Author's Note:I've always wanted to read an AU where Snape joined the Marauders instead of Wormtail, so I figured I would just write one instead. :) Please enjoy my little speculation of what could have been!
~ Chapter One ~
Severus Snape moved through the narrow corridors of the Hogwarts Express as fast as he could. The English countryside was flying past just outside of the large windows. Snape had not seen Lily since they got onto the train. He had ducked into the first empty compartment he had seen and changed into his school robes. His mother had bought them for him second hand so the black was really a dark gray. But Snape did not seem to mind. Even second hand, proper wizarding robes were much better than his ill-fitting Muggle clothes. He was finally where he knew he truly belonged. If he could find Lily, everything would be perfect.
When he finally found her, she was in a compartment with two other boys. One of them was a slight young boy with naturally unruly black hair that stuck out in all directions. The boy he was speaking to had hair just as dark, but looked more manageable, giving the impression of having been combed meticulously only to be ruffled later, almost to match his companion's relaxed demeanor. They were chatting among themselves and did not even bother to look up when Snape walked into the compartment. Snape, for his part, hardly gave them a second glance. His focus was set entirely on the young girl who sat slumped, her face pressed against the windowpane.
Snape sat down near her. She glanced at him briefly before turning her attention back to the ever changing countryside. Snape could tell she had been crying. Before he had a chance to say anything, the young girl, Lily, spoke, her voice threatening to give way to tears. "I don't want to talk to you."
Snape furrowed his eyebrows. "Why not?"
"Tuney h-hates me. Because we saw that letter from Dumbledore." Snape had to resist the growl that was beginning to form in the back of his throat. Petunia, Lily's loathsome younger sister, was ruining his plans even in her absence. He despised the girl, and not just because she was a Muggle. He would have hated her even if she had been a pureblooded witch.
"So what?" Snape asked, almost without thinking. He would have to be careful. His hatred for the younger Evans sister almost showed through. He had restrained himself, but that did not stop Lily from glaring at him all the same.
"So she's my sister!"
"She's only a-" he stopped himself at the last moment. Lily did not like it when he called her younger sister names. He did not understand why she defended a girl who treated her so badly, but he respected her wishes. Luckily, Lily not seem to have noticed what he was about to say. "But we're going! This is it! We're off to Hogwarts!" Even Lily managed a smile at that. She was just as excited as he was, despite her sadness. She reached up to wipe the tears from her cheeks. Snape smiled. Lily was so strong. He should have known that she would be fine. "You'd better be in Slytherin," Snape said, beginning to feel a little more brave now that she had cracked a smile. She did not seem to be too upset with him any longer.
Snape and Lily both turned to look at the boy who had spoken. It was the one with with unruly black hair, Snape noted. He had been so preoccupied with Lily that he had completely forgotten that they were not alone. He instantly scowled. The look on the boy's face was enough to set Snape ill at ease. He recognized that expression. Almost every Muggle child he had known had that same smug expression when they were around him. Snape could feel his stomach sinking. The dark haired boy turned to his companion. "Who wants to be in Slytherin? I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"
Snape noted that the other boy did not smile. In fact, he looked a little uncomfortable as he spoke. " My whole family have been in Slytherin," he said. Snape smiled to himself. He finally found another Slytherin!
"Blimey, and I thought you seemed all right!"
If the boy had said such a think to Snape, Snape would have taken offense. Instead, the other boy just grinned. " Maybe I'll break the tradition," he said. Snape's shoulders slumped a bit. " Where are you heading, if you've got the choice?"
The boy grinned as he held up an invisible sword, puffing his chest out, theatrically. "'Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart!' Like my dad." Snape made a noise that was a little like a snort. Gryffindor? What sort of person would actually want to be a Gryffindor? Snape was not as quiet as he thought because the boy suddenly turn to look at him, hatred clear on his face. "Got a problem with that?"
