Six Days With Severus: A Rita Skeeter Exclusive Story

Who could forget their first romance? Sneaking out to the lake at odd hours, snogging under the shelter of an old willow tree. Reckless youth at their finest.

I was seventeen when Severus Snape entered my life. I will not lie to you, my faithful readers, in saying that I was a bit of an outcast back then. Oh, I know what you're all thinking out there, but I was not an ugly hag with a horrible case of acne, or any other stereotypically friendless type of person. No, I was rather pretty with my lovely curls and striking green eyes. I will admit to having been a bit awkward. I had no friends. For some reason, I was classified as far too gossipy to be associated with.

And then there was Severus Snape.

If one thing can be said about dear Severus it's that he was not much to look at in school. He was skinny and sallow, with crooked teeth and greasy hair. His nose was too big, his feet were too long, and never seemed to understand the importance of a good bath. For a quite a bit of time, I scoffed at him as everyone else did. Even he was not worthy of my attention, however low and friendless I may have been on the social hierarchy. I spent my time, a lonely little Hufflepuff girl, watching Sirius Black and wishing I could have been one of his many girlfriends. Did not we all?

Black was really something to look at. He was handsome, clever, charming---everything I was not. He was also the sole bully of Severus Snape.

It was the January of my seventh year that things began to change. I had grown older, more mature. I stopped biting my nails and worried more about my clothes than I could ever remember doing so before. My Quick-Quotes-Quill and notebook went everywhere with me. I was trying to convince Dumbledore (may he rest in peace) to start up a school newspaper.

I met Severus one day in the library. He was studying some Dark Curse or something (probably trying to find a way to do in James Potter, no doubt), and I watched him from afar. It was only then that I truly realised how lonely I was. At seventeen, I wanted a boyfriend who would talk to me, hold my hand---maybe even sing---while we took rides on his broomstick. Severus was sixteen, still skinny, but his hair had grown longer.

I knew the darling hadn't had a girlfriend in his life. Actually, he had never had a friend before in his life, which complicated things when I first approached him. He was convinced I was being paid off to pretend to fancy him. Of all the absurd things! Rita Skeeter doesn't need to be paid to fancy anyone, and I told him so.

I think, through the combination of my natural beauty and Severus's obvious desire for a female companion, we forged a friendship. It was kept a secret, known only by us. I could not afford to be seen with Snivellus, as they called him, nor could he be seen with a girl, lest he suffer even more merciless taunting and public humiliation that year. So we kept ourselves a secret, but our budding friendship was becoming more and more difficult to hide.

It was a rainy March night when I snuck out of my dorm for the first time to meet Severus by the lake. By the look on his sad, undernourished face, I could tell he was just as excited as I was. We were shivering under the pale moonlight, Severus's deep onyx eyes boring into my own sparkling green.

"You're not really such an old hag, Rita, now I've gotten to know you," he whispered, looking petrified by the very thought. My heart skipped a beat.

"I think you're gorgeous," I gushed. He smiled at me, his only slightly crooked teeth bared into an adorable grin.

"No one's ever been so nice to me before," faltered Severus. I looked into his somber eyes and saw, for the very first time, the boy Severus Snape really was inside. He was alone and sad. He longed for companionship, but hid it behind a mask of sneers and long hours spent studying Dark Magic. For that one, magical moment, I saw his soul, and it was not like I ever would have imagined it would be. He was a beautiful creature inside---tall, dark, handsome. Sirius Black would have been drooling with envy.

Time stopped. Severus, with his strong arms, hugged me. We shared a gentle kiss, and I knew there was more to this unpleasant, pallid boy than met the eye. For ages we sat under an old willow tree, sharing our secrets and dreams, pouring out our hearts to one another.

Severus was an only child, I learned, and such a horrible, dreary childhood he lived. His mother was a witch, Eileen Prince, a descendant of Everard Prince, one of Hogwarts' most celebrated Headmasters. His father, Tobias Snape, was a Muggle who worked in the mill in a small, run-down industrial town. Severus grew up to the sounds and sights of violent fights between his parents. His eyes clouded with tears as he told me this. I hugged him closer, thankful that I could give him the warmth and comfort and love he lacked for so long. He told me long, winding tales of his childhood. His father was a drunk, and his mother gave up on life before he was born. He told me of her death, and his suspicions that the 'Potions accident' wasn't really an accident after all, but a plan to deliver her from the brutal life she had been living so long.

As he spoke, I hugged him and stroked his hair. It was thicker than it looked, and not nearly as greasy. I held the shivering boy as he sobbed relentlessly over the cruel hand fate always seemed to be dealing him. He was a vulnerable child, a year younger than I was, but he needed me. We needed each other.

Cradling Severus in my arms, I began to feel something I never felt before. I wanted to take care of him, to show him that life did not have to be so unbearable. We could be there for one another. As if he sensed this, Severus snuggled closer.

"Thank you for listening," he rasped, his voice hoarse from hours of salty tears.

I kissed his forehead. "It was nothing."

We sat for hours more, holding one another under our tree. For the first time in my life, I felt whole. I belonged there, with scrawny but adorable Severus Snape. I knew he appreciated our time. He just needed someone to listen and understand, something I could do better than anyone else.

"You're a doll, Sev."

He smiled at me from beneath a river of freshly shed tears, his young face shining in the darkness as he squeezed my hand.

"I know, Rita. I know."

To be continued in next week's issue of the Prophet. Remember, Rita loves to hear from her readers! Drop me a review in the post, won't you?