Chapter 2 : House Rivalries
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Right then, Severus could have cared less about any ‘great destiny’, all he knew was that being Sorted into a rival House was going to present problems for his friendship. Lily didn’t understand how deep the bitterness and rivalry ran between the two Houses since the rise of Voldemort, or You-Know-Who, as most called him, terrified to utter his name lest he hear and come to wreak vengeance. Voldemort had been a Slytherin, as had many of his followers. And his subversive teachings had spread to many of those Sorted into the house of the serpents, until all Slytherins were tarred with the same brush—they were known to be ambitious, cruel, untrustworthy, and had a predilection for Dark magic.
When Severus had been Sorted, there had been a handsome dark-haired boy sitting at the Gryffindor table who had cried, “Oi, I’d figured him for a snake, he looks the type, all scrawny and sly and I’ll bet he knows loads of Dark curses. They all do.”
A messy-haired boy with glasses next to him nodded in agreement. “Nothing good ever comes out of Slytherin, that’s for sure, Sirius.”
Severus had felt himself stiffen instinctively at the remarks, but he forced himself to ignore them. They were such fools, what did they know? He knew barely anything about curses, except which ones were Unforgivables, his mother had been a Potions Mistress and had only taught him elementary potions and healing charms, mostly so he could hide the damage Tobias did to him from school authorities. Healing charms and glamours, that’s all I know, you dumb prat. And if that’s dark magic, I’ll eat my robes. Oh, Lily, why in Merlin’s name did you have to end up there? You’re so much smarter than half of them.
His new Housemates had welcomed him with a few handshakes and quiet hellos, Slytherins were nothing if not dignified.
But he vowed that nothing would get in the way of his friendship with Lily Evans. He had promised he would be her friend forever, and he always kept his promises. Eileen had taught him that a wizard’s word was his bond, and to never promise something he could not keep.
Unfortunately, that promise was going to be the devil to keep.
That evening he was meeting Lily at the library, which was a kind of neutral ground, so they could study together for their upcoming end of term finals. The tests weren’t until just before the Christmas break, but both Severus and Lily believed in studying as much as possible beforehand, and while both were acing their potions class and transfiguration, Severus was having trouble with certain aspects of Charms and Lily needed help with Herbology, she couldn’t grasp all the magical plant properties. Severus had grown up with them, thanks to his mother, and he knew that area very well. Lily had asked if he could tutor her and he had agreed. She seemed to have an aptitude for Charms and he was grateful for it, since he hated looking ignorant, and he didn’t trust the older Slytherins to help him and not make fun of him.
He’d already been told off by fifth-year Lucius Malfoy for associating with a Gryffindor chick. “That’s just not done, Snape. That House is the enemy, they’ve got too many Mudbloods in there, now quit seeing that Evans girl or else. Understand me?”
Severus had just dropped his eyes and given a quick nod, like he did when Tobias asked him a question. But inside he was seething. Who the hell do you think you are, Malfoy, telling me who I can and can’t see? You’re not my bloody father!
Still, he had not liked the glint in the other boy’s eye when he had threatened him, it reminded him too much of Tobias, and so he had resolved to give Malfoy the slip, and act like he was obeying the older boy, then see Lily whenever he had the chance in secret. He had sent her a note to that effect, and so they were meeting in the library.
He slipped around a huge bookshelf in the back of the library, where almost no students went, and discovered Lily waiting for him as promised, carrying a small Lumos-spelled lamp and her bookbag. “Hi, Sev! You all right?”
“Better, now that you’re here. I can’t believe we have to do this. It’s . . it’s ridiculous.”
He sighed. “That’s House politics for you. Forget about it for now, Lily. Let’s just concentrate on our lessons.”
But Lily’s emerald eyes were narrowed and she said, “Did that Malfoy threaten you, Severus?”
Severus did not answer, instead getting out his books and parchment, which was in itself an answer.
“Bloody tyrant! How dare he?” Lily hissed angrily.
Severus stared at her. “Lily Anne Evans! What would your mum say?”
She blushed slightly. “That a lady shouldn’t swear, probably. But I can’t help it. What’s so bad about you and I being friends? I don’t understand. This whole rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor is stupid. You’re not a dark wizard and you never will be.”
