A/N: The following piece is based on the popular Snape
theory that he is the mystery boy whom Bertha Jorkins caught Florence
kissing. Also, please note that this story takes within the confines of an
alternate “Snapeverse” than that established in my other work, “Severus: A
Portrait of the Potions Master as a Young Man.”
* * * * *
The Solitary Slytherin
By Daphne Dunham
He’d told the headmaster he didn’t want to do this. After
all, he’d hated the boy’s father, and he hated the boy every bit as much. But
it wasn’t just that Severus Snape didn’t want to teach Harry Potter Occlumency;
it was that he didn’t feel he had the emotional stamina to withstand such a
task. He knew his limitations, and while he could confront the Dark Lord
without hesitation, there was something unnerving about facing the boy who so
greatly resembled his childhood nemesis.
“I have every confidence in you, Severus,” Dumbledore had
And reluctantly, Severus had agreed. He valued the
headmaster’s trust in him too much not to at least try. Nothing, however, had
prepared him for what he would witness within his tutee’s mind: Harry being
chased by a dog, Harry begging the Sorting Hat not to place him in Slytherin,
Harry leaning forward to kiss Cho Chang. And Harry talking to a desperate,
bedraggled-looking man huddled in a cave.
“Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half
the kids in seventh year, and he was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly
all turned out to be Death Eaters,” Sirius Black had told Harry.
As much as the Potions master was loath to admit it, Sirius
Black had been correct: Severus had prided himself on his extensive repertoire
of hexes, and he had indeed forged alliances with several Slytherins who had shared
his views – Rodolphus Lestrange and Evan Rosier, to name a few. And once again,
Sirius Black had been right: nearly all of them had become Death Eaters.
There had, of course, been another Slytherin whom Severus had befriended, the
solitary Slytherin who he’d associated with who had managed not to join the
Death Eaters. Her name had been Florence. Florence Fothergill.
Severus still remembered the first time he’d seen her. It
had been at Platform 9 ¾, waiting to board the Hogwarts Express. There had
barely been enough money to send him to school, and his parents had quarreled
over the matter the entire way to King’s Cross. Contrary to the example set by
the Malfoys, being pureblood didn’t necessarily mean that one was wealthy and
refined. In fact, quite the opposite was true at the Snapes’ shabby cottage:
Severus could scarcely remember an evening in which he hadn’t skulked off to
his tiny bedroom, book in hand, in an attempt to escape his father’s drunken
ravings and his mother’s resulting tears. Despite this, though, there were
certain similarities between families like the Snapes and families like the Malfoys.
Namely, their political beliefs were nearly identical, as Caius Snape had seen fit
to remind Severus that morning.
“Don’t go making friends with any Mudbloods,” he had
snarled. It had been the only advice he'd seen fit to give to his son, and he'd
imparted even that much grudgingly.
Much to Severus’ overwhelming relief, Persephone Snape had
been somewhat less dogmatic as she bid her son farewell. Her trademark tears
had once again surfaced, and her eyes were tired, a faded bruise – the imprint
of her husband’s latest Firewhisky-induced rampage – lingering above them.
“Be sure to owl as soon as you’re sorted, love,” she told
him as she straightened the collar of his second-hand robes.
Severus wished she wouldn’t fuss, as he found it somewhat
emasculating, and he’d scowled and brushed her hand away. Nonetheless,
Persephone had squeezed his shoulders affectionately and, casting a glance to
be sure that Caius wasn’t watching, pressed a small object into his palm. It
was a coin – a Galleon, no less.
“For the snack trolley,” she explained with a melancholic
but genuine smile.
The sacrifice of a Galleon was not a trifle in their
household, and Severus knew this probably meant his mother would have to do
without the new pair of shoes she’d needed. However, when he tried to refuse,
she had insisted that he keep it, and so he’d grinned appreciatively and tried
not to squirm so much as she gave him a final embrace. It was as Severus was
pulling away from his mother that he saw her – saw Florence, that is.
