Severus Snape knew what they all thought of him. Evil, cruel, former death eater. They didn't trust him, not a one of them. Well, Dumbledore did, for some reason. He barely trusted himself most of the time.

            There was a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. She was perfect. He hated her for it.

            They all thought they could shove him in the dungeons; that he would sit obediently. As if he were a dog. Snape always thought about biting. But he was mostly bark. At this point of time.

            Panama Igor was her name. That devilish woman, always happy about something. She never had a miserable look, and never let things get to her. He had clearly told her that they would never be friends from the start; that he was putting up with her only because he had too.

            She had smiled spuriously, and had said something about him mistreating her.

            Long, bouncy black hair, and shining green eyes. She was young too, almost fresh out of some rival school. Only twenty-five years of age.

            "Isn't she too young?" he had argued.

            "She's qualified," Dumbledore had said. Foolish old man was always too wise.

            Never mind Severus, they all said. He's just bitter. Bitter. Bitter. BITTER.

            Well, yes. But he had every right to be.

            Class started again, as it did every year. The Sun would always be there, and Earth would always rotate, and class would always start again.

            But he enjoyed teaching, in a twisted way. The Gryffindors were so much fun. . . especially Harry Potter's lovely class.

            Panama Igor wouldn't last either. She would be rid of, which was a good thing, if he remembered clearly.

            "I could learn to love you," she whispered in his ear.

            He shuddered. "No you couldn't, nobody could."

            Some summers ago. She had been there, a young beautiful thing. Seemed that now she didn't even remember him. He had cast that memory charm on her, but he had been hoping, hoping. But he couldn't do it. No matter how tempting. She was a sweet, innocent soul, and he . . . he was cold. Too cold for love.

            They had met in Hogsmeade. She told him she had been coming from afar, to check out the world, the wizarding world. They had met in the three broomsticks, and as hard as he tried to keep her away; they had spent the whole day together.

           

            "You smiled! Did you smile for me?" she said sweetly.

            He set his intentionally dull eyes on her, and nodded monotonously.

            "Oh, now you're back to that again, are you?" She asked, disappointed.

            Then he had kissed her.

            His lips against her lips, it was as if heaven and hell had combined. He was too cold, but for a few moments, he felt his whole soul warm up, a new spirit awakened. But something had frozen, he was afraid. When he leaned back, she had told him that she could fall in love with him. He had put a memory charm on her, and left her standing behind the café, confused.

           

            For some reason her name always made him remember that soul warming, even for just an instance, and it was blissfully wonderful. Snape wished that he could relive that moment again. But his fear, it kept him from doing anything. Saying anything. Kept him away, and in the shadows, as he may stay for the rest of his life.

            He couldn't go back. Not now, not ever.

            Each day, the pressure, the pressure was on him, like a bomb ticking away in his heart. Instinct told him he was running out of time, but he didn't think about time. Or what time he was running out of. He just stared straight ahead. He could never fall in love.

            But he feared he already had.

           

            "I hope to be a teacher someday, it's seems so wonderful. To be the reason students grow up to be great." She said, softly, when they had been sitting in a booth, sipping individual butterbeers.

            "I am a teacher. It's nothing extraordinary." He said blankly.

            "Do you teach at Hogwarts?" Panama asked, excited.

            "Yes. I went there, and now I teach there. I can never leave, it's like there's some invisible string keeping me there." Snape gloomed.

            "How come you're so pessimistic?" she demanded.

            "Optimism is foolishness. Nothing can go perfect all the time."

            Which was true.

           

            "Pessimism is much more foolish. Watch the world go by, and dread the day you die, what's there to do in between? If you sit and pity yourself, what do you have left to do?"

            "At least you won't get let down," he argued logically.

            "But you will never find anything. No love, no happiness, no bonds. Nothing. What's the point of living if you don't give and receive? If you don't know the meaning of love, which you clearly don't, then you might as well be dead already," She said, a fire burning in her eye.

            Panama almost seemed to care about him, about him wasting his life.

            He stared at the wall behind her, not knowing what to say now.

           

            Awkwardness. He hated the feeling. He rarely felt it, because he was rarely not in control. But this girl, woman, Panama Igor, for some odd reason, she could stop him in his tracks. And it was melting him. Making him a total and complete mess.

            "I hope I didn't offend you. You see, I have a rather large mouth, and I say things . . ." Panama said, in a casual tone. How could he be mad at her? If anyone, he was mad at himself. For doing everything wrong.

            He just stared at her green eyes. "No, no. I don't get offended easily, because I have thought about these things many times before, and truth be known, I am a bit conceited."

            "I noticed," she said, giggling.

            Memories. It would have to be enough.