A/N This could be set in Harry’s fifth year or fourth
year…doesn’t really matter, as it’s a separate event.
"Once upon a time there lived a Muggle. She was
good and kind and fair...the fairest Muggle in all the land. One day...Seve?
Seve, are you listening?"
boy with the shock of dark hair turned away from the fire. He smiled
at his mother.
yes I am...but I can see things...in the fire..."
She shook her
head, and closed the book.
enough for tonight then. You stay up, and watch the fire instead."
His tone was
indignant, yet when she looked back his eyes still followed the dancing
flames. She raised an eyebrow.
you doing then?"
"Waiting for a phoenix."
Once more she shook her head, and carefully shut the
door. He preferred the darkness, it was easier to see the shapes. Easier
to see the phoenix, and when it arrived he'd be happy.
"Potter! Weasley! Get back here right now!"
Harry groaned and rolled his eyes. Just his luck to
bump into Snape, literally. He and Ron had crashed into the professor
and sent his books flying. As Harry turned around, a small bottle rolled
towards his foot. He saw it too late and felt himself slipping, only
to land with an almighty crash on the stone floor. The sniggers of the
Slytherins only increased with Snape's next words.
"Get up, Potter. You've fallen off that broomstick
enough times and gotten right up.”
Harry frowned as Ron helped him up. They exchanged
dark looks as they picked up the professor’s things. Snape watched, snapping at them if they handled certain bottles
too quickly. Something flashed in the corner, and caught Harry's Quidditch-honed
eyes. While Snape snatched his belongings away from Ron, Harry
pocketed the shining object. It felt like a necklace.
He didn't really know what possessed him to do it.
"10 points from Gryffindor. Each."
"What!" Ron threw up his arms in exasperation.
Snape's eyes narrowed.
"Another 5 points."
The fiery red head looked as though he was going to
speak again, but thought better of it and merely glowered at the potions
teacher. Harry grabbed Ron and they headed towards the library once
more, this time at walking speed. Snape glowered after them.
As they rounded the corner, Harry fished the necklace
from his pocket. Ron looked at it curiously. "What's that? It isn't...is
that Snape's? Didn't think he was the lockety type."
Harry nodded and fiddled about with the clasp. "I
found it on the floor. It looks pretty...well..."
"Girly?" Hermione had come up behind them. Ron explained about the unfortunate run in
with Snape, while Harry struggled with the clasp on the locket. It was
very stiff and obviously hadn’t been opened for years. Exasperated,
he drew his wand, checked the corridor for teachers, and whispered,
“Carrigus.” They had learnt the simple loosening spell in Charms
yesterday. With a click, the locket opened.
Ron leaned over excitedly, but Hermione held back.
"That's his private stuff....we shouldn't really..."
"Wow! Do you think she was his girlfriend?"
"Don't know why anyone would want to go out with
She sighed. "Let
He was nervous, more nervous than he'd ever been before
in his short life. The trip across the lake had been bad enough. Seve
had been pushed to the side of the boat by an excited boy with dark
hair, and had nearly fallen in. The other boy had offered his hand.
“Sorry about that. I’m Sirius. Sirius Black.”
Seve had frowned, and refused the offer of help. Sirius
had shrugged and turned back to his companions, two other boys. One
with dark hair and glasses, another had light brown hair, flecked with
Now here he was, standing in the hall. The hall his
father still remembered clear as day.
”Now, Seve, you’ll go into the hall and a professor
will bring in the Sorting Hat.”
“Well, you put it on your head and it decides which
house you’ll belong to.”
”Which one were you in?”
His father puffed out his chest.
“Slytherin. Best house in Hogwarts. Produces powerful
wizards, some of the most powerful. Isn’t cluttered with any Mudbloods,
He shivered slightly, although the hall wasn’t cold.
Quite the contrary, it was almost stifling in their heavy robes. He looked at all the other first years. Some
way in front of him was that insolent boy from the boat….a little further
down the line two girls giggled to each other…then someone directly
in front turned around and looked him in the eye.
“Who are you looking for?”
She was beautiful. In all his life Seve had never seen
anyone like her. Her long, tawny hair fell to her shoulders, outlining
her face with its big blue eyes and perfect smile…
“Are you okay?”
”Yes…yes. I was just looking to see who else was here.”
”Oh…it’s just that you were frowning at that boy…the
one at the front?”
Seve started to scowl. “Him. He tried to push me into
the lake.” Her eyes widened with shock. ”He seemed nice enough earlier…just
shows, you never know.” The girl’s attention flickered back to the stage.
“I can’t wait! My parents haven’t been able to tell
me anything…they’re both…what’s the word…Muggles.”
His face fell. Muggle born? She was a Mudblood…a beautiful,
pretty, friendly Mudblood, but she was beneath him. That’s what his
father always said - beneath him.
