Disclaimer: I claim no rights to the characters, just the situations in which I'm placing them.

Chapter One

The new first years were lining up down the centre of the great hall all looking expectantly at the tatty old hat on the stool in front of them. A few glanced around at the other people in the room, with a mixture of apprehension and longing. One by one they were all sorted into their new houses, their new homes for the next seven years.

Severus Snape sat in his usual chair at the staff table watching them. It still seemed incredible to him that he was here in the first place. Since the war had ended and The Dark Lord had been finally killed by Potter and assorted hangers-on, things had changed in the wizarding world. He had woken up in St Mungo's some weeks after the actual event. Potter had visited him and told him what had happened. After the final battle he had returned to collect what he expected to be Snape's corpse. Instead he found him alive, if just barely, and taken him to St Mungo's. He'd proceeded to prove to the ministry that Snape was acting on Dumbledore's orders to kill him before he could die of a painful curse.

Now not only had Snape been given the Order of Merlin First Class but he'd been given his job back. Minerva had been made headmistress. There were a few other new appointments. The new Muggle Studies professor was a very young 25 years old, and had so far spoken no more than 5 words together, not the best of impressions for a teacher. The other was the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin. That had been a shock. Lupin was generally believed to be dead, but had woken up during the full moon a few nights after the battle. The biggest surprise was no one seemed to hate Snape. They had the right to gods only knew they did. However, they treated him much as they ever did, scared of his temper but with a grudging respect.

After the feast Severus watched the prefects lead the first years out of the great hall to the dormitories. There was only him left now. Some things never change. He was still alone.

He waited a few minutes to make sure all the students were out of his way and stalked towards the dungeons.

"Severus," a familiar voice called out. "Severus. wait a moment." Lupin walked down the main steps towards him. "I wanted to talk to you."

"If it's about your wolfsbane. I've already begun to brew it. It will be ready in time for the next full moon." Severus turned away, but was brought up short by the hand on his arm.

"Actually it wasn't about the wolfsbane, but I thank you for that. Only yours has the full effect." Severus's mouth twitched with pride in his abilities. "Actually I wanted to ask if you wanted to have a drink Friday night and game of chess." Lupin had the grace to look nervous.

Severus looked at him, his brows furrowed. "Why?"

"Lots of reasons. We both read a lot so, we would always have something to talk about. You could tell me how dreadful your students are." Lupin attempted a weak smile. "So what do you say? Friday night?"

Snape nodded curtly, still in too much shock to trust himself to respond.

"Great. Come to my quarters after dinner. I have a bottle of Ogdens we can crack open." With that Lupin walked off, hands in his pockets, whistling.