Plot, new characters, new magical terms and abilities etc. are my intellectual property. If you want to borrow then please kindly ask. JK Rowling's characters and Wizarding Universe are all uniquely hers.
Summary:Severus Snape decides to have a life and tries to let go of his past while serving out the debt owed to Dumbledore.
Bring Me To Life by NativeMoon – REPOST with edits
Chapter 1: In the Beginning
'Serpentarius, Angharad,' called Professor McGonagall. She furrowed her eyebrows as she read that name and it made her look even more stern than usual. It struck her as one of the more peculiar of Wizarding names that she had come across in her time as Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts and Head of Gryffindor House and that was saying something. There were a few looks at some of the House tables around the Great Hall with a smattering of sniggers. It seemed that some in their midst were in agreement.
'Serpentarius. Slytherin for sure,' whispered Fred Weasley to his brother Ron and another newly sorted Gryffindor, Harry Potter.
'Angharad. Ohhh we could have quite a bit of fun with that ickle firstie,' laughed Fred's twin George.
As they returned their attention to the proceedings, a small girl made her way through the gaggle of students waiting to be sorted. The young girl, aged 12, had long reddish-brown hair that hung in waves and wispy curls and a fringe that nearly hid her eyes. She had big milk chocolate brown and her skin was a flawless dark honey. She looked as exotic as she was given her mixed-race heritage. Her father was Anglo-French and her mother an Indian from Mid Wales.
As the room watched impatiently, the girl took her place on the stool and Professor McGonagall placed the Sorting Hat on her head.
'Oooooooooo My!' exclaimed the Hat. The Hat was not being nearly as quiet as it had been when it sorted Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived. 'Now you, my dear; YOU are VERY interesting indeed! An undeniably fierce intellect and cool ability for logic. How very Ravenclaw you are in this. You would surely give that noble house a run for its money!'
At the Hat's words about the girl's intellect and logical ability, Marietta Edgecombe looked as if she had been slapped with a giant fish as she sat with her fellow Ravenclaws. Ron Weasley did not fail to notice this and gave a loud snort. He whispered to Harry who was seated next to him and surreptitiously nodded towards across the room. 'This is going to be interesting', he commented as they looked at the uptight Second Year who seemed to be cursed with a face that could sour milk despite being in a House renowned for the attractiveness of its students as much as it was for their intelligence.
'A hard worker and extremely patient. Very Hufflepuff,' said the Hat as it continued. 'Hmmm; undeniable bravery and chivalry. Lots of nerve and extremely daring. Godric Gryffindor would be proud.'
'Another Hatstall!' someone commented loudly. 'Watch out!'
The older students seated at the House tables who could hear were murmuring amongst themselves. Most of the time the Hat was jammed on and it just said a few words before shouting out the House. The Hat was taking so bloody long to deliberate that they were all dying of starvation. Still, when the Hat took it's time it always proved to be quite interesting.
Now those that could hear were wondering about her Slytherin qualities. As the Hat had waffled on and on through the other Houses, Slytherin was the last. Even Professor Snape, who looked his usual indifferent and dour self, was most curious about this. The only one of two not terribly fussed was the girl herself. How could she be? She was a Muggle-born and had no clue about what she was walking into. The other person was Professor Quirrell, who was looking surreptitiously at Harry Potter.
The Hat continued. 'Ooohhh now this – this is MOST interesting. Very ambitious and determined to be successful. A survivor in ever sense of the word. Hmmmm…RIGHT! Resourceful and most definitely cunning. And some REMARKABLE as yet untapped abilities.'
If the Hat had had eyes and a body it would have turned and looked straight at Harry Potter when it spoke about 'remarkable as yet untapped abilities'.
'Ahhh such marvelous aspects of your character including grace, loyalty and pride not only in who you are, but also in knowing who you are,' continued the Hat. 'Faultless in your meticulousness, self-sufficiency and confidence. An exceptionally sharp yet lethal mind. Honorable. Yes, most interesting indeed. Most definitely Slytherin and so very interesting for one who is Muggleborn.'
