Disclaimer: The plot is mine, but everything else belongs to J.K. Rowling. I do not profit from any of it.

Story title courtesy of the band, Dio, lyrics by Ronnie James Dio from the album, The Last in Line, Warner Brothers, 1984.

Chapter 1

Severus Snape sat in the office of the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore waiting for the headmaster to appear for his interview for the position of Potion's professor. It was two weeks before the new school year started. Severus was well qualified for the position having just gained his mastery at the age of 21 making him the youngest Potion Master in Wizarding Britain in centuries. In addition he was a member of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London. He also had gained his certification as a Medi-Wizard at the same time and was just about to complete his certification as a Wardsmith. Severus was tall and lean with shoulder-length hair so dark it shown with blue highlights in the sun. He face was thin with high cheekbones and a slight cleft in his chin; his eyes were so dark brown they appeared to be black and his nose was rather long, but not out of proportion to the rest of his face. His hands which tapped in annoyance on the arm of his chair were long and slender with long thin fingers.

Severus looked around the office. He would have thought that at least Dumbledore would have the courtesy to show up on time since it was he who had contacted him about the position rather than the other way around.

Just then the door opened and Albus came hurrying in. "I do apologize for being late, Severus, but the new back-up flying professor is insisting we buy new brooms." He sat down and opened the folder in front of him. "You're the last professor to be hired. I have many excellent references for you from your professors at the Academy of Potioneers'. My good friend, Nicolas Flamel who you apprenticed under recommended that I offer you the position of potion master when Horace informed me he wanted to retire. Therefore I am offering you the position without further ado. Of course you will also assume the position as Head of Slytherin House and also last spring I decided to add a new course called 'Introduction to Alchemy' which is an elective for the fifth and sixth years and you will be teaching that also."

"Thank you, Headmaster. I accept your offer."

"Now, Severus," Dumbledore playfully admonished him, his blue eyes twinkling. "You are no longer a student here so you may address me as Albus."

Severus nodded, but didn't say anything else.

"Let me call Twinky for tea and refreshments and we can discuss your salary and living arrangements."

After finishing their discussion in which Severus was able to extract a handsome wage, he went down to the dungeon to see what shape his quarters and his office were in having been in Horace Slughorn's possession for the last sixty years. He had requested an elf named Blinky who had taken an interest in him since his first year at Hogwarts, as his personal elf. He would also be bringing Tita, his house elf, from his home in London.

He sighed as the portrait that featured Gideon de Laune who was the Apothecary to Anne of Denmark, wife of James the First, swung open. The suite was crammed with all kinds of furniture so much so that it was difficult to walk around freely. He made his way carefully through the bottleneck to the room designated as his potions lab. He didn't want to look in there and hoped it wasn't as overcrowded as everywhere else appeared to be. He took a deep breath, pulled open the door, and peered inside. The equipment appeared out of date and the cauldrons were old and rather battered, but there was plenty of room. He would definitely need to update and purchase new equipment though and buy fresh ingredients. He called for Blinky.

"Yes, Mr. Professor Snape?" Blinky asked. He was obviously thrilled to see Severus again. "We heard from Twinky that you is going to teach potions. Blinky of course will be your personal house elf."

"I will be most pleased to have you, Blinky. Would you please have the elves clear all the furniture out of this suite? Every last stick of it. Don't bother with the laboratory. I will clear that out myself."

Blinky looked confused. "But what will Mr. Professor Snape sleep on?"

"I plan to bring some of my furniture from my home," Severus answered. "Also would you please ask them to paint in here? Light colors since I don't have any windows."

"Blinky will inform the other elves to do as Mr. Professor Snape asks," he replied, popping away again.

Severus went into the Potions classroom to check the student stores and he found many ingredients were depleted while others were expired. The entire cupboard would need to be replaced. He shook his head. What on earth had Slughorn been doing this last year? He decided to fire-call his parents to tell them he had accepted the position. He found some floo powder on top of the mantle, threw some into the fireplace and said, "Snape house, Manchester," and stuck his head into the green flames.

"Sev," his mum, Eileen said kneeling by her fireplace. "Did you accept the position?" She was tall and slender with the same black hair and dark brown eyes as Severus. She was a Potion Mistress and was the head of Brewing at St. Mungo's.

"I did, Mum, but my quarters are a disaster! I told the elves to get rid of every stick of furniture."