He may not have noticed her, he later thought with great
irony, if it hadn’t been for James Potter. The spectacled boy was standing on
the far end of the platform, entertaining himself most adeptly with a Quidditch
Snitch: he would set it free, watch it jolt and zig and zag away, and then
swiftly catch it again just when it was presumably out of reach. Admittedly,
the boy had excellent reflexes, but at the same time, his self-satisfied grin
revealed that he enjoyed a bit too much the amused “ooohs” and “aaahs” and
proclamations of admiration from onlookers.
Severus hated him instantly, of course. He detested James
for his arrogant swagger, for how obvious it was that he thought himself superior.
Apparently, though, he was not alone in this view, as was promptly suggested by
the remarks of a passerby whom Severus would later come to know as Florence
“Look, Bella, some people think that such tricks are
something to brag about,” she was saying to Bellatrix Black, indicating the boy
with the Snitch. She snorted and rolled her eyes with disgust. “Bloody
showoff,” she added in a disdainful hiss.
Florence hadn’t been a particularly beautiful girl – not in
the way that Lily Evans or Alice Hughes was, anyway. Her dark hair was always
gathered at the nape of her neck in a rather unsophisticated ponytail, for
example, and she had an awful tendency to gnaw on her fingernails. However, she
had things about her that were beautiful – things like the freckles that dotted
her slender nose and the long lashes the framed her hazel eyes. And what Florence
– Lorie, as she preferred to be called – lacked in good looks, she made up in
cleverness. Indeed, Severus could scarcely help but notice that she was one of
the few students whose marks rivaled his own.
This realization had occurred to him one afternoon in
Potions class as they toiled together on a boil cure potion. All had gone well
until Severus had added the porcupine quill required to complete the mixture.
There had been smoke first, and then the cauldron had bubbled over and hissed,
melting and spitting in such a fury that the students were forced to take
refuge under their desks.
“Obviously you added too much snake fang, you dolt!”
Severus snarled, as they surveyed the damage afterwards.
Florence only put her hands obstinately on her tiny hips. “No,
Severus,” she replied firmly. “The potion went wrong because you added
the porcupine quill too soon.”
Severus froze and stared at the indecipherable mess of
molten cauldron and ruined ingredients before them. His brows creased in a
combination of disbelief and displeasure, and a flush suddenly filled his
cheeks as it occurred to him that she was right: he had added the quill while
the cauldron was still on the fire. Only that could have caused such wreckage.
Severus had never forgotten the importance of the timing of adding porcupine
Nor did he forget their first kiss. It had happened behind
Greenhouse Three during their second year. Many a Hogwarts student had their
first kiss at this site – so many, in fact, that “going to the greenhouse” had
come to be widely recognized slang for such romantic activities. As it so
happened, Severus and Florence had come upon the greenhouses with quite
opposite intentions that afternoon: in a foolish bet, Rodolphus Lestrange had
dared them to get a clipping of Devil’s Snare. They had been fortunate to find
Greenhouse Three conveniently abandoned that afternoon; however, they had been
unfortunate to find that it was also rather inconveniently locked. The
excursion proved not a complete loss, though, as Greenhouse Three was famous
for more than its storage of lethal vegetation.
“Have you ever… you know… kissed a girl before?” Florence
had asked him.
Assuming that the peck on the cheek he’d award his mother on
rare occasions didn’t count, Severus had shaken his head curtly. “You?”
“Never,” she replied, stepping closer to him and looking at
His palms had been sweaty with anxiety, and he’d wiped them
unceremoniously on his robes before leaning in to brush his lips against hers.
Each time he got close enough to her, though, she dodged his advances and
giggled – not quite the reaction he’d been hoping for.
“Holy Hecate, Lorie! Will you hold still?!” he seethed. “I’m
trying to kiss you!”
“It’s your nose! You’re going to poke my eye out!” she
At her implication, a heavy flush rose in Severus’ normally
pallid cheeks. He scowled and muttered an expletive or two under his breath before
turning to stalk angrily away.
