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Irresistible Chemistry by Snapegirl
Chapter 3 : A Helping Hand
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9


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September 1972

Hogwarts

"You okay, Sev?" Lily asked in concern as her friend sat opposite her in their compartment. He looked drawn and exhausted, there were dark circles under his eyes and she saw him suppress a wince as he leaned back on the seat. Tobias, she thought grimly. Though she had only met the man once, and then for about two minutes, she had instinctively disliked him. Knowing about his drunken binges and how he tended to hurt both his wife and son during them made her dislike him even more. She knew as well that Severus hated him and was also afraid of him, though he had never admitted as much to her. He never did. When he was hurt he tended to hide away somewhere inside of himself, and she had learned years ago to read him as much from what he didn't say as from what he did.

"Fine. I'm just . . .tired." He stretched out on the seat opposite her, curling up on his side.

"Why don't you take a little nap then?" she suggested quietly, knowing he was hurting and more than just a "little" tired.

He gave her a lopsided smirk. "Y'sound like my mother."

"Good. Then maybe you'll listen to me for once, Severus Snape," she said, half-scolding. She placed a blanket over him, the Express provided two for each compartment, like they did on the sleeper cars on Muggle trains.

"Yeah, right," he snorted, but then he closed his eyes and drifted off, despite the stinging pain in his bottom and thighs. Tobias had come home sozzled, as usual, and gotten mad when he had seen Severus's trunk downstairs, he hated it that his son had inherited magic and didn't take after him, the way he should have. That fact alone made Severus deserving of a beating, according to Tobias.

But he buried his father's voice in the depths of his mind, locking it in a box along with all the other awful memories, and as he slipped into the warm embrace of sleep he felt a small hand brush his hair away from his forehead.

Lily gently smoothed her friend's unruly hair away from his forehead. He really needed a haircut, his hair was always in his eyes. Unless he wore it like that on purpose, it was the fashion these days to have long hair. But she doubted if Sev followed popular styles. He probably couldn't afford it, you know he's always been hard up, Lily, she told herself. And it's another way for him to hide. Hide from his father and from everyone. Except me.

She shook her head and went back to sit down opposite him, her green eyes filled with tears. She hated that he was so wary and hurting all the time, and she wished he would get help, but he insisted going to any adult authority was a waste of time. Oh, Sev. I wish I could help you more. I'd tell someone, but then you'd never forgive me, and I promised upon my magic to never tell. But I hate seeing you hurt. I hope Potter and the rest of them leave you alone this year, the damn bullying toerags! She sighed, and took out her Charms text, they still had several hours before the train arrived at school. Maybe you need another friend, someone besides me, that you could talk to. A boy. You'd probably tell him things you wouldn't me.

But who could she find that would be able to get past Severus's initial reserve and sometimes sharp tongue? All the Gryffindor boys she knew in her year were rabidly prejudiced against Slytherins and she didn't know how Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff felt about Slytherins. As for his own House . . .she knew he hardly trusted anyone, because he was a half-blood and most of them believed in pureblood supremacy.

And yet, she knew he needed another besides herself, knew it instinctively, the way she knew how to move her wand to cast a Charm spell correctly. You'd tell me you didn't need anyone, of course. That you manage just fine by yourself, that I'm the only friend you'll ever need. But I know it's not so, I've seen how you look at Potter and his friends sometimes, when you think no one can see . . .and I can see how much you want that sort of thing . . .another boy to talk to . . .

Just then there came a knock at the door of her compartment and the door slid open to reveal Alice Stewart, a tall blond with a round face and cheerful hazel eyes, and Cynthia Graves, both Gryffindors in her year. Cindy was shorter than Alice and had her blond hair cut short in a bob and a rather pointed face.

"Hey, Lil. How was your summer?" asked Alice.

"Good, how about you?"

"Fine. You want to play Exploding Snap with us?"

Lily hesitated, not really wanting to leave Severus alone. The Marauders were on the train too and if they happened to see him asleep . . .

"Who's that?" Cindy asked, peering into the compartment. She wrinkled her nose when she saw who it was. "Snape? What's he doing in here?"

"Sleeping," Lily answered shortly. She walked out of the compartment and quickly cast a locking charm on the door, so no one could get in and bother Severus.

"How can you stand to be around him, Lily?" Cindy asked. "He's a slimy snake."

Lily glared at her. "You wouldn't understand, Graves. Because all you see is a Slytherin badge and not what's beneath it."