"Sounds as if you need some new furniture, Sev." His father, Tobias said kneeling down in front of the fireplace. He was rugged looking with thick, graying, brown hair and blue eyes. He had been honorably discharged from the Royal Marines at 38, worked in the cotton mills in Manchester until they went out of business in the early 70's and then started his own business building fine wood furniture. He had three stores now; one in Manchester, one in Birmingham and one he had just opened in London.

"That I do, Dad."

"Why don't we go shopping tomorrow?" Eileen suggested. "I imagine you need all manner of linens, new cutlery, dishware and pans not to mention groceries."

"I haven't really looked, but no doubt."

"You can meet us at the Leaky Cauldron tomorrow and we'll go to Toby's store and some other stores."

"I do need to stop at Slug & Jiggers and Flourish & Blotts to order potion ingredients and give my booklist to Mr. Blotts."

"We can do that too," Toby assured him.

"Okay, does ten o'clock tomorrow work for you?"

"That's fine, Sev."

"Okay, I'll meet you in the Leaky Cauldron."

Severus spent the rest of the afternoon checking the student stores and writing down the ingredients he would need to replace. He made out a list of books for Mr. Blotts to order for his classes. There was not much change to the list except for more challenging textbooks he was ordering for his sixth and seventh year NEWT classes. He flooed Nicolas and asked his advice about textbooks. Nicolas recommended two books that he added to his booklist. His last act before he left was to check his office. He groaned. Like everywhere else Slughorn had inhabited, it was crammed with a lot of outdated, uncomfortable furniture. He called Blinky again and told him to have the elves take all the furniture in here as well. He was headed up to the Infirmary to check to see what medicinal potions he might need to brew. He was under no delusion that Slughorn would have already brewed them.

"Severus." He heard somebody call his name and turned to find his good friend, Lucius Malfoy

"Luc, good to see you. What brings you to Hogwarts?"

"I've accepted the position of Ancient Runes professor since Babbling finally put in her retirement last spring."

Severus smirked. "I imagine Cissa is pleased."

Lucius sighed. "Quite. She's already planning to spend a load of Galleons to redecorate our quarters."

Narcissa would be teaching a new class on Wizarding Etiquette that would be offered to the first year Muggleborns. It was to help them become familiar and comfortable with the wizarding world in the same manner as Muggle Studies helped children born in wizarding society become familiar with Muggle society.

"I'm going to be teaching both potions and a new course, Introduction to Alchemy. It is an an elective for the fifth and sixth years."

"That should be interesting," Lucius remarked.

"Well, I have to head to the Infirmary to see how many potions I'll need to brew in the next two weeks. Let me know when you and Cissa get moved in and we'll have dinner."

Lucius nodded and Severus went on his way. A quick check of the potions in the Infirmary storeroom told the story. Some were expired, some were dangerously low and other needed ones were completely gone. Severus sighed as he made his list. He was going to be lucky in the next two weeks if he had time to breath between doing his lessons plans and brewing all these potions. When he was finished in the Infirmary he flooed back to his home in the Chelsea section of London and brushed ashes off his clothing before stepping out of the fireplace. "Tita?"

A small female elf wearing a long green dress with the Prince crest on it and leather slippers appeared with a pop. She had large amber eyes and short brown hair. "Yes, Mr. Severus?"

"I accepted the position of potion's professor at Hogwarts so we'll be leaving here on Sunday. Please pack up anything you think you might need there because we won't be coming back here until Christmas most likely."

"Tita will get right to work, Mr. Severus," she replied and popped out again.

Severus went upstairs to his bedroom to start packing. He got his trunk out of his closet and started folding and packing his clothing. Once he was done there, he went downstairs, got empty boxes and went into his study. It had one entire wall of bookcases and he shrank them with the books still on them and placed them carefully into a box, making sure first to cast a spell on the books so they couldn't fall off the shelves. After carefully taping the box shut, he shrank it, carrying it back upstairs and placing it in his trunk.

The next morning after breakfast, Severus flooed first to Hogwarts to leave his trunk and the boxes he packed, and then to the Leaky Cauldron to meet his parents. Toby was sitting at the bar with a cup of coffee and with the remains of breakfast in front of him while Eileen was sitting at a table making out a list. Severus smiled. His mum made lists for everything. He walked up behind her and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

"Sev!" Eileen turned in surprise. "I didn't hear you come through the Floo."

Severus pulled out a chair and sat down. "What are you writing?"

