Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or the characters within this fanfic, but I do own Eileen Pierce and her kneazle Mephistopheles so don't steal them! That is all, you may continue...
It was a pleasant night, calm and still as the steady flow of students dismounted the Hogwarts Express, filtering their way to the carriages that would carry them up to their place of study. As the sea of black robes grew larger, a small and meek looking girl dismounted the train, being pushed and jostled back and forth as she tried desperately to carry her things to the giant shouting over everyone's heads.
"Firs' years, follow me! All firs' years, come this way! Well, aren' yeh a bit small ter be carrying such a big trunk? It mus be twice yer size! Let me get that fer yeh!"
The giant stooped down and took the tiny girls over-sized trunk and heaved it over one shoulder, saying, "Righ' then, let's go! Follow me ter the boats!"
She kept close to him, making certain her belongings weren't confiscated in any way as they quickly made toward the shore of Hogwarts' lake. Climbing into the boat with the man bearing her things, they set sail and headed across the lake toward the school.
"So, yeh excited 'bout coming ter Hogwarts, Miss..." He looked over his shoulder at her and she glanced up with a curiously calm look on her face.
"Pierce. Eileen Pierce." She responded in a soft yet firm voice that brought a smile to his face.
"Miss Pierce. My name's Hagrid, I think yeh'll enjoy it here, it's a great school, Hogwarts is."
She didn't respond, looking into her lap at the basket sitting in it which seemed to be moving. She spoke softly to it before turning her attention to the fleet of boats drifting along around them. She saw a small girl with fiery red hair and freckles chatting happily with some students in her boat. Narrowing her eyes, she returned to staring at the basket for the rest of the ride.
They finally hit shore and climbed out, waiting for Hagrid to lead the way up the bank and across the field to the front doors.
Everyone seemed to be keeping their distance from Eileen, though at first glance it would seem obvious for their caution. She was a frail looking girl with gleaming white hair that hung down past her waist, tied back at the nap of her neck by a black satin ribbon. The black robes she wore gave her a ghostly appearance as her skin was pallid, one might assume she'd rarely seen the light of day. But the most disturbing of her features, as pretty as she was, were her eyes; two intensely icy blue orbs set out against the colorless essence of her form, her left pupil hauntingly more dilated than the other so that it made her left eye look darker in color. Despite all these strange and disturbingly odd characteristics, it was the shaking basket she carried in her arms that alarmed the new students the most.
Hagrid climbed the stairs into the entrance hall where he added Eileen's trunk to the pile of waiting belongings, taking her basket and setting it on top before directing her attention to an elderly woman wearing a pointed hat and emerald green robes.
"My name is Professor McGonagall, I welcome you to our school of magic. First I would like to go over a few rules before we go in..." The woman prattled on about school policies for students and what was off limits before finishing, "If you will follow me, Ill take you to the Great Hall where you will be sorted into your houses. Please make a single file line and keep quiet."
McGonagall turned and they followed her up the stairs and down a long hallway. Soon they found themselves standing in front of four tables filled by children of all sizes and shapes who were watching them intently as the ceremony ensued. McGonagall called name after name as the nervous 1st years were dispersed between Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Finally, she called "Pierce, Eileen."
The pale girl drifted slowly up to the stool whereon she sat, placing the tattered and old wizards hat upon her head. A thrilling silence fell as she waited, nothing happening until finally the hat spoke low and slow.
"Ah, well you're quite a miserable little girl, it's hard to choose where I should put you. You seem fit for any of the four houses, perhaps Ravenclaw would suit you. But the deep-set hatred in your heart could only point to...SLYTHERIN!"
The table on the far right side of the room cheered dully and she stepped down from the platform, taking her sweet time to reluctantly join her fellow students. They made plenty of room for her as she sat down, staring all along in disgusting interest while she examined the golden dishes. When the ceremony had come to an end, a tall white haired wizard stood and began to address the students cheerfully from a podium at the front of the room. He introduced himself as the headmaster and the teachers for the new students, though Eileen wasn't paying much attention. Before long, food magically appeared on the dishes all along the tables and the room filled with clattering and conversation as dinner ensued. Eileen quietly kept to herself all through the meal, barely eating anything more than a couple dinner rolls and a few slices of glazed ham.
"I wonder where Professor Snape is this time, he's usually at the opening feasts..." One of the Slytherin students whispered to another.
"Catching students playing hooky, most likely. Or maybe Peeves got him good on his way to the great hall." Another hissed, followed by a choir of hushed giggles.