'But where to put you,' mused the Hat for the second time that evening with a student.
Harry Potter had been the first and Gryffindor had already ended up with more than their fair share of seemingly impressive First Years. People were getting as impatient with this sorting as they had with Potter and the others. But the way it 'Ooohed' and 'Aaaahed' over this 'ickle firstie'; you would think the Hat was giving her a head massage. And those qualities it noted about Slytherin! No one had heard any of some of those before! The Hat made Slytherin House sound almost noble for a change. Unusually, the Slytherins were feeling quite proud indeed. Had any of them been Muggles it would have been a Kodak moment.
There was another lengthy pause. You could have heard a pin drop which was highly unusual for the Great Hall. All of the Houses were wondering who was going to get her. At the Gryffindor table Hermione Granger was silently praying to herself that 'Serpentarius, Angharad' would not be in her House.
'All things considered, you would be best placed in SLYTHERIN,' shouted the Hat at long last.
There was a moment's silence like the quiet before a thunderstorm.
Then there was a monumental explosion of loud whoops and much banging and foot-stomping noises coming most uncharacteristically from the Slytherin table. Some of the older students were welcoming Angharad with high-fives and back-slapping and others with hand shakes and nods of their heads as she took her place at the table. They were astute enough to recognise the value of having someone like her in their house, even if she was Muggleborn. Hell, even the Dark Lord himself had been a Half-blood with a Muggle father; an irony not lost on the more intelligent of the lot who happened to be aware of it. The Gryffindors weren't the only ones to get someone that stood out a bit more than the rest. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and the rest of them be damned.
Contrary to popular beliefs only some of their House were vitriolic about bloodlines. There were always a number of Half-Bloods and perhaps the odd Muggleborn or two in the House at any given time. There always had been though it was not common knowledge. Why should it be? It was no one else's business. The rest of the School was severely prejudiced against Slytherin and tarnished them all with the same brush. Slytherin House had to fight for whatever scraps of glory it could get usually.
Some of the older students at the other House tables were moaning, the Gryffindors in particular. It was not everyday that the Slytherins got one over on them, and a Muggleborn at that! They may have gotten Harry Potter, but for some reason it was not enough right now.
The only Ravenclaw not complaining was Marietta Edgecombe. "There is a God and he must be a Ravenclaw!" she thought with a self-satisfied smirk on her face. Marietta did not even know the Slytherin girl, but already had decided that she did not like her. Marietta was indeed very clever, but she was seriously lacking in humility. This disposition would not improve as she grew older.
At the teacher's table Professor Snape clapped politely in his usual stilted manner. But on the inside he was quite pleased and now definitely curious to see what kind of student she would be, particularly in Potions. He made a note to himself to summon Miss Serpentarius to his office for a private word before retiring for the evening. It was probably best that he speak with her as soon as possible. As a Muggleborn this newest Slytherin was ignorant of the prejudices of this world and especially from some within his own House. He would definitely have to keep an eye on young Master Malfoy and his henchmen goons Crabbe and Goyle, not to mention some of the others. Most Death Eater children were no better than their parents. Largely because they did not know any better, but until they were old enough to make their own decisions and fend for themselves they had little say in what their parents expected them to be, even at Hogwarts.
Professor Snape would review her student file first thing after dinner. As the Houses were called out by the Sorting Hat, a duplicate of each student's file appeared in the appropriate Head of House's office from Professor McGonagall. None of the other Hogwarts teachers knew anything about incoming students except for Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore. Dumbledore and McGonagall only discussed individual students after the sorting was done.
Angharad Selena Serpentarius had gone up to her dormitory after an informal gathering in the Slytherin Common Room after dinner. Contrary to assumed beliefs only the Common Room was under the lake. The boys and girls dormitories were accessed from either end of the expansive room by rather steep circular staircases going up four levels. Like all traditional British castles, Hogwarts had dungeons that were both below and above ground. The Tower of London was a perfect example of this. It was a widely held misconception that dungeons were always below ground.
