Author's note (20/04/2017) : Updated chapter 3 is up ! I only noticed now that I made an update error. I updated chapter 2 twice and forgot chapter 3. Sorry about that. Enjoy!
Disclaimer : I don't own the Harry Potter world or its characters and I don't make profit out of this fan made story.
Chapter 3 : Animosity and panic
"It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it." - Fred Rogers
'I know you will become bitter. I know you will suffer because of him...but I swear, I won't let you die.' She looked into Severus' eyes as he was observing her and a small smile appeared on her lips. Severus only raised an eyebrow. 'Because I have always admired you.'
The next morning, Hilary woke up in a bad mood. She was happy to meet up with Lily and Remus after breakfast but she dreaded one special encounter.
The day before, after meeting Severus, she had gone to the Great Hall with him and they had parted ways to go to their respective tables. She had shortly seen Lily and the Marauders. James and Sirius had glared at her, probably because she had been with Severus. Lily and Remus had seemed surprised but still greeted her with small waves. Hilary had been smiling back but that smile turned sour when she took notice of the earlier missing member of the Marauders, Peter Pettigrew, the cowardly little rat. He was the one who actually betrayed her parents and caused their deaths. The simple thought of it made her blood boil but she couldn't simply accuse him of something he still hadn't done. She wanted to hit him and send him to Azkaban right there and then but she had to endure it.
She didn't even want to get out of her bed. She didn't want to meet him. She knew she wouldn't be able to stay calm next to him and even less if she had to talk to him.
"Is something wrong, Hilary?" A tall girl who had emerged from the bathroom asked her. "You are frowning."
"It's nothing, Amelia. I only didn't have enough sleep." Hilary dismissed her question.
The tall girl's name was Amelia Susan Bones. She was one of Hilary's roommates. Hilary had met them yesterday during dinner and had had a wonderful time. She had nearly forgotten about Wormtail.
Amelia would later be known as Madame Bones, Susan Bones' aunt and Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Hilary still remembered her well from her time when Harry had been put on trial because of underage use of magic. It was weird for Hilary to see her as a young girl her age. She was a really nice girl and Hilary pitied her because of what would happen to her family and herself later on. The Bones family would be annihilated by Voldemort in a few years' time. The only survivors would be her and her younger brother, Leon, Susan's father and a year after Harry's trial she would be murdered by Voldemort himself.
"Hurry up, or we are going to be late for breakfast!" Another one of Hilary's roommates rushed them. Her name was Sally Wilson. She was a bubbly muggle-born witch who could never sit still and joked around all the time. She even joked about her own bubbly personality and loved to turn her natural chestnut hair color to bubble gum pink, which actually looked good on her with her pixy hair style and mint green eyes.
"Don't rush and don't yell like this, Sally. We still have more than enough time." Hilary's third roommate, Aurora Dawson, groaned. She was still lying in her bed and didn't want to get out of bed any time soon.
All of them had been chatting a long time the night before to get to know each other. Her roommates were quite noisy and loved to ask many questions. Somehow, it made Hilary feel awkward, because she had to make up a cover story on the spot and keep it in mind for later reference.
"Come on, Aurora. We have to get up at some time." Hilary chuckled at her roommate's antics.
"Some time is not now, Hilary! Go on without me. I think I will skip breakfast." Aurora grumbled and waved dismissively.
"And what about your schedule, Aurora?" Amelia remarked sternly.
"Shit, today is the first day." Aurora swore.
"Yes, my love. You have to wake up now!" Sally giggled in high spirits.
"Don't call me your love, Sally!" Aurora yelled and threw her pillow at Sally who avoided it skillfully. "Oh! But you love it when I call you that. It always gets you out of the bed, see!" The spirited girl pointed out. It was true. Aurora was finally up after throwing the pillow and was glaring daggers at Sally.
"They seem to be really close friends." Hilary remarked as she combed her hair. "Yes, they are childhood friends. They practically grew up as siblings." Amelia commented while drying her hair.
After everyone was up and ready, the four girls went to the Great Hall to take their breakfast. The feast at Hogwarts was still the same as always. It was simply delicious. Hilary nearly felt at home though she dearly missed her friends already. She wondered how her friends and family were doing. Were they alright? Was the war already over? She was starting to get anxious but she didn't have much time to dwell on it because Professor Sprout came to their table and gave out the time tables. Hilary was quite pleased. She had double class of potion on that morning. It was her favorite subject but then she remembered that she wouldn't have Severus as a professor. If her memory was accurate, Professor Slughorn had been her parents' teacher.