“So I found out about the houses…I hope I’m in Gryffindor
or Ravenclaw, they sound like the best. Although I’m not really very
clever…hope I’m not bottom of the class. By the way, my name’s Phoenix
Roberts. I know it’s stupid, but my parents are a little…strange. I
think my mum’s a little jealous about me being a real witch, to tell
”So…which house do you want to be in?”
”Why do you want to know? Mudblood.”
Phoenix frowned in confusion, and was about to reply
when someone leant over and did it for her. “You shouldn’t call anyone
”I can call people whatever I like.”
“Well, you can call me James Potter. And you’ll call
her Phoenix, or else.” The other first year turned to face her. ”That is your name, right?”
”Yeah…what did he mean…Mudblood?” she asked, eyes searching
his face. The boy frowned. ”I’ll tell you later.”
“Or else what?” sneered Snape, ignoring the Mudblood.
Potter leaned forward, a confident smile on his face.
“Maybe next time you really will fall in the lake.”
Potter continued to shoot daggers at Seve from his
eyes. Seve narrowed his own. Stupid, interfering git. It wasn’t any
of his business. Probably trying to play the hero…typical. He’d bet
any money that Potter ended up in Gryffindor, and got the girl. Seve
decided then that he hated James Potter.
Well, didn’t matter anyway. She really wasn’t his type.
In fact, he must have been mistaken. She wasn’t beautiful, just pretty.
The torchlight had illuminated her face, and when she turned away it
showed the slight frizz to her hair, and the few spots near her chin.
Yet another wizard came over. It was the one with speckled
hair. ”Everything alright? Only just met you, and we already seem to
be getting into all sorts of trouble.”
He smiled. “I like it.”
James returned the smile. ”Everything’s fine now, Remus.
This is Phoenix.”
Seve felt another fist of hate as Phoenix gave him
a dirty look and carried on the excited conversation with James and
Remus. Just then, a great hush fell over the hall, and the hat on the
stool, against all probability, started singing.
“Well...she is quite.”
”Quite…attractive, I suppose.”
Ron gave Hermione a withering glance. In his eyes,
the girl in the locket was very pretty. She had blue eyes and sort of
dark honey coloured hair. Usually pictures of wizards moved, but on
closer inspection this particular picture revealed itself as a painting.
It was only a few centimeters high, and very skillfully done. Harry
started to shut the locket again, with a sigh.
”You’re right, Hermione. It’s his…and we shouldn’t
“Wait a minute…it says something.” interrupting his
friend, Ron took the locket from Harry, and Hermione rolled her eyes.
Ignoring her, he cleared his throat. “With love always, Phoenix.”
Harry looked surprised and a little impressed. “Maybe
Snape wasn’t always so…um…greasy.”
“Phoenix?” snorted Hermione. “Funny sort of name, if
you ask me.”
”Well no-one did.” Ron said, defensively. They started
to walk towards the staff room, Harry with more than a little dread
in each step. It had been he, after all, who had picked up the necklace.
Although he didn’t know why he’d done it, Snape was almost sure to accuse
him of stealing. He gulped nervously as they reached the door.
Raised his hand and knocked.
Orange and black decorations dominated the school.
He ducked and narrowly avoided a laughing pumpkin that spat pumpkin
seeds at anyone so impolite as to knock it. Snape scowled and pushed
it right off the table. In his five years at Hogwarts, he always managed
to bump into the same pumpkin every Halloween. Every year. He smirked
a little as he ground a particularly gooey piece into the stone floor,
then started at the sound of high pitched, giggling voices. If anyone
saw what he’d done, he’d be in trouble. Slipping behind a convenient
gargoyle, he waited for the voices to pass. Instead, they stopped to
survey the mess.
“Oh no! Look what someone’s done to Percy!”
“I was talking to him last night…don’t look at me like
”Like...Lily’s going potty, talking to pumpkins.”
”More like…Lily’s going potty over Potter!”
The giggling started again, and Severus felt like groaning.
Fee and Lily. Just what he needed. And he didn’t want to hear Phoenix
explain Lily’s entire bloody infatuation with Potter…he really didn’t
know what she saw in him. Just because the idiot could fly a broomstick,
he thought he was better than everyone.
“Fee, you can’t talk. Remus this, Remus that. Anyone
would think he was the Head Boy, Headmaster of Hogwarts, and Minister
of Magic rolled into one.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Phoenix said
primly. Snape could just see them from behind the gargoyle. Lily had
a knowing expression on her pretty face, and Fee was twirling her hair
around a finger. He wanted to gag. The two girls were all airy and light,
talking about the stupid Gryffindor prats…never had time for someone
like him…not that he wanted time. Not with that pair of Mudbloods.
