Chapter 1 : Poetry
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Thanks for your patience, and hope you enjoy the story.
A Harry Potter Fan Fiction
By J. A. Worley
She could fall endlessly into the depths of his beautiful dark eyes. She felt like she was in fact, every time he cast a glance in her direction. It was a curious sensation. As if her heart would come flying from within her chest, and land in the palm of his hand if he only held his hand out and asked it to. She could live on this sensation alone, even if the rest of her body were dying. This was love.
Kaden Clover closed her eyes and let the breeze blow through her hair. The sun warmed her face, and for a moment she was happy. She was almost done with Hogwarts. A grand 18 years old, and she would finally be finished in just a few weeks time.
She had looked forward to finishing school and taking her life elsewhere, someplace where her soul could be free. She had imagined a place where she could roam as she pleased, a free spirit, with no rules, and no connections to anything that would hold her back. She had wanted to be unaccountable. This was Kaden. It had been in her heart to be free from the time she had come from her mother’s womb, she had been told. Somewhere in the last year though, it had come into her heart to be accountable. To stay in one place. To have a connection. It was wonderful that she would be free from school work for the rest of her life, yes. But she was also being ripped away cruelly from everything she loved, she felt. Aside from freedom, one other thing, just one, had ever held her heart. And now she would not be able to pursue her second love.
Kaden sighed and dug her toes into the sand along the deep black lake that flowed along one entire edge of the Hogwarts grounds. In past years, this was the spot at Hogwarts that had made her feel the most free. Today she felt trapped. If only he were here, she thought to herself. If only I were his, things would be perfect. She knew it was impossible, but still she couldn’t help but think of what could have been had she been born 10 or 15 years earlier, or he born later. It wasn’t bad to date somebody 10 years older than yourself, she had been taught. Her parents were nine years apart. But 19 years? 19 years was a big difference. One of those inalienable truths that nobody would accept as morally acceptable. It was a truth that she hated. A truth that tormented her whenever she thought about her love for him, and how she could not express it to him. She thought about him constantly.
Such a cruel life, she thought. She would give anything to be with him, but she doubted he even noticed her. Kaden was just another potions student. She wasn’t even a student in his house. Had she felt the same way about him seven years before, she would have begged the Sorting Hat to place her into Slytherin, just to be near him. She didn’t hate Slytherins like most of the rest of the school, but she certainly had never found it pleasing to be around any of them. That was until the day her heart tried to pound right out of her chest when he caught her eye at the opening term feast at the beginning of the year. She knew it had to be her imagination, because nobody like him could ever feel affection for her, but every time he spoke to her in class, or in the hall as he had done on several occasions, she felt a softness in his voice that struck a cord in her, and made all other emotions with the exception of love melt away. Nobody had ever made her feel that way. She had dated, yes, and believed she had been in love, but there was no other feeling in the world she had found as strong as those she had for him. While she was getting ready to escape Hogwarts, she did not know how to escape these feelings for him.
* * *
Severus Snape rubbed the throbbing vein in his temple, angry that his headache, and what was more, his feelings, were getting in the way of his grading. He had been trying to grade the end of year Potion’s papers for sixth year for the last hour and a half. On any other day he knew this was a task that would only take 45, maybe 50 minutes. Today was not another day though. This was the day that marked three weeks until the end of the year. He had been counting them down. Four weeks, three and a half, three and a day. Three. Soon it would be two weeks, then one, then the last day, and his chance at happiness would escape, off to live the rest of her life with somebody else. His temple gave a particularly nasty throb. He had wanted to say something for years now. Anything in fact, that would convey his emotions, but he could not. Things like these were what would get a person fired, and worse, thrown in jail. He would do anything though to be with her. There was a third thing that held him back from expressing himself however. Innocence. He could not see how such innocence would be anything but repulsed by him. It was one of those truths that he had come to live with since before he had come to teach at Hogwarts. He knew that he would die alone, because nobody could ever love him.
Severus sighed, and pushed the half finished stack of sixth year papers away from himself. He didn’t know what he was going to do. Nothing, of course, he told himself. That was all he could do, was nothing. Even if she could feel something other than hate for him, as the rest of the students and staff there did, it would never be accepted that they could be together. The odd thing was, that he was almost sure she did have feelings for him. The way he would look up from his desk in class, and catch just a glimpse of her eyes as she turned away and went back to her brewing or note taking. The why she would slow in the hall when she was getting ready to pass him; the way she lingered after class just a little behind her friends as she packed away her things, and was always the last one out the door before him. So many times he wanted to ask her to stay behind, just to convey some kind of positive emotion to her, and so many times he held back, knowing that he could not. Life was so unusually cruel to him. It had always been this way, some kind of God playing with his emotions and then so cruelly ripping away everything he loved, just for kicks.
