AN: Hey everyone, this is the first ever chapter of the first FF I have ever written! I really hope you enjoy it guys, I am pretty nervous to upload it. Apologies for the really bad chapter title, I promise they'll get better.. Reviews would be awesome, but don't be 'too' hard on me. I am but a human being *sniff* I'll try to upload as regularly as I can, but seeing as though I've just started College and I have some sadistic teachers, there 'may' be some gaps between uploads. Ohh ohh, cookies to anyone who gets my shameless Whitesnake reference for the title of this thing!
DISCLAIMER; All characters apart from Simona belong to the almighty J.K Rowling. I am but a lowly fanfiction writer who puts her characters back after writing about them.
CHAPTER ONE: NEW BEGINNINGS.
'10:59' the clock read. Simona breathed a sigh of relief, another minute and she would have missed the Hogwarts Express. Baggage following, she reluctantly stepped onto the train. The train was full of animated chatter and excited squeals as anticipation of the upcoming school year took a hold on many of the students- mainly first years. Simona understood the excitement, for it was her first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry too. Her eyes fixed to the carpeted floor, she searched for an empty carriage, with no luck. Many of the students smirked at her, telling her to 'get lost' and mocking her appearance.
Simona had unruly, curly ebony-black hair that flowed past her shoulders. She usually just left it to its own accord. She had ice-white skin, almost translucent in some lights and large emerald-green eyes. Simona noticed they seemed to change colour, depending on her mood. Her eyes seemed to sparkle more if she was happy, and turned ash-black if she was angry. Simona liked to take advantage of her eyes, sometimes getting unnecessarily angry, just to see the reaction she got from other people. Simona also had wide, thick lips. This was usually the attraction of animosity she received from others, her lips were almost out of proportion to her face, and was a feature she disliked about herself. She also had a long upturned nose, which was stereotypically Italian. Simona was quite small, she was only 5"2 and very slim, almost wraith-like.
After several failed attempts to gain a seat in one of the carriages she got pretty irritated. She could feel her bright eyes darken significantly as she reached the final compartment. She decided that she would sit here, full or otherwise. Where else was she going to sit? She calmed herself down, making sure that her eyes went back to their original colour and went to open the compartment. Simona saw a dark figure in the corner, huddled into a large book entitled 'Advanced Potions; Grade V.' Simona cleared her throat to gain the figure's attention. Immediately a pair of charcoal-black eyes snapped up at her from behind a curtain of shoulder-length greasy black hair, lips thinning into a sneer.
"What, do you want?" The voice drawled. Simona stiffened; she had never heard such a short sentence said with such venom. She saw its eyes narrowing dangerously after she realised she had not replied.
"There is no room in any of the compartments." She said quietly, trying to avoid the piercing eyes staring at her in disgust. "I hoped that you would allow me to sit with you." She continued. Feeling the gaze soften minutely.
"Oh." The voice replied. "You'd better sit down then." Black eyes returning its attention back to the book. Simona put her suitcase into the overhead shelf and sat down, fiddling with her grey skirt that fell just above the knee. Her eyes gazed out of the window, she sighed as she saw the beautiful green countryside pass by.
Even though Simona was born and raised in Lucca, a small village in Florence, Italy she had moved to Queens, New York when she was 6 years old. Her parents wanted a new start, away from the prejudice they faced because of their magical background. Simona enjoyed living in New York and had picked up 'English' pretty quickly, although she struggled with writing in English and some of the slang words were lost on her. She also disguised her voice with an American accent, this made her more easily understood amongst other Americans. However, Simona missed the beautiful countryside of Italy, and appreciated the greenery England had to offer.
The compartment was filled with an awkward silence, even though she felt the figure in the corner did not appreciate her presence, she felt it was prudent to talk to it, she didn't know anybody on the train. She needed at least one person. Simona looked at the dark figure; it seemed engrossed in the book, as if the rest of the world had ceased to exist.
"My name's Simona, Simona Sforza. What's yours?" She asked amicably, her mouth curling into a small smile. She extended her hand towards the figure. Once again the raven-black eyes snapped up at her, lowering the book down to its side.
