Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns everything related to Harry Potter.
A/N: This story takes place in the "Summer School" and "Sword of Slytherin" universe. In fact, it takes place during "Sword of Slytherin." However, I believe I've written it in such a way that the story should still make sense if you haven't read either of those stories.
A/N2: Snape and Harry interaction takes place in the next chapter. Enjoy. ;D
As the leaves went from a golden yellow to a deep crimson, the brisk October air settled in and surrounded the sinister looking castle. On the edge of a perilous cliff, the imposing structure overlooked a jaded lake. Many flora and fauna had already started their preparations for winter. In fact, a large tree with whip-like branches had gone dormant just the other day. No more would the tree defend itself at just anyone's intrusion onto its land.
Nearby in the forest that surrounded the darkened castle, thousands of diverse trees swayed unnaturally. Casting ominous shadows upon the grounds, the trees appeared to be just waiting for their next victim. Swiftly, a breeze swirled around the castle's abundant courtyards, picking up bloodied leaves and depositing them near the doorways. In the distance, an abandoned building creaked and moaned in this eerie wind as if other worldly spirits haunted it.
Seven towers of the castle stood tall against the darkness of night. Slowly, a tiny light flickered in the tallest tower's viewpoint. It cast no means of identifying who the person was in the early hours of predawn, however. Lasting for only a moment, the flame then extinguished, plunging the tower back into the bleak blackness.
Not too soon afterwards, though, several windows in various parts of the massive stone building filled with illuminations as its occupants awoke for the day. In fact, a small pane just above the dead grass flooded with warm radiance. Inside, a father silently stalked out of a room at the end of a long corridor before heading into the only room to his right. On the left side of that corridor, two out of three rooms were vacant due to its usual occupants spending their previous nights in their respective dorms.
With tight blond ringlets and rich vibrant dark eyes, a young four-year-old girl lay in bed staring at her closed bedroom door. She pressed her pale pink lips together in an attempt to keep from squealing happily. From experience, she knew that her father didn't appreciate her exuberance. Minutes droned on, and her door remained closed. However, this nonevent didn't dampen her high spirits any. She knew he'd come for her to tell her that it was time for breakfast. He always did.
Since her mother worked late at night, it was up to her father to follow the morning ritual as her mother slept in. The routine was always the same because her father was very methodical. He would retrieve her about seven and ensure that she brushed her teeth and hair, took a bath, got dressed, and any other miscellaneous tasks before they left their rooms. They'd then attend breakfast in the Great Hall together. Sometimes, she'd eat with her father up at the High Table. Other times, she'd eat with one of her brothers at their House's table. It all depended on her father's mood that morning. About eight forty-five, her father would collect her if she was with her brothers and would leave her either with one of her parents' coworkers, her father's house elf, or one of the castle's friendly ghosts for the morning. Around eleven forty-five, she'd have lunch in the Great Hall. Again, it would be with either one of her brothers or her father. At the end of lunch, she'd spend the rest of the day with her mother.
Drawing in a slow breath, the young child anxiously waited for the door to open. She knew it had to be about time. After all, she could hear her father walking more around their rooms. However, the door remained closed as if to mock her.
For a few more seconds, she stayed in bed before finally giving up. Her father wasn't late by any means. In all actuality, he probably still had five minutes before he had to get her. She just wasn't waiting anymore, however. She was too excited. So throwing back her green and silver covers, she quickly jumped out of bed and slipped her bare feet into her slippers prior to slipping out of her room. Glancing up and down the dimly lit corridor, she decided that her father was still in his laboratory.
Knowing that her father disliked her entering the room without his permission, the young child hesitated briefly before quietly opening the door. Her dark eyes quickly found her father standing in front of his workbench with his back to her. Raking her teeth against her bottom lip nervously, she hovered near the door. She wasn't quite sure what she'd say, but she knew she didn't want to scare him.
"Can I come in, Daddy?"
"Dammit," the dark clad man snarled after his right arm jerked back violently. Clearly, he hadn't expected his daughter to interrupt him.
"Daddy, are you all right?" the young girl cried, pushing aside her fears temporarily in efforts to reach her father's side. Her warm eyes immediately caught the blood trickling from his left hand. Within seconds, she gulped loudly before hanging her head somberly. She had caused her father to cut himself accidentally as he was chopping ingredients. Sniffling quietly, she tried to hold back her tears as she whispered, "I sorry, Daddy." Why hadn't she just stayed in bed? Why did she have to scare him like that? A gentle hand then pushed her chin up so she looked up at her father's face.
