Unlike Hogwarts 1835 this story includes characters from Rowling's Harry Potter books in addition to the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts School. However, it's apparent that a story set some fifty years earlier will lack important characters from Rowling's work.

Imablack checked for canon, all departures are my own. She furnished me with her understanding of Aberforth Dumbledore, used for his background. His daughter and descendants, pictured here, belongs to Imablack.

The Circle Begins

Mary took Petunia and Lily to London two days before the younger girl was to leave for Hogwarts. Severus accompanied them. The two children destined for Hogwarts were frightened and excited in equal measure.

Mary wanted the time to look around London, to show her daughters what she could of the places she remembered from her own childhood and see how the city had changed. Adrianna met them at the station. She sighed when she saw her nephew. She knew her sister and Tobias Snape earned more money than she and Albert, but Severus was going away to school and looked like a pauper in ill-fitting clothes.

Severus would tour the city with Mary and the girls the next day, but he spent the rest of the day with his aunt and her family. The Princes seemed very rich to him, because his cousins had toys, an unnecessary luxury his father frowned on. They dressed much better than he did. His cousins were also louder than anyone was allowed to be in the Snape home. Being with his cousins for two nights before the trip to Hogsmeade could not have been a greater cultural shock for Severus if he suddenly found himself stranded in a rural village in Nepal.

"Send us a note when you have your house," Mary told Lily as the group gathered at the station on the day of departure.

"I'll call you," Adrianna promised. "I should hear about the sorting before the post would arrive."

"Thank you."

Petunia was largely bored, and resentful of the fuss being made over her younger sister.

Adrianna hesitated, "It is an old tradition that incoming students not be told about the sorting ceremony, but–"

"Sorting ceremony?" Mary asked.

"When we're placed in a house," Severus said. "The four houses are–"

"I know the four houses," Mary told him. "But I don't know this sorting ceremony."

"As I was saying," Adrianna continued, "tradition says it must not be discussed – which is why Lily's mother doesn't know about it. Even though it is not supposed to be talked about I'll give you the warning your grandfather gave me before my First Night. You must swear not to tell your cousins."

"I promise," Severus solemnly told her.

Adrianna looked over at Lily, "And you?"

"I promise."

"The pain never lasts more than a week. Many students have recovered by the third day after the sorting."

"Pain?" Lily asked in a shaking voice.

"You must be brave."

"What's this about pain?" Mary demanded.

"Just part of the sorting process." Adrianna gave the woman a fast wink. Mary had heard enough of Adrianna's sense of humor to recognize it was joke. "They don't cut off the whole finger, and there is a special potion so that it grows back."

"She won't be hurt too badly, will she?" Petunia asked. It wasn't Lily's fault that the adults fussed so much over her and the younger girl was still her sister.

"I've never heard of anyone dying in the sorting ceremony," Adrianna assured her. "She'll be fine in a couple days." She addressed the two heading for Hogwarts. "Now then, all four houses are good. Severus, we Princes are usually in Slytherin. The house has produced many great wizards. Even if you don't go to Slytherin do your family proud in whatever house you find yourself."

"I hope I go to Slytherin," Lily said.

Adrianna sighed, "I don't know if you'd be a good fit for Slytherin. You're unusual, and–"

Severus spoke up in her defense, "She's not unusual. She's wonderful."

Lily gave her friend a smile of thanks, and he gazed at her with a look of puppy-like devotion.

"The fact your parents are both muggles makes you unusual. It is very rare for someone like you to be placed in Slytherin, and there would be people there who would ridicule you for it. From what I've heard those unusual people have always become great witches and wizards, but it would not be easy."

"I'll help you if we're both in Slytherin," Severus promised.

"All of the houses are good," Adrianna repeated to the girl. "I had friends in all of them. Hufflepuff is always kind to students who are different in any way, but all the houses are good."

"You'll do fine wherever you are," Mary told her daughter. "Now, do you have everything?" she asked for the twentieth time that morning.

