Author's note: This is the very first novel length story I ever wrote. I know that it doesn't take much to improve it in places but for me, personally, this is my most important piece of writing. I love it like it is. I will correct typos and grammar where I find mistakes but other than that I want to leave it like it is.
The story was written after Order of the Phoenix came out. Therefore it is, of course, contradicting canon. Nevertheless I was pleasantly surprised how much I got right when I read Deathly Hallows.
Against All Odds
Chapter 1: The journey
The girl eyed the platform in admiration. People in strange clothes were crowding it. People in robes. People in weird assortments of casual clothing. People who were like her.
A huge number of teenagers were getting ready to board a train which was to be pulled by a purple steam engine. Parents were helping their offspring find seats and stow away their luggage which mostly consisted of big trunks. Many of the young people had cages with them, most of which contained cats or owls.
"Come, Lily, dear, or all seats will have been taken," said the caring voice of her father beside her. "Yes, dad." Lily tried to stop staring and followed her father towards the train. "I wish there was anyone we knew," said Mr Evans. "I know you´re a big girl and will handle it, but I´d really feel better if you were not all alone."
His wife stroked her daughter´s red hair. "Don´t be worried, dear, Lily´s going to be all right." She smiled as the girl turned around. "You are, aren´t you?"
"Yes, mum. Will you say good bye to Petunia from me?"
"Of course, I will. Next time she´ll come with us to see you on the train. You´ll see."
"Tell her, I´m sorry. I didn´t know I could do it."
"She knows that. But I´ll tell her again."
Mr Evans had found an empty compartment and put his daughter´s trunk into the luggage rack. "Here´s your seat, dear!" he cried and turned around to look for his wife and daughter. Suddenly somebody caught his eye. "Oh, what a surprise. I never thought to meet someone from the neighbourhood here." He shook hands with a tall woman with black hair and heavy black brows.
Mrs Snape smiled. Seemingly she, too, was relieved to see a known face. "Mr Evans," she said. "How pleasant to meet you. You´re bringing your daughters, I assume?"
"Only Lily. Petunia isn´t a witch. Ah, and there´s young Severus. I take it, he is a wizard?"
"It came so much as a surprise to us, when Lily got her letter. She´s the first witch in our family."
"I wasn´t surprised. Seeing that I´m a witch, I was well aware of the fact that my son would possibly be a wizard."
"Do you need help with his trunk? He can sit here with Lily."
"Thank you so much, Mr Evans. I´m relieved he can sit with your daughter, to be honest. He doesn´t make friends easily."
"They´ll both be better off, if they can start together." Mr Evans heaved the second trunk into the compartment.
"Ah, Lily, dear." he beamed at his daughter, who had finally managed to come to him. "Look, whom I have met." He pointed at the small, darkhaired boy, who stood quietly beside his mother. "You´d never have guessed that one of your old class would be here, would you?"
Lily smiled at the boy. He returned the smile shyly. Their mothers greeted as well.
The steam engine gave a loud whistle. "We´d better be off," said Mrs Snape. "This is the signal that the train will leave in a minute. Have you everything you need?" She bent to her son and cleared a fluff from his shirt. The boy nodded.
The Evans said good bye to their daughter and ensured her once again they´d give her greetings and apology to her sister.
When the train started to move, the two children waved to their parents until the train went around a bend and the platform couldn´t be seen any longer.
The boy closed the window with some difficulty. He barely reached up to it, but at last he managed. There were some moments of silence.
"You don´t have to sit with me if you don´t want to. I can go somewhere else." the boy said at last.
"Oh, no. Why should I not want to sit with you?" Lily smiled. "So, your mother is a witch? Do you know any magic?"
Lily waited for him to elaborate, but he didn´t. "What is it like to live with magical parents?" she finally asked.
The boy hesitated. "My parents aren´t both magical," he said at last. "My dad is a muggle."
"He must be proud to have a wizard son."
"He is not. He doesn´t like magic. My mom kept telling him, that I probably wouldn´t be a wizard. He got a fit, when I got my letter."
"Sorry to hear that. But you knew before, that you were a wizard..."
"My mum told me, when I was five. She said, I had to be careful around dad. She said, he´d find out early enough." They remained silent for a while. Then the boy asked: "When did you find out you´re a witch?"
"When my letter arrived. I was kind of relieved. It explained a lot."
"Has this anything to do with your sister? What did you do to her?"