"What's that supposed to mean?" squealed the other girl. "Evans, you haven't been like . . .doing anything with Snape, have you?"

Alice hushed her and they continued down two compartments to where the girls had set up the card game and also had bought butterbeers and pumpkin pasties from the trolley.

Alice quickly shut the door and went to sit down at the little table, which was a piece of wood that folded up when you weren't using it. "Cindy, you should watch your mouth," she scolded. "You wouldn't want to start any rumors."

The other girl giggled and Lily scowled at her. "But Alice, could you imagine . . . kissing Snape? I've heard he knows scores of Dark curses, that's why he so pasty and greasy, from casting dark magic."

"Don't be an idiot, Cindy," Lily snapped. "Severus is no more a Dark wizard than I am. And he's not greasy, he just needs a haircut. He's brilliant and sweet and I'd . . .I'd kiss him if he asked me to!" she blurted before she could think better of it.

Both girls gasped.

"Lily, you really would?" Alice repeated, her eyes wide.

"Yes!"

"But why kiss a Slytherin when you could kiss James Potter?" Cindy asked, sighed dreamily. "I hear he has a thing for you, Evans. And he's totally hot."

Lily sniffed. "He's also a totally arrogant toerag, and I'm not becoming one of his string. You can if you want though, Cindy. Though I honestly don't know why you'd want to. He only cares about playing pranks and he's full of himself."

"But Lily, he's so dreamy! His eyes, and his face . . .ooh! I'd let him kiss me till I passed out. Or his friend Sirius. There's another knockout. If I could ever get them to notice me."

"Fall at their feet and promise to worship them," Lily said sarcastically. "They'll notice you for sure then. They like girls who are in need of rescuing, so pretend you turned your ankle or something."

"Really? I'll have to try that," the other laughed.

Lily rolled her eyes. "I was kidding, Graves. They only do that stuff in Jane Austen novels."

"Who's that?"

"Muggle author. Wrote Victorian romance novels." Potter's a shallow, immature, spoiled brat. But if you like that kind of bloke . . .Severus is worth ten of him, only you'll never see it. She bit back a sigh. Sometimes it was a major pain in the arse, being so intuitive. It was a side-effect of her Sight, this odd knowing about another's inner character. But she never disregarded it. Then she sat down next to Alice and said, "Okay, who's dealing?"

* * * * * *

Severus woke up, feeling marginally better for his nap, only to find the compartment empty. He moved stiffly, wincing as he sat up. The nap had done some good, he didn't feel like a walking zombie, but it had also given his bruises and welts time to stiffen and now they ached like ten thousand hells.

But his first thought wasn't of himself, it was of Lily. Where was she?

He glanced at his watch, discovering it was three hours later, and the train was almost pulling into the Hogwarts station. He knew she was still here, there was her Charms text on the seat next to her trunk. Maybe she had gone to use the bathroom.

Just then the door to the compartment opened and Lily stepped in. "Bye, Alice! Bye, Cindy! See you at the feast." She shut the door and only then did she notice he was awake. "Hi, Sev."

"Hey. Where were you?"

"Playing Exploding Snap with Alice and Cindy. Looks like that nap did you good."

He nodded, flicking his hair out of his eyes. "I guess. Are we going to meet in the library later on tonight?"

"Yes. Behind the row of Ancient Runes books, same as always." She bent to put her Charms text back in her trunk and slip on her black robes with the red and gold lion of Gryffindor.

He gazed at the crest as if seeing it for the first time, wishing fiercely that she had been Sorted anywhere but there. Malfoy's words to him at the end of term rose to mock him. Gryffindor is our enemy, Snape. Get that through your thick Yorkshire skull. She's a Mudblood, now forget her!

"Sev? Better get into robes," Lily reminded gently.

"Huh? Oh, right." He turned to tug his robes from his trunk, shrugging into them. She's not my enemy, Malfoy. And she never will be. She's my best friend and . . .maybe even my girlfriend someday, if she ever would have me, worthless thing that I am. He straightened, turning around to look at Lily.

"What?" he asked, for she wore an exasperated look on her face.

"Come here. Your tie's crooked, Sev." She brushed his hands away and fixed his tie and straightened his robes. "There! Much better."

He rolled his eyes, he hated being fussed over. But he didn't mind Lily's hands on his robes, he discovered, flushing. He looked down to hide his embarrassment, and then the train pulled into the station.