“So, do you think James is going to ask me to the dance?”
Phoenix snorted. ”Of course he will! He’s been drooling
all over you for months.”
”Maybe I should make my dress robes waterproof.”
The giggling started again as the two friends walked
a little further down the corridor, whispered the password to the Fat
Lady, and disappeared into the Gryffindor common room. Snape shook his
head, and went in the opposite direction, to see the other Slytherins.
It was time he saw about asking someone to the dance.
“What is it now Potter?”
The potions master looked down his hooked nose at Harry.
The young wizard felt his friends step back, ever so slightly. “I…uh…when
you…uh…dropped your…er…things I…uh…”
“Spit it out, boy! You sound like Longbottom with a
speech impediment. And fewer brains, if that’s possible.”
”I found this.”
He thrust the necklace forward, angry at Snape’s references
to Neville. The professor stared at it in disbelief for a second, then
snatched it from Harry’s hand. Looking suspiciously at the trio, he
opened it and read the inscription. Pocketing the necklace, when he
next spoke it was in a quiet voice, that somehow more menacing than
when he shouted.
“You will report to me for detention throughout the
week, Potter. I shall go and address this matter with Dumbledore. Stealing
from a member of staff is a very serious offence. Very serious.”
Harry began to protest, but Snape had already shut
the staff room door. ”But…”
”Slimy bastard.” Ron’s face was red with anger. “You
returned the bloody thing!”
”Don’t worry, Harry. Dumbledore will know it wasn’t
anything like stealing.” said Hermione, as she stopped Ron from knocking
down the staff room door with his wand. “Just leave it.”
Music filled the great hall. Seve winced at the loud
sound, and smirked as Evan Rosier and Augustus Rookwood, two older Slytherins,
tripped some second years on their way to the hall.
This year at Hogwarts the Halloween celebration was
accompanied by a ball. Many of the younger students were arriving in
groups, but most of the older ones had paired up. Severus himself was
with Natalie Crowley. She had
a rather bony face, and lank black hair, yet she was a Slytherin through
The group of older Slytherins made a dramatic entrance
into the hall. All cloaked in black, all wearing smirks and frowns,
they cut through the other students and made a beeline for their table.
Professor Malakin, head of their house, nodded approvingly from the
“Seve…would you get me a drink?” drawled Natalie, pointing
at the end of the hall. Severus smiled silkily, his expression turning
to a scowl as he attempted to cross the dance floor. He made it to the
punch bowl, and started to pour a cup for Natalie. The drink was red,
and eyeballs floated in it. Another fifth year waited impatiently behind
him, and Seve glanced back. It was Lupin. He deliberately spent longer,
and when he finally finished, didn’t completely move. Lupin flashed
him a wary look, and with some difficulty started to fill two glasses
The other wizard was wearing handsome robes of dark
green, and Severus felt the familiar pang of jealousy as he looked down
at his own. Expensive as they were, they did nothing to improve his
“So, Lupin. Who’ve you come with tonight? Find yourself
a nice dog from Hogsmeade? A real bitch?”
To Severus’ extreme annoyance and extreme surprise,
Lupin turned around and smiled happily at him. Then Snape heard someone
else’s footsteps approaching and realized that Lupin was smiling at
It was her. Radiant in golden robes, that were tight
at the bodice and full skirted, she smiled back coquettishly.
“Here you are Fee.”
What’s that...oh Remus! That’s disgusting.”
She gingerly fished out an eyeball from the glass and
held it between her forefinger and thumb, looked at it critically. “They’re
With an appropriately wolfish grin, Lupin bent down
and ate the eyeball from her fingers. She blushed and laughed at the
same time. He swallowed and grimaced at the taste. “Let’s just hope
they only looked real…”
Sirius bounded up to them. “The place looks great,
doesn’t it? I just saw Dumbledore. He wanted me to warn people about
the sheep eyeballs in the punch bowl.”
As Lupin went green and ran off, followed by Phoenix
and Sirius, who were trying not to explode with laughter, a thin smile
crossed Severus’ lips. Showoff. Got exactly what he deserved. A faster
song started, and he hoped Natalie would want to dance to it. If there
was one thing he was good at, it was dancing, strangely enough. Well,
he was also good at potions and being snide…but he preferred dancing.
“Ah…Seve…just the wizard I wanted to see.”
“Professor Malakin. How can I be of service?”
”I was wondering…with your expertise in the potions
department, you should perhaps set your sights on higher goals.”
“Higher goals, sir?”
When Malakin spoke again, his voice was little more
than a whisper. “Things that Hogwarts could never offer. There’s a new
power rising, Severus, strong and dark. Voldemort.”
