"Please mama, please! I don't want to sleep in the basement again! Its cold, and there are rats!" A young Severus Snape cried, his head getting wrenched sideways by the young potions master holding his hair. "I should have drown you when you were too small for anyone to care. If the basement isn't good enough for you, you can sleep outside." The woman dragged him to the door by his black hair, and threw him down on the unmaintained lawn. "No! Mommy please! I'll be good I sware!" Severus cried out, only to be greeted by his mother throwing a shoe at his head as though she was silencing a neighborhood cat.

Severus cried and sobbed in a heap on the ground until the door slammed shut and locked. The moment he hears the tell tale click of the lock sliding into place, Severus ceased his useless sobbing, stood up and dusted himself off. He hated acting so childish, but it the hag knew how much better being outside was, she would never let him out the door again. The basement was actually his favorite place in the house, but if she knew that... that door would be locked forever as well.

It didn't take much to send the witch into a raging fury. Sometimes he would happen to leave a little mud on his torn shoes when he came inside, or drop a toy and 'forget' to pick it back up. Most of the things he had stumbled upon by accident, but he had been sure to remember them. His outbursts of insubordinate actions needed to seem unplanned or unintentional.

The really defiant actions on the other hand, needed to seem physically impossible for him to have done. Like when he slipped the dog a stomach turning plant he had found so that it threw up in the livingroom? Mummy could never say he had made the dog vomit on her most beloved rug, and he had been 'out' for hours when it had happened. Actually he had been waiting outside just out of the windows view playing with a flower the whole time. He didn't want to be far away if the dog had accidentally been overdosed.

He would never admit it, but secretly he loved that dog. Not because he was fond of animals, but for all the times the dog had helped him out. It started one day when he had tripped and broken one of his mothers lamps. He stood by the mess to wait for his mother to follow the sound and give him the beating he deserved for it (Should have watched his footing better). But then the dog came and sat by him. It looked at the broken lamp, and then at him... and they both waited for mother.

It was never good to be far from a mistake. If mother found the lamp without him, she would have time to actually get angry. Severus would rather be hit and thrown in the basement than to have her decide to revoke one of the books he had rented from the library. If she threw him in the basement, he could read the book. Three quarters of an hour passed before mother bothered to come to the crashing sound, but when she did she was livid.

Severus braced himself for the coming blow, hoping it would be a shoulder one and not the face. But before she had fully raised her hand the dog let out a loud yapping whine. Both Severus and mother looked down at the dog to find it cowering position, its nose to the lamp and its sad eyes on mother. "He did this?!" The witch asked in outrage, and Severus nodded dumbly staring at the dog. The dog had been on the other side of the room at the time...

The lamp must have been very important because the dog was hit numerous times and shrieked at for several minutes. Severus stared at them dumbfounded, and the dog looked back at him with eyes that said "This is for you..."... They were thrown in the cellar together, but Severus was given an extra lump of potatoes for keeping the dog by the mess for its punishment. Severus offered the potatoes to the dog, but dog turned them down, choosing instead to rest his head on Severus' knee when he sad down.

"Thank you dog." Severus said quietly, and dog twitched in reply. Since then Severus and dog had been partners in crime, causing mischief wherever they went. Dog would never stay for punishment when Severus wasn't there, so he didn't need to worry about protecting dog. If that happened, it would leave mother primed for punishment, but with nothing to hit. She would scream and rage... and finally go out to buy something to make herself feel better.

She got a substantial amount of money from Severus' father, but all of it seemed to disappear pretty quickly. Severus would bait her with dog so that she would use at least some of the money to buy fresh potions supplies. It was a pretty good system, and mother would never hit dog if he could stay away for more than a day. She figured dog wouldn't remember what he had done wrong. Severus knew better.

On the day with the vomit soaked rug Severus had needed jellied newt eggs, which he had gotten an ample supply of for the incident. Mother would just grab the shopping list and buy whatever was on it without thought when she was mad. Severus could mimic her writing well enough that she had usually thrown the list out before it dawned on her that she didn't remember writing some of the items. It didn't bother her that Severus used her supplies either.

He had read her books and become proficient and brewing, and usually he was the one to keep the potions shop they ran running. She called it earning his keep. He called it practice. The brewing cauldron was in the basement and Severus was expected to do something useful with it when he was locked down there. Eventually, the cauldron was his second friend.