Across the room, a stack of ungraded papers caught his eye. It was the stack of seventh year papers. Something pulled at him to rise and dig through the stack frantically for hers just to see her neat handwriting, and see what she had written. He did not. Severus pulled the sixth year papers back to himself and looked at the half graded one on top. It was covered in red ink. Bill Weasley had not been especially talented in Potions in previous years, and Severus didn’t feel inclined to grade yet another one of his mistake ridden papers. Again he looked to the seventh year papers across the room, and again he felt a tug to get up and look through them. It was a nasty feeling he felt, feeling so useless and so enslaved to his emotions. Giving in he rose and crossed the room. Standing by the table with the seventh year papers, he shuffled through them slowly, as if someone were watching and he were trying to hide his emotions, even though he was alone in his office, the door closed and locked. Finally he came to her paper. He didn’t need to look at the name even. He recognized the perfectly written out script, neat and flowing, one letter coming along with the next to form a perfect word, and then a perfect sentence. Her papers altogether were usually perfect, he thought to himself, just like her, flawless.
He sighed again and leaned against his desk. Just holding her essay made him feel strangely connected with her. He closed his eyes and shook his head. He knew it was wrong to have these feelings. He was so much older than she was. He felt ancient in comparison to her young beauty and innocence. Such a precious girl could never love someone such as himself. Yet, he felt compelled to do something still, before the opportunity slipped away altogether. She was 18 now, a year past the age of adult hood, but, still. Severus once again engaged in the daily wrestle with his emotions. Logic dictated one thing: this will never be accepted. There is too great a difference to have a chance. I am such a horrible person, she could never love me. And his heart dictated another: She is so perfect. I would give anything to be with her. What can I do before I never get the chance? I must know!
His thoughts were a vicious circle in his mind and heart, and the pain that ensued resonated throughout his very soul. What could he do?
Severus set Kaden’s paper down gingerly, as if it could be damaged, and moved to sit at his desk, pulling from within a drawer a perfectly aged piece of parchment, and his best quill. He had made it this far twice in the past year, when his emotions had been particularly strong toward her, though they were often nothing but strong for her now. Beyond this point, he didn’t have any idea about what to write, or even how to give it to her. One step at a time though, he thought to himself. The paper is out, I have the quill and ink, now just let me put down a word.
Putting quill to parchment, he closed his eyes and willed his hand to write. Finally he stopped thinking, and decided to let his heart work instead of his logic. One by one the words came from the quill, spilling from it as though the quill moved of it’s own accord. His cursive handwriting looped and flowed together, and before he knew it, he was pulling out another piece of parchment and letting the words flow down through his hand and the quill to it as well.
My dearest love, I don’t believe that I have ever seen such beauty as yours. You are as a perfect flower, floating freely on the wind toward a destiny unknown, and yet my heart floats along with you, hoping for a glimpse of your splendor at every turn. I know not what to think of my feelings, for I have never felt for anybody with so much passion. What else is there to say of your beauty, accept that I love you?
Severus’ heart caught in his throat. Even with these words he could not fully describe his feelings for her. And he knew this small piece of parchment would never reach her because he had no way to appropriately give it to her. Severus sat back and sighed. What now?
* * *
Kaden fervently added ingredients to her potion, trying to finish before time ran out. She didn’t think she could handle if he found a flaw with her class work. For the last year she had been working nonstop to study obscure potions texts, and make sure that every essay, every potion, every assignment was done perfectly. Time and again, papers were turned back to her with full marks, and time and again at the bottom of each paper was written some sort of positive comment that she learned to crave. Things like, “Nicely done Ms. Clover,” and, “Another excellent paper,” was enough to keep her going for another week until the next assignment was due.
Kaden tipped her perfectly chopped Tragon root into her cauldron and watched as her potion bubbled a deep purple. No, no! That’s not right! She thought to herself desperately. She had forgotten something! After the Tragon it was supposed to be light green! Purple wasn’t green! She searched through her notes desperately for what she had done wrong, and found it three pages back. She was supposed to add the Tragon twice during the potion, and she had only just now added it. She put her hand to her head, and looked at her watch. The potion had taken two hours to brew this far, and there was only a few minutes left before the end of class. There was no chance that she would be able to re-brew and finish in time.
