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Eye to Eye by JuicyJuice
Chapter 1 : Even Enemies Eat, Sleep, and Dream
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9


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Anyone who knew Lily Evans knew that she went swimming in the lake every Saturday morning in the spring with her friend Mary Macdonald. It was a tradition they’d started in Third Year, and hadn’t given up since, especially not since they noticed the amount of attention they got for it from their appalled-yet-fascinated classmates. They didn’t love their swims despite the murky water, the bone-chilling cold, and the danger; they loved them because of it. People saw them as reckless and intriguing, a welcome break for Lily from her reputation as an incurable braniac.

Additionally, anyone who happened to be desperately in love with Lily Evans knew that the absolute hands-down best view of the lake, and therefore her Saturday morning swims, was from the Southwest balcony, just past the old Muggle Studies classroom.

Amazingly, as Severus Snape walked towards this very spot, Lily Evans was for the first time in months not the first thing on his mind.

“Where are we going?” whispered Amelia Avery, clutching his hand tighter in the near-total darkness. Amelia, who was neither pretty nor unpretty, with brown frizzy hair, a shapeless body, and a baby-doll face that, despite its well-formed features, fell far short of striking, was exactly the person Severus required for this event in his life: quiet and unremarkable, yet not a total desperate case. She would say little, require less, and yet allow him to get the whole thing over with.

All the desire that had raged through him earlier in the evening had somewhere along the line twittered into the nerves now plaguing his stomach. This irritated him more than anything. His logical mind did not feel nervous, so why wouldn’t his body cooperate?

“Almost there,” he said, dropping her hand and moving it to the small of her back.

“Severus, we shouldn’t be doing this,” she said, rather flirtatiously for someone he considered so droll.

“You said you wanted to.”

“I do,” she said, pulling him close.

He swooped in and kissed her, though he found her lips wet and cold, and though he already felt his own lips chapping from all the endless face-sucking they’d already gotten through that night.

Severus felt relief with every step they took towards the Southwest Tower. It would soon be over, and then he would have that edge just like Avery had—of knowing, of being superior to the others without saying a word. What luck, Severus thought, that Avery had confided in him his sister’s silly crush on him. And what luck that Avery had given his approval. Who cared if she was a Fourth Year? Who cared if she didn’t have one interesting thing to say? It would soon be over.

They arrived. Ten feet past the old Muggle Studies room was a hidden door, disguised as a solid wall, which led to a staircase, which led to a small, rectangular, empty room, with jarringly ornate double doors leading out onto the Southwest balcony.

“You’re certain no one will find us here?”

“Certain,” he said, inwardly cursing himself for feeling so vulnerable when his head was telling him that this next act would make him anything but.

His instincts told him to distract her—to bide time, to avoid talking about it, so he initiated again the repetitive, mind-numbing ritual of kissing. While forcing himself to breathe heavily and act interested, Severus conjured up a regular, rather plain bed behind his back, full with mattress, sheets, and a pale yellow comforter.

Quickly, he led her over. 










Severus thought he heard voices—a low voice and a girl giggling; he hadn’t imagined it.

“I think I hear something,” he said, almost grateful for a distraction. It was over, it was done, and now he saw no need for all this lying about after the fact.

With a speed he hadn’t known her capable of, Amelia leapt up and pulled a crumpled robe over her head. Her sweaty hair still stuck to her face and she looked at him with wild, petrified eyes.

“You don’t think—a teacher?”

He awkwardly pulled a robe on as well. The voices were getting closer.

“Severus,” whimpered Amelia. Her petulant tone irritated him. He wondered why he didn’t feel any different from an hour ago.

The door at the bottom of the staircase scraped open, and a light appeared. Severus resisted the urge to hide; there wouldn’t have been a good place anyhow.