Eileen listened to them with piqued interest. Who was this professor they spoke of? Unfortunately she wasn't inquisitive enough to bother asking when the headmaster stood again and dismissed them to their dorms for the night, signaling for the prefects of each house to guide the 1st years to their new place of residence.
The Slytherins quickly made their way out of the hall and headed toward a set of stairs going down below ground, but Eileen wasn't keen to follow just yet. She made her way unnoticed back to the entrance hall thinking she could retrieve her things when to her surprise she found the hall empty. Blinking, she began looking over the railings and searching for hidden doorways but there was no sign of her belongings.
"What might you be doing out here alone? Trying to sneak out before bed?" A voice hissed behind her and she turned to find herself face to face with a miserable looking old man accompanied by a shabby tabby with yellow eyes.
"My things - " She started when he interrupted, "Have been taken to your room, weren't you told?"
She shook her head and he sniffed loudly, continuing, "Well then get out of here and don't let me catch you sneaking off by yourself because next time, I won't let you off so easy!"
She didn't wait to be escorted as she quickly glided back up the stairs and down the long hallway toward the stairs she saw the rest of the Slytherins descend. On her way there, she collided with a tall boy with the same fiery red hair as the girl she saw earlier in the boat.
"Oi, watch where you're running!" He bellowed, clearly in a bad mood about something.
She didn't stop to say an apology as she darted around him and down the stairs, hearing his fading voice call behind her, "Fine, don't apologize! Typical Slytherin, no manners at all"
Typical Slytherin? Were the members of her house so commonly known as such? She wasn't sure if she'd like being in this house but it was too late to change her mind now. Wandering aimlessly through the many hallways winding around under the school, she quickly became lost and sought to find the stairs again in hopes of finding a teacher. To her great misfortune, she ran straight into a towering body of black robes and looked up into the snarling face of a rather cross-looking man.
"It is past curfew, why are you not in your dormitory." His question didn't seem like a question as much as a demand for an answer.
Her eyes locked onto his, her expression of the utmost serenity as she said softly, "Are you Professor Snape?"
"Yes, I am, but that does not answer my question now does it?" He remarked snidely, taking in her appearance briefly before returning to their staring contest. He was in as foul a mood as the redhead she had run into earlier.
"I got lost." She replied simply.
"A likely story, I've had to deal with enough lost trouble-makers this evening. Tell me what house you belong to so I can take points away from it."
"Slytherin? I have such a disgrace in my own house? Well then, for your outright disrespect for the rules of this school, you have detention tomorrow evening in my office. Do not get lost on your way there." And with that, he turned and started off in the opposite direction.
"Professor?" She called after him in a meek yet strong voice.
He turned sharply and glared at her, saying, "Yes?"
"I'm still lost."
"Is it my fault you couldn't bother following the rest of the Slytherins to the dormitories?"
"Then have fun." He sneered and turned to go when a young and attractive boy with bleach blond hair appeared around a corner. Snape stopped and spoke with a calmer voice, "Malfoy, why are you - nevermind, escort this 1st year and we'll forget you were even here."
"Yes, sir." Malfoy replied, waiting for Eileen to catch up before stalking off down another hallway, away from Snape. They walked quietly for a few feet before Malfoy spoke in a drawling whisper, "I don't think he likes you, you don't want to get on Snape's bad side. Potters done that from day one and gotten detention nearly everyday of the year!"
She didn't take him seriously as she sensed a certain air of trickery in his voice but nodded all the same, saying, "I've got detention, for getting lost."
"Sucks to be you. Here we are; Salazar." He spoke to a wall and it suddenly opened, revealing a crowded room full of chairs and couches occupied by students. Many of them called out to Malfoy as they walked in, rushing forward and engaging him in conversation as he told them where he'd been past curfew.
Eileen took this as her cue to sneak off and find her room, following a couple girls up a set of spiral stairs. She heard some commotion coming from a room on the first landing and entered it to find her things and the basket wide open.
Growling and hissing wildly, a spotted cat with large ears and a lion-like tail took a few swipes at a frightened young girl whom had no doubt let the cat out of the basket. Upon entering the room, the creature perked its ears and fell silent, turning its attention to its master as she cooed, "Behave, Mephi."
It gave the girl one final glare before bounding toward Eileen as she bent forward with her arm out, climbing nimbly up onto her shoulder where it perched itself carefully. Crossing the room to where her trunk sat at the foot of a bed, she said, "Did you let him out?"