Towering over the young child, her father stared down at her in his usual dark flowing robes. His large, hooked nose and sallow complexion only fed more to the rumors of him being a vampire, contrary to the fact that he wasn't one. He had a thin but concealed muscular build. His black shoulder-length hair framed his face with the occasional waviness on the sides that he'd swear weren't there. His eyes were black and rather emotionless, giving off the appearance that he was a coldhearted bastard to most. His lips usually held a permanent sneer that showed off his slightly yellowed, uneven teeth.
"No need to waste your precious tears on me, my Angel. I am fine. See?" Holding out his right hand, which had been previously bleeding rather badly, her father spoke in his rich baritone voice that surrounded her in silent warmth. He had healed his deep laceration, leaving behind only a thin white line where the knife had sliced into his hand. "However, I would like an explanation as to why you felt the need to enter my private lab. You are well aware of my views concerning this, Angel." Staring at her with a look of disappointment, he folded his arms across his chest as he waited.
"It's Halloween, Daddy," she replied barely above a whisper. "You promised to take me trick an' treating 'for breakfast." Her eyes, which she had inherited from him, sparkled with unshed tears.
"It's trick or treating," he gently corrected before sighing. He had promised her the previous night during dinner. Glancing towards his already chopped ingredients and his inactive cauldron, he wordlessly waved them away before holding his hand out to his daughter. When her small hand quickly grabbed his, he led them out of the laboratory and towards the lavatory.
Neither her father nor she said anything as she reached for her toothbrush and followed her routine like a good little girl. She, however, did giggle slightly when he lifted her up to spit out the toothpaste. He always managed to tickle her during this part, but her father wasn't telling if it was accidental or not. Only pointing at the rather large bathtub, he reminded her of the next part of their routine. It was one they were semi-comfortable with, but like most children her age, she loved to splash her father with the water so it did lead to some rather tense moments. Her father turned away so she had her privacy while bathing, but he remained on constant guard in case there were issues. Her parents weren't necessarily comfortable with leaving the young girl to bathe by herself just yet.
After scrubbing herself squeaky clean, she glanced towards her father and smirked as she thought for a split second of covering him in the pink bubbles. However, she decided against it after remembering what occurred earlier in his lab. Drawing in a slow breath, she attempted to stand, only to nearly fall back down a few moments later. Strong arms quickly wrapped around her, though, and kept her upright. She smiled shyly towards her father, who said nothing as he held her.
Once on the squishy bathroom mat in front of the bathtub, she quickly dried off before glancing up towards her father. He was rather tense as he stood guard over her. Of course, he usually was during this part of their morning ritual. She glanced towards the closed door and glanced back towards him.
"Daddy, my costume is in my room."
He snorted once with an amused look on his face before sighing. "I suppose you wish for me to carry you all sopping wet into your bedroom then, correct?" He didn't wait for her to respond, though. He only motioned for her to dress in the clean underclothes and slippers, which she quickly did. Wrapping the towel a bit snugger around his little girl, he then preceded to pick her up and carry her towards her bedroom. Once they crossed into the room, he set her back down onto the floor and left her to dress into her costume.
Nearly a minute later, she quietly walked to her bedroom door, opened it, and stuck her head out to find her father. Sure enough, he stood with his back against the wall and closed eyes. Shyly, she glanced towards the floor before biting her bottom lip.
"I'm ready now, Daddy."
Wearing a shimmering silver corset that easily flowed into the deep green leaving behind a sparkling star field of diamonds in her wake, her dress paid a less than subtle, yet awe-inspiring, homage to the house of snakes. She slowly sauntered out of her room with her ruffled petal-like skirt moving regally as her wings flapped calmly behind her. Her dark eyes glistened as she stared back at him.
Hand in hand, she walked with her father towards the large gargoyle statue at the end of the hall. Her little blond curls bounced radiantly against her shoulders as she smiled widely. The gargoyle's eyes remained on her as it silently watched her approach. She stopped instantly and drew in a deep breath.
"Password?" it drawled with a sly smirk.
"Red Vines," she answered.
The gargoyle instantly slid to the side, revealing a wall that quickly split apart to expose a spiral stone staircase with a very large phoenix carved into it. Slowly, the staircase started its ascension, which both she and her father stepped onto one of the numerous steps to ride it up to the door. Seconds later, she stood in front of the polished oak door and glanced towards her father, who instantly used the brass griffin knocker.
"Come in," a loud voice replied on the other side of the door.
After opening it, the young child walked into the large circular room. Unlike usual, no light filtered in this time. A white bearded wizard sat behind a large desk with a soft and pleasant smile on his face. His blue eyes twinkled madly as the young child skipped happily into the room.
"Hi, Grandpa," she said bashfully.