"Bummer, Potion as first class." Sally complained. "You don't like Potions?" Hilary asked curiously. The girl wasn't one to complain. It was rather Aurora who complained all the time. "Don't like? You mean rather hate, Hilary!" Sally explained in disgust. "I think I never got out of Potion Class without blowing up something." Everyone surrounding her laughed. "Be careful, she is not kidding." Amelia warned Hilary playfully. "But you don't have to worry. Aurora is usually her Potion partner. With blowing up she doesn't only mean the Potion but also Aurora." Amelia joked while Aurora yelled at her. "I heard that, Amelia!" "But how and why did she pass the O.W.L.?" Hilary inquired. "Well, her dream is to become an Auror and her academic skills aren't that bad but she sucks at the practical part. I helped her a bit to get at least an acceptable in her practical exam." Aurora explained while wringing Amelia's neck.
After breakfast, Hilary met up with Lily and the Marauders. She hugged Lily and Remus while she simply greeted the others. Pettigrew was still lagging behind, but as soon as she saw him, she became rigid. Sirius, however, kept her mind quite well away from Pettigrew. Although, he actually annoyed her, it was still better than looking at that rotten rat.
"Say, you were with Snivellus, yesterday." Sirius asked reproachfully. Hilary wasn't surprised he confronted her about it. She knew about the animosity between Snape and Sirius and her father. "It's Severus, Sirius and yes I came with him yesterday. I think you even saw us or did you lose your eyes and brain since yesterday?" Hilary countered maliciously. She didn't like the animosity he was showing. Even if they didn't really like each other, couldn't they at least be civil and ignore each other? Did they have to be so malicious? Severus hadn't really done anything that could generate such hatred. Well, feelings were never really rational anyway.
"Watch what you say!" Sirius warned her. "You have the tongue of a Slytherin, Tolipan." Sirius stressed out her name to highlight his displeasure. "I don't have the tongue of a Slytherin, Sirius, but I don't like it when someone badmouths my friends even if that someone is also a friend. Ever heard the saying you get treated the same way as you treat others? Would you like it if I called you Block instead of Black?" Hilary retorted. She wasn't going down to his level neither by yelling nor by calling him by his last name. She knew that deep down he was actually a good and loyal man but the way he behaved himself as a teen was unnerving.
"Sirius, what does it matter who she's friends with anyway. She's only a chick." Peter butted in only to be glared at by Sirius. Hilary, however, tensed when she heard Pettigrew's voice. She had actually really forgotten about him while she was arguing with Sirius and now all of the negative feelings hit her at once again. All the rage boiled in her veins again and she did her best to suppress it. She couldn't bash out on him without a reason and even less after what she preached to Sirius.
Oblivious of Hilary's reaction and ignoring Lily's reprimanding "Peter! I actually thought better of you than this." Sirius started yelling at Peter about butting in. "If she wants to be friends with us Marauders, she shouldn't be with someone like Snivellus. It's him or us!"
"The Marauders? Is that what you call your little group?" She asked turning to Lily and trying to keep her mind off of murdering the treacherous rat. "And are you a four-years-old or what? Grow up, Sirius." She retorted with a strained smirk.
While Sirius was fuming and gaping trying to find a retort, Lily explained who the Marauders were. "The Marauders are the prank team consisting of James, Sirius, Remus and Peter. They are well-known in Hogwarts. Ah, but you don't know Peter yet. Don't think bad about him because of what he said. I'm sure he actually didn't mean that. Wait, I'm going to introduce you, so you start from anew." Hilary dreaded what was coming up next when Lily called Pettigrew over.
"Hilary, Peter. Peter, Hilary. We met Hilary yesterday when the Headmaster asked us to make her feel at home at Hogwarts. She's a transfer student." Lily explained to Pettigrew. While Pettigrew was extending his small, grassy hand to shake, Hilary cringed and didn't even look at him. She really couldn't get along with him knowing what was going to happen. She simply hated him even though he hadn't done anything yet. Not knowing what to do and feeling like cornered, she started hyperventilating and everyone, even Sirius, started panicking about her condition.