"Snape, Severus Snape," the voice said with less venom. Not accepting the hand outreached towards them. Simona took this as a cue of rejection and quickly put her hand back down to her lap. She noticed a nasty looking bruise developing on Severus' jaw. He noticed her eyes studying it carefully and his hand flew up to cover it.
"Who gave you that bruise?" Simona inquired, frowning. His face once again formed a sneer.
"That's none of your business," he said hatefully. Simona closed her eyes, she wanted to be friendly to Severus, but felt she was in a losing battle.
"Sorry," she said quietly, her eyes travelling to the book beside Severus. "What's that book you're reading?" Severus sighed irritably.
"Advanced Potions; Grade V," he said shortly. "I'm in Fifth Year, you look a bit too old to be in First Year don't you?" He added, she tried not to smirk at his backhanded compliment, she could tell he didn't have much practice at such niceties.
"I am in Fifth Year too, I have only just started Hogwarts though," she replied softly. "It is a long story," she sighed. Severus raised an eyebrow at this; she sensed he wanted her to continue. "I was supposed to start the same year as you, but my parents were killed a couple of days before I was due to start. My adoptive parents decided that I should go to a muggle school and when I turned 13 they let me decide between muggle and magical school. Dumbledore was kind enough to let me start here as a fifth-year after all of the paperwork was cleared up," Severus' eyes widened.
"You're muggle born?" He said. Simona shook her head.
"Kind of, I am from a pure-blooded family, but my adoptive parents are both muggles. So I guess you could say I am a bit of both," Severus nodded in understanding. "Is there anything wrong with that?" She said, hoping that he didn't hold any prejudicial views against muggles.
"No, it's just..." he started and his eyes lowered to the ground.
"Your friends?" She asked, noticing the Slytherin patch on his robes. Simona knew that a lot of students that were in Slytherin were pure-bloods who felt they were superior over half-bloods, muggle-borns and especially muggles themselves. Severus nodded in response. She pouted slightly, Severus had this ice-cold exterior to him, even though she had only shared a compartment with him for 10 minutes it was obvious. But she could sense vulnerability in him, a need for others. If only Simona could get Severus to show vulnerability towards her, she knew that he would soften to her, perhaps become friendly with her. Severus noticed that Simona was deep in thought and his piercing eyes met hers.
"My bruise," he said, regaining her attention. "..I recieved from a dunderhead in Gryffindor. He's called Sirius Black," the venom returning to his voice, he began rubbing his bruise. Simona's brows furrowed.
"Does it hurt?" She asked sympathetically, leaning forward. Severus looked startled and leaned back in his seat, trying to get as far away as possible from her. He was clearly not used to anyone behaving respectably towards him, especially not a girl.
"No," he lied, he shifted his robes nervously. Simona knew that he was putting on a false sense of bravado. She saw right through him. She tilted her head at him, half amusedly.
"Well as long as you got that Gryffindor back. That is a nasty looking bruise," she said, a ghost of smile appearing on her face. Severus smirked, a ghost of a smile playing on his lips, she noticed how pleasant he looked when he smiled, she realised he probably liked how she referred to Sirius.
"I didn't get him back, I'm biding my time," Severus said; an attempt at humor. Simona laughed at this, he looked at her green eyes, suddenly sparkling with amusement. Their eyes locked for a second before Severus looked away, a soft pink forming high in his cheekbones. "Where are you from? Your accent doesn't sound familiar." He inquired.
"I am originally from Florence in Italy, but I moved to New York when I was 6. My adoptive parents decided to move to England a couple of months ago so I could start here in September," She said amicably. Severus met her gaze, but once again broke it off after a few seconds. Simona didn't know why Severus kept doing this, she thought perhaps he wanted to know if her talking to him was a trick. She felt a lone-wolf vibe from him. "What?" she asked after a few minutes of silence and more of Severus' failed attempts at maintaining eye contact.
"It's just you're very..." he faltered, pink returning to his cheekbones. His eyes flickered to hers for a second, noticing the questioning look she returned to him. He swallowed thickly, trying to regain the ability to speak and almost a minute later he was able to finish his sentence. "It doesn't matter." Simona tilted her head. She would press him for an answer later.