Severus, dog and cauldron, together they were a perfect trio. Severus, the mastermind behind the brews. Cauldron the careful creator of many a mix. And dog, the most clever animal in the world. Today specifically Severus had come up with a very precise plot. He needed out of the house to see the girl with the red hair. He had seen her a few weeks ago, playing by the pond between their houses... but he had not seen her since. She had only just moved in.

With the help of cauldron Severus had mixed up two potions. One that would erase a persons short term memory, and one that would temporarily glue mud to whatever it touched. He let dog play in mud mixed with the sticky potion, and then sent him inside to run about. Four toed paw prints were everywhere, the work was clearly dogs. Mother had thrown Severus out as well, because every time he tried to move in the house the only spread further.

As a last resort, she was going to toss him in the basement to clean... and then outside because of his cries. Now he was outside with a potion that would erase their encounter if Severus bombed the first conversation. Or if anything else went wrong. If everything went right, Severus would give the potion to mother later and he had another powder in storage to clean the mess up as fast as it was spreading now. He had a little of the powder in his pocket now for dog.

Currently the black haired boy shuffled to the other side of the lake to investigate where the girl had been playing, dog at his side still dripping with mud. When Severus got to the place the girl had been standing at he turned a slow circle. From that place he could see in the glass doors on the back of the girls house, and he could see across the lake to his house. He had closed all of the curtains on the side of his house he was facing so that mother wouldn't see him out the window.

It was a nice day, so Severus sat down facing the lake to wait. He figured it would be weird if she found him watching her house. Not half an hour passed before the little girl walked by the glass and saw him sitting in the grassy place. With a tug on her mothers apron and a "Pretty pretty pleeease, its so pretty out there today!" she was outside venturing over to him cautiously. About ten paces back the red haired girl folded her arms across her chest and asked "What are you doing here." In a defiant tone.

Severus leapt to his feet and spun around, suddenly worried that the memory potion would be well needed. "I... uh... umm..." It was very unlike him to stutter, but her hair took him aback. He had never seen a color like that on a persons head, and up close it was far more radiant than it had been out the window. Her green eyes looked to be glowing as they looked into his soul. "Do ya need sumthin?" She asked, her voice a little softer, but her arms still solidly folded over the yellow flower on her purple shirt.

"I just... I just wanted to say hi..." Severus stuttered, looking away from her confidant green eyes. He fiddled with the potion, wondering how he would get her to drink it... There was no possible way she would be happy she was here. Most other kids ran away from him, and that was the nice ones. His brain fumbled for an answer as to why this had ever seemed like a good idea, but it couldn't find one. Severus looked ad dog with a silent plea for help.

Dog's mouth popped open and he began panting, his mouth a wide happy grin. Dog's tail even began wagging like he was trilled to be breathing muggy lake air. This was very unusual for dog. Dog never panted, and when hi did wag his tail, it was no more than three times. Dog's strange actions confused Severus further, and he tilted his head in confusion. "Ooooh a puppy!" The red haired girl ran to dog, and in seconds dog's head was being rubbed around in her very small hands.

There was no proper word for the confusion Severus was feeling at that moment, but he suddenly burst into their introductions with "Wait! He's dirty!" The little girl looked down to find mud slimmed up her arms without her noticing. "How did it..." she began, but Severus had pulled out the cleaning powder and sprinkled it on her hands and arms as well as on dog. "... Forgot to clean him." Severus mumbled as the powder made every trace of grime vanish.

The red haired girl stared at her hands in amazement, her mouth hanging open like dog's had been. "Do it again!" She shouted, holding her arms out to him expectantly. He stared at her hands and then with a desperate search for words said "I cant... I'm out of that potion.. but... but I can do this!" He reached into his cloak and pulled out a little vial he always liked to keep on hand. It was a silly potion with a long name, but it was easy to make and it always made him smile on bad days. He liked to call it bloom.

The girl stared at him, green eyes hungry to see what the vial would do. He carefully poured one drop on the ground, and the two waited... but instead of growing daises like it usually did, it sprouted one tall long stemmed pink lily. Both children gasped and stared at the flower. "How did you do that?" The red haired girl breathed. "Well... Its a potion that's suppose to grow the favorite flower of the person that was pouring it." Severus said, eyeing the flower warily, maybe the potion had gotten to warm in his pocket and was acting strange.

"Not that..." The red haired girl began. "My name is Lily." She whispered, finally turning the green eyes back to his soul. There was no way she was only looking at his eyes. The girl... Lily... Stood up abruptly to face him, crossed her arms and said "That settle's it, your my best friend. What was your name again?" A deep red blush curled into Severus' cheeks... No one had ever called him friend before...