Lily turned to get her things, and suddenly Alice and Cindy were knocking on the door, calling for Lily to hurry up and find a carriage with them.

"Just a minute!" she muttered. "Sev, are you all set?"

"Almost. Go ahead, I'll be along eventually," he waved her away. "Library, seven o'clock, all right?"

Lily nodded, then followed her friends out the door.

Severus glanced about furtively before pulling a flask from his trunk and downing the contents. He sighed in relief as the potion started to work. The pain reliever would enable him to get through the Sorting and the feast, until he could gain the sanctuary of his room and apply some salve. He thanked Merlin that Eileen had taught him to make the Rapid Healing Salve that summer, he had a feeling he was going to need it.

He tucked the empty vial back with the other ones in the bottom of his trunk and then shut it, waving his wand over it to send it hovering behind him, and then he stepped off the train and headed for the horseless carriages waiting at the depot for the older students. He hoped this year would go better than his first one had.

* * * * *

Two weeks later:

"What do you mean, I need another friend, Lily?" Severus demanded, standing with his arms crossed, his dark eyes flashing daggers at the girl he had once thought was his best friend. They were down by the lake, it was a mild night for September in the Highlands, and at first he had been happy to see her, as always. Until she had suggested that he find another friend besides her.

"Sev, don't be mad . . .I don't mean that I don't want to be your friend," Lily began awkwardly, her hands twisting on her gray school skirt.

"Then what do you mean?" he asked , a hurt tone creeping into his voice despite all his attempts to stifle it. "You want to go and hang around with your Gryffindor friends, fine! Just say so! I can take a hint."

"Severus, it's not like that! You're not listening. I just think you need someone else besides me to be friends with. A boy, somebody you could, uh . . .talk to about guy stuff and . . .you know . . ."

"Oh, I get it! You think I'm some kind of reject who can't make friends, is that it?" he cried, feeling himself go red with humiliation.

"No! Sev, please, you're taking this all wrong . . ."

"It's okay, Lily! I get it! You want me to leave you alone, you had enough of being with the slimy greaseball Slytherin, but you're too nice to say it to my face so you want me to find somebody else to be friends with so you don't feel guilty when you go back to your bloody Gryffindors. No explanation needed."

He spun about, so furious and hurt he felt as if he was going to explode. He felt as if someone had just ripped open his chest with a dull knife. You should have known this wouldn't last, Snape. Nothing good ever does, you know that. But he had been so sure that Lily would never turn on him, that despite all the rumors and disapproval from both their Housemates, she would remain faithful to her promise.

Angry tears stung his eyes and he stalked away, his hands clenched into fists in his robes, ignoring the girl's cries to stop and listen.

"Severus! Don't leave! I'm still your friend, you stubborn ass!"

He walked faster, trying to outrun the little voice in his head that was telling him to turn around and go back, that perhaps she hadn't meant what she said and that she was still willing to be friends with the Slytherin outcast.

He was so angry he didn't even notice where his feet were taking him, down the path past Hagrid's cottage towards the Forbidden Forest. He didn't want to enter the wood, just find a place where he could be alone, where he could mourn the sudden death of his friendship with Lily Evans.

"Oww!"

Severus jerked his head up at the sudden cry of pain. Where had that come from?

"Say it, you little mama's boy!" came a harsh voice. "Say I'm nothing but a slimy viper and I deserve to be stepped on."

There came the sound of a hand striking flesh, and another pained cry. Severus flinched instinctively, the sound brought back memories of Tobias.

"You gonna say it, you sniveling worm? Or would you like to stay here all night, tied to this tree, in your pants, Blackie, while the bugs and the manticores come and nibble you for a midnight snack?"

"No! Please! Let me go!"

Severus stalked quickly off the path and towards a stand of sycamores to the right of it, where the voices were coming from. His wand was clutched in his hand.

"You say it first, Mr. High and Mighty I'm Better Than Everyone Else Noble House of Black! Say it, you miserable coward!"

Severus froze upon hearing that statement, thinking it was Sirius in trouble. But then he recalled there was more than one Black at school now, and that one had been Sorted into Slytherin a mere two weeks past. The younger Black was not at all like his older brother, he was quiet, bookish, and tended to keep to himself. Good-looking, but unlike his brother, he did not seem to be aware of it, and when the girls in his House attempted to talk to him, he blushed and walked away. They thought it meant he was too good to associate with them, but Severus knew it was not condescension but shyness, because he had the same problem talking to any girl save Lily, and rather than stammering like an idiot, he said nothing.