"Oh, okay," She sighed, her eyes gazing back out of the window, it was getting dark now and the once bright-green trees and sweeping hills had now turned grey, alongside the ever darkening night-sky. "Will we be at Hogwarts any time soon?" she asked, curiously.
"Yes, we should arrive in about 10 minutes," he replied shortly, beginning to put his book into a small, brown tattered suitcase with almost surgical precision. Severus then began to bring down an owl cage, containing a vibrant-black owl which tried to peck at his fingers. Severus jumped back in fright, almost dropping the cage and cursed under his breath. Simona watched him curiously. She knew that most witches and wizards had familiars, but had never got one for herself. Her parents used to have a ginger cat, which they called Fiona, but it died when Simona was 5.
The train journey had come to an end and as Severus and Simona went to step out of the compartment four smirking figures blocked the door. Severus' once even-expression disintegrated into a venomous scowl, his eyes narrowing into slits and his mouth pressed in a thin line. Simona saw the Gryffindor patches on their robes and realised one of them must be Sirius Black, the one who gave Severus his bruise. A tall figure with above-shoulder length brown hair with mud brown eyes stepped forward.
"Who have you got there Snivellus, not got her under the imperius curse have you?" He mocked, the other figures burst into laughter. Simona assumed he was Sirius. Severus growled in response, Simona turned to look at him, his eyes, if possible, darkened. Her eyes furrowed in sympathy and looked back towards the four figures and smirked.
"And who are you?" Simona asked, not wanting to give away the fact she did actually know who he was. Sirius' face broke out into a smug grin, he moved even closer towards Simona, towering over her, putting his hand above her onto the glass frame. Simona backed away slightly, almost falling into Severus who let out a surprised yelp and cursed quietly, she must have stepped on his toe. "What, what are you doing?" She faltered, alarmed by Sirius' sudden advancement.
"The name's Sirius, Sirius Black. Remember my name, you'll be writing it all over your notebook later," Sirius barked with laughter and the rest of the figures collapsed into fits of giggles. Simona's eyes widened in disgust. Severus growled again, and smoothed down his robes. "What's wrong Snivellus, jealous of mine and.. what's your name, gorgeous?" He stepped forward again, his sneering face towering over Simona's small frame, she was blushing lightly, but her eyes were darkening in anger.
"Her name's Simona, and I advise you leave her alone," Severus spat, pushing Simona back and standing in front of her, he was slightly taller than Sirius, his eyes narrowing into slits. Simona was shocked that he so readily defended her, she barely knew him after all. Severus' sudden injection caused Sirius and the figures to burst into laughter once more. Simona likened them to hyenas.
"What's with the sudden bout of bravery, Snivellus? I didn't think Slytherins knew how to have a backbone, they usually just hide in the corner, like cowards," Sirius said mockingly, a twisted smile appearing on his mouth. Severus' face darkened at this, Simona could tell this comment hurt him. She saw his hands curl into fists, in an attempt to restrain his anger. Severus didn't respond. "That's right, all of that chivalry goes away when confronted doesn't it Snivellus? Now if you don't mind I was talking to Sarah..Simona," he smirked, turning to Simona raising an eyebrow and looking her up and down. Simona groaned in disgust, she thought he was a complete pig.
"Come on Sirius, let Snivellus talk to his pretty new friend while he can, he'll probably be too busy playing with his Chemistry set by the end of the week to even bother with her," a figure stood behind Sirius smirked. He had dark brown messy hair, rounded glasses with light brown eyes which narrowed as he looked at Severus.
Severus inhaled sharply and his hand flew into his pocket, he was reaching for his wand. At the same time 5 more hands reached into their pockets. Simona was the quickest to react and her ebony wand pointed threateningly at Sirius. Severus' wand also pointed at Sirius, the wands belonging to the 4 Gryffindors pointed at Severus too. Before any curses could be thrown, the train came to a jolting halt, causing Simona and Severus to almost fall onto the seats behind them, the 4 Gryffindors disappeared off the train before Severus could grab at his wand again.