“—never knew about this place,” said an excited whisper, a girl, “What exactly are you planning—“

“Nothing but you, me, and the starlight,” said another voice. Severus flooded with horror. “You can fill in the details…”

James Potter, of all people, barging in on him and—Severus looked around. Well, at least Potter would know that he wasn’t the only one who could get a girl on a Friday night.

The girl with James spotted them first.

You!" she spat, looking viciously—Severus saw with surprise—at Amelia, “What are you doing here?”

James stared in amazement and Severus tried to stay impassive as both girls drew their wands, glaring at each other fiercely.

“Rhonda Vane,” said Amelia equally scathingly, “I thought I’d heard you were sleeping around with Potter like a common whore.”

“I see you’re not so innocent yourself,” retorted Rhonda, eyeing Severus nastily, “What’d you do, pay him?”

“Slut!”

“Bitch!”

Spells flashed through the air, and both James’ and Severus’ Shield Charms came too late, as both girls fell to the floor. Severus found it hard to keep a smile from his face. Rhonda Vane had sprouted antlers and fangs and Amelia, though appearing fine on first inspection, had both her arms and legs on backwards. Both were unconscious from the force of their own hate-fueled spells.

James chuckled despite himself.

“I would’ve thought it would’ve been us two, Snivellus, not the Fourth Years we’re banging.”

“I know,” said Severus, refusing to smile back, but strangely thrown by James’ tone—a tone one would use when talking to an equal. Maybe losing your virginity did change things.

“Well, I guess there’s nothing to do but right them and call off all our evening plans then, mate,” said James.

Mate,” spat Severus, instantly more enraged than surprised, “So now we’re all buddy-buddy are we? Now that there’s no one here to watch?”

James shrugged, “Just help me, would you? I’ve never seen these spells before.” He took out his wand and leaned over Rhonda. Severus took out his wand as well, and pointed it directly at James’ face, point-blank range.

“And what makes you so sure that I’m not going to attack you and leave you lying next to you little girlfriend? It’s not like you wouldn’t deserve it, Potter.”

Finite Incantatem,” muttered James at Rhonda, though nothing happened. He looked up at Severus, “I just don’t think you will. Go ahead, if you want.”

Severus sneered, not liking something in James’ brown eyes.

Culpremi!” he said without hesitation, savoring how it felt to get revenge and try out a new invention at the same time. He could still see the words scribbled in the margin of his Charms textbook: “Culpremi—for Potter.”

The undesired effect was that he was now virtually alone in a room with two unconscious people and a crumpled, groaning James Potter. He watched James for a second, relishing the boy’s unfocused eyes, the pain that twisted over his normally-handsome face…He would have to remember this moment. His eyes flicked towards the two girls. He would be able to fix the Gryffindor girl in an instant (not that he particularly wanted to), but her spell on Amelia had been unfamiliar.

He began to try everything he knew, but it was one of those blasted spells that required the counterjinx or nothing. Too proud to right James and ask for help, he considered just leaving, but then a very undesirable image flashed through his mind—the image of Avery’s face when he found out that Severus had deflowered and then abandoned his sister. He couldn’t just transport her back to the Slytherin Common Room either—if he was caught, it would be the first black spot on his pristine record, and, worse, if Avery saw the state Amelia was in, if he found out that Severus had let her be attacked…No, he much preferred waiting for the spell to wear off, and if it took until morning, well, then his dorm-mates could just assume more than what had actually happened with Amelia. He wasn’t about to stop them.

Severus didn’t get comfortable, however, because he sensed that the spell on James was about to wear off. Though James was still lying on the floor in a position of utter despair, Severus heard him begin to mutter indistinctly.

Severus saw him move in his peripherals, and then, “Levicor—“

Protego!” Severus was ready, and the shield easily absorbed James’ spell.

Unable to attack while the shield was intact, James slowly drew himself to a sitting position.

“That spell,” he said weakly, “What was that?”

“I invented it!” said Severus, instantly regretting how immature he had sounded. He recollected himself and continued with a cooler tone, “It makes you feel crushing guilt, Potter. All the guilt which you incidentally happen to deserve.”

