Paige looked in the mirror in her dorm room, adjusting her brand new school uniform. The Slytherin emblem sat proudly upon her black sweater, and her clean white blouse and gray skirt were starched immaculately. On her feet were brand new black Mary Janes, and her favorite necklace, a simple silver chain with the letter ‘S’ dangling off of it, hung about her neck. Her father had given her that necklace many years ago, and she never took it off.
Paige Victoria Snape.
She attempted to imagine looking as elegant as that name sounded.
“Cute shoes.” A voice sounded from behind her. Paige turned around to see who it was.
Pansy was wearing a uniform much like hers, except with a blazer instead of a cardigan. She also had on pointed stiletto heels that made her look a lot older than eleven. Behind her stood a girl with long dirty blonde hair, wearing spiked heels and nothing over her white blouse.
“Paige Snape, right?” Pansy smiled. “I’m Pansy Parkinson, and this is Daphne Greengrass.” She motioned to her friend. “Sorry I didn’t introduce myself last night. I was just so beat, you know?”
Paige nodded. “Yeah, I was pretty tired too.” She cleared her throat and forced a smile. “It’s nice to meet you both. And, um, thanks for the compliment.”
“No problem.” Pansy shrugged. “You going down to breakfast?”
“Yes.” Paige nodded again.
“Great. Come with us.” Pansy said, leading the way out of the room, Daphne in tow.
Paige followed them, wondering what she was getting herself into.
For better or for worse, their first class was Potions. The better was that breakfast had been spent discussing fashion and watching Pansy fawn over Draco, who still acted like he didn’t know Paige at all, and she was ready to move onto something else. The worse was that the impression her father was about to make upon their class might well color Paige’s reputation for years to come.
Paige sat down next to her new group of friends in the middle row on the Slytherin side, smiling shyly at her father, who seemed to be watching to see if she was settling in well. She had met other new Slytherins at breakfast: Blaise Zabini, a very aloof boy, Theodore Nott, a tall, skinny boy who couldn’t take his eyes off of Daphne, and Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, two chubby students who seemed content to hang around Draco at all times. The energy of the group, with Draco and Pansy at its head, seemed to drown out the other students in the room, except for the small cluster of people gossiping about Harry Potter on the Gryffindor side.
When the clock struck the hour, Professor Snape launched into his lecture about the study of potion making. Paige settled back in her chair, having had eleven years of previous exposure to the subject. At least I know there’s one class I’m guaranteed to pass.
Her father met her eyes, pausing briefly before continuing. As long as he treats me the same as everybody else, anyway.
She looked over at Draco, who looked pretty bored but still maintained a smile for the benefit of his old family friend. When her father started in on Harry Potter, Pansy and Blaise perked up, both of them looking increasingly more interested. Paige noticed that Daphne had been leaning forward toward the professor for much of the period.
Class was over before too long, and the students slowly filtered out of the chilly dungeon. The mousy-haired girl from the sorting, Hermione, pushed gently past Paige, Harry and Ron Weasley in tow. They seemed rather eager to get to their next class and put as much distance between them and Potions as possible. As Harry passed, he murmured a quick apology to Paige for bumping into her, and she offered him a sympathetic smile before turning back to Pansy and Daphne.
“Your dad seems pretty intimidating.” Pansy said, sounding as she valued this trait in an individual. “Should be an interesting class.”
“Plus, he is so
gorgeous.” Daphne gushed, earning perplexed looks from both Paige and Pansy.
“Come on, let’s go to the ladies’ room and freshen up.” Pansy directed, and Daphne set off at her heels. Paige moved to follow them, when suddenly Draco spoke from behind her.
“Paige, wait.” He walked over to her with a smile. “Hey, fancy seeing you here.”
“Fancy that.” She smiled back, relieved that he at least remembered who she was.
“I see you’ve made friends with my girlfriend.” He motioned to Pansy.
Girlfriend? Really? How long have you even
Paige forced a smile. “Yeah.”