"Yes, mother."

Adrianna gave her nephew a hug, he seemed uncertain how he was expected to respond. "You ready too?"

"Yes," he assured her. Now that the day had actually arrived the thrill of leaving for Hogwarts, of being free of his father's rules and miser habits, outweighed any fear.

"Can we go now?" Petunia whined.

Mary looked at her watch, "We do need to catch our train." Lily gave her mother a final hug before Adrianna took them to the Hogwarts Express platform. It was a long, fierce hug. For her the fear of leaving the family she knew and loved for the strange and unfamiliar was now stronger than the excitement. When she released her mother she clung to the arm of her friend.

Severus smiled at her touch, feeling needed for perhaps the first time in his life.

As the trio waited on the Hogwarts platform among a growing number of new and returning students Adrianna quizzed her nephew, "And what do you do when you reach Hogsmeade?"

"Find the Hog's Head and say hello to Mr. Dumbledore for Uncle Al and my mother. My mother didn't say I should do that."

"I'm sure she would have if she thought of it, dear. Mr. Dumbledore helped her a great deal. He's very smart and you should be friendly to him – he could help you too."

"Isn't Dumbledore the name of the headmaster?" Lily asked timidly, afraid she had somehow gotten confused.

"Professor Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster," Severus said quickly, proud he could display knowledge of the school.

"Abe is his brother and runs a pub in the village. My husband was an evacuee and stayed with Abe and his wife during the war. That was where I met him. And my sister, Severus's mother," she put a hand on the head of her nephew and tousled his hair (Severus wasn't certain if it was a sign of affection or if he had annoyed her in some manner he was unaware of), "sometimes went to the Hog's Head with questions for Abe. He is very good at potions."

"I'll take first in potions," Severus bragged.

"I'll bet you do," his aunt agreed. "Your mother always took first in potions. We Princes are a distinguished family."

"He's not a Prince, he's a Snape," Lily protested.

"He's a half-blood Prince, and as far as I'm concerned he's a full Prince," Adrianna said and hugged her nephew again, which now clearly embarrassed him because it drew snickers from students standing around them.

As soon as Mary arrived home she wrote to Hagrid, asking him to keep an eye on Lily for her. He pledged to watch the girl any way he could.

Hagrid usually had little contact with students, but he made an effort to speak with Lily as often as possible. Lily guessed his interest grew from his friendship with her mother and father, and anything she said to him might be reported to her parents. At the same time the large man was kind and listened to her fears and dreams. With the tumult of being away from home and family among strangers who seemed more familiar with magic than she thought she would ever feel she needed a father figure to make her a mug of tea and listen to her. If Lily saw Hagrid as something of a surrogate father he saw her as something of a surrogate daughter. Perhaps if Mary had accepted his proposal they'd have a daughter at Hogwarts.

Severus spent the winter break with his aunt Adrianna. Adrianna and Albert had many extra performances during the holidays and asked him to watch his cousins. He didn't miss the celebration of Christmas at the Prince home because it had never been a celebration at his own home. Nothing had ever been a celebration in the Snape home. His cousins thought he was a terrible babysitter, but their mother calmed them down as best she could and hoped Severus would become better at dealing with people through interaction with family.

Lily protested when her mother and father said they would drive her to Hogwarts her second year instead of sending her to London for the express. "Everyone is on the train! It's where you can talk to people you haven't seen all summer!"

"It's traveling down to London and a night at some hotel before traveling north to Hogwarts." Holly told her, "I grew up in Hogsmeade; I still know people there. Your mother was there for years. We want to see friends."

"Well why do I have to go with you?"

"If we're going to Hogsmeade we aren't going to send you to London by yourself. And you'll have all year to ask what your friends did this summer. Why don't you ask Severus if he wants to come with us?"

The two preparing for the start of their second year rode in the back seat. The day was hot and tempers grew frayed on the trip.

"Mum! Severus put his hand on my side of the car seat!"

"No I didn't!"

"Yes you did!"