"It - it attacked me!" The girl shrieked.
"But you did let him out." Eileen did not look at her as she tickled the creature under its chin.
"Well, I..." She stammered and looked embarrassed.
"Mephistopheles is a kneazle, he doesn't like anyone but me so you shouldn't have opened his basket, aside from the fact that you were trying to search my things without my permission. I should punish you for that."
"What? You - you can't use magic against other students!" She said defiantly, though cowering slightly against her own bed.
"Shame, I had a lovely hex ready for you...perhaps later then, when there are no witnesses within earshot of your screams." It wasn't merely the threats Eileen was issuing to the pale faced 1st year that frightened her most, but the lack of concern in her voice for her well-being.
Opening her trunk, Eileen pulled out a nightgown and made to change into it when she noticed the girl was still staring at her.
"Staring isn't polite, perhaps a good blinding spell is in order?" She said quietly.
The girl screamed again and ran from the room, slamming the door behind her.
Mephistopheles jumped swiftly onto the bed and waited as his mistress changed and joined him there with a hefty schoolbook. She had barely cracked it open when the door came crashing open again and a girl with short black hair stormed into the room, a look of pompous superiority as she said shrilly, "Who do you think you are, frightening this poor girl with that monster?"
Mephistopheles hissed his disapproval of being called a monster and Eileen said, "She let him out."
"You shouldn't be allowed such a dangerous creature! Ill be telling the head of house about this and he'll give you - "
"Detention? Already have it, he seems like a nice guy" The air of sarcasm in her voice was lacking as both girls looked at her like she was nuts.
"Nice? Surely you aren't speaking of-"
"Snape? Why yes, we had a lovely chat in the hallway."
"Stop interrupting me!" The girl snarled and went on to say, "In any case, you'll have more detention as punishment for your...that...thing there! And for the threats!" She turned sharply and stalked back out of the room, slamming the door behind her. The shaken 1st year stood rooted to the floor, staring after her as if she'd just been completely abandoned to the wolves.
"Nice girl...well, goodnight." Eileen snapped her book shut and placed it on her dresser before curling up under the blankets with Mephistopheles resting at the foot of her bed. As she slept, unaware of the fact that the other girl was still wide awake and staring at the slumbering kneazle, she dreamt different scenarios of how much more interesting her first day of school must be compared to the somewhat disastrous first impression she had just made with her fellow Slytherins.
The next day however, she woke to find Mephistopheles not on the bed but perched on top of her trunk looking disgruntled, patches of black material and flecks of blood here and there on the floor.
"Tried to steal into my things again, did they?" Eileen said coolly, rising and crawling out of bed, careful to avoid the mess as she got ready for breakfast. Before leaving the room, she set up a few curses and charms on her belongings to further deter thieves. As she stood to admire her work, she felt a nudge on her leg and looked down to see Mephistopheles at her side, looking up curiously.
"You stay here and guard my trunk until they learn to keep out, got it? Ill bring you some table scraps before I go to class."
He meowed stiffly and leapt back to his position on the trunk, curling up inside his basket and seemingly falling asleep.
Leaving the dormitory, she found the common room lightly smattered with students lingering for friends to join them at breakfast or returning from their meal to retrieve schoolbooks. Upon seeing her descending the stairs, the room fell silent and every eye was set on her. Ignoring this sudden attention, she strode slowly to the entrance and left them to carry on whispering about her behind her back as she made for the great hall. Hoping against hope that she could find her way back after getting lost the previous night, she managed to trace her steps back to the stairs out of the dungeons and quickly found her way to the great hall where breakfast was already in process. The Slytherin table gave her a wide berth as she sat down, staring and looking quite disgusted by her presence already.
I love my house...Eileen thought to herself, taking a slice of toast , sunny-side up egg, and ham from various trays on the table. Glancing idly toward the head table, she saw Snape watching her closely and joined in on the staring contest she had started the night before.
After a few moments, he broke his gaze when a teacher next to him began to speak, pretending like nothing had happened. He didn't seem too fond of the flamboyant man chattering on next to him either and had an air of boredom about him as he carried the conversation regardless.
"Such a nice man" She muttered to herself as she dined on her meager breakfast, ignoring the cautious glances tossed by not only Slytherins but Ravenclaws at the neighboring table who had no doubt heard the tail of her savage pet. Finishing quickly, she took a few slices of ham and stowed them away inside her schoolbag before slinging it over her shoulder and strolling back to the dorms.