“Severus, wait,” she sighed, catching the sleeve of his
robes and halting him. “All I meant was that maybe you'd better hold still, and
I’ll kiss you instead. It might be easier.”
It was the closest thing to an apology that existed in
Florence Fothergill’s vocabulary, and so Severus promptly saw fit to
reconsider. As it so happened, she had been right: it was easier. And
not only was kissing easy, but it was also quite enjoyable – a notion validated
by a particular piece of Severus’ anatomy as well as by Florence’s breathy
response when they parted.
“So that’s what Bella’s always talking about,” she murmured.
It was then that they'd heard it: the giggle which revealed
that, contrary to the suggestion of prior evidence, they were not alone.
Indeed, around the corner of the greenhouse promptly appeared the visage of
that notorious gossip Bertha Jorkins. She was a rather dowdy girl, plump and
plain, and as she had never had the opportunity for a liaison behind the
greenhouses herself, she saw fit to spy on those who did.
“Oh, look at the ickle lovey-love birds,” Bertha smirked
between bursts of laughter. “Is he a good kisser, Lorie? Bet he slobbers all
over you like a toad.”
“Shut your gob or I’ll hex you to Hades!” seethed Severus,
his fist clenching defensively around the wand at his side.
“Hey, Lorie, how do you get all his grease off you?” Bertha continued
In all fairness, he had given her warning, and so
Severus didn’t hesitate as he squared his shoulders indignantly and, brows
creased furiously, promptly whipped his wand from his robes. “Densaugeo!”
There was a flash of light accompanied by a shriek. “You
vile beast, Severus Snape!” Bertha choked through her sobs and increasingly
cumbersome teeth. “I’ll tell!”
Naturally, Florence had been most amused by the scene. “I
think it’s a vast improvement, actually,” she’d laughed as they watched Bertha
race back to the castle, wailing and cupping her still-growing teeth in both
“We’ll probably get detention now, you know,” he said
flatly. Severus may not have been a stranger to the world of detentions, but
that didn’t mean he particularly looked forward to them. Fortunately, Florence
seemed unconcerned by the threat of punishment: she only shrugged indifferently
and slipped her hand into his.
In the end, the Devil’s Snare remained unscathed that
afternoon. Severus had substituted Flitterbloom instead, and Rodolphus, who
never was very good at Herbology, could not tell the difference. There had been
repercussions for hexing Bertha Jorkins, of course, but the headmaster had been
lenient and had taken only ten points from Slytherin. His eyes had glittered
behind his half-moon spectacles as he did even that, and Severus had the
impression that once upon a time the learned wizard before him might have done
something similar if caught in the same situation.
News of the Bertha Jorkins Affair had traveled through the
four houses of Hogwarts rather quickly, and much to Severus’ dismay, James
Potter took particular delight in indulging the rumors.
“Snogging at the greenhouses again, Snape?” the spectacled
Gryffindor sneered one afternoon as Severus and Florence made their way back
from Herbology class.
Never one not to be outspoken, Florence’s eyes had narrowed
with a distinct lack of amusement. “Sod off, Potter,” she’d retorted.
His mother had died the following year. Severus still
remembered how the head of Slytherin, Vindictus Viridian, had interrupted his
Transfiguration class to tell him. The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher’s
face had been quite grave as he’d asked Professor McGonagall to excuse Severus,
and the hook-nosed boy had instantly known that something was wrong.
“It’s your mother, Severus,” Professor Viridian had told him
when they had been seated in his office.
As Severus Snape was an intelligent boy, there had been no
need for Professor Viridian to elaborate. He just nodded his head solemnly and
swept his trembling hands over his face in disbelief as the memory of his last
visit home haunted him. The Snape family Christmas had transpired as usual: his
mother had prepared their traditional undersized turkey; there had been a
sparsely decorated tree in the sitting room, under which had rested a handful
of gifts wrapped in elderly copies of The Daily Prophet; and Caius Snape,
having imbibed a bit too much eggnog, was his usual surly self.