"My hand is on my side, Mrs. Evans. It is right at the edge but it's on my side."

"No it's not."

Holly turned to Mary, "I suppose the child endangerment people would take it badly if I pulled over and left them on the side of the road."

"I believe so dear. And tempting as the idea might sound at the present I fear it is one of those decisions one might regret in later life. Years from now, in retirement, one of us would turn to the other and ask, 'What do you suppose happened to that girl we put out of the car?'."

"They wouldn't really, would they?" Severus whispered.

"No," Lily assured him. "At least I don't think so."

"Why don't we stop in the next village for cold sodas," Mary suggested. "It might put us in a better mood."

Lily drank her soda more quickly as Severus savored what was for him a rare treat. When she thought her parents weren't looking she leaned over and bumped him gently with her shoulder. As expected, he retaliated by leaning over and bumping her gently with his.

"Mum! Severus hit me!"

"He bumped you, dear–"


"The very same way you bumped him. I watched you."

Lily looked over and grinned at Severus, who smiled back.

Holly sighed. "I offered to leave them on the side of the road," he reminded his wife. "You insisted they remain in the car, so I'm holding you responsible."

The roads into Hogsmeade did not support automobile traffic so Holly parked in a small, overgrown area near the pavement's end that was used by anyone driving to the village. Most who arrived by auto would fly their brooms in from that point, but a large man sat in a horse drawn wagon waiting for them.

Hagrid waved and called, "Mary! Holly!" as they emerged from the car. Holly struggled to pull the two trunks from the boot and Hagrid went over, picking up one heavy trunk in each hand, and carrying them to the wagon. Holly then retrieved the small satchel for himself and Mary and joined the others already in the wagon.

"You look well," Mary told him. "What's going on in the village?"

"I'll tell you later," Hagrid answered cryptically.

At Hogsmeade the trunks were left at the station for the house elves to take to the school and the children went to explore the village before the express arrived. "We should tell them we were on the train and ask why they didn't see us," Lily suggested as they headed for the green.

The adults rode to the stable to return the horses and wagon.

"Now, what was it you didn't want to say in front of the children," Holly demanded as they left the stable.

"Some bad things are starting to happen, leastwise I'm hearing stories of bad things–"

"Anything definite, or just stories?" Mary wanted to know.

"I know someone killed all the livestock out at the Hart farm, slashed their throats. Used the blood to paint, 'Muggles out' on the side of the barn.

Holly and Mary were both shocked. "Oh, my God," Mary whispered. "What happened?"

"Whitey left. I think he'd of fought if it was just him, and if he knew who to fight, but didn't want his family hurt."

"And… It's Alice, isn't it?"

"Alice Hart. Yep. She sold the farm. Gave the money to Whitey and Boadicca to buy a new place and said she wanted to move with them. She's grandmother to the children. They're down in Cornwall now, got a little dairy herd."

"That's terrible! Does anyone know who did it?"

Hagrid shrugged, "Well, whoever did it, of course. But they won't admit it. If anyone else knows anything they aren't talking – afraid for their own families."

"How dreadful," Mary commented. "He was the last of the evacuees, wasn't he?" Hagrid nodded. "Any other muggles in the village?"

"No, not any muggles. But some squibs want to move out too. Can't say I blame them."

That evening, as the new students went through the sorting ceremony, Hagrid, Holly, and Mary went into the forest to talk with Firenze. The centaur seemed incredulous as they described some of the wonders of their home. Television in particular seemed impossible for him to grasp and he was as hesitant to believe their story of moving pictures in a box in their home as their Manchester neighbors would have been at the claim they were talking with a centaur.

Some of Lily's letters home that year complained that Severus didn't talk with her as much as he had first year. He was sometimes too busy with his Slytherin friends to take the walks along the lake they had enjoyed first year. Hagrid did not spend much of his time in the school, but he did offer different opinions based on conversation with professors. Lily was making more friends, Hagrid wrote, because she was spending less time with Severus. Severus, the giant reported, was often the victim of bullying because he was poorly dressed and lacking in social skills. From Hagrid's conversations with professors it seemed the general opinion was that Lily regularly defended her Slytherin friend, and the embarrassment of needing a girl to defend him was why he was distancing himself from Lily.