“At least I have a conscience!” said James. His face was pale and he seemed to still be suffering the aftershocks of the spell, “You attacked me when I was trying to make peace! You wouldn’t feel an ounce of guilt with or without a spell, Snivellus.”

Severus laughed nastily, holding his shield firmly in place, “You think it’s that easy—when Prince Potter’s suddenly in a good mood, we’ll all just kiss and make up, wont we? You should be thankful I was so kind—not bleeding, are you? Consider yourself lucky!”

“I guess I should consider myself lucky considering the dark magic your little Mulciber’s been dabbling in—didn’t end so well, did it? Have they found his tongue yet, by the way?”

Immobulus!”

James now lay flat on the floor, motionless as if bound by invisible ropes. Severus smiled in his vindication, though he knew it was too little too late compared to all those years of endless punishment. And something was still bothering him.

“Why, Potter? Why didn’t you attack me the second you saw me like you usually do? No one around to impress to make it worth your while?”

From the floor, James stopped struggling against the binding spell. He looked at him searchingly for a long time before answering.

“I heard about your mother. It made me think—well, perhaps I’ve been a bit harsh on you over the…I, er…” he faltered under Severus’ continued glare.

“Touching. After six miserable years you’ve noticed I’m a person. Well, unfortunately for you, people don’t just work like that. People like to be treated as humans whether or not their mothers are alive.”

“I’m sorry, Snape,” James said, though they both knew it was killing his pride, still bound and unmoving as he was.

“I’d much rather you’d be out of my sight. I’m staying here, get your girlfriend and go.”

“I can’t take her back like this!”

With a wave of his wand, Severus evaporated Rhonda’s ridiculous fangs and antlers. Her eyes instantly blinked open.

“James? James!” She was up in a flash, pointing at Severus, “You fix him! What did you do to him, you old—“

Severus let James up as well. He pretended to be at ease, but kept his wand ready, secretly expecting them to hex him at any moment.

Rhonda immediately began fawning over James. “Oh James, are you alright? What on earth did he do to you? Why—I feel so strange! But you—are you hurt anywhere?”

“Rhonnie, what spell did you put on that girl?” James nodded to Amelia.

Severus rolled his eyes at James’ misplaced chivalry, “I don’t need your help,” he said. They ignored him.

“I don’t know—wasn’t it a Stunning Spell? I definitely meant for a Stunning Spell. Enervate!”

Nothing happened.

“And her legs are on backwards,” said James, “Snape obviously can’t figure it out or he’d be out of here by now.” He said it as if Severus wasn’t right there, staring at him.

Rhonda began to look nervous, “Gee…I don’t know, and I…I’m tired, perhaps we should get out of here. I’m sure—you’ll fix it, wont you, Snape? It can’t be anything too awful—I’m a terrible witch, see.”

She began to tug on James’ hand towards the door. To Severus’ delight, he eventually, reluctantly followed.

For good measure, Severus checked Amelia’s breathing, and found it normal. He tried a few more generic countercurses, but found them all as useless as before. After briefly considering body-transfiguration, he decided he would rather not accidentally cripple or disfigure her. The legs would return to their normal positions—they had to, didn’t they?

He levitated her to the bed. He even tried to snuggle in with her for a few minutes, but he couldn’t get comfortable. He found that it reminded him too much of his younger days when he couldn’t sleep and would crawl into his mother’s bed, and, really, he didn’t want to sleep next to that stiff, board-like body anyway; there was something not quite right about her.

He much preferred the floor.

He woke up every hour or so to check on an unimproved Amelia. At some point, he could not remember when exactly, he woke to see a dark form lying not three feet from him, breathing steadily.

Heart pounding, Severus silently lit his wand.

Light flushed over the peaceful, sleeping face of James Potter, inexplicably back from the Gryffindor Tower.