The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh-year students had their own floors which were at the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh levels with three sets of stairs separating each. The Seven Years had their own individual suites of two rooms and their own private bathroom. Although the other Upper Years did not have to share a room either, they only had one very large and spacious room with a en-suite bathroom. The rest of the Slytherin House dormitories were split amongst another three levels. The castle was large enough for every student at Hogwarts to have had their own suite of rooms. But it was felt that it was best to share space in the first three years to foster House spirit and friendship amongst the students before giving them their own much-needed private space.
Angharad had just changed out of her uniform into comfortable baggy white linen drawstring pants and a t-shirt which revealed delicate rose quartz and silver navel piercing in her belly button when she stretched.
'My mother would have my head on a stick if I did that to myself!' Pansy Parkinson screeched with envy.
'Don't tell them. If you wear loose clothes they don't even have to know,' Angharad commented, giving her a look. 'Just be prepared to do some fast talking if they find out; that's what I did. In the end I just came right out and told them because the pretending got old really fast. The hole was healed so there wasn't anything they could do about it even if they'd cared to.'
Pansy finally left her alone and went down to the Common Room to bother their other roommates who had gone back down to continue their party. Angharad was in the process of finishing her unpacking when the House owl flew into her dormitory room that she shared with four First Years and dropped a sealed note written on parchment.
She sat on the edge of her Mahogany four-poster canopied bed to read it. At first glance the handwriting was quite elegant, done in calligraphy as it was. Whoever it was from had certainly taken their time crafting such a thing.
Dear Miss Serpentarius,
Congratulations on your sorting and welcome to Slytherin House. Kindly make your way to my office which is located downstairs from you in the dungeons. You may enter through the Potions classroom which is clearly marked. I wish to have a brief word with you.
Professor Severus Snape
Head of Slytherin House
and Potions Master
Professor Snape had been kind enough to enclose a little map of directions on the most direct route to his office from her dormitory. Thank goodness for that as she most certainly would have wandered for days by the looks of things. As she made her way to his office at 8:00pm, Angharad wondered silently if she was in any kind of trouble already. It was hard to tell by the note. It was strangely ambiguous, she thought as she tucked it away in the back of her bottom drawer.
Professor Snape sat at his desk with Angharad's file open in front of him, reading the copious notes provided by Professor McGonagall. She was well and truly Muggleborn, with little knowledge of the world she had just entered.
She'd had exceptionally high marks all through grammar and the bit of secondary school she had attended until now and the comments of her Muggle teachers were quite praiseworthy about her academics as well as being complimentary about her character. She was judged to be a great thinker, interested and quite talented in the arts. Thoughtful, considerate, introspective but with a tendency to be outspoken at times when she ought to keep her own counsel. Yet she could also be 'quite stubborn', could 'exhibit a vicious temper at authoritarian injustices' and 'marched to the beat of her own drummer' as one put it. However all of them commented on how very mature and quite independent she was for her age. She was apparently quite sensitive and had demonstrated tremendous compassion and caring for her fellow students.
The young girl was a bundle of very interesting contradictions and complexities, much like himself. It was very rarely that Severus Snape looked forward to meeting anyone, but though he would not admit it to himself, he was looking forward to meeting this seemingly atypical Slytherin.
RAP, RAP, RAP!
There was a firm yet understated knocking at his office door.
'Come,' said Professor Snape in his usual silky whisper of a baritone.
The door slowly opened and a dark head poked around it hesitantly.
Professor Snape was caught off guard. It was hard to ever catch him out, but hearing her voice was a big surprise. One did not expect a 12-year old to have such a voice. If velvet could speak it would have her voice. Although these days anything was possible. A lot of children seemed more like adults than most adults if his ventures into Muggle London were anything to go by.
'Miss Serpentarius, come,' he directed her once again.
Angharad strode into the large round office and took a seat in front of the blazing fire in his fireplace without being told to do so. She crossed her legs and then folded her hands neatly in her lap after adjusting the sweatshirt she'd thrown on and focused her attention on her Head of House who was still standing up.
It was as if a grown woman was sitting there to just keep him company.
Professor Snape then did something highly unusual. So unusual that years later when he looked back on this moment he realised that this really was where it all began.