He hissed the last word with such conviction that Seve
felt a thrill of excitement travel down his spine. Malakin straightened
up and his voice returned to normal. “If you’re interested, I’ll be
discussing it with the other Slytherins later. Together, we can make
the Slytherin name great again. Think about it.”
Distracted, Snape returned to the table with the drinks,
his head full of ideas. Voldemort. Power, dark power.
There was sudden noisy laughter from the Gryffindor
table. Everyone glanced over. Potter and Pettigrew were laughing at
a sheepish Remus, who had his arm wrapped around Fee. Black seemed to
be recounting the eyeball story yet again to a chuckling Professor Dumbledore
and a wide eyed Lily.
Make the Slytherin name great again? Pull them from
the shadows, let them be the ones who laughed with the headmaster…
He decided to take Malakin’s advice and think about
Natalie stood up. “Come on, Seve. I want to dance.”
He sighed, then noticed that Potter was awkwardly guiding Lily around
the floor. Always had to out do him at every turn. Well, at least this
one area in which he excelled.
Taking Natalie’s hand, he whirled her onto the dance
floor. They then proceeded to twirl and move in time to the music, Snape
gaining admiring yells and cheers from each table excepting the Gryffindors.
They merely looked sour. That was only to be expected…after all, they
liked to think of themselves as unbeatable. Always had to be the best
Something hit him squarely in the back, and he noted
amused looks from the Gryffindors.
”Ow! What was..”
Black twirled his date, the giggling Lucille LeFaye,
in the opposite direction. Snape scowled, and Natalie shook her head.
“Sirius Black has no manners…no respect for anyone!”
Another couple took to the floor, and Snape could tell
from the inane whistle by Black that it was Lupin and Phoenix. He saw
them from the corner of his eye…even though it was a fast song, they
were slow dancing in a circle, bodies pressed close together, her head
resting lightly on his chest…she wouldn’t be that comfortable if she
knew the truth.
The truth. An idea began to seep slowly into Seve’s
mind, black and sinuous and lethal. What a perfect way to pay back Potter
and his Marauders for their harmless little prank, the same prank that
had nearly killed him. Of course, it would hurt Remus far more than
any of the others…he noticed the way Lupin’s fingers were tangled in
her hair, the way his eyes were closed…but who cared?
For the first time that evening Severus Snape gave
the room a genuine smile, as the song ended and he returned to the tables
for the start of the feast.
He stood impatiently by the stone gargoyle, trying
to remember the latest password to Dumbledore’s office. In his agitation
it had gone right out of his head. Some sort of sweet…
The gargoyle moved aside, and he climbed the steps,
a malevolent smile on his face. Potter had finally overstepped the mark.
Dumbledore must realize it. He took a deep breath and knocked on the
door to Dumbledore’s office. There was a shuffling of papers, and then
a voice. “Come in. Ah, Severus.”
“Professor Dumbledore, I’ve a serious matter to discuss
The white haired, long bearded headmaster of Hogwarts
stood up. “I’m afraid it shall have to wait a few moments longer.”
He raised his hand. “I’m sorry, Severus, I promised
I’d send this letter and it really won’t keep. I shall only be a few
minutes, so sit down, make yourself comfortable.”
Snape started to protest too late. He was gone. With
a sigh of exasperation he sat down heavily in a nearby chair. His gaze
was drawn to the locket in his hand.
How long had it been since he’d seen her face?
Shakily, he started to undo the clasp. And stopped
as the memories washed over him once again.
It had been over a year since the Halloween ball. He
had decided against enlightening Fee about Lupin’s condition.
The important things always seemed to happen at the
holiday time of year. Maybe it was because holidays were dramatic. Emotions
ran high, good or bad. His were a mixture of both.
Good because he was well on the way to learning the
Dark Arts, to becoming more powerful than Potter or any of his miserable
allies could ever dream of. Bad because he still festered in the dark
while they shone, the brightest stars of the school.
James and Lily were tipped for Head Boy and Head Girl
next year. Sirius still seemed to enjoy the single life, yet was never
short of offers from those who wished he’d enjoy the other sort. Phoenix
and Remus simply went from strength to strength.
Not for long. He grinned to himself as he walked towards
the library. Malakin had requested that they meet there during lesson
time today, to hone their skills. To become, to ascend. That was all
he ever wanted. All he ever dreamed of.
That and the look on Phoenix Robert’s face when he
told her that Remus Lupin was a werewolf.
Sitting in Dumbledore’s study, Snape stared at the
locket in his hands, remembering. Remembered the look on Lupin’s face
last year, when they’d met again. Angry, but ever the gentlemen, ever
the star of the school, ever the good one, the kind one, he was restrained.
In his shabby robes, not a thing to his name.
Seve fell quickly into step alongside Lily and Fee.