“That’s lucky for you. I think she’s already scared all the other girls into submission.” He laughed. “Anyway, she knows how to have a good time. Besides, if you spend plenty of time with her, that means we’ll get to see more of each other, you know?”
She nodded. “Yeah, definitely.” She tried not to stare into his eyes. “She and Daphne seem… really nice.”
“Yeah, I suppose.” He checked his watch. “Well, I’d better get to Charms. These idiots won’t know where they’re headed unless I lead them straight to it.” He gestured to the boys behind him. “Guess I’ll be seeing you around, hmm?”
Paige laughed softly. There’s that Malfoy humor.
“Yeah, I guess so.” She replied, watching him go. She then headed to the bathroom, hurrying to powder her nose and trying to forget that their first conversation at Hogwarts had been about Draco’s perfect, popular new girlfriend.
The days passed, and Paige settled into her routine at last. Her professors all seemed to like her, and the comments scrawled in the margins of her assignments alluded to the fact that she conformed to the high standard they had set for her. She spent most of her time either hanging out with her crowd of Slytherin friends or helping her father down in the dungeons with Potions-related tasks, which mostly involved her fetching fresh ingredients from Professor Sprout or transporting healing potions to Madam Pomfrey in the infirmary.
It was the morning of October 31. She had just delivered a fresh batch of homemade Skele-Gro to the hospital wing when she decided to stop by the Owlery. She didn’t visit often, since most everyone she needed to converse with already resided at Hogwarts, but she liked to stop in once in a while and just look at the many varieties of owl used by the students and faculty. On this particular day, though, she found a note, written in neat script, which was addressed to her.
You are cordially invited to the 5th Annual Saints and Sinners Party
9:00 PM, Slytherin Common Room
Paige stared down at the note. The only parties she had ever been invited to were the elaborate social galas held at Malfoy Manor, and she spent most of those hiding upstairs with Draco and seeing how many times they could splash someone with champagne from above before they were scolded by Mrs. Malfoy. In her mind, she turned back to the words Draco had used to describe Pansy a few weeks ago: “She knows how to have a good time.” Well, maybe these sort of events are just part of running with a crowd like that.
She folded the piece of parchment up and stuck it in her bag, making a mental note to ask Pansy what she knew about the party later.
Unfortunately, Pansy was too busy fawning over Draco in Potions, and she remained fairly inaccessible for much of the day. Paige headed straight for her as soon as she entered the Great Hall for dinner, determined to get some answers before it was too late.
Just then, the doors burst open, and Professor Quirrell came dashing in, looking ready to fall over.
He said breathlessly. “In the dungeon.”
He inhaled and exhaled deeply. “Thought you ought to know.”
He collapsed on the floor in a dead faint.
The hall immediately erupted into chaos. Students ran between tables, trying to locate their friends, as professors and staff members struggled to count the students seated at each house table. Finally, Professor Dumbledore broke the commotion with a booming voice. “SILENCE!”
Everyone stopped. Satisfied, the Headmaster continued.
“Thank you. Now, Prefects, please lead your students back to their respective houses – except Slytherin. I daresay you all would be safer if you remained here. Professors, please follow me to the dungeons.”
The faculty headed off after Dumbledore, taking special care not to step on Professor Quirrell as they exited the room. Paige realized suddenly that her father was not among them, but it was too late to speculate as to where he had gone to now. Resigned, she sat down across from Pansy, who was perched in Draco’s lap, and Daphne.
“Pansy.” She cleared her throat, digging the note out of her bag and laying it flat on the table. “Did you get one of these?”
Pansy glanced down at the piece of parchment. “Of course.” She said dismissively.
“D’you know what it is?” Paige asked, embarrassed at her naïveté.
“Apparently it’s this big party the Slytherin Quidditch Team throws every year to celebrate the kickoff of a new Quidditch season.” Daphne cut in, eager to be a part of the gossip. “The girls all go dressed as angels, because we’re the saints, and the boys wear all black, like sinners. They bring in a big thing of Firewhiskey and everyone dances all night.”
“It’s just an excuse for the big men on campus to hook up with the prettiest girls.” Pansy drawled. “Anyway, it means we get to get dressed up and drink, so I’m not complaining.”