"Things you'll need," she replied.

"Well, I won't be needing dishware, cutlery or pots and pans after all. Tita's bringing all that from home. She won't go anywhere without her Master Chef collection of pots and pans."

"You will need, in addition to new furniture, bed linens, a comforter, towels and washcloths, dishtowels, throw rugs, shower curtain …" Eileen continued to scribble on her list as she talked.

"Are we ready?" Toby asked coming over to where Eileen and Severus were sitting.

Severus nodded and they went outside on Charing Cross Road and Toby flagged down a Black Cab to take them to his store in Knightsbridge. When they pulled up in front of Snape's Fine Furniture, Toby paid the driver, hopped out and helped Eileen out. Severus got out after them and waited until Toby had shut off the alarm and unlocked the door. They all went into the store.

"First you'll need furniture for your sitting room," Eileen decided. "How big are your quarters, Sev?"

"The sitting room's pretty big. There's my bedroom and another bedroom. Both rooms have their own bathroom. The kitchen's smaller – anymore than two people at one time would be a crowd, but fortunately there is a spell on it to enlarge it to fit more people. Professor Slughorn, if you recall was big on entertaining."

"Oh yes, his 'Slug Club' and the various other parties he held," Eileen replied. "I was a member of the Slug Club, but I always thought the parties were a waste of my study time."

Severus grinned. He felt the same way, but Lily had always insisted they attend so as not to hurt Slughorn's feeling. "I've shrank my bookcases and I plan to set them up in one corner of the sitting room and that's where my desk will be. I'll also need some furniture for my office and for the common room. Redecorating for that is long overdue."

It took them a two hours to find and decide on the all the furniture. For the common room Severus chose comfortable brown leather couches and armchairs, a coffee table, end tables and sturdy tables and chairs for studying and tutoring. He planned to ask Filius to cast permanent silencing spells around them. He was going to ask the elves to repaint it a pale green rather than the dark green it was now. That would lighten things up a bit. Merlin knew it could use it! For his quarters, he chose a damask couch in a deep blue, two matching armchairs and a recliner plus a coffee table, end tables, and a long, high table to go behind the couch. For his bedroom, he chose a four poster bed without a canopy or bed curtains, a chest of drawers, an armoire and a chest to store things in that would sit at the end of his bed. For the other bedroom he chose basically the same furniture except he added a dresser with a mirror. For the kitchen he chose a medium table with four chairs. Eileen bought throw rugs for the living room, bedrooms, and runner for the hallway. Some of the rugs had blue, mauve and lavender motifs; others had green, rust, blue motifs. For his office he chose a large maple desk that sat flat on the floor, a comfortable desk chair, a green plush sofa and two straight back chairs that would sit in front of his desk.

Once they were done shopping; Eileen and Severus shrank all the furniture and put them into boxes that Toby provided and then shrank them and put them in a bag. Their next stop was at a linen store. "How many bathrooms do you have, Sev?" Eileen asked.

"Three, each bedroom has one and there's one for guest use."

"Okay," Eileen said and proceeded to buy practically everything, at least to Severus' view, in the place. Towels, washcloths, shower curtains, bath rugs and even fancy hand towels for Merlin's sake! She brought two comforters, sheets, and blankets.

"There's no stopping her is there?" Severus asked his father in a resigned tone.

"Nope," Tobias said cheerfully. "One thing I've learned over the years is when your mother's on a mission just let her get on with it and get out of her way."

"What next?" Eileen said when she was finished in the linen store. "You said you didn't need any dishware, cutlery, or pots and pans, but you will need groceries, but we'll wait and buy those last."

"Why don't we go back to Diagon Alley? I need to go to Flourish & Blotts, Slug and Jiggers, and Madam Malkins. I'd also better stop at Eeylops and get Aesculapius some owl treats," Severus suggested. "After we get done we can have lunch at the Leaky."

"What do you need to get at Madam Malkins?" Eileen asked. She knew Severus brought the majority of his clothes at Muggle clothing shops as he rarely wore robes and when he did need a new dress robe he usually bought them at Twilfit & Tattings.

Severus pointed at the sweatshirt he was wearing with the Slytherin House crest on it. "I want to order a bunch of these for my house to wear for casual dress."

"To give them a sense of unity," Toby said. "Good idea, Sev."

