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Chapter 8 : Under the Beech Tree
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He wasn’t ready to face his grandfather yet; he wanted to be more powerful in order to get his mother back. He didn’t think it was a good idea to just show up unannounced at the funeral. Severus laughed aloud at the thought.
“Hey Grandad, ol’ chap, I’ve come to say goodbye to my Grandmama, poor old bag, never met her but, haha, we know why, sure she was a lovely, lovely woman. By the way, seen mum lately? I’d like to speak to her about the financial changes in London. What is the ministry up to, these days, anyway?” Severus smirked at his thoughts.
“Why do you look so amused?” asked Regulus Black, bringing Severus from his thoughts. Regulus plopped down in the green arm chair next to him.
“Oh, just the tragic demise of Potter and Black,” Severus lied, glancing at his younger friend.
“Ah yes, well, my brother is quite a pain in the arse, isn’t he?” Regulus smiled knowingly.
“I can’t begin to imagine what life would be like if you had to actually live with him.”
“Oh, it’s not so bad. Sirius is the bane of my mother’s existence, and she’s all the time screaming at what an insult he is to the family name. I’m surprised he hasn’t run away to that bastard Potter’s house yet.” Severus frowned deeply.
“Can you imagine if they had the whole summer to plot their stupid little pranks?”
“True, true. Still, I wish the git was out of the house. He is forever making my life hell.”
“Mine too. Anyway, I’ve got to get to the library. Damn O.W.L.s. See ya, Reggie.” Severus left the common room and went to the library, losing himself in his thoughts. He was, infact, so caught up in his thoughts that he did not see the gorgeous Gryffindor headed his way.
“Severus? Hey…Earth to Severus…” He looked up into Elise’s mysterious dark eyes.
“Oh-uhm-hi-“ he squeaked.
“I thought you were going to run right into me! Whatcha thinkin’ about?”
“Yeah, I know, they’ve been on mind a lot too .”
“Er….right…well, off to the library..” Severus attempted to glide past Elise without so much as a goodbye.
“Um…I wouldn’t go in there if I were you…” Severus turned.
“Why not?” Elise seemed to tense up.
“Well, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter and in there, and, well….I know they cause you trouble…”
“I can take care of myself, thank you,” he said coldly. He turned to leave.
“Honestly, Severus. Save yourself the embarrassment and come outside with me. Under the beech tree. You can help me with transfiguration, Merlin knows I need it.” Conflict began to bubble inside him. The girl of his dreams actually wanted to spend time with him, but if he did indeed submit to her, then it would require him to do as she wanted- and Severus didn’t follow orders from anyone but the professors, and his mother, and the prefects, and his friends. But not this girl, who he secretely admired and loved. No, she wouldn’t tell him what to do. But he also didn’t feel like being tortured by Black and Potter, either. No, he would like to avoid that torment at all costs.
“Well?” she asked again.
“Fine,” he replied gruffly.
“Wonderful! I just need to go back to the common room to get my things. You don’t mind do you?” Now was his chance to get out! But did he want to get out?”
“Great! Go on out to the tree, I’ll be there in a few!” She ran away, leaving Severus completely befuddled.
“Come on, man, pull yourself together!” he thought as he walked out to the grounds. “She’s just a bird, man, you’ll be fine! After all, you’re Severus Snape. You’re good with the ladies!”
“Honestly, you can do this…perhaps you should pick her flowers. No, too desperate, and definitely not Severus like. Perhaps you should…write her a sonnet? Sing her a song? Pledge your undying love before the Great Hall? NO! Think reasonably. Just be yourself. Cold, closed off Severus. That’s who you are. Stick with it. It’s a good front. Just…tell her you think she is the most beautiful creature that has ever graced the Earth…BAD IDEA. Tell her…you think she is Gryffindor Scum! Yes! Gryffindor Scum, that oughta deliver a blow. But you don’t really think that, that’d be lying….but your whole exterior world is a lie, so why not add one more? Because she’ll never talk to you again, that’s why! Damn, you’re a raving lunatic!” Severus shook his head-those inner voices could be harsh sometimes. Still, he knew that he had better clarify his position on this girl- if for no one else than himself. It was driving him mad, the crush he had on her. It was so unlike him- Severus Snape does NOT have crushes. Yet, he couldn’t help it when his thoughts wandered to her. It was almost as if she were casting a spell on in him to make him think of her- and if that was the case then it was working. He sighed and looked ahead, watching her sultry figure move toward him.