Mary put down Hagrid's letter and reflected. People did change. It was possible Severus was making friends in his own house and wasn't as dependent on Lily. But Mary sensed such a devotion to her daughter in the young wizard that she looked for some other motive. She imagined Severus might see less of Lily to force her into making more friends in her own house. Or perhaps, if he was treated as badly as Hagrid reported, he didn't want Lily's own reputation to suffer through her friendship with him.

Mary didn't know if either of her theories were true, but she wanted to imagine one of them could be accurate. She carefully wrapped a box of ginger biscuits she knew Severus was especially fond of and sent them to him as a way of saying thanks.

Mary rode with her parents in the Morris Marina for the start of her third year. Severus had been invited to go with them, and accepted, but changed his plans after a call from his aunt asking if he would accompany his cousin, Ariel Prince, to her first year.

"Severus found out he'll be studying fifth year potions this year," Lily told her parents.

"Fifth year? When he's third year?"

"He was doing third year potions his second year. Potions are easy for him."

Lily and her parents arrived in Hogsmeade two days before First Night. They hated being away from the shop for several days. Mrs. Eliot, their neighbor, could watch Petunia without any difficulty. But Petunia was not old enough to run the shop in their absence. And while their shop assistants were honest and wouldn't take cash from the till they were not good enough at baking to risk leaving them in charge.

"I don't know why you worry," Lily told her parents. "So what if the regulars have to buy a loaf somewhere else? It just means they'll appreciate our shop more when you get back."

"If they come back," Holly muttered.

"If our bakery is open why would anyone go anywhere else?" Lily insisted.

One of the reasons they traveled to Hogsmeade two days before the sorting was to talk with Hagrid about the threats of violence.

"Any more on the anti-muggle trouble you told us about last year? You never said much in your letters, but I'm uncertain what that means," Mary asked. "Is Lily safe?"

"Lily should be safe at Hogwarts. Problem's still around, getting worse if anything. There's a name being mentioned, Voldemort."

"Voldemort?" Holly asked. "Never heard of anyone named Voldemort."

"I haven't met anyone who has," Rubeus agreed. "Leastwise no one who'll admit it. Some won't say the name."

"Why not?"

"Not sure. Might be superstition – mention his name is like inviting trouble. Bigger problem is you don't know who might be his friends. Heard of some wizard in Edinburgh who talked a lot about Voldemort. His house burned down with him in it."

"Could be coincidence."

"And could be a warning to tell others to keep their mouths closed."

"Wonder if it's that damn Tom Riddle?" Holly muttered.

"Why do you say that?" Mary asked.

"Because he was a right bastard," Holly spat. "I won't give you the details, but I know it. You know it too, don't you Rube?"

"That was years ago. I don't know why you think he's so evil. He got me thrown out of Hogwarts, but I don't think he did it on purpose. Everyone was frightened after that girl was killed, they were desperate to find the killer. When he saw that big spider he just put two and two together and got six. He really thought the spider killed her. Headmaster thought Aragog killed her too. They were wrong to blame me, but everyone was in a right state of panic."

"Did they ever find what killed the girl?" Mary asked.

"Nope," Rubeus told them. "And nobody talks about that either. Arguments about that started a lot of fights over the years. Still some who think I'm responsible. Lot of people think if you don't talk about a problem it'll just go away."

"And I wouldn't put that witch's death past Riddle either. He was here then."

"To return to the present," Mary reminded her husband, "we're asking about Lily's safety." She turned to Rubeus, "I think I hear you saying things are dangerous for wizards all over the country."

"Not sure it's that much worse for wizards than anyone else. World's a dangerous place. But after those cattle killed out at the Hart place it's mostly been quiet here at Hogsmeade. I don't think they want to do anything too close to Professor Dumbledore."

