Chapter one: Birthday Present
Severus Snape turned thirty that day. It was noon on January 9th- a Saturday afternoon. He walked down the steps and into his office to busy himself with grading papers or something when he saw a small parcel on his desk. It was from the Headmaster. Severus picked it up and looked it over before reading the card, which wished him a happy birthday and many more. He rolled his eyes and opened it up with a rather grim anticipation. The Headmaster always did have the worst taste in gifts. It was never anything useful.
When the package was finally open, Severus saw that it was yet another pair of socks. At least this pair was black. The other pairs had been all ranges of colors going from yellow to purple and all had been tossed into his sock drawer without a second glance. After accomplishing this yearly ritual, Severus sat down to begin his grading before a knock came at his door.
“Yes?” he asked, sounding rather annoyed.
“Severus!” Lucius Malfoy walked in and placed his cane on Severus’ desk. “I was just dropping by to speak with Flitwick about Draco’s grades and I thought I’d wish you a happy birthday.”
“…” Severus said nothing as Lucius went on. That man always did like to hear himself talk.
“I think you should celebrate this day. Thirty is an excellent year and you certainly look like you need a break. What do you say we pay a visit to Knockturn Alley tonight and…”
“I believe I have things to do.” Lucius raised an eyebrow.
“I won’t take no for an answer.” Severus recognized that tone. Lucius was using him as an excuse to get away from Narcissa… again. Snape honestly couldn’t blame him.
“Very well. Tonight.”
Tonight did come soon enough- too soon, in Severus’ opinion. He didn’t get anything done. But Lucius came anyway, despite Severus’ hopes of his having a fatal apparition accident of some kind, and soon they found themselves in Knockturn Alley, just as Severus had agreed.
“Shall we go there?” Lucius asked, an oddly chipper twinge to his voice. Severus just looked indifferent as he was dragged along into the club. He looked around as the lights dimmed and he was seated at a table near the stage. Some young and scantily clad women were exiting the stage as a fresh batch came on for the next song. He crossed his legs as the song continued and he continued watching the stage. A redheaded girl had moved to the front and was on her knees, toying with a man’s necktie before taking his hat from his head and placing it on hers. One of the girls looked a bit more dignified- less willing to act like her peers. She radiated dignity and poise and pride. It was obvious from her looks that she knew she didn’t belong on the stage. She didn’t look like the rest of them. She looked independent. She looked like she owned the world. When this girl had moved her hair from her face and walked forward a little- as serene as a celebrity on the red carpet- he shivered. His eyes weren’t focused on her body, though from the reactions of the many men around her, she was placed together more pleasingly than Marilyn Monroe, but on her face. He suddenly found thousands of memories rushing through his mind. The song ended, but he still couldn’t keep his mind off of that one girl. She wasn’t a woman and so he couldn’t call her that. She didn’t look like she was any older than some of his students. She did not belong on that stage.
At the end of the night, Severus and Lucius had gone back stage to slake the lust that the dancers had caused. Actually, only Lucius was there for that reason. Severus was there for something else. Lucius had managed to convince the redhead to be his arm candy and bed warmer for the night (for a price, naturally) as Severus made his way through the group. He found his way past the dressing room and to the exit. He looked around and saw the girl walking down the street, clad in a black trench coat and black pants.
“You there, girl,” he called, “stop a moment.” The girl paused and turned around. She had a rather indifferent look on her face. Her pale face was a round shape with high cheek bones and large, deep set eyes- stormy gray in the moonlight, but charcoal-black while on the stage. Her nose was small as a button and her mouth was a set of thin, blood red lips, shaped as if carved by angels. Her thick black curls fell about her shoulders and forehead. He stopped the moment she’d turned around. His eyes went very wide as he frowned slightly. A cold sweat made its way down his temple and he felt as though he couldn’t move. He felt frozen in place until he saw that she had started to move away from him. Before she had gone completely, he found his voiced and demanded that she tell him her name.
“Evangeline, sir,” the small girl said calmly, in an intelligent, soft-spoken way.
“Evangeline, what?” he continued, growing slightly annoyed.
“Evangeline Prince, sir,” she said with a raised eyebrow, “may I help you? I don’t work like the other girls do. I only dance, if that’s what you were wondering.”
“No… no. Did you say ‘Prince’?”
“Yes. If it’s all the same to you, Sir, I’ll be on my way and if you ever figure out just what it is you want, you can call on me.” She turned around again.
“Miss Prince,” he said as he followed her.
“Sir?” He lost his voice again. He just stared into her small angelic face, a rather lost and far away look on his. “I have somewhere to go, sir. Are you going to tell me what you’re bothering me for or do you just want to stare some more?”
But he hadn’t heard her. He just frowned. He was completely speechless.
“Goodnight, sir.” She turned and walked away from him, the annoyance never showing in her graceful stride or the way her black trench billowed about her.
When Severus had gotten back to the castle, he went to his room quickly and opened up the drawer to his bedside table. He pulled out a small photograph. He looked at it and in moments realized where he’d seen that girl’s face before. She looked much like another Prince, one whom Severus knew very well. She looked almost identical to Eileen Prince. Except for her hair, this, though black as anything, was curly. Every feature, every expression, every manner was nearly identical. The girl even tilted her head the same way as the woman in the picture who was so content to pierce him with dark eyes and then give a tiny, comforting smile before tickling the chin of the young Severus on her lap who would then burry himself against her bosom before attempting to look too old for his age again.
“Evangeline… Prince…” How on earth could there be another Prince? His mother never had a sibling and neither had he. How? How could this be? He stood and placed the photograph in his pocket. That girl’s face… it had brought back so many memories- memories he’d rather have forgotten, all of which had led up to his mother and the few times that they were happy and the millions of times that they were not.
Severus moved quickly from the room, his imposing figure making its way to the Headmaster’s office with long strides. He knocked on the door.
“Albus,” Severus said, once inside.
“Good evening, Severus. Is something the matter?” Severus sat down before Albus in the chair in front of his desk.
“Do you know of a girl, young- perhaps fifteen, maybe a little older, named Evangeline Prince?”
The headmaster frowned. “Evangeline Prince… no. I do not recognize the name. Is she a relative of yours?”
“That’s just it, Albus. I don’t know. I met her just recently. She said her name was Prince.”
“Why is this so troubling to you, Severus? I’m sure there’s more than one family of Princes in the world.”
“She looked… I have reasons.” Albus frowned.
“I will look into this matter, but I can tell you this: No Evangeline Prince has ever attended Hogwarts.” Severus nodded.
“I thought as much. She was never one of my students.”
“I will look into this matter for you, Severus.”
“Thank you, Albus.”