Disclaimer: Hello. I own Severus Snape. Hands off. Just kidding. But you knew that.
Author's Note: Obviously, this is a bit AU. But no one minds, right? Right. Anyway, that Alan Rickman quote (you remember my promise of the quote, right?) is here, don't worry.
"We have to get that note back! We have to! It's personal!" Hermione paced in front of the common room fire.
"Calm down, Hermione," Ron intoned, a bit awed at her unusually frantic mood.
"Yeah, Hermione," Harry said. "If you really need it back, we'll get it."
She stopped. "Really?"
"'Course!" Ron looked affronted. "'Course we will! Only I can't believe you were passing notes in the first place…."
She managed to look a bit guilty, although she was grinning. "Thanks! You can't read it, though," she added.
"What! Why not?" Ron said indignantly. Harry looked as though he was thinking along the same lines, though he kept his mouth shut.
"It's personal," she insisted.
Through a little Marauder-like planning, the trio was ready to retrieve Hermione's mystery note. It was, they agreed, probably being held in Snape's office. Ron and Hermione would stand guard. Harry would be the one to go looking for the note. "I know Snape's office better than anyone," he argued. "Besides, Hermione, we can't have you caught breaking and entering. It'd ruin your record." Hermione would be in the library, near the entrance so she could watch the corridor. Ron would be under the invisibility cloak at the other end of this corridor. Hermione had charmed their DA coins so that Harry would know immediately if either guard spotted Snape. Between the alarm and their position, Harry wouldn't need the invisibility cloak to escape unnoticed.
"Alohamora," Harry whispered, and the door to Snape's office eased open a few inches. He slipped inside. It was exactly as it always was: desk, chairs, shelves, and pensieve. Harry sidled over to the desk and began to pull open drawers. Nothing inside them looked even vaguely like a note. Once, he managed to spot Hermione's handwriting, but it was only an old essay on bezoars. Frowning, he sifted through the few papers on top of the desk. The note wasn't there. He straightened up to consider the problem and his eyes fell on a plain wooden box. Curiosity overwhelmed him. He opened it and pulled out one of the many pieces of parchment inside. He grinned. It was a note, but, he noticed, it didn't include Hermione's handwriting. Instead, the two people had a curly, slightly slanted script and a small, spidery scrawl. Harry didn't recognize either of them. He read it.
Ugh. How can you stand to pay attention?
It's kind of interesting, actually. Why?
I guess today is just not my day.
So you decided to get me to pass notes?
Come on. You know this by heart.
Heard about the Yule Ball?
Unfortunately. That's all anyone can talk about. I can't get a moment's peace.
Does that mean you're not going, then?
Of course I'm not going! Who would I go with, anyway?
Generally, one tries asking someone before giving up.
I'd go with you.
Of course. Now go ahead and laugh.
Stop it. I would. Now the question is whether you're going.
I'm not going.
You want to, don't you?
I'm not standing you up, you know.
I know… I know you wouldn't do that, Evans.
Harry started at the name. He wondered, rather excitedly, whether this was a conversation between his parents. He read on, completely absorbed in the note.
Wouldn't you like to go?
Then stop being impossible!
I can't go!
I'm not exactly a party person, in case you didn't notice.
You know what I think the reason is?
How about the reason I told you?
I think you don't want to be seen by your Housemates with a filthy little Muggleborn.
No, that's not it!
I daresay it is.
I don't care about that! Halfblood, remember? I'm just not one for social events.
I'm not sure I believe you.
'Please' what, Severus?
Well, that explained it. Harry had been confused for this leg of the note, what with references to antisocialism and Muggleborns. But his mother and Snape sounded like friends, which was just impossible. Maybe it was another Evans. Even Harry didn't believe that. Swallowing, he continued.
Why don't you go with bloody Potter, if you want to go?
Why would I spend my evening with a prat like Potter?
Why would you spend your evening with a prat like me?
You're not a prat – not to me, at least. Besides which you're the only male I can talk to and not want to strangle.
I'm going, I'm not going alone, and I'm not going with Potter or any of his minions. So what do you say?
All right, if I must.
You do the honors.
What? Oh! Lily Evans, will you go to the Yule Ball with me? As friends, I mean. I think.
Yes. Was that so bad?
It was rather degrading. I do have some dignity.
I know. That's why I love you, Severus!
Oh. I mean, of course.
See you then!
See you then… Lily.
Harry's brain had stopped. He could no longer process what he had been reading. It was too unreal. It was impossible. Suddenly, something hot in his pocket penetrated the fog. He shook his head and pulled out the DA coin. According to the writing on the side, Hermione had spotted Snape coming his way. Harry felt a cold, sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. How long ago had that been? How long had he been standing here without even looking for Hermione's note? The library was a long way away, he reasoned feverishly. If she had only just seen Snape, then he should have plenty of time.
But Snape walked very quickly.
Harry put the impossible note back in the box and, after a second's hesitation, picked up the box to take it with him. Maybe he could make sense of all this later. He headed for the door.
As soon as he opened it, however, he knew he had been reading too long. Snape and Malfoy were standing in the doorway, and Snape was known to recover from shock at amazing speeds. Panicking, Harry threw the box at Snape just as the latter's face began to contort with rage. Surprisingly, Snape caught the box, letting Harry dash past him unhindered.
"POTTER!" he heard as he ran for his life. "I'm going to cut your heart out WITH MY WAND!" Harry dived around a corner just in time to avoid several nasty curses.
Snape remained at the door to his office, still clutching the box possessively. Draco was grinning from ear to ear, imagining the trouble Harry would be in later. After a moment, he turned to the seething potions master. "Why a wand, Professor?" he inquired.
Snape rounded on his favorite student. "Because it's dull, you twit! It'll hurt more!" With that, he stormed inside. Draco, who wasn't used to being on the receiving end of his godfather's temper, took a moment to recuperate. Then, shrugging it off, he followed Snape into the office. Oh, Potter was going to be in so much trouble.
Did everyone get the wonderful Robin Hood reference? Good. Review. Review and I will go read and review your stories!