It had been a dish that night – a mere plate. Persephone had
inadvertently broken it when clearing the table from their meal, sending her
husband into an immediate uproar. “You clumsy, worthless wench!” he’d slurred,
stumbling across the room towards her.
“I-I’m sorry, Caius,” she’d whispered as she’d stooped to
hurriedly scoop the pieces into her apron. “It was an accident.”
There was no convincing the inebriated Caius Snape, though.
“Don’t talk back to me!” he hissed. “I’ll teach you respect!” With that,
he’d raised his wand menacingly towards her. It wavered a bit, but his aim was
unmistakable, as was his intent. “Avada Ke—”
With a cry of panic, Severus had leapt to his feet and
lunged towards his father. He hated to think what might have happened if he
hadn’t been there that night – if he hadn’t managed to wrestle the wand from
his father’s grasp – if the curse hadn’t missed his mother, shattering the
nearby window instead of her life. Severus may have saved Persephone Snape that
night, but he couldn’t always be there to protect her, a thought which
tormented him now as he was confronted with the reality that his mother was
He’s finally done it, Severus thought as he struggled
against the tears forming in his eyes. He’s finally killed her. I know he
But his father hadn’t murdered her. The Killing Curse had
been self-inflicted: Persephone Snape had committed suicide. Severus had loved
his mother. But she was weak. Not even her love for her son had been enough to
prevent her from turning her wand on herself. As the years went by, Severus
realized this, and it angered him, frustrated him that his mother hadn’t loved
him enough to stay alive for his sake.
Blind with tears and grief and rage, Severus had stumbled
back to the Slytherin dormitory that afternoon to gather his things for his
mother’s burial. James Potter had seen him cry – the only time in his life that
Severus remembered having done so – and, not knowing the cause of Severus’
melancholy, he’d teased. Potter had laughed, said he was sniveling, and
promptly coined the nickname that would haunt Severus the rest of his years at
Enraged, Severus raised his wand in the direction of his
tormenter. “Furnunculus!” he’d screeched.
James Potter spent the remainder of the afternoon in the
care of Madam Pomfrey, while Severus was forced to make a detour to the
headmaster’s office before returning home. The pallid boy had expected points
to be deducted from Slytherin or detentions to be served with Argus Filch, but Albus
Dumbledore had only offered Severus a sherbet lemon and a sympathetic smile.
The wounds of the afternoon remained, though. Only after news of Persephone Snape’s
suicide swept the castle in murmured gossip did Potter grudgingly apologize to
Severus for his cruelty, but it was too late – the name remained, serving as a
haunting reminder of Severus’ weakness and of the day Persephone had taken her
Matters between James Potter and Severus Snape only grew
progressively worse following the incident. There were icy stares during
classes and hexes when teachers had their backs turned. Severus even
contemplated trying out for Quidditch at one point to match Potter on his
preferred grounds of battle. The hook-nosed boy wasn’t half-bad on a
broomstick, and he felt fairly certain he could make chaser if it wasn’t for
one minor detail: his elderly Tinderblast was in no condition to withstand the
rigor of regular practices.
“You haven’t forgotten the little…er, hiccoughs… your
broom is prone to, have you?” Florence reminded him when he told her of his
As it so happened, Severus hadn’t forgotten his broom’s
quirky personality, its tendency to buck and jolt unpredictably. Nor had he
forgotten that Florence had teased him the first time she’d seen this
misbehavior. Florence’s good-natured giggles were one thing, but he was not
particularly anxious to duplicate that humiliation at the Quidditch pitch
before the entire school. Consequentially, Severus spent the afternoon sighing
over the reality that Quidditch glory simply wasn’t in his future.
“I don’t see why you waste your time with that arse to begin
with,” Florence had added. “He’s more trouble than he’s worth.”
