Disclaimer: Harry Potter and his magical world were created and are owned by J.K. Rowling
Many thanks to my beta-reader, Chary, for all of her help.
“Who on earth would want Snape in love with them? That’s a very horrible idea.”
~ J.K. Rowling on The Connection, October 12, 1999.
Severus was counting the barrels of beetle eyes in the main storeroom when he heard the bell at the
front of his father's apothecary shop and heard his father's excited greeting. "Good day, Mr.
Malfoyand Miss Malfoy.” Severus peeked through the curtain to see his father kiss Aliena Malfoy's
hand. The older girl nodded her head in response. "It is such a pleasure to see you this afternoon, as
it always is, of course. What can I do for you?"
Mr. Malfoy nodded while his daughter unthreaded her arm from his. "I have no pressing needs. Last
night Artemis Macab informed me that Aliena will be made a Prefect next year and today we are
celebrating. We have some time before dinner and Aliena needs to restock her potion ingredients."
Mr. Malfoy glanced around the shop. "Is your son nearby? Perhaps he can assist her. Professor
Macab says he has quite a talent for Potions."
"Yes, yes. Severus is in the next room. He received high marks in Potions. Came in near the top of
the first year class. The Black's boy, Sirius, beat him, but that was not surprising. That family has
always been known for their great talents, much like your own. I told the boy he needs to study more
if he wants to amount to anything."
Severus missed Mr. Malfoy's reply while he hurried back to the barrels. Mr. Malfoy’s presence
might limit the immediate punishment if he was caught eavesdropping, but would only make the
later punishment worse.
Severus concentrated on his inventory sheet and did not turn from it when he heard his father enter
the storeroom. Geoffrey Snape said nothing, but instead approached his son from behind and
grabbed his arm. "Put that scroll down and get out there. Miss Malfoy needs your assistance. Wipe
your nose, and try not to sniffle while you assist her. If our family is ever going to be anything, we
need to take advantage of these opportunities." He began propelling Severus roughly out of the
storeroom. “Remember, boy, if you embarrass me in front of them, I’ll make certain you regret it.
"Here he is." Severus felt the pressure of his father's arm disappear as they entered the front shop
"Severus has been helping me organize the back room."
Mr. Malfoy shook his hand. "I have heard excellent reports of your progress at Hogwarts; your Head
of House speaks highly of you."
"Thank you, sir."
"Well then, if you could help Aliena while I speak with your father."
Mr. Malfoy went to the back of the store and began speaking with Severus's father in a tone that told
Severus there would soon be a trip to some less savory part of the world. Severus understood that his
real purpose was to distract Aliena; Mr. Malfoy would be angry if his favorite child learned anything
of his darkest activities. The responsibility was terribly important and he hoped Aliena did not notice
him wiping his palms on his robes. "What do you need help with?"
"Nothing too difficult. I'm running low on hibiscus root and milk thistle." Behind them Severus
could hear his father's profuse compliments and requests to be of service.
"We have that." As he led her to the hibiscus root, Severus tried to think of something to say that
would impress her. While he carefully selected and weighed the best specimens, Severus saw Mr.
Malfoy reach into his robes and withdraw a small scroll, which he handed to Severus's father.
Aliena caught him staring. "Can you hear what they are saying?" she whispered.
Severus nearly dropped the bundle; he could understand some of their fathers’ conversation, but he
could remember, even if Aliena couldn’t, what happened when Bartelby Goyle told Aliena about the
Veela blood. "N-no. I can't."
Aliena hid her scowl almost as soon as it began before looking at Severus again and asking, "Will
you be staying here all summer?"
Severus nodded; his family lived above the shop.
"That's too bad; perhaps you can deliver this to the manor?”
"I'll ask my father if I can, if that is what you'd like?"
Aliena shrugged. "I really don't care. Hopefully, Mother and Father will give their permission for me
to attend Elinor’s party and I won’t be there at all.
Elinor Worthington was Muggle-born and Severus could tell that Aliena did not expect the
permission to be granted. “Maybe there will be another one.”