Before she could get far, she heard the sharp tone of Snape call out, "1st year!"
Turning slowly, she said airily, "Yes, professor?"
"Your school schedule, don't lose it. I don't tolerate careless students in my house and if I find you've lost it after all, you will be sure to have another day of detention awaiting you." He said, thrusting a paper into her hands and turning to leave.
"I'll do my best to..." She muttered, catching his attention as he said, "What?"
"I'll do my best not to." She responded, blinking and taking leave.
Snape stared after her for a moment, not believing her cover-up but having no interest in spending his morning arguing such trivial issues with random students.
After returning to her room and feeding Mephistopheles, she checked over her schedule and headed to her first class: Potions. She joined the line of waiting students who looked around at her curiously as she hummed a rather obscure tune to herself. Barely a minute had passed when the dungeon door swung open and the students ushered themselves into the room, Eileen last to enter. Snape was at the front of the class already flipping dully through a textbook lying open on his desk, waiting for the students to get settled. Finally, he glanced up and immediately found himself staring down at the same white headed girl that ran into him in the dark dungeon hallway.
She stared up intently from the very front row, sitting right smack in front of him with an expectant sparkle in her disturbingly blue eyes.
Clearing his throat and returning his attention to the rest of the class, he said, "Welcome to my class, I must warn you that I don't tolerate slackers. I have strict rules regarding assignments so if you don't feel your work will be able to scrounge a decent grade, do find another subject to study. For those few of you who may fair well in the studies of potions, try not to flaunt your knowledge and make the others feel inferior, that is my job."
Nervous looks were exchanged between the students and Snape went on to say, "Turn to the first chapter in Magical Drafts and Potions and read the first 5 paragraphs, then begin working on the potion." With a flick of his wand, the board filled with instructions on how to create the first potion for class.
Eileen immediately began to work on the potion and Snape swept over to her desk, saying coldly, "Read first, 1st year."
"I have read it." She responded calmly, trying to see around his thick robes to read the first ingredient.
"Funny, I haven't seen your book leave your bag all class so you couldn't possibly have read it already." Snape glared emotionlessly, motioning to the abandoned bag at the foot of her chair.
"I read it on the train, it was a most fascinating book." She mused as she set a fire under her cauldron.
"Are you telling me you've read the entire textbook cover to cover? And here I thought no one could be as bad as Granger" He trailed off with an eye roll. Leaning forward, he whispered, "I don't tolerate show-offs, 1st year."
"Who's showing off?"
"I don't tolerate smart mouths, either."
"I am merely doing the lesson, professor Snape."
"Did you think you could finish before the others and sit there with a smug look on your face?"
"The thought never occurred to me, professor Snape."
"Then what did you think you'd do when you finished? Just leave?"
"Of course not, I would read another text book to pass the time, Professor Snape."
"Do you enjoy saying my name? Sucking up won't help you."
"If you insist, Master."
Snape's eye twitched and he stood up straight, taken back by the choice of title she bestowed upon him.
"Master?" His eyebrows rose ever so slightly as he eyed her curiously.
"Yes, Master." She looked up curiously as if she didn't understand why he found this odd.
He paused and looked at her as if trying to decide whether she was being smart with him again or not. Finally, he said, "What's your name, 1st year?"
"Pierce. Eileen Pierce." She stated matter-of-factly.
Snape's eyes seemed to widen slightly when he heard her name and his face turned pale, as if he could be any paler. Quickly, he turned away and spoke with his back to her, "Do your work in silence and do not disturb my class again, Miss Pierce."
"As you wish, Master." She whispered, returning to her potion intently.
Snape watched her curiously the rest of the class, as if waiting for her to do something that would give him a reason to reprimand her for her actions. But she merely finished her potion and bottled a sample before cleaning up and quietly pulling a textbook from her bag. She read in silence until the bell rang and Snape dismissed his class, waiting for each student to bring up their samples and leave the room.
Eileen was last to present her sample and she finally spoke, saying, "What time do you wish me to be at detention tonight, Master?"
Taken back by her seeming interest in her punishment, Snape stared at her for a moment before saying, "7:30 PM sharp, right after dinner, if you're a moment late Ill give you more detention."
"I look forward to it, Master, have a pleasant day." She drifted out the door before Snape could respond, a puzzled expression on his face as he watched her leave. He'd never met a student yet who looked forward to his punishment, or was she mocking him? He resolved to test this theory later as he swept out of the classroom and barricaded himself within his office, far from any annoying giggles or rambunctious displays of youth.