest of the trip was spent playing a few more games of Exploding Snap and complaining about Gryffindors. Finally, as the light was fading, the train entered London and pulled up to Platform Nine and Three-quarters. The boys grabbed their luggage and exited the train. Severus caught sight of his uncle and said good-bye to the other boys. He was struggling with his trunk when it lifted without warning. The boy reflexively drew his wand, expecting retribution from Potter and Black for hexing Pettigrew.

"Now, now, Severus," Lucius said with a smile, "you're not under attack."

"Thank you," Severus answered gratefully.

He escorted the boy over to his uncle. "Mr. Prince," Lucius said, nodding politely, "here is your nephew, safe and sound. He had an excellent final term."

"I am pleased to hear that, Lucius. Enjoy your summer, young man." William Prince shifted his attention to his nephew as soon as Lucius left to join his family. "I see you've made an impression on young Malfoy. That will be a benefit to you in the long run." They headed toward the barrier. "You've pleased me, Severus. I'll be certain to reward you this summer when you come for your visit. Perhaps you will be allowed to accompany your aunt and me to Bellatrix Black and Rodolphus Lestrange's wedding."

The last thing Severus wanted was to see Bellatrix; such a thing would ruin his summer. An owl, a new set of robes, or a book about the Dark Arts would have been more satisfactory. However, if his uncle considered it a reward, then he would go along.


Before long he was walking up to his parents' door with his uncle, dragging the heavy trunk behind him. William left him there, not finding it necessary to speak with his sister. The date he would take Severus to his home for the rest of the summer would announced by owl.

Severus entered his Muggle home. Tobias Snape was in the front room, reading the newspaper. Eileen was coming from the kitchen, her apron dusted with flour. His mother greeted him with open arms, exclaiming over how much he had grown since Easter. His father ruffed his hair, his own greeting a little more subdued. Even though Severus knew his father was glad to see him, Severus could tell that their relationship would only grow more distant as he became part of the wizarding world while his father remained firmly in the Muggle world. He couldn't wait to tell them a carefully edited version of his final term and hear their news about the local events. Overall, it was wonderful to be home.


A/N: Someone said it was such an unusual thing to see Snape happy to be home in a Marauder Era story and she couldn't wait to see the reaction to it. Come to think of it, neither can I.