"Hello there, Miss Prince. Am I correct in my assumption that you're a fairy?" When she shook her head softly, he chuckled quietly. "I see. Then forgive this old wizard when he asks you to explain."
"I'm a pixie."
"Ah, yes, I see that now. However, if I might, I could make it more noticeable for the others."
Her dark eyes widened and sparkled with barely contained delight. In fact, her body nearly shook from her attempts to subdue her excitement. However, those efforts failed miserably as she let out a loud squeal and clapped a bit overenthusiastically. Slowly, the tips of her ears became pointier, and her cheeks reddened from the charmed on blush.
"Now, let's see for a moment. Ah, yes." A green pointy hat suddenly appeared out of thin air and into the wizard's hands. "Wear this, my dear, and you shall be the prettiest pixie of them all."
"Grandpa, um…can't I wear another hat instead?"
"Of course you can, my dear," he replied cheerfully. "What hat is it that you wish to wear?"
Angel's warm rich dark chocolate eyes glanced towards the shelf that the Sorting Hat rested on before she bit her bottom lip softly. Shifting her weight to the other side, she glanced towards the floor. It was crazy even to consider asking, but it felt right to her. Drawing up her brother's courage, she looked the wise wizard in the eyes.
"I'd like to wear the Sorting Hat, Grandpa."
"I see. Well, that is most interesting. We shall have to consort with it to see if it'd agree, of course, but I do not see why you couldn't."
"Perhaps because it is an old relic, Albus?" her father quietly spoke.
"Severus, if the Sorting Hat can handle hundreds of students a year, it surely can handle your daughter." The elderly man then stood up, walked towards the Sorting Hat, and plucked it from the shelf. Gently dusting it off, he handed it to the little girl. "I believe it would sound better if it came from you, my dear," he explained with a slight smile.
She glanced at the large decrepit looking hat before finally putting it on top of her head. Closing her eyes, she drew in a deep breath. Almost instantly, the hat flopped over her eyes and started to speak with her. It nearly scared her since she hadn't expected it.
"Ah, a Prince, I was wondering when I'd meet another one of you. Ask for which you shall receive such an answer of my picking, daughter of Severus and Aurora," it drawled with a quiet chuckle.
"Um…well, I…um…can I wear you for Halloween?"
"I am upon your head, yes, but not for long. I shall give you something else to which you wear to become the fairest of them all."
"You sound funny," she replied with a soft giggle.
"Yes, but so would you if you were stuck in this place 364 days a year with only him as your conversationalist," the Sorting Hat grumbled. "There are only so many times one can listen to his famous quest to find lemon drops before one goes insane. Now, I must respectfully decline your inquiry of wearing me, Miss Prince, out of the fact that we'd be setting precedence with such a thing. Who knows who else would just jump at the chance to wear me upon one's head for a day? However, as I said, I shall give you something else to wear instead. In fact, remove me from your head and reach inside of me."
Sighing softly, Angel did just that. She took off the Sorting Hat and reached inside. Her dark eyes narrowed slightly when her fingers brushed something. She, however, grasped the object and silently pulled it out. Her mouth dropped instantly at the sparkling object in her hand. It was a tiara full of shiny gems that reflected the little light that was in the room by tenfold.
"Whoa," she whispered. The tiara was absolutely beautiful.
"Let me help you, my dear," the friendly elderly wizard spoke before silently placing the bejeweled crown atop of her blond head. "Remarkable. You look rather stunning, Miss Prince." When she blushed slightly and turned away, his twinkling blue eyes glanced towards her father. "I suppose I should offer her sweets then so you both may be on your way to the other's offices/classrooms."
Angel, however, didn't respond, though. A noise off to her left instantly gained her attention. It was low and barely above a soft moan. However, she still heard it. The sound was gone as quick as it had come. Sighing softly, she brushed off her slight fears. Just because she heard a semi-creepy sound, it didn't mean anything bad was going to happen next. She was with her father and honorary grandfather. She was perfectly safe. Once again, her cheerful side took over.
"Trick or treat, Grandpa?" she asked with a hesitant smile. The feeling of dread was still there nagging in the back of her mind, though.
"Hmm…I do believe your father will not be thrilled with me if I answered 'trick,' so I shall give you a treat then." He smiled widely before clapping his hands together. The small cauldron that previously was empty in her hand quickly filled with an assortment of candies. "I happen to have heard from a certain house elf that you love lemon drops. Enjoy your sweets, but listen to your parents, Miss Prince. They'd surely know more than me when it comes to such tasty treats as those in which I gave you." He gently pressed a kiss against the top of her head and said, "Happy Halloween, my dear Angel."