Severus felt his face get hot. He barely understood why seeing James sleeping so humbly on the floor angered him so much. Had he thought that—what? That he, Severus, needed company? That James could be of any use? That Severus was lonely? That he was an object, after all these years, of pity?

Severus irrationally considered hexing him again—the guilt spell had certainly done its office—but a slow and infinitely irritating voice inside him told him that one can’t hex a man in his sleep. Hadn’t his mother said that?

A wave of familiar pain crashed through him. He didn’t miss her overmuch—it’s not like she was excellent company—but he knew she had certainly loved him. She had loved Father as well. That was really where the pain came from, and it tortured Severus—was it really possible to spend a life confined like that, in your own loving misery? She had never been happy, not once. Could a person really end like that?

He should have gotten her out of it, he knew now. He should have helped her rise above the antics of his father—a Muggle, of all things, bearing down and crushing her…

Severus found himself with his face in his arms, struggling not to let out a moan.

And Potter had known about this—hadn’t he? Not that he would ever understand. He couldn’t understand. Whatever else James was, it was clear he came from one of those picture-perfect families—the ones beaming out from the few Christmas cards Severus’ mother had received every year, despite the fact that she never sent them out herself. Glossy photos—mother, father, son, and daughter, with matching smiles, outfits, and straight teeth. But that wasn’t the worst part. Then came the inside of the card with the family’s accomplishments for the year—jobs, awards, vacations, new babies—all part of a world Severus had never seen nor understood.

Still, it was brave—Severus acknowledged it—it was brave to put yourself in the hands of your enemy and wait to see what he would do. Had James honestly thought that Severus would not attack? Had he, in some way, trusted him? Severus smiled outwardly at the stupidity of the thought, but inside him something squirmed strangely. He uneasily recalled a drunken conversation with Avery from the night before.

“I will never trust anybody,” Avery had said, “Far too dangerous.”

“Not even me?” said Severus, in that sly way he had.

“No luck, mate. Friends are the worst sort to trust. If they betray you, it’s worse than anyone else doing it.”

Severus smiled, “I trust you about as far as I can throw Hogwarts castle, so don’t you worry about wounding my feelings.”

At the time it hadn’t mattered that they had just driven a stake through the middle of their friendship in the form of permanent, chronic, mutual distrust. Now, however, it bothered Severus.

Avery wouldn’t trust him, but James Potter would. Avery had pretended that Severus’ three day absence to attend his mother funeral hadn’t happened, while James Potter practically crawled into bed with him over it. Severus couldn’t get any of it to sit right in his brain.

James suddenly stirred and sat up next to him. Severus instantly feigned sleep.

“Snape?” James whispered, “Sniv—Severus?”

Severus didn’t think James had ever said his name properly before.

“Severus?”

Silence. Severus remained perfectly still. Finally, James settled back down.

But then, almost without meaning to, Severus spoke, “Snivellus is an idiotic nickname. You know that, right?”

There was a brief pause and then:

“Yeah,” said James from where he lay.

“I don’t think I’ve ever sniveled once in front of you in my whole life,” Severus continued, amazed that he was finally getting a chance to say these things, and even more amazed at how much he wanted to.

“No, you probably haven’t,” James agreed sleepily, “Well, except for that time Sirius did that Pepper Spell, but that…well, that probably wasn’t much your fault.”

“No it wasn’t.”

“See though, it’s just your name—the sound of it. It works, man. Sorry if it bothered you, but…And believe me, that kid Punter Sheet gets it much worse…”

“It hasn’t bothered me since Third Year,” Severus said, “I just thought I’d let you know it’s idiotic.”

James chuckled, “Well, you and your friends must have a name for me.”

“We don’t.”

“Not even a stupid one?”

“Not one.”

“You definitely do, I don’t believe you for a minute. What are you trying to do—spare my feelings? You don’t give a rat’s ass about me.”

“Plopper.”

“What?”

“Plopper. We called you Plopper.”