He went to Madam Malkins first and explained what he wanted. He requested that she put both shrinking and enlarging charms on them so they would automatically enlarge or shrink to fit each house member. Madam Malkin promised to have them done by the time they were finished shopping. They stopped at Slug & Jiggers next. Eileen shopped for some ingredients she was running low on at home while Severus ordered potion ingredients for the student stores and his personal stores. He arranged to have them delivered to the school by owl post. After that they went to Portage Cauldron shop to buy four new cauldrons for his lab at school and then to Flourish & Blotts to give his booklists to Mr. Blotts so he could order the books for his classes. After that they went Eeylops Owl Emporium so Severus could buy treats for his owl. Their last stop was at Madam Malkins to pick up the Slytherin House sweatshirts he had ordered.

They ate lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. Eileen had a garden omelet and Severus and his dad had one of Tom's special burgers. After eating they went to the grocery store and then flooed to his quarters at Hogwarts where he and his mum put the groceries away and then took the furniture out of the boxes and Severus and his dad arranged it according to his mum's directions. Once they had it arranged, Severus enlarged it. The room looked much lighter having been painted a pale blue and the furniture gave it an elegant look.

Severus took the boxes containing his bookshelves out of his trunk and enlarged them. He took the book cases out and lined them up against two walls in a corner of the room in a V-shape and then enlarged them. He removed the spell he'd put on the shelves to keep the books from falling out during the travel. Next he took his desk and chair he'd bought that morning out of the box set them in front of the bookcases where Eileen had unrolled one of the accent rugs they'd purchased and then enlarged them. The desk was solid oak and had once belonged to a British Admiral on his 18th century warship. It had no legs and sat flat on the floor, was well made, and very heavy. It contained drawers and many hidey holes. His chair was soft brown leather, had a high back and wheels. Eileen and Severus arranged his bedroom and the guest bedroom while Toby put up the shower curtains in the bathrooms. Eileen filled both the linen cabinets in the bathrooms with towels and washcloths and hung the fancy hand towels she'd bought on the rack in the guest bedroom and also in the guest bathroom just off the living room that only contained a toilet and a sink.

Severus sighed. "You know, Mum. I'm really going to miss those warming racks I have for my towels at home. I sometimes wish the wizarding world would catch up with the Muggle world."

"Sometimes I do too, Sev," Eileen confessed.

Severus had dinner at his parents' home in Spinner's End. "Sev, have you seen Lily recently?" Eileen asked.

Severus shook his head. "Not since Mr. and Mrs. Evans funerals eight months ago," he answered. "I've written her a couple of times, but she never answered." The Evans had died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty furnace.

Tobias shook his head. "I still can't understand how that happened. Alan and Violet weren't stupid people and knew to have their furnace checked every year before they ran it. It was lucky both girls were away or it would have been the whole family."

Severus shrugged. "I guess we'll never know what happened. I felt bad for Lily because Petunia and her husband wouldn't even speak to her at the funeral. It was as if they blamed her for it and thought she could have prevented it with her magic."

"Petunia's a very bitter, jealous person and not worth trying to be close to," Eileen said.

Severus flooed back home and the next morning he and Tita flooed to his quarters at Hogwarts. While Severus started a fire in the fireplace; Tita went straight into the kitchen to unpack her pots and pans and put them away after which she put all the dishware and cutlery away in the proper cupboards and drawers. She conjured a tablecloth and matching padded cushions for the table and chairs. Shortly before noon his owl order arrived from Slug & Jiggers and he got busy filling up his private stores and the student stores with fresh potion ingredients. Tita popped in to remind him about lunch; when he got busy he often forgot to eat. He got down from the ladder he'd been standing on and followed her into the kitchen. He ate the bacon sandwich and the salad she'd prepared and then decided to take a look outside at the yard the potion master's quarters had. He went to the entrance at the end of the hallway. It had a heavy wood and brass door that kept out the cold in the winter. Severus pushed it open and stepped outside. He looked around him. It was big enough for him to have a small vegetable garden and a small garden to grow potion ingredients. Severus preferred fresh ingredients to the dried ones he bought at Slug & Jiggers. He could also attain them from the greenhouses on his grandparents' estate, Witches Moon and from the Hogwarts greenhouses.