Only now it seemed he had run into trouble and Severus was furious and itching to release some of his temper on a deserving target. He crept up on cat's feet and saw a much bigger boy with Gryffindor colors pointing a wand at the smaller first year, who was tied to a tree with white ropes, stripped of all his clothes save a pair of silken underpants, blood flowing from his nose, his hazel eyes filled with terror. There were welts on his chest and legs, and as Severus watched, the older boy cast another Stinging Hex at Regulus, making him jump and cry out.

Severus recognized the bigger boy, his name was Gordon, a third year who played Beater for Gryffindor, a Muggleborn and a classic bully. Normally, he would have hesitated to challenge an older student, but his temper was up and suddenly he was not minded to stand around and watch another Slytherin get pulverized.

He slipped from the cover of the trees and pointed his wand at the Beater, putting a finger to his lips so Regulus wouldn't warn the other inadvertently of Severus's presence. Then he hissed the words, "Everte Statum!"

Gordon was blown backwards through the air, fetching up against a nearby oak tree. Dazed, the Beater groaned and sat up, rubbing his head in puzzlement.

Until Severus stalked from the trees, wand pointed at Gordon's head, and said in a soft deadly voice, "Why don't you pick on someone who can fight back, you miserable bugger? Or can't you handle yourself in real fight?"

"Huh? Where'd you come from?" Gordon muttered blearily. He groped for his wand which had been knocked from his hand by the force of Severus's spell, which was a dueling charm he had learned from studying a book about Defense Against the Darks last week in the library with Lily.

Severus saw and cast a Leglock jinx, preventing Gordon from reaching it. Then he marched up to the gaping Gryffindor and slammed his fist into the other's face. Gordon howled. "There! How does it feel, to be helpless while somebody beats the blazes out of you?" Snape growled. "Do you like it, you bloody bastard? Do you?"

"You'll pay, you damn snake . . .!" gasped the other.

Severus sneered at him. "In your dreams." Then he spoke another spell that made the other's clothes transparent, since he didn't know the one to banish clothes completely.

"My, you've got froggy pants, Gordon! Your mummy buy those?" mocked Severus, snickering.

"What!" yelped the other boy, frantically trying to cover himself. "How do you know that?"

"Magic."

Severus turned around, smothering a laugh.

"You all right, Black?"

Regulus stared at his rescuer, not answering for a moment. "My nose . . .I think it's broken."

"Hold on, let me untie you, then I'll see," Severus spoke quietly, he'd had more than his share of broken noses, he would know in an instant if Regulus's nose was indeed broken. He pointed his wand again, and said, "Finite Incantatem!"

The ropes holding Regulus to the tree slithered away, freeing the boy, who immediately went to his knees, his hands covering his face.

Severus tugged off his robe, draping it around the other's small shoulders. Then he knelt before the younger wizard. "Black, I need to take a look at your nose, okay? So take your hands away."

A muffled whimper followed that order.

Severus sighed. "Black, come on. I'm not going to hurt you. Let me see."

"N-no. You'll laugh at me for being a . . .crybaby. Like Sirius."

"I'm not your brother. Do I look like I'm laughing, huh?"

One hazel eye peered at him from between two fingers.

Severus remained still, looking right at the other boy calmly.

Slowly, Regulus took his hands away, and said, sniffling, "M'sorry. It hurts."

"Of course it does. Now hush." Severus ordered, pulling a handkerchief from another pocket and holding it to the abused nose. He gently felt along the bridge of the nose, pressing lightly.

Regulus whimpered. "Ouch!"

"Keep still. It's not broken, just bruised."

"How do you know that?"

"Experience." Severus said shortly. He took the handkerchief and tore it in half, then rolled the halves into two slender cylinders. "Okay, I need you to lean your head back."

"Why? What are you doing?"

"Stopping you from bleeding all over my robe. Come on, that's right." Severus tilted the other's head back. "Now stay still." He quickly inserted the two pieces of cloth into Regulus's nostrils.

"Hey!"

"Relax. I know it feels weird, but it'll stop the bleeding. Trust me."

Hazel eyes met obsidian. "Your name's Snape, right?"

"Yes. Severus Snape. You hurt anywhere else? I've got some Rapid Heal Salve in my bag."