Snape could not help the slight sneer that came over his face as he fell into old habits. Suddenly, he was back home where the ignorant Muggle children would make fun of his clothes, his looks and his family. Snape felt his posture tightening as he took the defensive. "No. If you'd rather be brawny than brainy-"
"Where're you hoping to go, seeing as you're neither?" the other boy interjected. The two boys then busted out into laughter. Snape could feel a slight blush coming over his face from anger. Who did these two think they were! Lily had apparently had just about as much of their two compartment mates as she could stand. Getting to her feet, she took Snape's hand.
"Come on, Severus, let's find another compartment," she said, leading Snape to the compartment door. Both of the boys made cat calls at Lily and Snape, mimicking Lily's voice. One of the boys had tried to trip Snape, but only managed to make him loose his balance momentarily.
"See ya, Snivellus," one of the boys called out just as Lily slammed the compartment door shut.
Snape had not seen her so angry in a very long time. But as she led him through the corridor, her hand gripping his tightly, he smiled. He had thought she was angry with him. He was happy to see that she was not. They were still friends. The very best of friends.
He squeezed her hand back ever so slightly.
When they finally found a relatively empty compartment, Lily opened the door. She tried her best to not sound as tense as she felt. "Would it be alright if we joined you?" she asked the only occupant of the compartment. The boy was a first year from the looks of him and he wore a robe that was just as shabby as Snape's. He hair was a light brown and he had scars along his face. Snape was curious, but he said nothing. The boy just smiled as he looked up from his book. "Of course. There is ...plenty of room," he said, motioning for them to take a seat. Once Lily and Snape sat down, the boy returned to his reading, intending not to be a bother.
Snape felt himself relax a little now. He was glad to see that not every student was Hogwarts would be like the two they had met in their other compartment.
"I'm Lily by the way," she said, giving the other boy a large smile. Snape glanced over at her. She always was so nice. If it had been Snape alone, he and the other passanger would have just ridden in silence.
The boy looked a little startled to be addressed, but he returned Lily's smile, albeit shyly. "My name is Remus. Remus Lupin."
"My name is Severus Snape." Snape was a little surprised that he would blurt out his name like that, unprompted. Remus just smiled.
"It is a pleasure to meet you Lily, Severus. I hope we all have a good first year at Hogwarts," he said, before reaching into the bag he had beside him. Taking out a chocolate bar he had bought from the snack trolley, he unwrapped it and held it out. "Chocolate?"
It was Snape's turn to be startled. Lily had been the only person to ever offer anything to him before. He looked at the chocolate wearily. This Remus Lupin could have done anything to it. For all Snape knew, he would take one bite of it and start vomiting up sludge. He was about to decline when Lily reached out and broke off a piece of chocolate.
"Thank you!" she said brightly, tossing the piece of chocolatein her mouth. Snape watched her for a moment before he broke off a piece for himself, muttering a 'thank you'. The rest of the train ride had been pleasant. Lily and Remus spoke most of the time while Snape observed. He found himself hoping that Remus would be sorted into Slytheirn with Lily and him.
"Evans, Lily!" called out Professor McGonagall. When Severus first saw her, he had thought the older woman looked severe, but her expression was much more gentle than what he was used to seeing on an adult. She was strict, but seemed fair. She had not scowled at him or called him names. He knew he would like Hogwarts.
When Lily had been called up to the Sorting Hat, Severus's breath caught in his throat. 'Slytherin, please put her in Slytherin', he begged under his breath to anyone who might hear him and take pity. He was more nervous about where Lily would end up than he was about where he would go.
"Gryffindor!" the hat called out. Snape groaned under his breath. Why did it have to be Gryffindor of all Houses? As Lily walked towards him, however, he gave her a smile. She smiled weakly in return before going to her table. One of the boys from the train, Sirius Black, as Snape learned when he had been called up to be sorted, moved up on the bench to make room for Lily. She took one look at him and, recognizing him from the train, turned her back to him. Snape's heart welled with pride. He supposed if Lily could be sorted into a House like Gryffindor, it could not be so bad.