As if reading her thoughts, Professor Snape looked at the clock and called,” you have 30 seconds to add your last ingredients and make this potion work!” Beside her, Henry Dacre, a fellow Ravenclaw, added his chopped Tragon root, and just as it should, his potion turned a pale green. On cue, Snape said, “Time!” Snape accepted several phials full of potion from a group of Slytherin students, and then from the rest of the class. When Kaden had not come up with Dacre, he looked up, and said, “Clover, your potion please.” Henry, who had seen the color of Kaden’s ruined potion, grimaced as he put his books back into his bag.
“It’s,” Kaden paused, “it’s ruined Professor,” she said with a grimace herself.
Snape frowned slightly and looked down to the old book sitting on his desk. “Stay after class Ms. Clover.”
Kaden looked down, ashamed. This was the first potion she’d ruined in several years. “Yes Professor,” she said dully. Normally she would have jumped at any chance she could get to stay after class and speak with him, but not in this capacity.
The class filed out, Henry, one of Kaden’s only friends in her own house, gave his friend a sympathetic look before he followed the rest of the class, letting the door close behind him.
Kaden put her things in her bag and remained seated on her stool, waiting for the blast of fury she had seen Snape unleash on other students who had been stupid enough to ruin simple potions. No such blast came however, and instead, he walked over to her cauldron and looked inside. “That is a mess isn’t it?” he asked in a curious tone she had never heard him use before. It was almost as if he was sad to see the potion ruined.
“I’m sorry Professor,” she said quickly, truly sorry. He shook his head.
“If I recall, you haven’t ruined a potion in my class since your third year. You are an outstanding student. One lost potion is of no matter.”
Kaden looked up and tried to catch the man’s eyes, but he didn’t let his gaze wander her way. Instead, he made the purple potion disappear with a clean up spell, and moved back to the front of the room.
“Perhaps you would do well to take a look at this book. It details several potions that you may or may not be interested in.” He lifted the tattered book from his desk and held it out, not looking at it or Kaden, but rather examining a phial full of dark green potion turned in by a blond haired Gryffindor boy.
When Kaden didn’t move up and take it immediately, he looked up and then at the book. “You do not have to take on any extra tasks of course…” he trailed away.
Kaden didn’t know what to say. She was partly speechless because she was not in trouble, and partly because she always was around him. “No,” she started, “no, I’d love to look at it.” Book bag on her shoulder she moved up to the front of the room, and was careful not to touch his hand on accident as she took the book, no matter how much she longed to take his hand and squeeze it. Their eyes met only briefly, and as she quietly said, “Thank you,” she got the distinct impression that he had to make an effort to turn his gaze back to the newly brewed potions that had just been turned in.
When no more was forthcoming from him, she moved for the door. Just as she reached the threshold of the hallway however, he said, “Please return it when you’re done. I’d hate to lose it when you graduate.”
Her heart jumped to her throat, and she nodded, unsure if he was watching her or not. “Yes sir,” she said with forced effort. She had almost said, “Yes Severus,” but had caught herself before she slipped up, and left.
* * *
Kaden skipped dinner and opted to go back to the seventh year Ravenclaw girl’s dorm instead. Inside, she was happy to find it empty, just wanting to be left alone to her thoughts. How could she have been so stupid to not consult her notes again before recklessly adding ingredients to her potion? So stupid! With a heavy sigh she pulled her books from her bag and remembered the tattered book that Snape had given her. The book looked as if it had been burned along on edge, and had several potions spots on the cover. Inside she found more of the same, some pages ripped and pieced back together with spellotape. She wondered which potions she was supposed to be interested in, and flipped to the contents. The first potion she already knew, along with the second and third. Scanning down the page her eyes spotted a potion called, “Love’s beginning.” The smallest of smiles crossed her lips, and she flipped through the tattered pages to the middle of the book where the love potion was supposed to be. When she found the page however, an aged and folded piece of parchment fell out.