Regulus shivered, it was starting to grow chilly. "Just where he cast the . . .the Stinging Hex," he said, sounding odd because of the noseplugs.

Severus turned to fetch his bag, which he had left a few feet away before coming out to confront Gordon, who was squirming and cursing in the grass. He quickly grabbed the salve and returned to Regulus. "Stand up."

The younger boy obeyed, blushing.

Severus simply rubbed the salve on the welts, and the Slyhterin sighed in relief as the magical salve began to heal them almost immediately. "Better?"

"Yes. Th-thanks."

"For what?"

"For helping me," Regulus said, surprised.

"Oh. You didn't think I'd just stand there and watch that bag of dragon turds beat you up, did you? You're a Slytherin and we stick together. How long has he been doing that to you, anyhow?"

Regulus frowned. "Since . . .I got here."

"Why didn't you tell someone? One of us or your brother?"

Regulus looked down at his feet. "Sirius . . .thinks I'm a sissy. And Gordon's a Gryffindor. He'd just tell me to suck up and deal with it, probably."

Severus scowled. "Some family you got there, Black. Your own brother won't protect you against a piece of crap." He shook his head in disgust, then finished applying the salve and tucked it away. "Why not? 'Cause you're a Slytherin?"

"My whole family's been Slytherin. Except Sirius. Mother says he's a disgrace and a rebel. And Sirius . . .he's glad he's not like me. He says I've got brains but no guts."

"Idiot! If anyone hurt my little brother, I'd kick his arse to hell and back."

"You would?"

"Damn straight." Severus helped the smaller boy to his feet. "Tie that, Black. Don't want to give a girl heart failure, do you?"

"Huh? Oh!" Regulus quickly tied Snape's robe closed, reddening furiously.

Severus smirked. "C'mon, Black. Let's get back to the castle, it's getting late."

"Sure, Snape. But what about him?"

Severus eyed Gordon. "The spell will wear off . . .in a few hours. Hopefully before some hungry manticore comes out looking for a snack," he added, and Gordon began pleading with him to take the spell off.

"Please, please! You can't leave me here!"

"Quit whining, you big baby! I'll take the spell off . . .when you've learned your lesson." Severus finished. "Next time pick on somebody your own size."

He turned and walked away, and Regulus followed.

"Uh, Snape?"

"What?"

"You can call me Reg. All my friends do," stammered the youngest Black. Or they would if I had any friends here.

Severus was quiet for a moment. Then he said, "And you can call me Sev." Like my best friend used to. He gave the other boy a tentative smile.

"How long do I have to keep these things in my nose?"

"Till we get back to the dungeons and I can see if the bleeding's stopped."

"Oh, okay. I owe you one."

"No. Like I said, Slytherins stick together."

Regulus shook his head firmly. "I know, but . . .it's a matter of honor. And someday I'll return the favor."

"A matter of honor? What are you, a lord, Reg?"

Regulus chuckled softly. "My mum thinks so. She says being a Black is nearly like being royalty."

"Oh, Merlin help me!" Severus muttered. "Listen, my lord, you don't owe me anything. I hate bullies, I'd have helped you no matter what. Now drop it."

"All right, Sev," agreed Regulus, not wanting to make his new friend angry at him. But he knew he would not forget. A debt of honor was a debt of honor and someday he would return the favor, as was only proper.

They had just emerged from the trees and headed towards the lake so Regulus could wash off some of the blood on his face when Lily ran over to them. Her face was streaked with tears and Severus felt like someone had just sucker punched him in the jaw. Surely she wasn't crying over him?

"Severus! Please let me explain!"

"All right, Evans. Talk."

"I didn't mean to insult you before. I still want you as my friend. I always will, but I just thought . . .it'd be good if you could have someone else besides me, like I have Alice and you and Cindy . . .well, Cindy's not as good a friend as Alice, but anyway . . .I'm sorry if it didn't come out that way . . .You understand, don't you?"

She stared at him, her huge evergreen eyes filled with tears and all his earlier anger vanished. She still liked him. He felt as if an immense weight had been lifted off of his chest. He reached up a hand and gently wiped a tear away. "Yes, Lily. I do now. I'm sorry, I overreacted. When you said . . .I thought . . .ah, hell . . .you know what I mean, right?"

Lily smiled. "Always, Sev." Then she turned and looked at Regulus. "Aren't you going to introduce me, Severus?"

"What? Oh, Lily, this is Regulus Black. Reg, Lily Evans. We're neighbors back home and she's my other friend."