Snape watched as other students were sorted. The other boy who had been on the train, James Potter, went to go join Lily at the Gryffindor table. She gave him as much regard as she had given Sirius. Remus Lupin, was sorted into Gryffindor as well. With both Lily and Remus sorted into Gryffindor, Snape felt miserable.
Snape's name was finally called when there were just a few students left. His hands went cold. With trembling steps, he walked up to the chair and sat down. When the Sorting Hat was placed on his head he could not help but shiver slightly. He could hear a voice in his head.
'Awfully protected up here in your mind, aren't you? Let's see, where to put you. You are quite intelligent...your loyalty is obvious... but it seems that you have your heart set on Slytherin. Yes, you would do well in Slytheirn.'
'I-I would not mind being put into Gryffindor,' he thought as he glanced over at where Lily and Remus sat. Lily was watching him hopefully.
The Sorting Hat was quiet for a moment before it finally announced it's decision. "Slytherin!" Snape smiled slightly to himself. He could not say he was surprised. Being sorted into Slytherin had always been a foregone conclusion. As he walked towards the Slytherin table, the blond haired prefect making room for him, Snape glanced over his shoulder at where Lily sat at the Gryffindor table. She had turned her body to look at him as well. She was smiling warmly at her friends.
He supposed it was not so bad. Even in different Houses, they would always be close. He had promised her that he would be her friend, always. Sitting a few feet away at meals would not change that. "Congratulations, Slytherin," she whispered to him.
He smiled in return. "Congratulations, Gryffindor." He meant it. Gryffindor was lucky to have a girl like Lily.
Snape had never been so angry in his short life. Hogwats was supposed to be a reprieve for Snape. It was supposed to be home. It was supposed to be, but James Potter and Sirius Black were ruining everything! Storming into the First Year dormitories, Snape threw his books down on his bed so hard that he missed the mattress entirely. The books slammed against the head board and ricocheted to the floor.
He threw himself on the bed, tears stinging in the corner of his eyes. Snape buried his face against the pillow as he gripped the sheets. His hands still burned from the potion's accident the day before. Professor Slughorn had called it a common mistake, but Snape knew it was anything but a simple lack of foresight, especially when Potter and Black were involved.
His class had been working on a very simple cure for boils. It was supposed to be simple, anyway. Snape had studied it intensely. He had wanted to prove himself to his Head of House and Potions Master, Professor Slughorn. The man was known for picking favorites and Snape was determined to be one of the chosen. The term had started out so well, too.
Snape had answered all of the questions with expert knowledge. Slughorn had looked incredibly pleased. He followed all of the directions and was beginning to have such a deep understanding for potions that he started to come up with his own, more superior methods for creating potions.
The day they learned to make a cure for boils should have been a routine assignment. For the most part, everything went fine. More than fine, in fact. Whenever Slughorn came around to where Snape was, he would nod his head approvingly. Snape had no connections and no inheritance to speak of, but if he could prove himself talented enough, he knew Slughorn would appreciate him. He may even be invited to join the Slug Club one day!
During the class, towards the end, Snape had realized that he was running low on porcupine quills. He certainly would not have enough to finish the Boils Cure potions. Lowering the heat, he let the cauldron to finish boiling while he went across the room to quickly get a few more quills. When he returned to his station, he caught Black and Potter hurrying back to their cauldrons. At the time he, thought nothing of it.
But then, just as he was about to take the cauldron off of the fire, it suddenly melted, sending the ruined Boils Cure potion everywhere. The other students screamed as they hopped away from him as fast as they could. Snape was not fast enough, so he was drenched in the stuff. Within moments, he began to develop painful boils wherever the potion had touched. He hissed in pain as he turned his head to glare at his two Gryffindor tormentors.
They were smirking as they held up a handful of porcupine quills and Snape instantly realized what had happened. If one added the quills before taking the cauldron off of the fire, the potion meant to cure boils would cause them instead. Before he could accuse the Gryffindors of anything however, Slughorn was upon him.
"Oh dear, oh dear. Leave things as they are, my boy, and get yourself to the infirmary," Professor Slughorn said. The older man was smiling at him, but Snape could never miss the look of disappointment in his eyes. He could practically hear Slughorn say 'I had such high expectations for you, but I suppose I should have known better.'