The one to be her knight in shining armor was no other than an angry looking Severus. However, he didn't seem angry at her but at the others surrounding her. He had been watching them from afar, fuming about Sirius' comments and surprised about Hilary's remarks but when he noticed the first signs of hyperventilation, he acted immediately. "Don't you see, she's feeling unwell, you morons. Get her away from that stinky rat!" He snapped at them and pulled Hilary away from them to the next abandoned corner of the corridor. Worried, Lily and Remus followed them glancing back at Sirius who was held back by a worried looking James. "Leave her be Sirius. It might not be a good idea to follow her. Your arguing might also be one of the factors that made her react like this."
"But she didn't have to be so vehement about it! Not for Snivellus!" Sirius got angry about the whole situation. He didn't like how she defended Snivellus but he was still worried about her though he couldn't really say why he cared so much about her.
"She reminds me of Lily, Sirius. Lily also always believed in the goodness in Snape." James responded thoughtfully while observing his friend's sullen face. Sirius really felt bad about causing that though it actually wasn't his fault but they didn't know that yet. "Yes, but even the sweet Lily gave up during fifth year." Sirius retorted half-heartedly. "Snivellus is a hopeless case."
"That may be true, but she is loyal to her friends like a true Hufflepuff. She shows no doubt and no fear like a Gryffindor. Somehow, I admire those traits…" James trailed off as he was looking at the direction where their friends took off. Peter stayed dumbfounded about what actually had happened.
Around the corner, Severus had Hilary sit down against the stone wall and covered her mouth and nose with a paper bag making her hold it herself and inhale slowly in and out of it. With still closed eyes, inhaling in and out the paper bag, Hilary felt how Lily sat down next to her and patted her back soothingly.
"Thank you, Severus." She heard Lily thank Severus in a whisper. It had been a long time since the last time they had spoken to each other given the incident that happened around two years ago. "It's nothing." He muttered removing the bag when he thought Hilary had calmed down enough.
Still a bit shaken, Hilary drew her knees together and hide her face. "Thank you and I'm sorry." She muttered in her knees. While Severus didn't respond, Lily reassured her while circling her back soothingly. "Don't worry." "It's nothing." And "Everything will be alright." Remus, meanwhile, only touched her shoulder to let her know that he was there for her.
After she had calmed down completely and Lily and Remus had assured him they would accompany her to the Potion class room, Severus stiffly bade them farewell and went to his own class. On the way to class, they remained silent and Hilary felt a bit awkward about it. "Lily, Remus, is something wrong?"
"Well, I think we are still a bit shaken about your panic attack, Hilary." Remus scratched the back of his neck nervously. "And…" He didn't finish his sentence glancing worriedly at the silent Lily. Feeling them staring at her, Lily simply sighed. "It's weird seeing Severus like this again…so human…" She muttered not really looking at anyone. "Why, Lily? He might seem a bit stuck-up but he's actually a pretty nice guy." Hilary feigned ignorance. Actually, she knew what happened between her mother and Severus during their fifth year but she wasn't supposed to know about it in the current timeline. "And sorry about the panic attack, I was actually reminded of a pretty bad experience back there." Remus and Lily glanced at her worriedly but they didn't want to pressure her into telling them.
"Well, it's been a long time since I heard someone say that. There are not many who would consider Snape a 'nice guy', Hilary. He's quite the loner and has a sick interest in dark arts." Remus explained to her why the group mostly kept away from Severus. "Oh, but that doesn't really mean anything, does it? I mean black art is not as black as everyone thinks it is. Nothing is really only black or white. Some things that were considered black arts in the past, were actually a breakthrough magical science that people were weary of but which are essential in our lives nowadays." Hilary put forward her theory of black arts. "Severus can actually be really nice. He helped me when I first arrived at Hogwarts and was lost." She explained how her Portkey had made her fall on Severus. Both teenagers laughed at her story.
"You know, I also thought like you before. I had been friends with Severus since my first Year but I cut all ties after fifth Year." Lily recounted how he had called her mudblood once when she had tried to defend him. "Don't you think he might regret it?" Hilary asked knowing very well that Severus regretted it. "He did apologize to me but it has simply been too much for me, Hilary. Maybe you will have more luck." She admitted with a strained smile. The whole story with Severus still weighed on Lily's mind, maybe she even regretted not making up with him.
Arriving at the classroom, they were greeted by Professor Slughorn who seemed surprised at Lily's and Remus' arrival. "Miss Evans, Mister Lupin. I don't remember having class with Seventh Year Gryffindor today." He remarked. "We were only accompanying a friend, Professor Slughorn." Remus explained a bit nervously. He didn't really like Professor Slughorn. "Oh, I see." He said while looking Hilary up and down. "You must be, Miss Tolipan. The Headmaster told me about you. Well, you should go to your class, kids. Class starts in ten minutes." Slughorn remarked and left into his office.