"Nice to meet you, Lily," Regulus said, reaching out a hand.

Lily took it, then gasped. "Oh God! What happened to your face?"

"Uh . . ."

"An arsehole," Severus supplied.

"Gryffindor?" Lily groaned.

Severus nodded. "Gordon. Your Beater. But he won't do it again, if he's smart, which I doubt."

"What did you do to him, Sev?"

Severus told her and to Regulus' surprise, she did not stick up for her Housemate. "Good! He could use a good object lesson! Come here, Regulus. You're all over blood. Let's wash it off." She promptly dragged Regulus over to the lake, and dipped a handkerchief into the water and washed his face over his protests.

Severus laughed softly. "Don't fight her, mate. You'll lose. She does whatever she wants, and she loves to fix people."

"Look who's talking, Severus Snape." Lily snorted. "That's your handiwork." She indicated Regulus's nose.

"So? What was I supposed to do, let him bleed to death?"

Lily smirked knowingly. "Never mind." She finished washing the blood off Regulus's face. "There! Much better."

"Thanks," said the other shyly.

"You're welcome." Lily smiled. "You're Sirius's brother, aren't you?"

"Don't hold it against him," Severus interjected.

"I won't." Lily laughed.

Regulus blinked. "Y'mean, you don't like my brother? But all the girls think he's wonderful."

"Not me. He and Potter are nothing but spoiled bullies in my opinion. I wouldn't go out with either of them if they were last men on earth, no matter how good-looking they are." Lily declared.

Regulus grinned. "Merlin! Finally a girl who doesn't think my brother is the best thing since wizard crackers." He eyed Severus and said quietly, "Better hang on to this one, Sev."

Severus flushed, then said, "I intend to."

Together, the three returned to the castle, and just before they reached the entrance, Lily turned to the two boys and bid them goodnight. "I'll see you tomorrow in potions, Sev. Good night." Then, before she lost all her nerve, she leaned in and kissed him, very lightly, on the lips.

Severus froze, astonished.

Lily turned and raced into the castle before he could say anything, her face nearly as red as her hair, but she was grinning, and she skipped all the way up to Gryffindor Tower.

Regulus whistled. "Like I said, better hang on to that one."

Severus blinked. Then he found himself grinning like an idiot. "Believe me, Reg, I will. I'm not stupid." He clapped his new friend on the shoulder. "Move it, kid. Before we're caught out after curfew."

The two scurried down to the dungeons, slipping inside the portrait hole just as the clock in the entrance hall struck nine-thirty.

That night, Severus went to bed and dreamed of Lily and him kissing down by the lake, and he was telling her, "Nothing will ever keep us apart, not my House or yours, or your parents, nothing. I will love you always, Lily Evans."

And she kissed him back and whispered, "I love you too, Sev. And I will always be there for you."

In Gryffindor Tower, Lily shared the same dream, and when she woke in the morning she was still smiling and a part of her wondered if what she had dreamed was prophetic. Then she giggled behind her hand, thinking about what Alice would say if she knew Lily had actually kissed a boy. On the lips. I think I'm the first, by Merlin's hat! And it was wonderful.

She found it difficult to concentrate during the rest of the morning.

Severus had similar problems, even in potions, which he normally excelled.

That lesson, he was not paired with Lily, and he kept recalling the way her eyes had glowed just before she had left him last night, and the dream kept intruding as well, so that he nearly messed up his potion.

"Hey, Snape, watch how you're stirring!" exclaimed Narcissa. "It's clockwise, not counterclockwise, remember?"

"Hmm?" He looked down at the stirrer in his hand. "Oh. Of course."

She eyed him. "Are you sick, Snape? Because I've never seen you like this before."

He shook his head, then put the stirrer in the cauldron and began to stir it clockwise, a faint smile on his face.

Narcissa shook her head. If she didn't know better, she would think Snape was mooning over a girl. But what girl would ever give skinny, sarcastic, crooked-nosed Severus Snape the time of day?

There, see? The romance, as I promised! How did you like Regulus? And in case you didn't know, Alice is eventually going to be Alice Longbottom, Neville's mother. I never knew what her maiden name was, so I gave her one of my choosing. That first kiss was rather tame, I know, but remember, they're 12.

Next: The infamous Snape's Worst Memory will be dealt with in this chapter, but be warned, it doesn't end the way you think!

Please review! I'd appreciate it!


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