Severus spent the next two weeks brewing potions for the hospital, working on lesson plans and making sure Slytherin House was ready. He stopped briefly to have dinner with Luc and Cissa and asked Luc to be the substitute head of Slytherin House. He never left the dungeon until Blinky reminded he had a 1:00 staff meeting that afternoon. Before he went up to the staff meeting, he had to drop off the potions he had brewed so far to Madam Pomfrey. He put the potions he was currently brewing in stasis. Severus was dressed in black jeans, a black t-shirt and wearing a lightweight black robe which had been spelled to resist stains and burns. It had a golden cauldron on the left chest side, the symbol of a potion master and he wore dragonhide boots on his feet.

"Thank goodness Albus hired you, Severus!" Madam Poppy Pomfrey exclaimed as he gave her the box filled with vials of the potions he had brewed during the past two weeks. "I was about ready to throttle Horace when he decided to retire. He had gotten so lazy!"

He helped her put away the potions and then looked at his watch. "Are you headed upstairs for the staff meeting?" Poppy asked and then added, "I'll go with you."

"You have to attend staff meetings?"

"Just the very first one in case there are children coming in with special medical needs," she answered. They stopped at the Gargoyle and Poppy said, "Sherbet lemon." The Gargoyle jumped aside revealing the staircase leading up to Dumbledore's office. They rode up to the top and Severus opened the door for Poppy.

"Look who it is, Padfoot," a mocking voice called out. "Professor Snivellus."

Severus spun around to find his worst nightmare was a reality as he spotted three of the four Marauders sitting at the staff table. He followed Poppy over to the table where an array of food was laid out and grabbed a sandwich, a blueberry muffin and a cup of tea. "Pay them no mind," Poppy murmured.

"Albus, you hired a dark wizard and put him in charge of brewing potions to be used by the entire school?" Sirius said in a disbelieving tone. "Are you loony?

Severus ignored them and took a seat next to Lucius who was in a discussion with Professor Fleinhardt the Arithmancy professor. Poppy took a seat next to Professor Sprout and Professor McGonagall. Narcissa sat next to Aurora Sinistra, chatting quietly with her.

"Hello, Sev," said a soft voice said and it was then he noticed his old friend, Lily Evans sitting next to Professor McGonagall.

"Hello, Lily," Severus replied nodding at her. He couldn't help but notice at the corner of his eye the glare James sent in his direction. 'Still crushing on Evans, Potter?' Severus thought with a smirk. 'Apparently she still doesn't feel the same way about you.'

"Has everybody gotten their food?" Dumbledore called out. "Good. Let us begin. Because we have so many new professors this year; why don't we start by having them introduce themselves and tell us a bit about themselves? Sirius, why don't you start?"

Sirius stood up. "Sirius Black, former Auror, retired now. I was hurt battling two Death Eaters," he glared at both Severus and Lucius. "And I was declared physically unfit for Auror duties. I'll be teaching first through third year Defense Against the Dark Arts."

'Only because you charged in there without sticking to the plan your partner and you had agreed on before, but as usual, you were bent on glory and your partner ended up having to save your ass,' Severus thought.

"James, why don't you go next?"

"Well, I've played for three year with the Wimbourne Wasps and I was the best Chaser they ever had, but my team mates weren't as good as I was and were jealous of me. They conspired to have me traded to the Ballycastle Bats so I quit the team rather than let them defeat me. I will be teaching first through third year Transfiguration and being the substitute flying instructor and Quidditch coach for Madam Hooch."

'So you think people don't know the real story, Potter?' Severus thought. 'The truth is you were the lousiest Chaser the Wasps ever had. You couldn't score even with Ludo Bagman flying his ass off and keeping the bludgers away from you! That's why the rest of the team wanted you to be traded.'

"Lily, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself?"

Lily smiled. "I'm Lily Evans and I gained my mastery in Charms from Collège de Charmes in Paris earlier this year. I'll be teaching first through third year Charms. I'm really looking forward to the start of the school year."

"Gilderoy, you're up next," Albus said.

"Oh! So I am!" He stood up, his blond hair perfectly coiffed, dazzling white teeth, blue eyes, and garish lavender robes. "I'm Gilderoy Lockhart. Of course you've all heard of me. I'm a five time winner of Witch Weekly's 'Most Charming Smile Award' and I also won 'Britain's Best Dressed Wizard' award. However, my true ambition is to invent a line of hair care products …"

"You and Snivellus ought to get together," James called out. "If you can invent a shampoo that works on Snivellus' greasy hair, you'll make a fortune!"

Sirius laughed along with James. "Right you are, Prongs!"