They both wrinkled their noses, and gave him a snide glance. Lily raised
“What do you want?”
”I need to borrow a book. I’ve lost my Arithmancy textbook.”
”Well, won’t one of your slimy ‘friends’ lend you theirs?”
He struggled to keep the hatred and sarcasm from his
voice, and almost succeeded. “No, Fee.” How he despised the abbreviation
of her name. Fee. It sounded so common, like a sparrow’s song. It was
incomparable to the beauty and magnificence of a phoenix. Black had
started it, naturally, and now everyone called her that. A term of endearment.
“Phoenix. You’ll call me Phoenix.”
It’s Advanced Arithmancy and only two other people take the course.
One of them is Lily. So if you wouldn’t mind…”
The other pretty girl rolled her eyes and shook her
dark red, shoulder length hair. “Alright, Severus. Follow me. Just stand
in the common room and wait for me to get the book, shouldn’t take long.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence. Upon reaching
the Fat Lady, Fee gave him an intense look of dislike, and Lily stood
in front of her so he couldn’t hear what she said.
The portrait swung aside and Severus Snape stepped
into the Gryffindor common room for the first time in his life. Never
having been on friendly terms with any Gryffindors, he’d not been invited
back here before. It was, predictably, decorated largely in red and
gold, with winding staircases that lead to the dormitories. It was certainly
impressive, although he felt more at ease in the cool green and silver
Some comfortable looking crimson leather chairs were
set by the blazing fire. Potter was sitting in one, reading a book.
Fee gave Snape one last scowl and went to join him, talking quietly
and watching the game of chess between Black and Lupin. Snape noticed
Potter turn around and look at him. He flashed a sickly grin, which
the other wizard ignored and turned back to his friend.
Perfect. The whole gang was here. A few second years
came in behind him, but went straight up to the dormitory, passing Lily
who was on her way back with the book. Perfect, perfect, perfect. “Here
you are Severus. Could you give it back to me before Saturday? Only
I wanted to do some research on the next topic.”
At the mention of his name the other four all exchanged
glances. He pretended not to notice, and took the book. “Thank you.
Did you have any trouble with the astronomical divider portent?” To
his delight, the others were all looking completely puzzled at his words.
”So you worked out that the first full moon of the
month will be tonight then.”
He had their attention. Potter, ever the champion,
stood up. “You’ve got what you wanted. Now go.”
Severus held up his hands in submission. “Of course,
of course. Just wondered if Remus was going to be locked up tonight
or not.” Fee and Lily exchanged looks, then Fee shook her head. “What
are you talking about?”
He faked surprise and put a hand to his mouth. “You
mean you…you don’t know? He never told you? And I thought you two were
so…close.” She frowned and turned to Lupin, who was just sitting there,
hunched up in his chair, staring at the chess board.
Snape carried on. “I mean, if I really loved someone…I’d
want them to know everything about me. All the little secrets…that is,
if I trusted them.”
Lily looked completely confused, even more so when
Sirius and James started threateningly towards Snape. He backed up a
little, but wouldn’t leave until he’d delivered the final blow. “I can
understand, Remus,” he called out to the hunched over shape in the chair,
“why you wouldn’t want your girlfriend to know you’re a werewolf.”
Silence. As silent as a moment could ever be. The fire
still crackled and spat, the room remained as warm as ever. No sudden
chill descended, no melodramatic crash of thunder signified that things
had changed forever.
All because of him.
She blinked a few times, unbelievingly. Revenge was
sweet, as he saw Remus rise. Face still, eyes full of sadness and anger.
The anger of course, directed at Snape…and perhaps a little of it at
the wolf within.
“Is…is it true? Is what he says true?” she asked him
in a quiet, almost pleading voice.
He nodded, and saw her start to shake, tears formed
in her eyes. With a glare at Snape full of hatred, he pushed past Sirius
and stormed out of the common room. Severus thought he heard the distant
voice of the Fat Lady, protesting at the rough handling.
Fee was looking up at him through watery eyes, her
lips curved into a snarl. Animalistic almost….two of a kind.
She flew at Snape, drawing her wand, and Lily grabbed
her. “He’s not worth it…he’s not worth it…” she repeated in a soothing
voice. He gave them all another chilling smile. One that didn’t quite
reach the eyes.
“Goodnight.” He was nearly gone, but couldn’t resist
one last parting shot. “Oh…I’d go looking for Lupin if I were you…wouldn’t
want him loose on a night like this.”
He stretched and yawned. It was early Sunday morning,
and as drowsy recollections of last night seeped into his brain, Snape
smiled. There were only three days to go until Christmas holidays, and
he had succeeded in making two people he hated utterly miserable.
It was a very good morning indeed.