“I know. And I could give a damn that you’re a Muggleborn,” he replied, smiling. “The others in my House don’t even know I’m a half-blood.” He sighed. “They’d not be very happy if they knew.”
“Who cares? You’re worth ten of them, the bigots.”
Her words warmed him to the core of his soul. Lily was the one constant he had, the one who understood him best, and would never abandon him. “You and I know that, but they’d make my life hell if they ever knew, so please, Lily, keep it secret.”
“Don’t worry, Sev. I’m no blabbermouth.” She took out her Herbology notes. “Okay, now here’s where I have problems. I don’t understand why a magical snapdragon is so photosensitive, when the ordinary one isn’t . . .”
Severus carefully explained the properties of magica antirrhinum majus, and Lily listened intently and took notes.
They spent a pleasant two hours together, dark and red heads bent over their texts, speaking quietly, and scribbling with their quills in their notebooks. They were yawning by then and Lily said it was probably time to call it a night, before they risked being caught out after curfew.
They quickly packed up their things and left the library, giving Madam Pince a respectful nod as they went by. The librarian sniffed and gave them a small smile. “At least you two know that a library is for studying, not acting like hoodlums, like the three I just tossed out of here.”
“Good night, Madam Pince,” Lily said, and gave her a wave before walking out the door.
“Would you like me to walk you back to the Tower, Lil?” asked Severus, he was wary of letting Lily go back alone at night, the castle was big, and he didn’t trust some of the students in his House.
Before Lily could reply, someone else did. “Now why would she let a snake like you walk her home, when she’s got perfectly good mates like us?”
The two looked up, startled, to see James Potter standing there, wearing his familiar infuriating grin, and next to him was Sirius Black and the skinny, pale, sharp-faced Peter Pettigrew, hovering just behind the other bigger boys.
“No thanks,” Lily said firmly, she did not like Potter’s attitude at all, he was arrogant and thought he was all that. “Come on, Severus. It’s getting late.”
But when she went to go around them and up the corridor, Sirius put out an arm to halt her. “Evans, don’t you get it? You shouldn’t be with that slimy dungeon crawler. He could give you fleas or worse.” He leveled a glare at Severus. “Keep away from her, Snivellus.”
“Bugger off, Black! I’ll do what I please,” Severus answered, his black eyes flashing.
“Not so long as we’re around, Snape,” James put in, grabbing Severus by the arm. “Go crawl back to the dungeons, greaseball, where you belong.”
“Shut up, all of you!” Lily cried, shoving at Sirius’s arm. “Leave us alone! Who do you think you are, Potter, talking like that about him, you arrogant twit?”
James craned his around to stare at Lily in astonishment. Usually girls never spoke like that to him. “Evans, stay out of this. I’m defending your honor.”
Lily exploded. “Defending my honor, are you? Well, Sir Galahad, for your information, I don’t need my honor defended! I can take care of myself, I’m not some helpless lady in a tale! Now quit pestering us and go away, before I really lose my temper and hex your bloody mouth shut!”
“Ooh, James, she’s got some temper!” snickered Pettigrew in his squeaky voice. “Be careful, Potter.”
Furious, Lily drew her wand and pointed it at Peter. “You were saying, Pettigrew?”
Peter gulped and backed away and hid behind Sirius.
Sirus grinned at Lily, not taking her seriously. “Evans, put it away. You wouldn’t hurt us, we’re your Housemates.”
“You’re a bunch of interfering, nosy, blithering idiots is what you are!” Lily declared hotly.
“Now, Evans, that’s not nice. Where’d you hear such words, from the scummy Slyth here?” James drawled. “Been telling tales about us, huh, Snivellus? Naughty little serpent. I just might have to teach you a lesson.”
“About what, Potter? How to get detention in two days or less?” sneered Severus. “Because that’s the only thing you know how to do, get in trouble.” In the two months they had been at Hogwarts, James, Sirius, Pettigrew, and their other friend, Lupin, had earned themselves detention almost every week for pranks on students, teachers, and being insolent to professors, as well as forgetting to do homework.
“At least I’m not a Dark Arts sympathizer like you, Snape! Plan on joining You-Know-Who someday?”