Gilderoy looked around blankly as if he'd missed something, but then smiled brightly and said, "Well, I shall certainly do my best. Now where was I? Oh yes! I'll be teaching Muggle Studies to the third and fourth years. Of course, I could teach all the years, but I don't want to outshine Professor Burbage."

Charity snorted from her seat next to Pomona.

"That's very considerate of you, Gilderoy," Dumbledore said hurriedly, "Remus, why don't you tell us about yourself?"

"I'm a Defense Master as of earlier this year and I'm going to be teaching fourth through the seventh year students," he said modestly and sat back down.

"Lucius, what say you?"

Lucius rose. "I'm Lucius Malfoy. I received my mastery in Ancient Runes in 1975 and I've helped translate the Viking runes wizard archeologists have found in Lindisfarne and I am a consultant to the Centre for Nordic Studies in Shetland. I will be teaching all the Ancient Runes classes."

"And what about you, Narcissa?"

"I'm Narcissa Malfoy and I will be teaching Wizarding Etiquette to the first years."

"That's a course we've need for a long time," Aurora said, nodding approvingly.

"Great!" James said none too softly to Sirius. "Now we have three Death Eaters on staff!"

"And last, but not the least, Severus. Please tell us what you've done since leaving Hogwarts."

Severus rose gracefully. "I graduated from the Academy of Potioneers and did my apprenticeship under Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel and received my mastery last fall. I'm a member of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and I am both a certified Medi-Wizard and will be a certified Wardsmith shortly. I will be teaching first through fifth year Potions, NEWT Potions as well as Beginning Alchemy."

"My, that quite a resume for one so young," Professor Fleinhardt complimented him. "And you're the youngest Potion Master ever in Great Britain. You certainly have good reason to be proud of yourself."

"And the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries takes only the very best of potion masters," Lucius added.

"I am. Thank you," Severus said nodding at Fleinhardt and Lucius before seating himself again.

Dumbledore went on to talk about the curriculum and Beginning Alchemy that was an elective for the fifth and six years and would be taught by Severus. "I need to know from the Head's of House who they're substitutes will be in the event they are unable to perform their duties due to illness or some other unforeseen event."

"Gryffindor's will be Professor Lupin," Minerva announced.

Severus sighed at that, but decided to give Remus the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, he'd grown a backbone in the last three years. At least it wasn't either of those two clowns, Potter and Black.

Pomona announced hers would still be Professor Burbage and Filius said his was still Professor Fleinhardt.

"What about you, Severus?"

"Lucius has already agreed to be the substitute Head of Slytherin should I be unable to fulfill my duties."

Dumbledore got up and handed out the patrolling schedules. Severus looked at his and saw he had the 11:00 pm to 1:00 am shift. That would give him plenty of time to grade his assignments and brew potions. He had already decided his office hours for his snakes would be from 7 to 9 every evening so they would have plenty of time to come and see him should they need to. He saw with relief that the two clowns would be patrolling from 9 to 11. He would need to impress on his snakes the necessity watching the clock so they could be back in their house before curfew. He figured Potter and Black would be looking for any reasons to take points.

"As soon as I've made up the list for who will be staying at Hogwarts during the holidays I will hand it out," Albus said.

"I can't stay, Albus," James whined. "My parents expect me home to be home for Christmas." He saw everybody else's disgusted expressions and said defensively, "I'm just giving Albus a heads up."

As the meeting broke up Albus called out, "Now remember, all heads of house are to be outside the front entrance to meet the carriages when they arrive from Hogsmeade at 5:30 tomorrow evening."

Severus was heading back to the dungeon to finish his brewing when he heard Lily call his name. "Sev?"

He stopped, waiting for her to catch up. "How are you, Lily?"

"I'm much better," she replied. "I'm sorry I didn't answer your owls. After …what happened to mum and dad, I threw myself completely into my studies. I just wanted to forget."

"Understandable," Severus said with a nod.

"That's quite a resume you have," she teased. "The youngest Potion Master ever, a certified Medi-Wizard and Wardsmith."

"Almost," Severus joked. "I have one more class to take to be certified in that." He looked at his watch and apologized, "I'd like to talk longer, Lily, but I have a couple of potions under stasis that I've got to get back to."

"If you need help with brewing potions for the hospital wing, I can help you," Lily offered. "You've got quite a bit on your plate for a first year professor."

"I might take you up on that," Severus replied.