He had risen early for a reason. The potions lab would
be empty, and he wanted to try out a new idea he had for a particularly
lethal sort of sleeping draught. Working on the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ hypothesis,
Seve believed he could create a potion which would send the drinker
into a deep sleep, only to be reawakened by certain stimuli. It was
his N.E.W.Ts potions project, and very important.
Inside the potions room he was calm. The smell of fleawort,
the cool stone walls, the satisfying bubble of the cauldrons…peace.
Until he heard voices, familiar voices, and footsteps approaching.
The footsteps stopped in the room next to the one he
was currently in. Curious, Severus crept silently to the adjoining door
“Why are you running away from me?”
There was a thud of something being thrown to the floor.
“Because you don’t want to see me…I don’t want you to see me. You’re
angry, you hate me, and I know why…but it hurts. So go.”
“No…no, you don’t see at all, I don’t hate you.”
”What? Oh, alright then, you don’t hate me…you’re just
disgusted.” The second speaker’s voice moved to the other side of the
room, towards the door Snape was leaning on. He prepared to jump back,
as the handle began to twist.
“Where did you get that idea from?”
Pause. The handle stopped.
“That idea would be from when you started crying, denying
the truth and ignored me!”
”I did not ignore you!” Getting angrier. “I just couldn’t
“That I’m a monster?”
“No…” she softened her tone. “That you didn’t tell
”I didn’t tell you….why on earth would I tell you something
”You told James! You told Sirius! You told Peter! Do
you trust them more…more than I thought you trusted me?” She was really
angry now, and both of their voices were full volume.
“Don’t be so stupid…look, I just thought…it’s different…”
”How is it at all different? Please tell me, how you
see it as being different. Because I see it as another sort of lie.”
Silence. Snape’s smile returned. Good, they were arguing
and it didn’t look like either side was going to give in.
”I…I was scared.” There was the sound of someone scratching
their head, and lighter footsteps moved towards the door.
His face fell.
”I was scared, Fee. Scared of what you’d think, scared
that I’d lose you…don’t you see? You mean more to me than anything…I’d
be lost without you.” He gave a bitter laugh. “If I told you, I was
almost sure you’d be okay with it. But there was always a splinter of
doubt…what if you rejected me? I couldn’t bear it. Even the thought
of it drove me mad…I wanted to tell you, and Lily. To share it with
you…I need you to know every part of me.”
For Salazar’s sakes, she was crying.
“I never…I thought…I thought you didn’t love me.”
Her voice became muffled in what could only have been
an embrace. Whispered words.
“You’re the only thing I ever have.”
Disgusted, Severus waited for them to leave, clenching
and unclenching his fists. When she was sure they had gone, he yelled
and kicked an empty cauldron to the floor. Scattered ingredients everywhere,
sending red sparks into the air from the tip of his wand.
This wasn’t over yet.
“There’s something strange about that girl,” Harry
said, chewing thoughtfully on his quill pen, before realizing that it
had leaked ink into his mouth. Ron was only half listening, frantically
trying to scribble down the rest of the Transfiguration homework in
time for next lesson. “What girl?”
”Phoenix. The one in that necklace.”
His friend frowned. “Only thing wrong with her was
that she fell in love with Snape.” The thought seemed to disgust him,
and he wrinkled his nose before carrying on writing. Harry wouldn’t
drop it though. She looked familiar. He had the weirdest feeling that
he’d seen her somewhere before, in a painting, or a book, or…
Or a photograph.
He ran upstairs to the dormitory and pulled out the
heavy photo album Hagrid had given him a couple of years ago. Impatiently
he leafed through the now familiar pages until he found what he was
looking for. Most of the photos were just pictures of his mum and dad,
and most had been taken after they’d left Hogwarts. There were, however,
a few group photos.
This one showed a group of six wizards and witches.
His mum was sharing a chair with his dad; Sirius was holding a sign
saying ‘Gryffindors ‘s’ on the end of Gryffindor are Great’.
Pettigrew was smiling timidly in the corner, and next to Sirius stood
Professor Lupin with his arm draped loosely around the girl from the
locket. Phoenix. They were all waving, and laughing together.
He called out to Ron and Hermione. They both came quickly,
Ron complaining that he still had homework to finish, and this had better
be important…Harry thrust the album underneath their noses.
”The old gang, after the N.E.W.Ts. Party time!” said
Hermione in a questioning sort of voice. The other two looked at her.
She pointed to the picture. “That’s what it says, underneath. Then there’s
all their names. Are there any more pictures of her, Harry?”
He shook his head. “After that, nothing.”
”Well, she looks pretty cosy with old Lupin. Maybe
she dumped him for Snape?” ventured Ron. Hermione raised an eyebrow
in disbelief. “Why would she want to do that?”