Accompanied by Severus, Simona got off the train and headed towards the carriages, she exclaimed in shock as she noticed two bony, horse-like creatures pulling the carriages. Severus told her, rather curtly that these creatures were called 'Thestrals' and could only be seen by people who had experienced death. Severus also told her that he could see them too. His mother had died when he was young.
As they climbed onto a carriage, they noticed strange stares from other students. They tended to furrow their brows in confusion, Simona guessed that it was because Severus rarely socialised with anyone. He seemed to be quite irritable as they discussed random aspects of Hogwarts; Simona thought it may have been because she asked quite a lot of questions. She was curious after all.
After about 10 minutes they had arrived at the front gates of Hogwarts, it was a marvelous sight, a large castle, well-lit with candles under a clear nights sky. She gasped in awe. It was beautiful. They stepped off of the carriages and made their way up a long, winding path that drew up to the large, wooden gates of Hogwarts. Severus' thin mouth curled into a smile, Simona arched an eyebrow in confusion.
"What is it?" She asked, bemused. Severus looked at her and sighed, trying not to laugh. Simona smiled back, and laughed quietly, she still didn't know the cause of his amusement. "What?" She asked again, not that she didn't enjoy seeing him smile, but she did want to know why. Severus shook his head and let out a small bark of laughter, his obsidian eyes sparkling slightly.
"You're acting like such a first-year." He finally let out. Simona laughed, blushing lightly. She pursed her lips and nodded.
"Well I am a first-year, sort of." She replied. "I've never seen Hogwarts before, only from what I have heard from you and from passing the carriages. My parents went to 'Firenze Scuola di streghe e maghi' or, 'Florence's school of witches and wizards', it sounds better in Italian." She added, smiling slightly at the memory of her parents. Severus nodded curtly.
As they got to the end of the path, an old woman with a pointed green hat and checkered robes scowled at the crowd forming outside the entrance. Her gray hair pulled back into a tight bun, piercing blue eyes, scanning the audience. "Is a Miss Sforza here?" She said strictly, the crowd looked at each other, trying to find Simona. Simona stepped forward and raised her hand.
"I'm Simona, professor." She said politely, smiling weakly at the scowling woman. Simona looked back at Severus who stared back coldly, as if a mask had formed on his face. She smiled at him and walked towards the professor. Who motioned her hand towards the door.
"Ah, Miss Sforza, if you'd like to come with me please. The rest of you, make your way to the Great Hall at once." She said cooly. Simona had to almost run to keep up with the professor's striding steps. She led Simona down corridors and eventually met up with another group of students at the top of a set of stairs. Simona noticed they must be first-years, judging by their nervous expressions, robes without house badges and excited chatter. They stopped however, when they noticed Simona and the professor's entrance. Simona climbed down a couple of steps so that she would blend in with the crowd. The strict-looking professor cleared her throat.
"Welcome first-years, in a few moments you will pass through these doors." She motioned to a pair of great-wooden doors, not too dissimilar to those at Hogwarts' entrance. "And you will be sorted into one of four houses, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin." She said briskly, her pale-blue eyes resting disdainfully on Simona as she mentioned the last house. "As you progress through the year, you will earn points for your house for doing good deeds such as answering correct questions in class, and going above and beyond your duty as a student. You will also however, lose points for your house if you misbehave." She continued. "At the end of the year, the house earning the most points will win the elusive House Cup. Some of you may know that I am the Head of House for Gryffindor, and we have not won the cup for 3 years, I wish that this losing streak will not continue" She added, her mouth tweaking up at the side in an attempt at humour. A small murmur of polite laughter rang through the students. Simona smiled politely. "Now if you would like to follow me." The professor announced.
As Simona walked into the hall, her eyes widened as she noticed the ceiling, it was lit brightly with candles which were suspended in the air, the ceiling was bewitched to mimic the night sky, she pondered. 4 long rows of tables were spread out in the hall, a lot of the students already sat at the table scanned interestedly at the incoming students, they had black-pointed hats on their heads and were dressed in their school robes.