He sat down in the chair opposite her in front of the fire rather than back behind his large desk with her standing in front of it with him interrogating her as was his usual way of doing things.
Professor Snape tapped his wand on the table between the two large chairs and a large pot of Earl Grey tea appeared along with a tray with two mugs, saucers, napkins and knives, sandwiches, hot scones, butter and jam. Angharad relaxed a bit more at the sight of this, although to look at her one would not have known she was even nervous in the first place. Like her Head of House she was very disciplined about what she revealed of herself and how and to whom she revealed it even at such a young age. She had her reasons for doing so as did he.
There was an unusually comfortable silence as Severus poured tea and handed Angharad her mug. The only light in his office came from the fire in the fireplace and one of the strategically placed torches around the room. Given his current seeming uncharacteristic cordiality the mood was almost intimate. Severus was impressed with her impeccable manners and how Angharad carried herself, though it was not ever his way to be impressed with any of the students he'd had to teach, whether they were in his House or not, or even with teaching itself since Hogwarts students did not appreciate his efforts to educate them or share his love of potions.
They spoke about the schools she'd attended and her coursework. She'd had an extra-curricular interest in astronomy. She was such a keen astronomer that a state-of-the-art telescope was being sent to her. According to a personal note in her file, her parents had arranged this with Professor McGonagall who would pass it onto Professor Snape for her along with some other things that were of personal interest including something called a laptop, which would require modifications in order to function in spite of the magical complications of the School which usually prevented Muggle technology from working.
Unlike one Marietta Edgecombe, Angharad had gone to schools for gifted children and done special summer courses geared towards high achievers at the behest of her parents. Such schools and programs were still quite unusual for Britain for the most part, even though they had been the norm in other parts of the world for the past two decades. But Angharad was very fortunate and was quite humble about her abilities and the opportunities she'd had. Her parents had very high expectations of her and she couldn't disappoint them in any way.
They spoke at length about Muggle Chemistry and Potions. Angharad had read the whole of the first-year texts and had purchased some rather advanced tomes that included the spells and brews of the remainder of the Hogwarts curriculum during her first visit to Diagon Alley after she had received her letter. Professor Snape was quite impressed with his student. 'However, reading a book is no substitute for practical exploration and application I assure you Miss Serpentarius,' he said firmly.
'I am well aware of that Professor, but heaven forbid you ask a question of me tomorrow that I don't have the answer to,' Angharad said with a slight smile as she refilled his mug for him and then her own empty one. 'I would not want to leave you with the mistaken impression that I spent the entire summer being lazy, and neither would my parents. I am like that with all my classes, but especially the ones that interest me most. Besides, I am quite fascinated by Potions – it's not dissimilar to Chem I think, though I haven't been able to study that as long as I would have liked. We only started last year with the elements tables and some basic compositions. I want to learn as much as I can with Potions though. I really get into researching anything that really interests me.'
Inwardly Snape smiled to himself. So she did love learning for its own sake; not because she had anything to prove because of any insecurity she might have or because she was a show-off. Angharad was the kind of student of which a teacher's dreams are made of. He had thought so, given what he had read of her student records and Professor McGonagall's personal notes. And such a rare student was in his own House and genuinely interested in Potions rather than foolish wand-waving or silly incantations.
The Potions Master asked her some intricate and probing questions for another hour to see how much Angharad had actually read and comprehended from the books that she mentioned. Her ability to analyse and cross-reference against theory was breathtaking. She even managed to shock Severus by revealing her knowledge of a number of forbidden remedies that were outlawed by the Ministry of Magic. These acted as counteragents to some of the more dangerously complex brews in the NEWT curriculum which he'd quizzed her about as they had progressed beyond the standard first year curriculum.
'So, you have discovered the murky world of the Dark Arts already,' he said. 'I take it that you were brave enough to foray into Knockturn Alley.' He was not going to disapprove. Not in the slightest. He himself had known more about the Dark Arts than anyone he'd been at the School with when he was even younger than she was. And he had made his first trip to Knockturn Alley when he was only eight years old.