James laughed again, but Severus resolutely refused to smile. He already halfway hated himself for participating in this conversation.

“Sometimes we call you Snape the Ape,” James offered.

“Yeah, well, I think I’ve heard all the names in the world from you,” Severus muttered coldly.

“I told you, Snape, I’m a changed man. I’m leaving you alone from now on.”

“Really. You’ve got an interesting way of leaving me alone.”

James said nothing. Severus desperately wished he could see his face in the murky darkness.

“And I don’t want your pity,” Severus continued. He wasn’t even actively trying to be hostile, but hate is a hard habit to break.

“I don’t much care what you want, if you haven’t noticed,” retorted James, just as nastily, “Why don’t you just invent another freaky spell to get rid of me, then?”

But then James instantly, awkwardly changed tact (it scared him how effortless it was to be cruel to Snape—had Lily been right?) and he said, “But, er…What kinds of spells have you invented?”

Severus blinked into the darkness. More conversation? With James Potter? Severus made a point of not being surprised by much, but this—he began to get that heady yet light feeling of unreality. He had to remind himself that he hated James Potter. He would participate in this conversation, but he would not become interested in it.

“Lots of spells. Spells you’ve used.”

James snorted and Severus flushed involuntarily (and thanked the darkness for not betraying him), “Who do you think you are, Professor Flitwick?”

“Well, no, I haven’t had any of them patented.”

“Then how’ve I used them?”

“I saw you.”

“Well, like what?”

Severus’ mind blanked and he realized with shame that his palms were sweaty. This encounter was having far too much of an effect on him. Eventually he stuttered out, “Er—well, like Pom—Menspomums, for example.” He didn’t know why he was so flustered. James seemed infuriatingly nonchalant and at ease, despite the alien circumstances.

“The Jelly-Brain Jinx? Wait, but—that was you? Well, Snape, not bad. I always figured that was…real, I don’t know.”

Severus hesitated, but well—why not? Yet he still felt like he was tiptoeing out on a limb as he said, “And Levicorpus. That was mine too.”

There was silence for a moment and then James began to laugh a low laugh that Severus had learned to hate.

“But everyone’s used that one!”

“Yeah—starting after I used it on Gyrding when he was about to kill Rosier. And then they started using it and it caught on.”

James thought a second.

“Yeah—I guess that’s true. Huh. I never knew. Wow—you have no idea how many times I’ve used that spell.”

Severus thought that he quite possibly did know.

“Hell, I’ve even used it on…” James trailed off, staring at Severus. Perhaps it was starting to get lighter, because Severus thought he saw comprehension dawning in his eyes. Both boys reddened, steeped in different kinds of shame, remembering the same terrible afternoon by the lake.

But James recovered quicker, “…I’ve even used it on Septima Vector once—and we got a good look at everything, if you know what I mean.” He laughed heartily, seemingly untroubled by the fact that Severus was not laughing with him.

“Yes, I heard about that,” Severus said eventually.

“And you would have enjoyed it, let me tell you.”

Severus couldn’t help but think that he probably would have.

He hesitated a moment and then ventured, “I used the same trick on Eve Tailor.”

“‘The Tail’?” James chuckled, “Nice.”

But just then, even as it had been going so well, a painful silence fell. James cleared his throat, and then more silence.

Each boy’s pride dictated that they should not, would not care, but their minds raced in search of something—anything—to say.

“Yeah…” James eventually ventured, feigning calm, “Tailor…she left the school yesterday, did you hear?”

“Good,” said Severus immediately.

James laughed. “Yeah, we’re all probably better off for it.”

“Severus?”

Severus and James both started as the forgotten Amelia stirred from the bed. A quick glance told Severus that her limbs were back on straight. And his watch told him that it was nearly six o’clock. In the half-light of dawn he watched Amelia pull herself up and stare blearily around.

“Severus?” She fixed her barely-focused eyes on James, “What’s he doing here?”

