Chapter 1 : N.E.W.T.S & A Headache
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Severus Snape shook his head and looked down at the cauldron before him. He had beaten this into his mind so many times and he was starting to get frustrated with himself.
“Who cares if she’s looking at me, of course I care now because I’m trying to concentrate, but still…” he had been going on about this inside his head all day, and today was an even worse day to get distracted because the seventh years, himself included, were in the midst of their N.E.W.T. Potions exams. However, he resisted the urge to drown out his wordless mind chattering away with the belladonna essence in front of him and instead poured three drops of it into the boiling cauldron before him.
Potions was always the place where his mind wandered, considering the time spent cutting and pounding ingredients and stirring forwards and backwards, but this was not the time for it. Graduation was only two weeks away and he was determined to get top marks. Not only was he concerned for his grades, but he was worried about the coming weekend. It was the last Hogsmede trip of the year and he had been informed that all the Death Eater’s would be meeting precisely at 2 p.m at the Hog’s Head.
His attention was once again caught off by her, and he almost growled to himself.
“What is the matter with me?” he thought. Lily Evans was Head Girl and top of her class. Not only was she amazingly smart, but beautiful as well. That’s what made Severus so frustrated. He had realized something wasn’t quite right a few months ago when she stopped him in the corridor to chat. The conversation had been short, but when it was over there was something left behind that wasn’t there before. Before then, he would hex her without thinking twice but now…now he thought of her differently. And he hated himself for it.
“All right everyone! Wands down, spoons as well, the test is over, let’s see how you all did,”
A voice interrupted his thoughts thankfully, and he stepped back from his cauldron. Luckily he had managed to finish just in time. Professor Slughorn, their Potions teacher, was making his way around along with several others from the Ministry. He began collecting ingredients with his wand, looking at everyone’s work as he did.
Finally, as the last potion was examined and noted, everyone was excused to leave. Severus picked up his bag and swung it loosely over his shoulder, and managed to glance at Lily as she exited the Great Hall. She smiled slightly and left, with James Potter right beside her.
Severus had never loathed anyone as much as he did James Potter. He was arrogant, rude, self-centered, and a major showoff. He also happened to be Head Boy and Lily’s boyfriend. Of course, it didn’t make much sense that such opposites would end up together, but after the way Potter had been chasing her for years it was a wonder Evans didn’t give up sooner. Following them was Potter’s entourage of friends, Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew. Sirius Black was probably the only one he hated as much as Potter, he was just as self-centered and even more of a showoff, and he also had a talent for getting into major trouble. Lupin was more of an observer and never stepped in on any of their mischief, but Pettigrew was different.
Several months ago he had come to join with the Death Eaters, along with a few others, and when Severus learned of the Potter’s friend coming he was curious to know if it was some sort of trap. He had informed the Dark Lord of Pettigrews friends, and when questioned, Peter swore that it was not a trap, but that he was ready to do his part and serve him. Voldemort believed him, and when Voldemort trusts someone, you know they’re genuine.
Now that the Great Hall was emptying, it was time for a break before dinner, which Severus was grateful for. He had wanted some time to relax so that he could read up on his Charms notes before the last of the exams the next day. As he exited he noticed another Slytherin eyeing him from the stairs. He knew it was Regulus, one of the few people at Hogwarts he could actually stand.
“So Sev, How’d you do?” his friend said as he approached.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that,” Severus groaned.
“Come on, we’re almost out of his hell hole, cheer up,” Regulus said.
“Your optimism astounds me,” Severus sighed as they made their way down the stairs towards the Slytherin common room.
“Yes, me as well, I have no idea why I’m in such a good mood,” he said.
“Well at least that makes two of us, are you ready for this weekend?” he asked Regulus. The light in his eyes faded and he forced a smile.
“Can’t wait, day after tomorrow right?” he asked.
“Yes, so are you going?” Severus said, watching the look in his face.
“Of course, but I have to get going, got an extra exam today,” Regulus said quickening his pace.
“Right,” Severus muttered as he watched him walk away.
Regulus had been acting strange lately; it seemed he was always in a decent mood until the Dark Lord was brought up. It had been looked into, but nothing came up so he was cleared, but something defiantly wasn’t right about him. Severus wondered what was making him so jumpy.
After reaching the entrance to the common room and uttering the password, Severus made his way towards one of the armchairs near the fireplace. As he approached he saw that they were all occupied, one of which by Bellatrix Black.
“Why do you always have to be here?” Severus groaned as he approached her.
“Doesn’t my presence bother you? Well that’s just too bad,” she said as she propped a pillow underneath her mane of black hair.
“Can you at least move over? You’re taking up the whole couch,” he said.
“No, Rudy’s sitting here,” she said not moving. Rudy was what Bellatrix called her boyfriend, a fellow Slytherin and Death Eater, Rodolphus Lestrange. He hated it but let her call him that anyway, something Severus didn’t really understand. Severus gave up without much of a fight, heading towards a less comfortable chair at a table nearby, but he soon realized that staying in the common room much longer would drive him insane. It had started to get loud with mindless chatter, and he had already developed a slight headache. Instead of sticking around he headed to his room, where he’d hopefully get some peace and quiet.
He had no such luck. Instead he was greeted by Rastaban, who was Rodolphus’s brother, and Evan Rosier, one of his friends as well. Well, at least that’s what he tried to call them. They weren’t so much friends as annoying acquaintances.
“Hey Snape, we were just about to head out to the lake, want to go?” Rastaban asked, removing his tie from around his neck.
“I’d rather stay up here a bit, if you don’t mind,” Severus said as he dropped his bag next to his four poster bed.
“All right, see you at dinner?” Evan asked.
“Perhaps,” he sighed as he removed his robe.
“Suit yourself,” said Rosier as he and Lestrange headed down to the common room.
As the door closed Severus sighed deeply, the weight of the stress already bearing down on him. At least his mind wasn’t on Evans anymore, but it was starting to feel like June 22nd would never come.
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