'Well, I think about becoming a MediWitch or a Healer when I'm finished here. And how else would I find about cures for what might ail me or anyone else?' Angharad asked matter-of-factly. 'A lot of these are banned unnecessarily; well that's my opinion anyway – not that it matters much. They can maim or kill, yes, but they are also very effective cures as well. It's like magic. It can be 'light' or 'dark'. It's not what you know; it's how you use what you know is it not?' She looked at Severus with a penetrating inquisitiveness as she spoke.
'Very good, Miss Serpentarius,' Snape replied with a rare smile as he gave her a nod. Angharad had already learned the most important lesson of all to be learned with magical practices. There were many grown Wizards and Witches who still had yet to learn it.
Angharad looked at him with flashing eyes and gave him the first real smile he'd seen of her since laying eyes on her in the Great Hall. It seemed to wrap itself around him as much as her voice had.
'How are you getting on with the others?' he asked softly. 'Are they treating you all right?'
'Fair enough,' came her cautious reply as she refilled his cup. 'The jury is still out with a few. It's only been a few hours and I am not usually one to make a snap judgment about anyone if I can help it.'
Snape noted in his mind that Angharad did not look at him when she said it.
'It is with great reluctance that I must tell you that the Wizarding world is just as prejudiced as the one that you come from,' he said. 'You are bound to face certain difficulties because of your origins. Particularly from some within your own House.'
Angharad's face visibly changed and the warmth which had been steadily increasing in her countenance as they spoke seemed quite diminished.
'You mean because I am what this world calls a Muggleborn….a Mudblood,' she replied bitterly looking away from him. 'I can handle myself, Professor. I will just have to deal with it and get on. It's all I can do.' She seemed quite resigned to the open prejudice and hostility which she might face. She'd had enough of it before, why should Hogwarts be any different. People were people no matter where you went in the world.
Inwardly the Potions Master actually flinched at hearing that word uttered from her lips and at seeing the wounded yet angry expression on her face. Angharad had obviously taken pains to research some of the unvarnished truths about the world in which she was being so unexpectedly thrown. And she obviously had been a victim of the subtle and virulent forms of racism in her world. She had dropped her formidable guard for just the briefest of moments and it was written all over her face.
'If you have any problems, whether they are particularly pressing or not, come to me,' he said as he refilled her empty cup and put two more of the piping hot scones on her saucer. 'You can talk to me about whatever you wish. That is what I am here for.'
Angharad gave a small resigned laugh and cocked her left eyebrow as she looked at him.
'You know as well as I do, Professor, that no one likes a crybaby. Nobody tolerates a snitch,' she said. 'And I don't really think you want to be bothered with that sort of thing.'
'I will not tolerate that within my own House against one of our own,' Snape replied sharply. 'I would be most displeased if you kept it to yourself, Miss Serpentarius, and particularly if I have occasion to learn of such behaviour well after the fact of its occurrence!'
Angharad reluctantly nodded 'yes'.
They had more tea and scones in a comfortable silence. The pot of tea and other plates and pots kept refilling themselves. Their mutual appetite was quite extraordinary given the dinner they'd already had. Then again, neither one of them had managed to eat very much.
Angharad was brave enough to ask Professor Snape about his own studies as a student. She had been told that he'd been a student here as well and in this very House. Severus was surprised to find that he was quite alright with discussing his own coursework and level of ability at her age and throughout his academic career here. She was quite easy to talk to and their conversation ebbed and flowed depending on the topic of conversation.
After some time eating once again in silence, Angharad caught a glance at her watch. It was 1:30am.
'Oh my god, I am so sorry Professor! It won't happen again!' she said after telling him the time.
'Has it really been that long?' Snape asked incredulously. 'Merlin's Beard, you should have been in bed some time ago! I will have to escort you to your dormitory. Curfew was at nine pm for you.' He himself had to be up even earlier than she as it was the first day of classes.
Angharad went to stand and found that she couldn't; her legs had fallen asleep. She sank back down into the chair and rubbed her legs and feet to bring feeling back in them.