Severus glanced at James as well, but rather helplessly, as he really couldn’t find any good explanation himself as to why James was there still, after so much time. Severus was now painfully aware of how truly awkward his combination of company was. He felt vaguely ashamed of James’ presence.

James finally stepped forward with an unconvincing, yet probably perfectly accurate answer, “I was just keeping Snape company while you—until you got up.”

Amelia said nothing, but shook her head in bewildered disbelief. Everyone in the school knew James Potter. Everyone also knew that he did not like Severus Snape.

“What happened?” she asked quietly.

“That Vane girl jinxed you,” said Severus, coaxing his stiff, sore, and strangely heavy legs to get up and walk to her side, “Come, I’ll walk you to the Common Room, now that you’re restored.”

“I hate Vane,” Amelia said blandly, extracting herself from the bed. “Did I get her too?”

James made a sort of choking-laugh noise, one that Severus was all too used to hearing when he was about to get hexed or trapped. He understandably whipped around rather quickly, only to find nothing more than James sitting there chuckling, without a wand in sight.

“You do realize,” James laughed, “That you’re wearing each other’s—each other’s—“ he broke off, unable to speak for laughing, and rolled onto his back, histrionically clutching his stomach. Finally he choked out “Robes!” and lost himself entirely to cackling.

Severus looked down and found that while his bare ankles and wrists were all entirely exposed, Amelia’s robe ended in a pool of fabric at her feet.

Severus’ mouth twitched and even Amelia looked as if she was about to laugh.

“Here,” James said, popping up with surprising ease for someone who had just stayed up all night, “You go ahead and switch, I’m going out to the balcony anyway.” Still grinning, he pushed open the ornate balcony doors and closed them behind him. Severus watched his dark form disappear from sight through the mottled glass panels of the door.

His heart sank as he turned to face Amelia, who was smiling coyly at him and beginning to awkwardly and forcefully tug off his robe.

They changed quickly. He pretended to have a gentlemanly interest in returning her back to her dormitory.

They said little as they made their way back to the dungeons and Severus, for the second time that night, and for nearly the second time in his life, acknowledged it as an awkward silence. He blamed himself for choosing a girl with so little to offer. He blamed her just as much for accepting him.

Severus felt strangely wide awake, despite his lack of sleep the night before. He wanted more than anything to leave Amelia and take a solitary walk somewhere. Instead, he begrudgingly and impatiently finished accompanying her; his mother had taught him to be a gentleman towards ladies. Perhaps she thought it would make up for what her husband could never be for her.

They said goodnight, and he pretended to be heading back to his dorm, and set out again into the cold, stone labyrinth of Hogwarts. No one was up yet, this early on a Saturday, yet it was late enough in the morning that it was perfectly within his rights to be there, should a teacher come along.

Walking made him think, and thinking made him walk—straight back to a place that it appeared he could not get away from.

Severus stood in the room where the now-vanished bed had stood and stared at the double-doors leading out to the Southwest balcony, cursing himself for his stupidity, and at the same time dying of curiosity—Was James Potter just on the other side of the door?

He hated himself for being here; hated himself for feeling that strange ache in his stomach that he knew came from how strangely Potter was acting towards him. It was intrigue and curiosity, it was a reluctant gratefulness, but it was something more, too. It was something Severus did not like. Potter-worship.

Despite his actions the night before, Potter was still the same Potter he always had been. Severus instantly felt disgusted. Had he really skulked back here to bask in Potter’s hot-shot aura? He turned on his heels and strode out of the room.

But he had nowhere else to go. So he sat down at the bottom of the staircase and thought about everything that had happened. It gave him a dazed, unreal feeling.

“I had sex,” he suddenly muttered to himself, but hearing it aloud didn’t make it any more real.

He sat there and thought. He didn’t have a watch, but it felt like forever. And James still did not come down. So maybe he had already left, Severus figured. Yes, he must have.