Curious, Kaden lifted the folded parchment, and unfolded it gently. Inside was a script that flowed beautifully. It was writing as she had never seen before. Quietly she read words as beautiful as the penmanship. You are as a perfect flower, floating freely on the wind toward a destiny unknown, and yet my heart floats along with you, hoping for a glimpse of your splendor at every turn. Kaden’s heart melted. Had he written this? She wished that he had, but knew that he would never write something like this to her. She shook her head with her false hopes, and folded the parchment again. Instead of placing it back into the book however, she held it in her hand, feeling as if it gave her heart warmth just by holding it near. Even if Severus hadn’t written it to her, she could pretend that he could for just a moment, couldn’t she? And what if he had? How would she write something back and not hand it to him directly?
The love potion lay in the open book before her, and she knew the answer. He had told her. Return the book when she was done. Excited now, and knowing that if she was wrong, he would never know that she had written the poem to him because he would probably stick the book back on a shelf for five or ten years, she pulled out a sheet of fresh parchment, and a new quill, and began to write.
* * *
The wind never whispered so softly but to murmur your name into my ears. Softly I would fall into your waiting arms should I ever have the chance, for the wind whispers of this to my waiting heart as well. Constantly my heart catches my breath and refuses to let go when the smallest thought of you reaches me. My heart calls out desperately, “I need you.”
Severus Snape stared down at the words in front of him. They had been folded and tucked away carefully in between the same pages that he had tucked his carefully written words into. So she had gotten his poem, and she felt the same way! His heart wanted to leap for joy and cry for sorrow at the same time! What a horrid feeling! He had expected the pain in his heart to disappear once he had expressed his feelings, but knowing that she felt the same way after all these years only made it worse. He wanted to be with her, but knew they could never be together. She was two years past adulthood, but still so young! What could she see in a 37 year old? Nobody would understand their love for one another.
Frantically he searched his desk for fresh parchment, not worrying about the age of it this time needing to match the book, and began to write.
My heart leaps for joy to know that your love is as full as my undying love for you, and yet is sorrowful. I love you more than the sun and stars, and I would give you the moon were it in my power to do so, but what of life can I give to one so full of life as yourself? What of beauty can I add to your beauty? Can a soul such as mine find itself entwined with a soul so exquisite as yours? My beating heart, trying to leap from my chest as I picture your face, definition of loveliness, can only hope that I could be so lucky to find a way to be with you.
* * *
Kaden’s heart leapt when a jet-black owl tapped at her window the same night that she had returned the book to Severus. Although the poetry was not signed by him, she knew that he had written it. Excitement like she had never felt before filled her as she sat cross-legged on her four-poster with the blue curtains pulled closed around her, a silencing charm on them so that the scratching of the quill would not bother the other girls as she wrote late into the night, thinking carefully and then taking time to write neatly in flowing script a reply to him.
Dearest Severus, I need not the sun or moon, nor the stars. I need not excess beauty or life. My soul finds itself having always been entangled in those desperately beautiful eyes of yours, and I could fall endlessly happy gazing into them, finding myself joyous to do nothing but be embraced warmly in your arms. Could I pull my heart from my chest, I would give it to you willingly, but I find that I already have. I need nothing in this life but you.
Kaden felt that the poem was missing something, but could not figure out what.
Finally, deciding that it needed to be signed, but not with her name, as it could get him in trouble if another staff member were to get hold of the letter, she penned at the bottom,
Trying desperately for our story to have a happy ending, and forever yours.
Kaden rolled the parchment and tied it with a green ribbon she sometimes liked to tie her hair with, and gave it back to the owl who had been waiting patiently on the windowsill. After she had watched the dark owl soar away around the castle and down towards some lower window, she climbed into bed, wondering if it were all a dream, her heart catching somewhere near her throat at the thought that it might just be a fantasy. In her dreams, Severus put his arms around her from behind and held her tight. It was a comfort that followed her through the day, and left a wide smile on her face that people wondered at.
When she and Severus passed in an empty corridor, they both slowed and let their eyes meet. Kaden’s eyes seemed to sparkle to Severus, and he thought that if he could stare into her eyes all day he would do so, and never blink once.
Their poem passing continued on in this way for the next week, each poem becoming longer as the two souls felt more connected. Kaden kept each new poem with her throughout the day, and Severus made it a point to know her schedule to give them more opportunities to pass in the corridor between courses.
* * *
I find myself unwilling to let you pass by without embracing you and not letting go. Unwilling is a term to too soft for how I want to not let you go and pull you aside instead, feeling your lips upon mine. My heart cries out at night without you by my side. I wonder, will there ever be a time when my heart ceases to cry for sorrow, and only cries joy because it will be next to yours? If ever I were to offend you love, my soul would never cease to feel pain for my trespass, but risking that pain, I ask you now, may I steal a kiss?