Paige nodded, taking all of this in and wondering why her father let it happen every year.
When the troll had been dispatched – by none other than Harry Potter and friends, big surprise – the Slytherins were allowed back into their common room. The girls immediately ran upstairs, eager to prepare for the party. Paige was dismayed to note that Pansy and Daphne had chosen sleek white dresses weeks ago, as if they had been expecting an invitation from the start. She hunted through her own clothes, finally coming up with an white spaghetti-strap sundress from a Sunday brunch she’d attended last summer at the Malfoys’ home. She jazzed it up with a decorative black belt and a pair of white pumps she borrowed from Daphne, and then did her hair and makeup for the event. When the clock struck nine, the girls headed downstairs as a group to see what the team had put together.
Paige clung to the wall and watched the boys and girls stumble drunkenly back and forth across the common room, wondering how in the world the loud, riotous music didn’t wake the entire castle. She noted Draco and Pansy dancing rather provocatively in a corner and was in the midst of trying not to vomit when Daphne sidled up next to her, offering her a drink.
“These Quidditch players are fit
, huh?” The blonde said a bit too loudly into her ear.
Paige nodded, watching a tall, dark-haired boy weave about the room, handing mugs full of Firewhiskey off to girls who looked like they should have stopped drinking long ago. She heard another voice close to her, a male this time.
“Want to dance?” The boy also had dark hair, but was a bit shorter, and looked only about a year or two older than she was. Behind him, Daphne winked suggestively at her.
“Sure.” Paige shrugged, joining the boy on the dance floor. To her surprise, he seemed more interested in talking than getting too close for comfort. “I’m Adrian Pucey.” He said.
“I know who you are.” Adrian interrupted her. “I had heard rumors that Snape’s kid was coming to Hogwarts, but I never dreamed you’d be so pretty.” He said with a smile.
“Thanks.” Paige said uncomfortably. “So, um, are you on the team?”
He nodded. “Chaser.” He gestured to the large boy passing out drinks. “That’s Marcus Flint. He’s a sixth year and the team captain. These parties were his idea.” Paige wanted nothing to do with the person responsible for making her parade around in an old brunch outfit, but Adrian promptly called his friend over.
“Hi.” Flint said, grinning and replacing her half-empty drink with a full one. “You’re cute
“Excuse me.” Paige handed the drink back to him, slipping out past a confused-looking Daphne and back up to her room. She was being suffocated by all the attention, and she certainly hadn’t been prepared to be greeted like the Slytherin version of Harry Potter. All she wanted now was to change into her pajamas, close the curtains around her bed, and study for her Charms test.
Draco watched her leave from his place in the corner, just as he had been watching all night.
Luckily for Paige, schoolwork picked up quickly after the party, and the girls had less time to gossip because of the hours they now spent writing Herbology essays, brewing potions, and practicing for Transfiguration. After midterm exams, it was time for the holiday break.
Paige found herself to be one of few who were staying at Hogwarts over Christmas. Along with Pansy, Daphne, and every other up-and-coming member of the Slytherin elite, Paige and her father had both secured invitations to the Malfoys’ annual Christmas party. Paige usually enjoyed picking out an outfit and getting all dolled up for the event each year, but she had difficulty mustering much enthusiasm when she pictured herself watching Pansy and Draco snog in a corner while she downed hors d’oeuvres. As a result, Paige had convinced her father that she was desperate to get a jump on her spring Potions assignments and had written Narcissa Malfoy to tell her that she was regrettably too busy to attend this year. Today, she had isolated herself by the lake, thus ensuring that she would be far away when the Hogwarts Express departed for King’s Cross. She was sitting up against a tree and thinking about how she would at least outperform Pansy in the realm of potion making in the spring when she was interrupted by Marcus Flint, wearing his Slytherin Quidditch uniform.
“It’s Paige, isn’t it?” The boy shifted uncomfortably.
“Yes.” She said curtly, folding her hands in her lap.