"So you believe she's safe?"

Rubeus turned to Holly, "Does she make you repeat yourself three times before she believes you?"

Holly nodded, "Only if it's important."

The big man sighed, "She's as safe here as anywhere in the world."

Things were more chaotic than usual at the Hog's Head that year for two reasons. First, Eleanor had grown increasingly frail the last few years and could no longer work in the kitchen. Aberforth complained it would take three women to take her place. At the moment the couple had one they trusted, another woman who could do the work with moderate supervision, and three incompetents – one of whom they hoped might in time develop the skills necessary to run the pub kitchen, if the sun didn't burn out first.

The second reason for chaos was much more pleasant. The Dumbledores daughter, Mary, was visiting from the States and had brought her grandchildren – Aberforth and Ellie's great-grandchildren – with her. Mary Evans had met Mary Price, the Dumbledore's daughter, once before she moved out to Hogsmeade to Manchester.

Mary Price had not been able to see her parents during the war years, but was trying to get back to Britain about every other year. Mary took after her mother, and her presence provided a great relief to her parents during the visit.

With Mary watching the kitchen staff Aberforth and Ellie were even able to sit at a table for a little while with Rubeus, Holly, and Mary Evans. They were both excited that Albert's daughter would be starting Hogsmeade, but they wanted any other information Holly and Mary had on other evacuees.

"When is your family going back to the States?" Mary Evans asked Ellie.

"They have a flight two days after First Night. Mary is very sorry that Albert won't be bringing Ariel. She heard so much about him during the war that she really wanted to meet him."

"He applied to get off work and come north with her, but his fill-in broke his arm in a cycling accident. Adrianna still hopes to take time off, but she put in her request rather late because she thought Albert would be bringing Ariel. They've asked her cousin to come with her."

"Children are a trial," Aberforth intoned solemnly. "Grandchildren… Grandchildren are ideal. You're too young to know what you're doing with children. And you're too old to enjoy the great-grandchildren. You should have asked me, I'd have advised you to skip having children and simply start with the grandchildren."

"Hush, you," Ellie laughingly scolded. She told the others, "We hardly know our granddaughter; she was raised in the States. We're very happy Mary is able to bring the great-grandchildren over. And Abe absolutely dotes on Lucy."

"I want her to marry some nice young wizard and take over the Hog's Head so Ellie and I can retire," Aberforth explained.

Mary looked confused, "I thought Lucy was the one about Lily's age."

"She is," Aberforth agreed. " She can wait a few years to get married, but I'm announcing my retirement and handing the keys of this place to her husband as soon as she says 'I do'."

"And why does she need a husband to take over the Hog's Head?" Rubeus asked.

"Place needs a man in charge," Abe answered.

"There's something going on outside Hogsmeade," Mary told him, "it's called women's liberation. You may not have heard of it, but it is the radical idea that women have brains and are fully capable."

"I don't doubt that for a minute," Abe assured her. "Ellie here tells me that every day. But place still needs a man. I'm quite certain it's the only reason her father allowed that worthless young rascal to marry his beautiful daughter years ago."

Eleanor patted him on the hand, "You weren't that worthless, although you were a rascal. Let's see if any of the great-grandchildren want to take over someday. It would be nice if it stayed in the family."

"Lucy loves the place," Aberforth said in a whispered aside loud enough for everyone at the table to here.

Lucy was about the same age as Lily. Lucy showed Lily things around the village that the Hogwarts student didn't know, and taught the city girl how to milk a goat. Lily took Lucy to the school. Argus Filch initially told them they couldn't enter the building, but after learning that Lucy was a great-grandniece to the headmaster he allowed them to tour the building.

While Albus went into Hogsmeade to see Mary Price and other family it was Lucy's first time to see the Headmaster in his study. Although visitors were rarely allowed to watch the sorting he asked Lucy if she wanted to see First Night, and said she could sit at Lily's house table. Lucy happily agreed.