Simona looked to the far-left of the hall where the Slytherins were sat. She craned her neck to see if she could spot Severus, but in doing so, she accidentally bumped into the student in front of her, causing a line of students to trip and fall. It was almost like a game of dominoes had unveiled in front of her very eyes, a roar of laughter ripped out throughout the hall as the rest of the first-years tried to re-gain their balance and dignity. Luckily, Simona herself had not fallen, but because she was the cause of such a large collision, her high cheekbones flashed beetroot red in embarrassment. Most of the laughter seemed to be coming from the Slytherin table.
After a full minute, the students had stopped laughing. Simona's eyes snapped to the floor in front of her as she felt 20+ angry glares pierce the back of her neck. She looked up however, when she heard the female professor start to talk. "When your name is called, sit on the stool and when the Sorting Hat has put you into your house, sit at the corresponding table." Simona's eyes looked to a tattered, brown hat that was precariously placed on a small wooden stool. It had to have been hundreds of years old. She half-expected it to fall to pieces as soon as it was touched.
"Alderson, Kate." The strict professor announced, a small blonde girl with brown eyes nervously approached the stool and as she sat down, and the sorting hat was placed on her head, the hat suddenly came to life. Simona exclaimed in surprise, receiving a few strange glances from the first-years surrounding her.
"Ah, yes, I see talent in you, but a fierce sense of loyalty. GRYFFINDOR!" The hat yelled, Kate smiled in relief and skipped towards the Gryffindor table, to tumultuous amounts of applause.
Simona shifted nervously. Even though she didn't fit a lot of the characteristics of a typical Slytherin, she did however have some qualities of a Slytherin student. She was pure-blooded and a sense of determination like no other. She absolutely loathed coming second. She once 'accidentally' blew up a chess table when she lost to her adopted father. He understood that she was a witch of course, but wasn't too pleased about the hole in the carpet that was made because of her fiery temper.
After a few more students were sorted into their houses, the majority of them in Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, it was Simona's turn. Simona reluctantly sat on the stool and wished that she would be placed into Slytherin. She felt the sorting hat being placed on her head and had the strange sensation of worm wriggling in her brain.
"Ah, hum. Where to put you, where to put you? You're very intelligent, so Ravenclaw would be a good fit for you." The sorting hat mused, Simona's eyes opened in shock. She knew Ravenclaw was a good house, but she desperately wanted to be in the same house as Severus. "You want to be put into Slytherin eh?" The sorting hat retorted. Simona's head nodded slowly, she knew that pretty much the whole hall could hear what the hat was saying. She blushed furiously. "Well that's something I forgot to consider. Your steely determination and temperament does suit you to Slytherin quite well. Okay then, if you're sure... SLYTHERIN!" The sorting hat exclaimed. The Slytherin table erupted with applause. Simona smiled shyly as she made her way over to the table, she noticed a few glares, particularly from members of Ravenclaw and Gryffindor.
Simona went to sit with the rest of the new Slytherins, but noticed Severus sat with a couple of other fifth-years. She sat down next to him and beamed. "That was a close one, those Ravenclaws seem really annoyed." She laughed glancing at the still glaring Ravenclaws. Severus nodded in response and looked to the other fifth-years. They looked back at Simona with a confused expression. She smiled at them, extending her hand. "I am Simona, I am actually a fifth-year too, but it is a long story." She said lightly, the two fifth-years didn't accept her hand. Perhaps it was a typical trait of Slytherin people. She nodded and looked awkwardly down at the table. The awkward silence between the four of them was broken by Professor Dumbledore addressing the hall.
"Welcome to all first-years to the start of what I believe to be one of the best years here at Hogwarts." He beamed. Professor Dumbledore was a tall man, with long white hair, and a beard that he eccentrically tied in a series of 'pony-like-tails' he was dressed in midnight-blue robes decorated with pale-yellow stars, with a matching pointy hat. Simona mused that he looked a lot like Merlin, and tried not to scoff in amusement.