"Well, see you later, Hilary." Lily and Remus bade her farewell. "See you later." Hilary called after them. She left her arm slide down after waving but hesitated for a second. Then, she raised her hand next to her mouth like a megaphone and called after Lily. "Lily!" The called girl turned around and looked at her questioningly. "It's never too late to make up!" She yelled before entering her classroom. A small smile played itself on Lily's lips. She would note that down.
During Potions, Hilary didn't have any problems. She had had Slughorn as Professor during her Fifth Year already. So she already knew his standards. For the first lesson, they had to brew the boils cure potion. It was one of the easiest potions. Slughorn was quite impressed by her work and even asked her if she wanted to join his Slughorn Club but she declined politely. However, Slughorn was even more persistent in the past than he was in the future and Hilary had to give in. Sally really blew up her potion in the end. No one knew how she had done that and Aurora was going on and on about her ruined make-up and hair. The potion had blown up in both of their faces.
After Potions, they had a double class of Herbology. It wasn't Hilary's forte but she managed somehow, though she was nearly bitten by some strange plant she couldn't identify.
During her two hours' lunch break, Hilary actually wanted to meet up with Severus to thank him for his help on that morning but she didn't know where he hung out during his lunch break. Lost about where to go, she actually went back to the black lake where she had met him the day before. Unsurprisingly, somehow, it was exactly where she found him leaning on a tree and reading a book. She wanted to scare him but her steps had been so loud that he already looked up from his book.
"What are you trying, Hilary." He still stressed her name. Well, she couldn't expect him to change after only one day. "I wanted to surprise you?" She asked innocently, which only made Severus raise his eyebrow skeptically. "Actually, I wanted to thank you for this morning." She then added truthfully.
"I didn't do much and stop this charade. I'm sure Potter and his doggies have already told you what a despicable man I am." He spat out reproachfully. Even though he had heard her defend him that morning, he didn't or rather wouldn't believe she still wanted to be in his vicinity after Lily and Lupin probably told her the same as Black.
"What the heck are you saying, Severus. I believe you are actually a pretty nice guy and even more after what happened this morning. It was the first time I had a panic attack and I was completely lost. You actually saved my life, Severus, and I'm grateful for that." She tried to beat some sense in that narrow-minded head of his. She didn't understand how he could say that about himself. She wouldn't believe that he was already so broken that he would take what others said about him as the truth.
Severus was speechless but he wasn't going to show it and he simply looked bashfully away. Hilary was actually surprised seeing him act bashfully for once.
"It was really nothing…" He waved it off trying to act nonchalantly. "…though it's awful to feel powerless, isn't it? That feeling like you are dying but actually can't die…?" Hilary could feel the sadness in those words. She could feel that he knew that from experience. It seemed like Severus wasn't a stranger to panic attacks.
"But that's why one has family and friends, right? They are there to help you like you helped me today." Even though he wasn't explicitly talking about himself, Hilary wanted to reassure him somehow. She wanted to show him that he wasn't as powerless as he thought he was as long as he didn't seclude himself.
"My family never supported me, Hilary." It wasn't really a confession. It was a simple statement without any care in the world but to Hilary it was a crushing feeling. She wouldn't know what to do without her family and friends and couldn't imagine how she would have ended up without them.
"But you have me as a friend, don't you?" She whispered slowly and carefully. She knew he didn't really consider her a friend yet. He was still too careful around her, which wasn't surprising given that they knew each other only since yesterday.
"You don't want to be burdened with my troubles, believe me." Severus sighed. When was that girl going to stop bothering him? He didn't want to share his troubles, not with her, not with anyone. No one could help him anyway.
"I know it's difficult to open up to others and it requires a lot of courage" Hilary mused while she sat down next to him. "But believe me, telling someone when and why you are hurting, isn't being selfish or burdening someone, especially if it's someone who cares about you…" She stated looking him right in his eyes to get her point across. "Anyway, whether or not you want to tell me anything, know that I will always be there for you." Were her last words before she simply turned her gaze to the lake and enjoyed their time together in silence.
He wanted to tell her to go away, to leave him alone, to bother some one else but somehow he couldn't because somehow her words had meant something to him. He was rather intrigued about how she believed and trusted him without an ounce of doubt. He still didn't tell her anything. However, sometimes, sitting silently beside a friend who is hurting, without prompting him, may be the best gift one can give.