On the evening before Severus was to take the express to Hogsmeade with his cousin he managed to talk with the young girl for a few minutes alone. "I have something important to tell you," he warned.

"About what?"

"About the sorting, when you go to one of the houses."

The girl looked nervous, "Does it hurt as much as mum says?" she whispered.

"Look, this is important. People aren't supposed to tell you about sorting, not really tell you about it anyway. Your mum told you the Prince story. I want you to know more. You don't want to go to Slytherin, you–"

"Yes I do," she interrupted. "I want to go to Slytherin. The Princes all go to Slytherin… You're in Slytherin."

"There are some things happening now… There's… It's… Your father is a muggle. There are some people there who will make fun of you, bully you."

"Do they do that to you?"

"Yes they do."

"Oh…" She wasn't sure what to say.

"You are sorted by talent, and personality, and desire. If you–"

"How do they do that?"

"It really doesn't matter. Now–"

"Does it hurt?"

"No, it doesn't hurt. Families just tell stories to their children… Maybe it makes you more open in your feelings or maybe it's just a mean trick. But in the sorting you need to think hard about one of the other houses. Think very hard. It's what you want more than anything. That should get you into one of the other houses… Do you know anyone with family in one of the other houses, except Gryffindor?"

"Why not Gryffindor?"

"All the wizards in Gryffindor are mentally defective. Stay away from them."

"Mentally defective?"

"Yeah… Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff?"

"Esther Kerber is starting Hogwarts too. She–"

"There's a third year in Ravenclaw named– Oh, wait. He'll be a fourth year. Jake Kerber. That her brother?"

"Yes. They go to our synagogue."

"Esther your friend? Does she want to go to Ravenclaw?"


"Then during the sorting, you think very, very hard, 'I want to be in Ravenclaw. I want to be in Ravenclaw.' And maybe that's where you'll go."

"And it won't hurt?"

"It won't hurt. But don't tell anyone what I told you. You aren't supposed to tell new students what will really happen."

"But how does the sorting happen?"

"I just said, I can't tell you."

"But you told me something… Did you tell me the truth?"

"Yes, I did. Think Ravenclaw."

"Please, tell me just a little? I won't tell anyone. I promise."

He smiled, "No details. At the sorting a very old magic will look at you." He touched his forehead, "It will look into your mind." He touched his chest, "It will look into your heart. If your head and heart want the same thing, and you've got the talent, it will decide very quickly–"

"Why do you keep saying 'it'? What is the old magic?"

"Do you always ask questions like this? You're annoying."

"Daddy says it's because I'm smart and I'm going to do well."

"Do well in Ravenclaw. If the head and the heart don't agree sometimes it takes a few minutes before a new student is assigned to a house. Gryffindor gets the wizards who're mentally defective. The witches there are okay, but the wizards are jerks. Slytherin gets the ambitious wizards. Ravenclaws use their wits – never argue with a Ravenclaw. There are some smart wizards there. Hufflepuff… Hufflepuff gets the students who don't fit anywhere else. Some of them are very smart. Some of them are kind of slow. But they all work hard and they watch out for each other – I've never seen a Hufflepuff bully anyone."

Ariel went to the Hog's Head with a package for the Dumbledores immediately after her arrival at Hogsmeade.

Hagrid arrived at the Hog's Head the morning after sorting with a horse and cart to take Holly and Mary Evans back to their car. A small shabby figure stood outside the pub as they emerged.

"What're you doing out of school?" Hagrid growled.

"I wanted to see Mr. and Mrs. Evans," Severus told him.

"You're not supposed to be–"

Mary put a hand on the huge man's arm. "It's fine, Rubeus." She looked at the boy. "I'm glad I got to see you before we went home. I'm sorry your cousin went to Ravenclaw. Your aunt will be disappointed."

"Ariel will do fine in Ravenclaw."

"I suspect you're right. Do you have a message from Lily, or do you have a message for us to take to your mother or aunt?"