Ron tried hard to keep a straight face. “First Lockhart,
now Professor Lupin…do you have a thing for Defense of the Dark Arts
She scowled. “I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just
Professor Lupin and Professor Snape are about as different as it’s possible
“Phoenix Roberts. That was her full name,” intoned Harry, still staring at his
parents’ smiling faces. No matter how many times he saw them, it caused
a pang of sorrow in his heart. He often imagined what it would have
been like if they were still alive. He would’ve known Sirius long ago,
and Professor Lupin, and maybe even Phoenix…
“Phoenix Roberts? P. Roberts! So that’s who she is…I
always wondered what the P stood for,” said Hermione, excitedly.
“What do you mean, P. Roberts? Who is she?” asked Harry,
curiously. Ron groaned. “And if you’re going to ask us whether we’ve
read ‘Hogwarts: A History’ yet, then don’t. Just don’t.”
“I’ll do better than tell you. I’ll show you.”
Something snatched the locket from his hand.
“What the…give that back!”
Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, had taken the necklace
and wrapped it around his perch, causing the potions master to sneer.
“How appropriate,” he said under his breath, “a phoenix for a phoenix.”
Carefully he removed the necklace from Fawkes’ stand, and sat down again,
facing the bird.
It really was handsome.
Red and gold fiery plumage, that moved faster than
flames in the fire. Intelligent eyes, black and glittering like lumps
of ebony coal. Snape used to be interested in the phoenix. He knew a
lot about the species. One little known fact was that were actually
two types of phoenix. The golden phoenix and the dark phoenix. The first
variety would be born again from their ashes, were practically immortal.
A dark phoenix was slightly different. It
shined with the same brilliant golden light, had the
same healing powers, the same beauty, the same bravery.
Yet a dark phoenix had only one life. Once it’d fire
burnt out, it was gone forever. As a result of this, they were extremely
She had been a dark phoenix.
Seven years. Severus Snape had spent seven years at
this place, this school, and now it would soon be ended. The N.E.W.Ts
results had come back today. He’d passed Potions, Defense Against the
Dark Arts and Transfiguration with flying colours. Not that it mattered,
anyway. For tonight was the night, when he would ride for the first
time, one of a new order…a Death Eater.
Training had been hard, but thinking of the power…of
the stupid idiots who for seven years had thought him to be less than
worthy of their time, their company, their friendship. Of how good things
were going to be.
He was the last to leave the Slytherin common room.
They just had to sit through dinner in the hall and then slip away during
Dumbledore’s final speech, a little earlier than everyone else. For
they weren’t catching the Express, but flying in a broomstick convoy
to meet with other Death Eaters, some from as far away as Durmstrang.
A thrill of anticipation coursed through him as he
pulled on black robes, and saw them cover the new tattoo on his forearm.
Dinner was a mundane affair. The Slytherin table was
quiet, mostly because the older Slytherins were deep in thought about
what would be happening later tonight. The Ravenclaws were all in high
spirits, most of them having passed at the top of every class. In contrast
the Hufflepuffs seemed a little down, probably as they were last in
the running for the House Cup yet again. The Gryffindors were predictably
the loudest table, the hall decorated in red and gold in honor of their
He watched them for a while. Lily and James had been
made Head Boy and Girl. Well, it was no more than he expected. Some
of the first years were gazing up at the older ones in adoration, especially
the livelier than usual Sirius. He seemed in especially high spirits,
cracking new jokes every few minutes. The others all thought he was
hysterical, until he started to choke on a cracker. Alarmed, Lupin pointed
his wand at Black’s throat.
“Waddiwasi!” he yelled, and the cracker shot
from Sirius’ throat. It hit Snape in the forehead, and stuck there,
held in place by spit.
Lupin’s eyes widened and wordlessly he pointed at Snape,
everyone’s eyes following his hand. The entire table descended into
fits of helpless laughter, while Fee practically collapsed into her
boyfriend’s arms. He called out to Severus.
“Sorry about that!”
Snarling, he wiped the mess from his head and turned
back to his food. Sirius made some comment about his forehead needing
the spit shine so it would match his greasy hair. Seve tried to block
the words from his mind, and was glad when the Slytherins **on
either side of him began to threaten the Gryffindors.
Luckily for both houses, Dumbledore chose that moment
to take to the stage. Snape waited until his attention was elsewhere
and slipped from the hall unnoticed. Before he went to join the other
Death Eaters at the entrance, he needed to borrow something from the
Gryffindor common room. James Potter had an invisibility cloak, and
it would prove very useful. Now was the perfect opportunity. He had
overheard the password a few
days ago, from some rowdy second years, who really
should’ve known better.
Carefully he whispered it to the Fat Lady.
She squinted at him. “You’re not a Gryffindor. What
do you want here?”