She was right, of course. If Severus hadn’t bothered with
James Potter, he’d never have wound up dangling mid-air with his robes about
his neck the afternoon of their Defense Against the Dark Arts Ordinary
Wizarding Level examinations. It had, in fact, been Florence who’d raced back
into the castle to get Professor Viridian before Potter had managed to remove
his underpants. Severus had been irate that he hadn’t been able to aptly defend
himself against Potter’s attacks, of course, but secretly, he’d been relieved
when he’d heard the “Finite Incantatem!” that had put an end to his torture.
Furthermore, as mortifying as the events of that afternoon had been, Severus
had been delighted to learn of the fifty points that had been deducted from
Gryffindor as a result.
Severus was more grateful, though, that Florence had not
insisted upon tormenting him with insipid words of comfort as he dusted the
grass from his robes and gathered his fallen wand.
“Sodding, good-for-nothing wankers,” she had seethed instead.
And afterwards, there had been another trip to the
greenhouses, where she proved that his frayed, graying knickers didn’t repulse
her in the least.
There would be retaliation, of course. One did not humiliate
a Slytherin without suffering the consequences, and so Severus did not hesitate
to surreptitiously sabotage James’ and Sirius’ Draught of Peace during their
Potions O.W.L. the following morning. Sirius Black had been particularly
disgruntled when he'd received his O.W.L. marks. Perhaps it was this that had caused
him to do it – that had caused him to send Severus to the Whomping Willow and
probable death that autumn night in their sixth year.
Florence had been there for him then, too. Despite the fact
that James Potter had managed to save his life, the Whomping Willow had been
disinclined to permit the boys to escape its clutches without a fight, and as a
result, Severus woke up in the hospital wing the next morning, his head
“You have a visitor, Severus,” Madam Pomfrey told him quietly
when she had finished fussing over his wounds.
Severus could scarcely believe that anyone would care enough
to bother to visit him and assumed this to be yet another cruel joke of some
sort – perhaps one of the Marauders’ devices to torment him. Nonetheless, he
reluctantly looked in the direction to which Madam Pomfrey was motioning. By
the doorway to the hospital wing stood Florence Fothergill. Her freckled nose
and fluttery hazel eyes were never such a welcome sight to Severus as they had
been at that moment.
“Don’t get too excited – I only brought you your homework.
I’m not having my Potions partner fall behind, you know,” she informed him with
a smirk as she thrust an armful of books into his lap.
But Severus knew better. There was a smile hidden behind her
hazel eyes, and her lip had quivered with concern when she saw the bandage
around his head. She didn’t know exactly what had happened, of course.
Dumbledore, by referencing the multitudinous instances in which Severus could
have been expelled but had not been, had convinced him to keep silent about the
details of the matter. All Florence knew was that Severus had had a run-in with
the Whomping Willow – not unlike Davy Gudgeon had had the previous year. He did
nothing to dissuade her.
“Another one of your idiotic dares with Rodolphus, I
assume?” she'd scoffed, her eyebrows raised in the pretense of disapproval. “I
honestly don’t understand why they insist on keeping that tree there – it’s a
danger, not to mention completely hideous.”
Perhaps if Florence had known the truth about the Whomping
Willow and how Sirius Black had nearly killed him, matters between them could
have ended differently. After all, the lasting effects of that fateful night when
Severus had nearly lost his life were instrumental in shaping his future
Severus still recalled the day he’d decided to do it – the
day he’d resolved to seek his revenge against the Marauders. It had been the
hottest summer of his life, and even in the darkness of night, his bedroom had
been sweltering. Consequentially, he’d been unable to sleep, and so he’d amused
himself by spending the witching hour watching the flies buzz annoyingly
overhead and tormenting himself by reliving the memories of the sundry acts of
cruelty he’d been forced to withstand over the years. Severus thought of James
Potter laughing at him the day his mother died, of Peter Pettigrew’s obscene
amusement as he was dangled and exposed after their Defense Against the Dark
Arts O.W.L., and of how Remus Lupin, despite being a prefect, had been apathetic
each time. But most importantly, he thought of Sirius Black and how he’d almost
died by his hand.