"I didn't tell Lily I was coming. I wanted to see you… I wanted to say goodbye before you went back, and to ask if I could work at the bakery this summer. You don't have to pay me much. I just want a little… I want to buy some better clothes. Please?"

Before Holly could politely say no, they didn't need any help at the bakery Mary answered, "Yes. We'd be happy to have you. You're smart and you work hard."

The boy was clearly excited, "Thank you!"

She gave him a fast hug. "It will be nice to have you. Now, Rubeus is right, you need to be back in school."

With a hurried goodbye Severus started jogging back to school. The three adults watched him for a minute.

"Odd little duck," Rubeus commented. "Moody. Professors say he's just fine one day and in a foul temper the next for no reason they can tell."

"He is a teenage boy," Mary pointed out. "And while I have two daughters I retain a vivid memory of teenage boys sometimes acting in a peculiar manner."

"Yer not talking about me, are you?" Rubeus asked.

Mary laughed, "Of course not. You were always the perfect gentleman. I was speaking of other teenage boys I knew."

"See," Holly insisted, "be glad she didn't marry you. She heaps scorn and abuse on her husband's head and openly flirts with other men."

Rubeus came to Mary's defense, "I think I could have lived with that, if she'd accepted my proposal."

"You are still the perfect gentleman," Mary told Hagrid, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "But I was fated to give my heart to this rogue."

As they rode out to the car Hagrid reminded them, "You're welcome to come up to Hogsmeade anytime, you know. Lot happening around Christmas."

"Lot happening in the bakery around Christmas too," Mary pointed out. "What do you think, Holly? Maybe take a couple days off in mid-January?"

"We'll see… I used to love the forest in the winter – could spend hours without seeing another soul.

After leaving Hagrid Holly headed the Morris in the direction of home. "Don't know why you told that boy he could have a job this summer."

"How many reason do you want? His parents don't provide very well for him. He is very good around the bakery… You'll admit that, won't you?"

"I suppose."

"He said he wants to dress a little better – nothing wrong with that, is there? I suspect he might have a young lady he wants to impress. Lily is–"

"Not Lily. Not that ugly git and Lily."

"He's not an ugly git. He is a very talented young man and seems very devoted to her."

"He may be talented, but he's an ugly git and not good enough for our Lily."

"Is any boy good enough for our Petunia or Lily?"

"No. What's your point?"

Mary laughed. "You might be right. But there is a very good chance that someday a pair of undeserving young men of some sort may capture the hearts of our daughters. I think there is a great deal of potential in Severus."

About twenty miles further down the highway Holly hit the brakes suddenly, alarming Mary who had been watching scenery out the window. "What?" she gasped.

"Damn fool in the road," Holly grunted. He narrowed his eyes and looked at the man with his arms outstretched. "What the hell… Is that Tom Riddle?"

Mary stared also, "Of course not, you just have Riddle on your mind after talking about him the other day."

The next morning Tom Riddle carefully went through the Easley Morning Post as he had his coffee at the cafe. He finally found a small article he was looking for on page five.

Two Die in One Car Accident
Holly and Mary Evans of Spinner's End, Manchester,
died when their car left Bruce Road and went down
an embankment four kilometers north of Stropping.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Tom Riddle smiled and folded the newspaper. There was nothing to make the deaths sound suspicious in any way. He wondered if his visit to Hogwarts tomorrow would be too great a coincidence, but decided not to delay. He was a respectable alumnus paying a respectable visit. Should anyone mention the death of a student's parents he would look properly concerned at the news. He would not even remember Holly, if asked.

There was no point in mentioning the deaths of Holly and Mary to anyone. While implacable hatred towards one's foes and the patience to carry out a death threat even after years would be considered a virtue to his followers there were stronger reasons not to mention it.