“Listen, I’ve been looking for you ever since Sinners and Saints.” He sighed. “I’m really sorry about the way I treated you. I was a little drunk, I guess, and I turned into kind of a jerk.”
His eyes looked sincere, and she felt a little sorry for him. “It’s okay.” She replied quietly.
“Yeah, I’m sorry, too.” Paige looked up to see Adrian Pucey walking toward them from the direction of the pitch, carrying a Quaffle under his arm. “I didn’t mean to overwhelm you.”
Paige nodded. “I know. It’s really all right.” She stood up. “I’ve got to go, though, so-“
“Really?” Marcus asked. “I mean-what are you in such a hurry for?”
“I-I don’t know.” Paige ground her foot into the dirt, looking down.
“Want to come play with us?” Adrian grinned, tossing the Quaffle up and catching it deftly.
Paige considered this prospect carefully. She had certainly seen Quidditch played before, but she had never been up close and personal with the game, since her father had never allowed her to join Draco and his friends when they played. This chance might not come again.
“Sure.” She nodded, smiling slightly.
The return of the Hogwarts Express found Paige much happier than when it had left her. She had enjoyed flying around and tossing the Quaffle back and forth with Marcus and Adrian, and it had been nice to have Christmas dinner with people close to her own age instead of the Malfoys’ associates or Hogwarts faculty. The two boys had turned out to be much more low-key when not surrounded by Quidditch fans, and their conversations with Paige didn’t revolve around fashion or how handsome Draco looked in his school uniform.
However, the boys took full advantage of their newfound friendship when it came to Potions. Neither of them was particularly adept at the subject, and in return for entertaining her over the holidays, Paige agreed to spend some time answering their questions as best she could. Thus, this evening found them hovering over a copy of Advanced Potion-Making
, finishing the process of working through a Draught of Living Death so Marcus could re-do his for Professor Snape.
Marcus packed up his ingredients, thanking Paige and hurrying off to finish his History of Magic essay. Adrian tossed his things in his bag and was about to follow him when he paused and looked back at Paige.
“Are you heading back to the common room too?” He asked, offering a polite smile.
“No, thanks.” Paige smiled back. “I need to do some research for Herbology. You go on.”
He left, and she wandered into the stacks of books, her fingers delicately grazing the spines of a few particularly pretty specimens as she admired the library’s vast collection. She wondered how long she could stay here doing homework and avoid listening to Pansy and Daphne detail how grand
the Malfoys’ holiday event had been. Suddenly, her thoughts were interrupted by a small, shy voice behind her.
“Excuse me.” She turned to find herself facing none other than Harry Potter.
“Were you helping them with Potions over there?” He asked.
Paige resisted the urge to sigh heavily and signal her annoyance. She knew eventually some stranger would come to her requesting Potions assistance, although it had been her vain hope that news of her talents would stay rumored rather than confirmed so that she wouldn’t be pressured into running a full-size tutoring operation. Still, she had borne witness to this boy’s incompetence in the Potions classroom, and her father seemed to reserve his most hateful remarks for Potter alone.
“Okay, I’ll help you.” She said finally. “But you can’t tell anyone, okay? I-I don’t have much time for this sort of thing.”
“Believe me, I wouldn’t ask unless I was desperate.” He replied, surprising her a bit with his bluntness.
They sat back down at the table she had held before and worked through their current Potions assignment, a concoction to remove boils. By the time they were finished, Harry said that he felt capable of mixing up a batch of his own to satisfy Professor Snape’s homework assignment. He stood up, expressing his gratitude, pushing his chair in and turning to follow his friends out of the library.
“By the way, I’m Harry Potter.” He paused, looking back at her.
“Nice to meet you.” Paige tried not to roll her eyes. She knew he was just being polite, but really, didn’t the whole world know who he was already?
“I didn’t catch your name.” He added. “I mean, I’ve seen you in class, but I don’t really remember who you are.”
“Oh. I’m Paige Snape.” She offered nonchalantly.
The color drained visibly from his face. “Erm, all right then. Good night.” He said awkwardly, exiting the library quickly with Hermione and Ron in tow.