Now it was Lily´s turn to hesitate. She was ashamed. But the boy had told her about his father. He deserved an answer.
"When my sister and I were smaller, we often quarreled about toys. She refused to lend me hers." Lily sighed. "I told her, that if I wasn´t to play with them, she wasn´t either. The toys just disappeared before our eyes."
The boy stared at her with a lack of comprehension. She had to elaborate. "I made her toys disappear, because she wouldn´t let me play with them. When she told our parents, they didn´t believe her. She got told off for being a liar so often. And I didn´t know, I did it. How could I, I´m the first witch in the family." There was a pause. "Would you like a sandwich?"
The boy nodded. Lily put a napkin on one of the empty seats and laid some sandwiches from her bag on it. "If you´ve got a knife, we can share the apple, too." The boy hadn´t got a knife but a wand. Lily stared at him in admiration. The boy smiled and put a bottle of orange liquid on the napkin. "Would you like some pumpkin juice?" he asked.
"I never tried pumpkin juice."
"It´s time, you did." He held out the bottle.
Lily took it and tried a sip. It was delicious. "Thank you...Severus."
"No problem. You´re welcome...Lily."
After their little picnic, they continued their conversation. Lily wanted to know everything about the magical world and Severus was willing to tell her what he knew.
"A hat? Are you serious?" Lily was just saying when the compartment door was opened.
"In fact, I am. But how come you know?" said a tall, darkhaired boy at the door.
Lily and Severus stared at him. "What?"
"I am Sirius. Never mind. We´re having a party over there in our compartment and we could do with some ladies." A second boy who stood behind him nodded in agreement. "What about it, redcap, wanna come?"
"No thank you. I´d rather think not. And close that door when you´re leaving."
The boy shrugged and left.
"What an idiot. And did you see that second one? Are they twins?"
"No, just both darkhaired, I think. Or would you think, I´m their little brother?"
Lily giggled. "At least, we´d be sure who in the family got the brains."
Severus giggled too. This was the first time a joke was made in his presence and he was not the target.
Time rushed by and soon it was getting dark outside. An older student came and told them to change into robes.
When the train pulled into the station of a small town called Hogsmead, they were advised to leave their luggage on the train. Lily and Severus got off the train together. Severus pointed out a huge man, who was shouting "Firstyears over here!" The two made their way towards him, where quite a crowd of children had already gathered.
The older students left the platform towards a fleet of horseless carriages but the firstyears were led by the giant down a path to a big lake. There were some dozens of small boats waiting for them.
"Four to each boat" the giant instructed. Lily and Severus chose a boat on the left.
"Hi, redcap," a familiar voice said and the "twins" took the remaining seats in their boat. "We haven´t been properly introduced. I´m Sirius Black and this is my friend James Potter." He pointed at the latter.
"Lily Evans. And this is Severus Snape."
"Nice to meet you, Lily. Severus." The two boys smiled at Lily, but looked at Severus in dislike.
The boats moved off the shore and after a short while they got their first view of Hogwarts. The water was calm and the castle´s thousand lights were reflected in the lake. "It´s magic!" whispered Lily.
"Of course, it is. It´s a wizarding school." laughed Black.
Lily glared at him. Suddenly the quiet surface of the lake was disturbed by a huge tentacle and the boat rocked. Lily nearly lost her balance. Without thinking, she grabbed Severus´s arm. The boy took her second hand and held it until the boat stopped rocking. "Are you OK?" he asked. "Yes, thank you," Lily smiled gratefully.
The Potter boy joined the conversation for the first time. "Now, now," he sneered. "What a nice little couple we have found."
Severus would have hit him, but Lily shook her head. "Leave it, you´ll be in trouble before we even reach the castle. He´s not worth it."
Severus tried to calm down and glared at Potter, who opened his mouth to comment. "Don´t you dare," fumed Lily. "Just hold your tongue, you evil, little..." Potter never learned what he was in Lily´s opinion, for the boats had reached their goal and the giant ordered them to get off.
"Follow me," the giant cried and started mounting a narrow, slippery staircase.
After what seemed like ages to Lily, they reached a door and were let into the castle. Behind the door waited an elderly witch, who was wearing her hair in a bun and a green pointed witch´s hat. "Here they are, professor," reported the giant and left.
The witch cleared her throat. "I am Professor McGonagall. Welcome to Hogwarts."