"He says that every year." Severus said sarcastically, the other 2 fifth years nodding in response. Simona smirked. Dumbledore continued to speak with a glint in his powder-blue eyes. "Dumbledore seems to have a relentless amount of optimism, old git." Severus sneered, the fifth years snorted with laughter and Simona looked at him with an arched brow, this was a change to she shy and only slightly-sarcastic Severus Simona had met on the train. He seemed ruder, and venomous. Perhaps this is what Severus is like among his friends, she wondered.
"I'm Evan Rosier." One of the fifth years said with a smirk. He had short spiked brown hair, a long thin face and dark brown eyes. Simona could tell that he was deciding whether or not to like her. She smiled politely though, and told him it was nice to meet him. He nodded in response to this.
"I'm Avery." The other fifth year interjected curtly. He had silver hair, and piercing blue eyes that scanned for any imperfections. Simona got an unpleasant vibe from him. "So what's your background, Sforza?" He sneered unpleasantly, Simona knew that he was not-so-subtly asking her whether or not she was muggle-born.
"I'm a pure-blood, if that's what you're asking." Simona replied shortly, she didn't like the fact that many Slytherins held this superior view to muggle-borns. "My father was a Sforza, my mother a Moretti. Satisfied?" She continued with an arched brow. Taken aback by her curtness, Avery and Evan nodded with widened eyes. Severus was thoroughly amused by this, and snorted with laughter.
"Welcome to Slytherin." Avery added after an awkward silence. Simona nodded, and started to pile food onto her plate. Severus tried not to laugh even more at how well she could silence Avery and Rosier. He had never before come across someone who could do so. He rather enjoyed the silence, he didn't care much for idle chatter.
At the end of dinner, the students began to file out of the hall to go to their respective common rooms. Simona walked with Severus down to the dungeons, where the Slytherin dormitories lay. Simona smirked at this, 'figures' she thought. As they finished going down the winding stone steps that led to Slytherin, Simona shivered as she adapted to the dramatic drop in temperature. Severus noticed this and smirked.
"You get used to the coldness after a while. I'd send for some extra blankets and thicker robes if I were you." He replied dryly, Simona scoffed. However, it was a good idea, and made a mental note to owl her adoptive parents and request the blankets and robes. Even though her adopted parents were muggles, they were quite well adjusted to the wizarding world. They were fascinated by it. Simona felt lucky actually, not a lot of muggle-born students had understanding parents.
"After you." Severus said silkily and allowed Simona to enter the common room. She gawped at the beautiful interior of the green silk couches, the green and silver paintings that hung on the wall, and the fire that seemed to do nothing for the coldness in the dungeons. There were emerald green rugs spread out across the stone floor and an ebony black table in front of the couches. "Your room should be on the fifth set of stairs to the right." Severus said, interrupting Simona's chain of thought. "I'll come with you, mine are on the same floor but to the left." He continued. Simona smiled and nodded as she followed him up the stairs.
"Who was that professor that led me and the first-years into the hall? She never told us her name." Simona asked, she found it strange that she never introduced herself. Severus looked at her and raised an eyebrow.
"That would have been Professor McGonagall. Transfiguration teacher, and Gryffindor Head of House. Don't expect her to like you very much." Severus replied sarcastically. "She tries not to show it, but she does tend to favour her precious Gryffindors." He continued, adding air quotes. Simona snorted at this, and Severus looked at her in confusion. Perhaps he didn't know that Simona found his relentless sarcasm amusing.
As they got to the top of the stairs Simona walked towards an ebony door that read;
"Well that's me then I guess." Simona turned to Severus and pointed at the sign. Severus winced.
"I'd watch out for Bellatrix if I were you, she is a bit of a case." Severus said, his brows furrowing. Simona tilted her head, not knowing what he meant.
"I will. Goodnight Severus." She beamed at him, her emerald eyes sparkling. Severus blushed and nodded.
"Goodnight Simona." He muttered as she closed the door behind her.
AN: So guys, that was my first chapter! Like I said, I hope you enjoyed it, I've almost finished chapter 2, (With an even crummier title) so hopefully I will upload it in the next few days! Don't forget to review! :)