Pansy’s party recap suddenly seemed quite preferable to the deafening silence of the vast library.
Harry didn’t speak to Paige for the rest of the year, although she did catch him attempting to take cues from her procedures during Potions class more than once. Still, his obvious dislike of her didn’t faze her too greatly, considering that she had Pansy and Daphne around most of the time and could turn to Marcus and Adrian instead if she wanted to escape from a world dominated by superfluous spending and inter-family politics. She continued to perform admirably in her courses, and she had noticed other professors making comments to her father and smiling when she entered the Great Hall at mealtime or passed them in the corridor. In fact, he pulled her aside after Potions one day and presented her with an expensive-looking ingredient bag as a reward for working so hard all year, remarking that he was proud of her for not “obsessing about boys” like many of her fellow female students and focusing on her studies instead. The bag was endowed with all manner of protective coatings and spells, just in case a dangerous solution came uncorked and seeped through to other ingredients – or worse, her skin. Though it might seem like an unorthodox gift, Paige treasured it, knowing that her father did not often bestow affection upon her in material form. Besides, it would certainly come in handy if she ever became as accomplished as he was in the field of potion making.
Paige was now seated at breakfast, eating idly as the other students consumed their last tastes of Hogwarts’ elaborate spread before loading themselves and their possessions back on the train for the trip back to London. She glanced up as the sound of excited chattering emanated from the dungeon stairwell. A moment later, Pansy and Daphne sat down in front of her, Blaise, Draco, Crabbe, Goyle and Theo trailing behind them.
“So, excited for summer?” Pansy asked with a smile.
Before she could answer, Daphne interrupted. “You don’t have to stay here all summer, do you?”
“No.” Paige shook her head. Well, that was half true. Her father normally forced her to remain with him at Hogwarts when she wasn’t over at the Malfoys’ during the summer holidays, but now that she was old enough to study magic, he had decided that she could be trusted by herself at home. News of this happy turn of events had been imparted to her along with the new bag. “Believe it or not, we actually have a house outside of the dungeons.”
“Well, you should come over to my place sometime. Daphne and I have had girls’ days since we were eight, haven’t we?” Pansy grinned. “We’ve done just about every beauty treatment in the book.”
Daphne smiled as well. “You know, just to put healthy amounts of distance between us and Millicent Bulstrode.” She added wickedly.
Paige forced a smile, looking down the table at the lonely girl in question. Funny
, she thought, how you can sleep, eat and take all your classes with the same person and never even speak to them.
She chewed on a nail, earning a disdainful look from Pansy. It’s okay, though. If she wanted to talk to me, she would.
She thought, attempting to console her guilty conscience.
“Anyway, we’ve got to run. Have to get good seats or else we’ll be stuck sharing our compartment with Hufflepuffs.” Pansy said loftily, leaving her barely-touched breakfast behind and scurrying off with Daphne at her heels. “Come on, boys!” Daphne ordered as she exited.
Most of the boys followed her command, but Draco lingered, taking the now unoccupied seat across from Paige. “Mum missed you at Christmas. You should come over this summer.” He suggested, watching her pick at an orange segment.
“Yeah?” Paige looked up, smiling at him.
“Sure. Pansy’s too scared to let me take her out on my broomstick. No fun flying alone. Besides, Mum doesn’t like shopping with her because she always feels like it’s a competition. You would probably be a welcome change.” He laughed softly.
“Sounds like a good time.” Paige nodded. “Perhaps I will.”
“Good.” He got up, taking a shiny green apple from the fruit centerpiece. “I’m glad we’re friends.”
“Me, too.” She agreed, and their eyes met for a few seconds too long before he finally turned to go. As she watched him leave, she stuck the orange segment in her mouth, liking how he looked without Pansy hanging off his arm. Things will change next year,
She said to herself resolutely. I’m going to spend more time with him. She can’t stop me. We were friends first, anyway.
Little did she know that Draco Malfoy had some intentions of his own.
Author's Note: Bolded lines taken from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (US Hardback Edition), pg. 172, written by J. K. Rowling.