He was too embarrassed to say anything else as he just nodded dumbly, just about running from the Potions classroom. He could heart Potter and Black, as well as the rest of the Gryffindors, and even some of the Slytherins, laughing as the door slammed behind him.
Lying in bed now, his hands covered up as the salve Madam Pomphrey gave him helped to sooth the last of the boils worked just underneath the bandages, Severus Snape sighed. Potter and Black had gone out of their way to make his life miserable. It was not just them. Even Remus started to spend time with them. He never participated in the bulling, but he certainly did not try to stop them. Lily would defend him if she was around , but that would just push Potter and Black to do worse things. Snape tried to hold his own against them, defending himself with what spells he knew and, sometimes, getting revenge, but he was out-numbered and, unlike them, he had no one else.
Seeing Severus Snape as being rather low on the social food chain, as well as a poverty-stricken half-blood, the other Slytherins all but ignored him. Snape learned early on that he could not count on his Housemates to come to his aid. With Potter and Black coming up with smarter ways of waging their little war, soon even Lily would be unable to help. That idea scared him more than anything. Ever since meeting Lily, Snape had never felt completely alone, but if Potter has his way, that is exactly how he would end up. Alone.
Slowly, Snape sat up on the bed. He sighed weakly. It would be Christmas soon and, as one of the few students not returning home for the Holidays, he would at least get some peace and quiet. He would read ahead, perhaps go through some of the books in the library. He would figure out a way to get back on Professor Slughorn's good side. He would not let Potter ruin that for him.
He suddenly remembered- the Library! He had checked out some books from the library and had... promptly sent them flying to the floor when he threw them against the headboard of his bed. He shuddered to think what would happen to him if the books were damaged. Leaning over the side of the bed easily, he breathed a sigh of relief when nothing looked damaged. Something was odd, however. Picking up the copy of "Magical Herbs and Their Properties", he noticed there was a corner of a piece of paper sticking out from between the pages.
Opening the book, he saw that the paper was actually a photograph stuck between the pages of the section on Wolfsbane. Setting the book aside, he looked at the photograph. It was a family picture, but one that was so unlike the one Snape had left back in Spinner's End. There was a man and a woman and in between them was a brown haired boy, dark eyes wide and full of awe. They were all smiling. They were holding the boy's hands tightly. As the picture moved, the father would suddenly pick the boy up and toss him onto his shoulders. The woman would laugh sweetly and clap as her husband and son twirled. The boy looked happier in that instant than Snape had ever been in a lifetime with his parents. He recognized the boy. He looked to only be six or seven, but the scars were more familiar. They were impossible to ever forget. It was Remus Lupin.
Shoving the photograph into the book once more, he threw it angrily under his bed. He didn't even care if he destroyed the book anymore. Remus had left a photograph of his family in a library book. It was probably an accident, but now Snape had something of his, something that was precious to him. All Snape wanted to do was tear it up, burn it, then give Remus Lupin the ashes. Remus may have never actually helped Potter or Black, but he never tried to stop them. He was just as guilty as they were, as far as Snape was concerned. More guilty, even. Unlike with Potter and Sirius, Snape had expected Remus to be kind to him and Remus had disappointed him.
He deserved anything Snape did to him, the young Slytherin decided in that moment. There would be no mercy for Remus Lupin.
Snape had tried to think of the best way of destroying the photograph, trying to come up with some way he could make it hurt Remus the most, but come Christmas break, he still had no ideas. Instead, he just kept the picture with him. He would never admit it, but sometimes, he would just watch the happy family and pretend his own family had been the same. Unlike the family in the photograph who probably spent all of the holidays together, his mother had instructed him not to return. She said that would be the best way not to anger his father too much.
He could not say he was too terribly surprised. Christmas was a miserable affair at his home. He would probably have a happier time at Hogwarts alone anyway. After saying goodbye to Lily, wishing her a happy Christmas, he went to the library. He figured he would get a head start on studying.