“You’re not scared are you, Snivellus?” the
dark-haired aristocrat had goaded that fateful night when Severus had
encountered the Whomping Willow.
And as Sirius Black’s voice echoed in his mind, Severus
instantly knew that something had to be done, that drastic measures had to be
taken to exact his vengeance, to ensure that the Marauders – every last one of
them – suffered as they had made him suffer. He had to become a Death Eater, to
serve the only wizard Dark enough and powerful enough to understand him, to
help him on this quest for retribution.
Then we’ll see how scared you are, Black, Severus
had thought smugly.
He’d raised his wand then, blasted a fly to its doom with a
quick Killing Curse and rolled over onto his side, where he proceeded to fall
into a deep sleep, comforted by his resolve to take action, comforted by his
plan for revenge.
Severus knew that Florence would not approve of his
decision, and so he decided not to tell her. After all, she may have been many
things judgmental and cruel, but she was no Death Eater. It wasn’t a moral
decision on her behalf at all, as she'd made it perfectly clear that she wasn’t
particularly fond of Muggles. Instead, she was loath to choose political sides.
She preferred to take her own side in matters – to be concerned first with
preserving her own security. In this way, Florence was, as Severus would
reflect years later, more quintessentially Slytherin than he himself was.
“I’m not about to murder a Muggle,” she rationalized. “It’s
just not worth wasting my life in an Azkaban cell if I got caught.”
“So you would be a blood-traitor instead?” Severus asked
“Of course not,” she scoffed. “I don’t see the point in
fighting for the rights of a Muggle either, though, considering that history
has proven that a Muggle would as soon see me dead.”
She had a point, Severus had to admit. But the Dark Lord had
been able to offer him something that made up for the risk of Azkaban: the Dark
Lord had been able to offer him power, the chance to prove to James Potter and
Sirius Black that he was more than what they took him for, and the opportunity
to work for a cause diametrically opposed to theirs. And so Severus took the
“I know all about you, Mr. Snape,” sneered the Dark
Lord, his serpentine eyes narrowed into wickedly amused slits as he beheld
Severus. “There are very few who don’t know the notorious story of your family
– your mother’s suicide, your father’s sundry indiscretions.”
Severus had glowered at the reference to his rather
inauspicious upbringing, a fact which entertained the Dark Lord, and instead of
Cruciatus, there was a chuckle of grim approval instead.
“I’ve rarely seen such anger… such hatred. Reminds me
of… myself, actually,” the Dark Lord had sneered in perverse sentimentality.
His lips curved into a venomous grin, he’d pressed the tip of his wand against
Severus’ pale, left forearm shortly after, murmuring the incantation that
sealed Severus’ fate.
“Morsmordre,” he hissed, his tone low and unearthly.
Severus hadn’t quite fit in, of course: he was disheveled, knut-less,
and awkward. In a lifetime of trying, he’d never possess the innate
sophistication and charm of the other young recruits – of the likes of Lucius Malfoy
or Bellatrix Black. However, his blood was every bit as pure as theirs was, his
bitterness every bit as genuine, and – most importantly – he was immensely
There would be raids on Muggle villages to follow. And
tortures and murders. And not even as Severus told Florence that he loved her
did she know of his involvement. He was not accustomed to declarations of
affection, and finding the right words proved quite a struggle.
“I suppose that it’s more of a chemical reaction, really – a
mingling of pheromones,” he’d stammered awkwardly.
His pallid cheeks had flushed as he looked hopefully into
Florence’s face then, searching her hazel eyes for any signal that she
understood what he was trying to tell her. She only stared blankly back at him,
though, indicating that if she did comprehend – and knowing her
intelligence, he felt quite certain that she did – she wasn’t going to reveal
it; she wasn’t going to make this too easy for him.