The reply he received, was the shortest, and most beautiful poem he had ever read. Four words in the same neat script that he came to crave the sight of appeared on a parchment slipped under his office door in an envelope addressed to him. I wish you would.
* * *
With all of the end of term work the professors were called upon to grade, along with the last minute studying for NEWTS that the seventh years were doing, Severus and Kaden did not see each other for four days, although the poems continued to flow from quill to parchment, and they found themselves living by poetry alone. When they did see each other it was in Potions class, and they could not afford to hold each others gaze for more than a moment without consequence of a student noticing, or their emotions running too high to concentrate on the necessary task of simply getting through the day.
As he had been doing before, Severus was counting down the days until the end of the year. NEWTS were done with, and there was three days left until the end of term. He closed his eyes and desperately wished that he could have a moment with Kaden. A moment would last him a lifetime, he decided. Just a moment.
A moment with you would be sweet enough to last me a lifetime in memories dearest Kaden. I am sad that it cannot come to pass between us, for what consequence would come should prying eyes find us?
* * *
The night of the end of year feast, Kaden cried herself to sleep, not wanting to board the train in the morning, leaving behind everything that she loved. What could she do? The other girls in her dorm thought that she was going to miss Hogwarts, and a couple of them cried as well. They didn’t understand. Nobody but him could ever understand. Kaden wrote no poetry that night, knowing that he was right. His job was at risk if he were caught with a student. The world was full of cruel irony. He was everywhere, and he was all she saw when she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, and yet she could not have him.
* * *
The sun shone brightly as students boarded the train, saying goodbyes to friends headed into Hogsmead to be picked up by parents instead of taking the train. Kaden searched desperately for Severus, but found him nowhere. Tears filled her eyes, betraying the sun that was all around her.
Henry walked up to her and gave her a hug, making her promise to keep in touch with him now that they were done with school, and she nodded sadly in agreement, tears still in her eyes. “I will,” she promised.
Henry squeezed her shoulder as he walked by, but stopped and turned again.
Kaden turned to him.
“Why don’t you meet him now that school’s out?”
Kaden stared at him. He knew? “Meet who?” she asked carefully.
Henry shrugged. “Whoever you’ve been owling back and forth. Henrietta said that you’d been getting owls every day and night.” He shrugged again. “I figure you wouldn’t be sad if you figured on seeing him again. It’s ok if he’s younger than you. Just… meet him now that school’s out.”
Kaden laughed sweet laughter that lifted high above the noise of the surrounding students. Henry grinned and continued on his way down the platform to Hogsmead. Kaden boarded the train, and sat to write out a letter when she was alone in a compartment, trees and fields full of colors flying past her window.
* * *
Black cloak draped over one arm, a small suitcase with a few changes of clothes and over 50 letters in the other hand, Severus Snape walked through golden grass that came up to his thigh. It was pleasantly warm out, and his black sleeves were rolled up neatly to his elbows, black slacks and shoes almost out of place in the field. Her last letter had compelled him to find her. It had killed him to not see her off at the train station, but he knew his job was in jeopardy if he did, and showed any sign of affection toward her. That had all changed now though. The year was out. She was no longer a student at Hogwarts, and never would be again.
Severus crested a small hill covered in the golden grass and tall colorful flowers. From the top he could see a small, rustic cabin with smoke rising from the chimney. From the door came Kaden, a metal pail in one hand and a broom in the other. He stood there, just watching her, a broad smile on his face. His heart had caught in his throat, and that curious feeling had filled his entire being again. This was Kaden. This was love. He didn’t know if they could have any kind of life together, and shook his head. He didn’t know, but he sure had to try.
She looked up finally, and stood, motionless as she spotted him atop the hill. He raised his arm in a motionless wave, and she raised her arm in mimic of his. They stood there for a moment more like that, both in disbelief that they had finally found each other again. And then she was running through the field toward him, and he toward her. And they were in each other’s arms, finally, after so long.
“Kaden,” he held her close to him, unwilling to let go, “my flower.”
A/N: Ok, so that was my stab at romance. I don’t usually write romance, but finding myself in the middle of my own, I found it easy to write something to the same effect if I thought of my fiancé, the love of my life.
**If you liked this story, please check out the sequel which is now posted! "The Poet's Son" **
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