First, there was the chance he might merely look petty – and Lord Voldemort did not wish to appear petty. Petty was Bear killing the cattle at the Hart farm because one of their evacuees had given him a black eye and a bloody nose in a fight. And petty was stupid, Riddle did not want to play his hand too soon near Hogwarts. Second, someone might ask why he had vowed to kill Holly in the first place – and Riddle had no desire to tell the story of how Ogg manhandled him and Holly had beaten him a fight. And finally, and perhaps most important, word of his hand in the deaths of the couple might reach Severus Snape.

Riddle sighed and took another sip of coffee. He wished he could attract a higher caliber of followers. It didn't matter who your parents were if you were a wizard and recognized wizards as superior to muggles. All indications were that Severus Snape was a brilliant young wizard. He should be courted for the addition he would make to the circle of friends around Riddle. There were three distinct categories in the world. First were the wizards who recognized their superiority, and were therefore to be welcomed into the fold. Next were the muggles, by nature inferior wizards and fit only to serve or as playthings for the amusement of wizards. And finally there were race traitors, who refused to recognize the superiority their birth into the wizarding community granted to them. While some of them in time might recognize the superiority of wizards and become followers most of them were more contemptible than muggles – denying their own superior birthright for some nonsense about all people being equals. Some would even dare oppose him and his plans.

But when you stressed the importance of wizard blood you ended up with followers who would ridicule those with a muggle parent, even if he or she were in Slytherin. They needed to work more on a spirit of family - like Hufflepuff.

Severus Snape had arrived in Slytherin in need of friends. Had he been welcomed properly he'd already belong to Voldemort body and soul. Instead he'd been teased and bullied by others in the house for his poor clothing and muggle father. Riddle could appreciate a wizard with that background. His own father was a muggle and he had been raised in poverty. At Hogwarts his intellectual abilities had blossomed. Tom had overcome his handicaps and thrived. Given the chance Severus Snape could easily overcome his handicaps as well. Tom Riddle, like Mary Evans, sensed there was a great deal of potential in Severus Snape.

But Riddle's friends in Slytherin told him that young Snape had a close friendship with a muggle family, sometimes even receiving packages of biscuits or other treats. Riddle had decided to eliminate the young man's muggle friends. He made the decision before knowing that Holly Evans and his wife were the couple.

Riddle finished his coffee and snapped his fingers to get the girl's attention. He pointed to his empty cup, indicating he wanted a refill. "Life is good," Riddle reflected as he watched her refill his coffee. Surely it must have been fate to bring Holly Evans back into his life so that he could be killed. Fate had always been good to him. Fate, good planning, and his own intelligence. Riddle trusted more in himself than in fate. His plans were developing nicely. There was no need to rush things. He would sow fear among his enemies and win more friends until he assumed his rightful place as head of Britain's wizards. Having finished the second cup of coffee Tom flipped a shilling. Heads, he'd pay for his breakfast. Tails, and a memory charm would leave the muggles unaware he'd even been there. He always found it an amusing game. Heads… This morning he would pay. "Life is very good," he thought again as he searched through his pocket for change to pay the bill.

–The End–

In the course of writing of the real deaths of millions over the course of World War II – from mass starvation, deliberate attempts at genocide, the targeting of civilian populations by bombers, and the revenge killings of ten of thousands it became increasing difficult to see Tom Riddle as a force for evil. He became more of a simple thug in my mind, a schoolyard bully who has gotten out of hand.

Given the low number of reads and reviews in comparison to my other stories I have no plans to write more Hogwarts stories (couple ideas, but no plans). But many thanks to Imablack, Son of Whitebeard, Kaede Shinomori, Mr. Wizard, Thomas Linquist, anonmum, Dracarot, Bhel-Elryss, Anansii, arioso dolente, Lissie1019, A Markov, victorie-weasley-4-teddy-lupin, Aspieturtle, Hyzenthlay1972, music4ruth, and Dr. Platypus for their reviews. Thanks, you provided the encouragement to make it possible to finish this.

This and Hogwarts 1835 originally had exactly one-hundred and forty-five thousand words. Then FF. changed how it counts. Not good for my OCD.