“Oh, there will be, she has them every year, but as her best friend I ought to be allowed to attend. I
made the suggestion about the delivery because Father is fond of you and asked that I make it. I
believe he intends to offer you the use of our library for your summer studies."
Severus tried not to look too excited; the Hogwarts Library was the only place he had ever seen with
more books than the Malfoy’s library. “That will be very nice. Most of the professors didn’t give us
work that was very difficult. Probably worried about giving too much to a bunch of first years.”
Aliena glanced to where their fathers were finishing their discussion before replying. “Don’t worry
about that. The homework after second year is much more difficult than the homework after first,
and every year after it gets even harder. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to show off.” Mr.
Malfoy was now headed towards them. “It’s about time,” Aliena whispered. “Well, I hope you enjoy
the rest of your summer. Goodbye.”
Severus barely managed to stammer out his own goodbye before she walked off, leaving his mind
full of things he should have said.
Severus hunched over the wobbly desk in his attic bedroom and stared at the thick parchment in
front of him. He thought that the pink spots in it were silly, but girls were supposed to like pink, and
it had been on sale, so he had purchased it anyway. After another minute of staring at the parchment
he inked his quill and began to write.
Dear Miss Aliena Malfoy,
It was very nice to see you in Diagon Alley last week. I hope that your purchases have been
satisfactory. I was going to ask you about that when I delivered them, but the house-elf said that
your family was not to be disturbed.
I think that you are very pretty, even if you are in Gryffindor. Your hair reminds me of--
Severus paused and picked up the novel he had found inside his mother's ottoman: The Potions
Master's Apprentice by Aphrodite Philter. He had selected it from his mother’s battered collection
of paperbacks because he thought it would be about potions; instead it was all about a Potions
Master who occasionally brewed potions but mostly fell in love with his apprentice.
His father didn’t know about the ottoman hidey-hole so he had decided to wait until his parents left
for their dinner party at the Goyles’ before returning it. It would be unpleasant if Severus’s father
discovered that his mother had named him after the hero in Secrets of the Muggle Castle. While he
was waiting for his parents to go out, he had flipped through the book and realized that it could be
more useful than he’d originally thought. After the Potions Master told the witch that he loved her,
he started saying nice things to her and then she would kiss him, a lot. Even though Severus did not
want to kiss a girl if it meant you had to stick your tongues in each other’s mouths, he thought he
might borrow some of the Potions Master's compliments for his letter and had marked what he
considered to be the best ones.
-- burnished silver. Your eyes shine as brightly as the moon on my lonely soul. You are truly a
moon goddess and I must worship you. You are everything I could ever love, except Potions. I
love Potions too. It is my favorite subject then Defense Against the Dark Arts. I think you must be
very good in both of them. Your mind is as brilliant as the most perfect diamond.
You are very nice also; a veritable angel. Thank you for not getting me into trouble for hexing
those two third years. I promise that they hexed me first. You are an angel in my eyes for that act
of mercy. My father would have been angry at me for getting caught. My mother gets sad when I
get in trouble at school. She said that I will never be a Prefect if I keep getting in trouble. You
must be a very good student to be named a Prefect. Father said that Dumbledore had no choice
but to make you a Prefect because of your family's greatness and you are really smart too, even
though Father always says only impulsive fools are Sorted into Gryffindor.
I hope you don't think that the notepaper is silly. I chose it because you were wearing pink robes
last Thursday when I saw you and your father in the shop. Will you be coming to visit us again
soon? My father said that your father's latest request is nearly finished. If he decides he needs to
deliver it personally he might let me come too, so I can marvel at your goddess-like beauty.
Severus reread his letter, checking carefully for spelling and grammar mistakes. Aphrodite Philter
made a lot of them and Severus didn’t want Aliena to think he did not know the difference between
‘too’ and ‘two.’ Some of the compliments sounded stupid to him, but they had worked for the
Potions Master and girls were silly, so it was logical that they would like silly things.
The letter wasn't very long, but his parents would be home soon and he needed to send it before
father could see it. He addressed it quickly before tying it to his post owl’s leg with instructions to
give the letter to Miss Aliena Malfoy. Eris spread his wings and flew out the tiny window while
Severus went to work hiding the pink paper underneath a loose floorboard.