“Bloody hell, Severus, do you always have to be so
maddeningly indirect?!” she’d laughed. She understood his intentions perfectly,
though, as was apparent when she promptly shook her head in mock dismay and
murmured, “I love you, too.”
She’d made him a man that night. Severus could still
remember the way Florence had been so pliant beneath him – the way her limbs had
curled around him, the way her tiny breasts had brushed against his chest, the
way her chin had fit perfectly into the crook of his neck. He could still
remember the way she'd smelled – like soap and daisies – and the way she'd looked
at him – with complete trust and unreserved adoration.
Florence had looked at him very differently, of course, when
she’d discovered that he was a Death Eater. Severus never forgot the sheer
revulsion that had coated her eyes – that glare of loathing so akin to that
with which James Potter had beheld him when they were at school together. He
didn’t know when, exactly, she had grown suspicious of him. Perhaps she’d
caught a glance of his fading Mark at one point. Perhaps she’d found the mask
he’d concealed in the folds of an old potions text back in their miserable bedsit
in Knockturn Alley. Either way, Florence was waiting for him when he’d stumbled
back from the Bones’ home that night, his wand still warm from producing the Cruciatus.
“Show me your arm, Severus,” she had demanded coldly the
moment he’d walked through the door.
It had been a particularly brutal evening, and as a result,
Severus was not in the mood to be trifled with. Indignant, he’d hissed a
scathing invective and torn away from her. But he wasn’t fast enough: before he
could wrench himself away from her grasp, she had the left sleeve of his robes
pushed up past his forearm. The Mark had already faded significantly, so much
that it might have appeared to be little more than a bruise to the casual
observer. Florence, however, was not the casual observer; she knew enough about
the Mark to recognize even this decomposed version of it.
In her fury, she had pounded her fists into him, pummeling
any part of his body she could reach. “You stupid git!” she spat through
clenched teeth. “I thought you were smarter than this! I thought you were
better than this!”
If there was one thing Severus Snape hated more than having
James Potter look at him with that utter revulsion, it was having Florence
Fothergill regard him so. Indeed, as she slammed the door in his face, Severus’
resolve to best James Potter was instantly outweighed by a new determination, a
vow to prove himself to Florence instead. It had been a defining moment for
Severus, for it was in that instant that he realized that, as usual, she was
right: he was too smart to have fallen for the false promises of the
Dark Lord, and he was better than to be reduced to the role of mere
servant before him.
Fortunately, Albus Dumbledore had agreed.
However, despite the names and places he’d revealed, despite
the plots he’d helped to foil, despite the lives he’d managed to save by spying
for Dumbledore, the Mark remained with Severus. It was a constant reminder of
his impetuousness and of Florence and of how he had lost her. Months later –
after the Dark Lord had fallen, after the Boy Who Lived had been stowed at
Privet drive, after Dumbledore had testified on his behalf before the Wizengamot
– Severus had tried to find Florence. He wasn’t foolish enough to cling to any
romanticized ideals, of course, that she might abandon whatever life she had
forged for herself for his sake. Instead, Severus was motivated once again by
the burden of proving himself: he wanted to tell her, to show her how he had
He never saw her again, though. He’d sent letters via owl
post, all of which were returned as undeliverable. He had ambled by their old
flat every now and then in a sense of perverse nostalgia; there was an
apothecary there now. Severus had even taken the teaching position at Hogwarts
half hoping that someday their paths would cross again through the children she
would inevitably have had. But Florence was utterly gone.
Severus never knew what became of her: she had blossomed in
his life as a child, had grown with him until she had been choked by the weeds
of his soul, then had promptly scattered herself to the wind. Yet Florence
remained planted within him, the solitary Slytherin who had dared to do
something other than what was expected of her, the solitary Slytherin who had
dared him to do the same.
~ Fin ~
A/N: The opening scene of Harry’s memory of Sirius Black
contains a direct quote from GoF Ch. 27. Special thanks once again to Ozma
for her ever-fantastic beta reading.