Snape sat in the corner desk, hidden away from sight. He loved that spot more than any other because people tended to leave him alone when he sat there. At some point Snape fell asleep. It was difficult to resist. The library was kept warm and without any other students around, it was peaceful. Slumped in his chair, Snape fell asleep. He dreamed about the photograph, as he had done almost since he found it.
Suddenly, the noise of desperate scrambling from a few aisles away roused Snape from his nap. Rubbing at his eyes, grumbling under his breath, he got to his feet and headed towards the sounds, intending to investigate. He looked a little surprised when he saw Remus desperately grabbing books off of the shelf, flipping through them. He looked haggard. Snape looked at him with a scowl of disgust. He was about to turn away from the sight and go back to his studying when something stopped him. Remus' face suddenly crumpled as he collapsed onto a chair. He looked utterly defeated. He was on the verge of tears. Snape could feel his chest tightening.
He had been so sure he was going to like getting his revenge on Remus, but now that he saw the young Gryffindor looking so lost and alone, Snape was not so sure. In fact, for the first time in a long time, he actually felt a little remorseful. He could practically hear Lily's voice in the back of his mind, reprimanding him for not having returned the photo to Remus as soon as he had found it. He actually felt a little ashamed that he had been so petty. If he had a family as loving as Remus obviously did, he too would have wanted to keep all reminders of them close. What was Lily always telling him? 'Treat others how you want to them to treat you'? It was a good saying.
Taking a deep breath, Snape walked over to Remus, holding out the photograph. "I believe this belongs to you." Remus looked at him in shock as he took the photograph, looking at it with wide eyes. Snape had been about to say something, but he was cut off when Remus suddenly threw his arms around him and gave him a bone-crushing hug.
"Thank you, Severus, thank you!"
Snape's eyes widened as he felt his face warm all the way up to his ears. He pushed away suddenly. Trying his best to compose himself, he glanced over at Remus, clearing his throat a bit. "Ahem. Well, I suppose... you are... welcome," he muttered. What else was there to say?
"I am so sorry, Severus. For a Gryffindor, I have been such a coward," Remus muttered as he sat across the table from Snape in the Great Hall. He was picking at his food, tossing nervous glances at the young Slytherin. Snape looked at him and Remus squirmed uncomfortably. "I knew James and Sirius were bullying you, but I … did not want to lose them as friends, so I said nothing. I am so sorry."
That annoyed Snape more than anything. It was difficult to maintain a grudge when Remus seemed to be punishing himself. "I am not being bullied. I can—I can handle those two swines on my own."
Remus just gave him a weak smile. " I know you can. But still, the next time they try to pick on you, I won't let them. I think... they have you all wrong in their heads."
"What do you mean?"
"They think that you're some dark wizard in-training, destined to go bad. They don't like your interest in the dark arts."
Snape huffed. " Magic is only dark if it is used for dark purposes. I don't plan to use it for such things."
Remus nodded his head. "I can understand where you are coming from...but it is still enough to scare some people. You are pragmatic about the whole issue, but remember, not too long ago, Gellert Grindlewald was roaming the countryside..."
He sighed. He supposed Remus had a point. Snape was a not a wicked child. He had no intentions of doing wicked deeds. He knew dark spells were powerful, but he believed he could use them constructively. But until he was able to prove it was possible, he should not make his interests in the dark arts so well known.
"But it isn't just them who have the wrong idea... you do, too," he said. Snape glared at him. "Sirius and James really aren't that bad. In fact, if they like you, they are the most loyal friends a person could ever want. Believe me."
Snape just tensed as he turned his head. He and Remus had just begun to get back onto good terms. Snape did not want to ruin it. He had to watch his tongue. "What difference does it make to me? We will never be friends."
Remus just smiled as he drank some pumpkin juice. Snape was not sure if he trusted that look on Remus' face. In his experience, it was usually the quiet ones who were the most cunning. Snape could not shake the sinking suspicion that the calm, collected Gryffindor sitting across the table from him was planning something.
~ TBC ~