'Here, take note,' Snape commented as he pointed his wand. 'Contorto!'
The pins and needles feeling in Angharad's legs disappeared and they were strengthened so that she could regain movement quite quickly.
'Thank you, Professor. But, I don't think that is in any of the standard books of spells?'
'No it isn't, Miss Serpentarius. That was an example of using the Dark Arts to heal. Had my intent been anything other than healing, you would have been painfully crippled. Permanently.'
Angharad smiled and gave him a nod. 'Very good, Professor Snape. Quite impressive.'
'Wait here,' said Severus as he gave her a look and then smiled back at her in spite of himself for her daring in quoting his own words back at him in exactly the same fashion as he had spoken them. Had it been anyone else they would have faced detention with himself and possibly Filch for a month and a 50 point deduction from their House.
It was something he did not usually take kindly to even from Slytherins; although none of them had ever been brave enough to do such a thing to his face. Professor Snape knew his manner and silky baritone of a voice was the source of much amusement behind his back. Supposedly Marcus Flint could do a spot-on imitation of him.
He walked into one of the two antechambers off of his office and came back with a book. A very rare and invaluable book that had been banned by the Ministry of Magic.
'Healing Through Curses and Hexes,' Angharad read aloud. 'It looks like it's quite rare,' And also very appropriate for her, all things considered.
'It is; and also very much banned. Keep it hidden away. We can review the content and practical applications at the end of each chapter if you wish. Once we are finished with that we will move onto other texts.'
'Thank you very much Professor, I would like that a lot.'
'Kindly do not mention the book or our time together to anyone else,' Snape said quietly as he escorted her protectively through the labyrinth of dark and rather sinister halls of their part of the School in the wee hours of the morning. He said it as a matter of record although he knew he did not have to tell her this. 'And Miss Serpentarius, do not ever leave your wand behind again. Not even within the School. It should be with you at all times; is that understood?'
'Yes, Sir,' replied Angharad solemnly suddenly realising that she had probably made a grave mistake. Her wand was in the bottom drawer of her night-table next to his note.
'I know that this is all new to you. I will help you as much as I can, even with mundane practicalities, if you allow me to,' Professor Snape replied gently.
He had sounded quite harsh and had not meant to. Normally he did not bother caring about the effect of his speech or manner on anyone else. Nor had he ever made such an effort with students settling in outside of the yearly Start-of-Term gathering, the Slytherin Fall Fest, which he let them have in the Common Room after dinner. It served as an exercise of House spirit more than anything else and had another counterpart, the Slytherin Spring Spree. Such matters were details for only those in his House.
This was different; very different and completely unexpected.
'And I will call you by your given name during our project time together going forward. Your surname is much too cumbersome.'
'Sir, if you don't mind... I prefer to be called Selena, please...'
'If you were me and had my first name what would you do?'
'I see nothing wrong with it myself.'
'You don't? You actually like it?'
'"Angharad" has a certain elegance, Miss Serpentarius. Don't sell yourself short.'
Snape would look back on this statement this in the years and shake his head at the irony of her name, given the role she would take on in his life. Angharad meant "loved one", Serpentarius 'He Who Holds The Snake' and is 'The Healer' noted for their skill in curing the bites of poisonous serpents. For the classical Greeks, the serpent was the symbol for venom – the poison that can both cure and kill.
'Yes, Sir,' Angharad replied respectfully.
Inside she was very pleased. So this was not going to be a one-off. She was happy to learn all she could from Professor Snape and she did not care about her surname. Her whole name was one horror-filled nightmare. Things could be worse. She could have been named Moon-Unit, Dweezil or Zowie like certain celebrity children in the Muggle world. Still, there were even worse names than hers in the Wizarding world if 'Hogwarts, A History' was anything to go by.
Little would she have believed that Professor Snape would one day would ask Angharad to call him by his given name in their private time together. He would have to admit to himself and to her that all this extra-curricular project work was also important to him so that he could simply be alone with her, because his interest had developed beyond the usual proprieties of a student-teacher relationship.
A point in time when both could admit that their project time had really developed into private time in every intimate sense of the word.