“This is it, now or never,” said his inner conscience.
“Hey, Severus, sorry I took so long, I had difficulty finding all my stuff. Lily Evans looks clean and proper on the outside, but she sure is a messy girl! Oh what am I saying, so am I! As you can imagine, our dorm is a disaster area!” Severus couldn’t imagine. He contemplated asking to see, but thought better of it. Too forward…plus, boys weren’t even allowed in the girl dormitory, let alone a Slytherin in the Gryffindor common room!
“That’s…okay,” he stammered. “So-er-what is it about Transfiguration that is giving you a problem?”
“Oh, everything! I mean, I can do it all in class fine, but the minute I step outside I get completely and utterly lost! I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I mean, in every other subject I’m just fine, with the exception of potions, but agh! I hate this year, it’s so tense, don’t you think? The teachers could lighten up a bit! I mean, it’s only October!”
“Yes, I agree with you there. The teachers are being a bit ridiculous with their workload, but I understand why- after all, O.W.L’s are very important.” What was this? Had he said an entire complete sentence without stuttering, forgetting his words, falling over, world Armageddon, or pigs flying? Amazing! He smiled at his accomplishment. Elise smiled back.
“I suppose you’re right. Oh, Severus, I just don’t know.” Oh how he loved it when she said his name!! These thoughts are treacherous! She’s a Gryffindor, you git!
“If you don’t mind me asking, why did you ask me to help you in Transfiguration? I mean, as much as I hate to admit it, and as much as they prove me wrong, Black and Potter, and especially Lupin, are all very smart, and they are from your house. I mean…I’m from Slytherin. People are going to give us some funny looks,” Severus said, his serious demeanor returning.
“Well..it’s just that…they are always so busy in the library doing whatever it is that they are doing, and Lily is my best friend, and she can’t stand to be around them…and…well, you’re very good in school, aren’t you? That’s all!” She said, irritation edging into her voice. “Besides, I don’t care if people do look at us funny. It’s not like we’re doing anything naughty!” Severus could have dropped dead from shock at that point. Naughty? Had she actually implied- or thought about- that nothing naughty was happening? Naughty? Ohh, the naughty things he wanted to do- NO! GRYFFINDOR, stupid prat, GRYFFINDOR!
“No, of course not. So, transfiguration…” and the two set off, hard at work trying to decipher McGonagall’s lessons. Before they knew it, an hour had passed.
“Severus, you’re so smart! I could have never figured all that out on my own! Maybe we should meet more often, you know, like tutoring or something? Once a week?” Severus’s heart pounded in his chest.
“I don’t know, Elise, I’m really not that smart…and all the homework that we have to do- plus if Black and Potter ever got wind of it, they’d kill me for even looking at you!” Elise stuck out her bottom lip. Severus could hardly contain himself…he kept thinking about how gorgeous she was.
“Please, Severus, only once a week, they don’t need to know! I’ll just tell them-well I’ll tell them something. Please please please?” She asked, a smile playing at her lips.
“Okay, okay. Look, maybe a few weeks, but that’s all. We’ll meet inside somewhere. How’s that?” Her eyes sparkled with happiness.
“Oh thank you so much!” Suddenly, out of no where, she opened her arms and wrapped Severus in a warm hug. Stunned, he just stood there with those bronze arms around him.
“I best be getting back! We’ll meet in the great hall next time and decide where to go! Oh, you’ve made my day!” Severus didn’t even say bye when she left. He was too shocked to move. He could still smell her on his clothes- a spicy scent that absolutely threw him for a loop. No one had ever hugged him except his mother- no one had ever bothered to show him any kindness or emotion except his mother and Dumbledore. And now, here was this perfect creature, and she was spending her precious time with him! Cloud nine was not even the perfect way to describe how Severus felt. His dream had come true! Amidst all the confusion and horrible tragedy of his personal life, this girl, the only person he’d ever met beside his mother, was going to give him the time of day.
When Severus regained use of his limbs, the negative thoughts were completely halted. All he could think about was that long dark hair, those dark eye lashes, and his future.
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