He went up the steps and walked slowly to the balcony. His feet felt heavy and clumsy from lack of sleep. He pushed open the left door and was more unsettled than he thought he’d be to see Potter’s back, his mussy hair, not four feet from him. He was staring out at the lake.

Severus walked forward and placed his hands on the stone railing, a comfortable distance from James, in an effort to be composed. He focused on the Lake. It was Saturday morning now. Lily would be swimming. He tried to concentrate on these facts.

“That’s funny. I forgot,” said James, as if in the middle of a conversation.

“Sorry?”

“We have a similarity,” said James. He was staring down at the lawn at two doll sized people, heading out for the Lake; it was Mary, in blue, and Lily, in green.

“Yes,” said Severus tensely.

“That’s probably why we both know about this place.”

“Probably.”

“I wonder we haven’t seen each other here before.”

“I usually come later.”

“Oh. I have Quidditch practice at ten. That makes sense.”

“Yeah.”

Silence fell. Severus wished desperately that he hadn’t come back. He felt pathetic, he felt strange, he began to formulate some excuse to leave—

“Why won’t she go out with me?” James asked suddenly.

Severus perked up. He was actually quite an expert on that particular question.

“Because you’re not a nice person.”

“Huh,” James laughed humourlessly, “And is that why she’s not friends with you anymore? Cause you’re not a nice person?”

“Yes. I suppose.” He pretended that it did not sting, just as he would pretend for the rest of his lifetime.

“That’s the one thing I hate about her. She judges everyone.”

Severus had never thought about it that way before.

“She’s just perceptive,” Severus countered, “I mean, we’re not good people. Look what we do to each other.” But really he meant, Look what you do to me. Every damn day.
“I guess,” James conceded. He really wanted to say, Speak for yourself, but watching Lily’s running-start cannon-ball into the Lake reminded him to be nice to Severus. Being nice to Snape. What a paradox.

“I heard you’ve gotten into Dark Magic,” he continued.

Severus closed up and didn’t answer. James took that as a yes.

He tried to start some sort of sentence—some warning, but he couldn’t think of the words that wouldn’t make him sound like a tool. He almost laughed that he was worried about being cool in front of Severus Snape, the most socially awkward, slimy git in the school. But the Dark Arts were like drugs—if you were smart, you wouldn’t get into them, but if you did, you had that untouchability, that secret knowledge that suspended you just slightly above the rest. It was the ultimate rebellion; the ultimate sin.

But still James felt hung in that moment. He felt, probably wrongly, that he could do something to save this boy, if he just said the right thing—mixed up the right words and said them fluidly enough, that he could change Severus Snape’s sick, slippery path.

But of course he never tried, so he would never know.

And another terrible thought occurred to him—that perhaps he had tortured Snape to this way of life—thoughtlessly tormented and teased him until he needed some way to get back control, feel powerful, hurt others—

“I’ve got Quidditch practice,” he said suddenly.

He turned quickly, fumbled with the door handle, and was gone.

Severus laughed half-heartedly to himself, hoping that it was the idea of the Dark Arts that had scared James away. That was exactly what he wanted to be: feared.

He stared out at the Lake for a while longer. Occasionally he would look down at the one-hundred or so feet of air between him and the ground. That would get Lily’s attention, he thought analytically.

But soon he took the same path as James—out the door and down the steps, because really it’s always easier to do nothing, and Lily would never love him, and James was a prick, and he wanted to live a life of crime, with useless thugs like Avery, who didn’t make you question anything because you hated them from the very beginning, and the Lily thing had to fade eventually. Didn’t it?

He walked to the Great Hall. He couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. 










The next day, Lily Evans finally acquiesced to a date with James Potter. As Severus retched into the toilet, and felt his entire world on the verge of crumbling, he remembered exactly why he had always and would always hate James Potter. It was something that could never change.

And though James never attacked Severus again, Severus never thought to notice. 

If he had noticed, he would have hated him all the more for it.




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