“No, Potter! Now get out of my way.”
“Make me, Snivellus. Or are you too much of a coward to face a real wizard?”
That did it. Severus could ignore everything but that. Before James could move, Severus had drawn his fist back and hit the sneering boy right in the eye. There was a crunch as James’s glasses cracked.
“Ow! You little bastard!” howled James, holding his glasses with one hand and swinging his fist at Severus with the other.
Severus ducked. If there was one thing he knew how to do, it was defend himself. He’d gotten into scraps before at primary school, and had learned how to hold his own in a fistfight. Something which he doubted Potter had ever learned.
To his astonishment, James discovered that though small, Snape could pack a pretty good wallop, and he wasn’t used to fighting with his fists, he rarely had to defend himself physically. He found himself getting the worst of it, Severus was like a small whirlwind, hitting and kicking like a dervish.
Angry and embarrassed at being shown up in front of a girl, James managed at last to grab Severus by the collar of his robes and throw him backwards into the wall.
Severus hit the wall hard, hitting his head against the stone and nearly getting knocked out. He blinked woozily, his head was spinning.
“Bloody snake! I’ll teach you!” he heard Potter growl and felt something slam into his nose.
He cried out as he felt something snap beneath Potter’s fist.
“Get off him, you rotten bully!” yelled Lily.
He was blinded by pain and blood was dripping down into his mouth, but he could still hear Potter yelp loudly through the throbbing in his head.
“Oww! Merlin, Evans, you want to unman me?”
Severus opened his eyes a slit and saw Potter clutching his family jewels.
He managed a crooked grin. Kick him where it counts, Lily. That’s where his brains are.
Suddenly Sirius hissed, “Somebody’s coming, James! Quick, let’s get out of here!”
They scattered, and Severus felt Lily kneel down next to him. “Sev? Are you all right? God, you’re a mess, blood all over.” He felt her dab his face with a soft cloth.
“It’s okay, Lil,” he managed after a moment. “I’ve had worse.”
“Shhh.” She tilted her head and heard the distinct sound of footsteps. Black had been right, there was someone coming. “C’mon, Sev. Can you walk?”
He felt her put her arm about him and he climbed to his feet. “We got t’hide. Don’ wanna get d’tention,” he hissed, finding it difficult to talk through his broken nose.
“Why? They started it, the rotten—” she began angrily.
“Don’ matter. No one’ll ever believe me,” he told her.
He had already seen how some of the staff seemed to favor the Gryffindors over the Slytherins, and whenever there was a fight between members of those Houses, usually the Slytherins got the blame and punishments. But that was nothing new. Once, long ago he had actually told the truth when a teacher had asked why he had bruises on his legs, and when Tobias discovered it, he had told the teacher he lied. “Kid’s got some imagination. Always making up stories. He was playing about near the mill and fell. Right, Sev?” and Tobias had given him a look that made his bowels turn to water. He had agreed, and the teacher had believed his slick talking father and dismissed his accusation as the rambling of an attention-seeking child.
He shuddered as he recalled how Tobias had beaten him for daring to speak the truth. And from that day on, he told no one what went on in the Snape house, save for Lily. He had learned the hard way that no adult would believe a word he said.
At his urging, Lily dragged him back into the library, and they hid in the shadows until the footsteps went by. Then, Lily peered out and made sure the coast was clear before assisting Severus to the Hospital Wing over his protests.
Luckily, Madam Pomfrey did not ask too many questions before she healed him, then sent them on their way.
But from then on, Severus was mortal enemies with Potter and his gang.
So what did you think of Sev and Lily here?
They will eventually become more attracted to each other, of course, but here is where their friendship begins to be tested. And it'll only get worse. And for those of you wondering where the hell the romance is . . .be patient! It's coming in chapter 3, but their friendship is the ground that their romance springs off of, and it's the bedrock that holds the romantic part together, which is why I'm showing you it first . . .they were friends BEFORE lovers and that's important for reasons you'll see much later. And you'll see more of Petunia and James later on too, I haven't forogtten about them either!
Next: Severus and Lily quarrel, leading Severus to encounter a young first-year in need of his help.
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