”Look. I’ve told you the password. Open up.”
”I don’t know…”
”It’s the rules. I’m a…friend of James. He wanted me
to get something for him.”
With a sigh she swung open, revealing the entrance
to the Gryffindor common room.” Well, if you’re James’ friend…” she
added, doubtfully. He smiled and climbed inside. Quickly he ran up to
the seventh year dormitory, and looked around for the cloak. It was
crumpled in a silvery heap on the floor.
“What in Godric’s name do you think you’re doing?”
He spun around and saw Fee. She was glaring at him,
with hands on hips.
“I’m…I’m…” For once, he was lost for words. She took
in the invisibility cloak, and looked back to is face.
“You were going to steal it, weren’t you? I’m going
straight to Dumbledore.” She started towards him, and he noticed that
she was clutching something in her left hand. It caught the light. Probably
she’d come back up here to get in and had heard him walking around.
There was nothing else for it. He moved quickly. Grabbing
the cloak, he wrapped it around himself and pushed past her. Before
she had a chance to react, he became invisible. Phoenix swore under
her breath and ran for the entrance. He got out just before she blocked
it, but it was no use. She’d felt him slip past her, and followed him.
He took the left corridor, the one leading to the entrance
hall. Hopefully, she’d have no idea where he had gone and would be forced
to go and tell the others. By then it would already be too late. She
appeared to be listening very carefully. Snape felt like cursing under
his breath as she ran after him, following the sound of footsteps.
They were nearly at the entrance hall. His goal was
in sight when finally, disaster struck. The edge of the cloak caught
on a nearby stone raven, and slipped from his back. She caught up with
him, and grabbed the cloak. They both raised their wands, panting with
the sudden exertion.
“You…you won’t get away with this.”
”What do you mean? Everyone…has to answer…to Dumbledore.”
She sounded puzzled, yet kept her wand pointed at him.
“Not me. Not anymore.”
”I don’t understand.”
”Oh no. You wouldn’t, would you?” A sudden bubble of
anger welled up in his throat. This was the perfect time to let her
know what he really thought of her and all her idiotic friends. “You
have a wonderful life. All of you do.”
”All of who?”
”You, Potter, Evans, Lupin, Black. You’re all good
looking, all clever, all Dumbledore’s favourites…what would you know
about suffering? About being teased and picked on and never being the
one everybody loves. The one everybody wants!” He was shouting now,
but she didn’t look impressed or remorseful. Instead, her face was screwed
up in anger.
“How dare you presume to know anything about me or
my friends! You make it sound like…like we’re perfect! We all have our
”Tell me one. Just one.”
”Here’s some, you horrible little snake.” Phoenix started
to count them off on her fingers as she spoke. “Sirius hasn’t got a
Sickle to his name at the moment, Lily’s mother died a few weeks ago,
James was rejected for the England Quidditch Team so has absolutely
no idea what to do with his life anymore and I only managed to scrape
through my N.E.W.Ts with a high mark in Charms and one in Defense Against the
Dark Arts because
the man I’m in love with just happens to be a werewolf,
and very good at that sort of thing!”
She was momentarily breathless after this outburst,
but carried on. “In a way though, I suppose you’re right. We are very
lucky. We’re lucky because we’ve got friends. We’ve got people who love
us and need us and will be there for us no matter what.” Phoenix lowered
her wand. “I pity you, Severus. Because you haven’t got anyone.”
His blood boiled with the intense hatred that comes
only when someone has just told you a truth you don’t want to hear.
He raised his wand and his lips began
to form words.
Two words. She fell. Dark golden hair, curled especially
for tonight’s celebration, fanned out around her head. She hit the floor
with a loud crack, yet no blood poured from her skull. Robes of gold,
her favourite colour, sparkled in the torchlight reflecting the shimmer
on to her face, giving her a halo.
Her hand smashed hard against the stone, bruising the
skin around her knuckles. It opened and a small box flew across the
flagstones, landing near his feet. The laughing blue eyes dimmed forever
and Phoenix Roberts lay still.
A dark phoenix, never to rise again.
He turned around slowly, and saw Professor Malakin,
lowering his wand once more. “You…you killed her.”
“Feeling squeamish, Snape? It’ll soon pass. Filthy
Mudblood. She’d only have been dealt with later, anyway. She was the
first to fall…but not the last. Not by a long way.” A cold smile crept
across the man’s face, and Snape watched him walk outside.
He bent down and picked up the box. Scrawled in untidy
handwriting, he could make out the words ‘To Remus’. Lifted the lid to reveal a necklace. A small locket hung from it,
and he opened it to show a painting of her face. ‘With love always,
It hit him, then. That he was responsible for her death.
That the Gryffindors would laugh no more. He meant to stop them laughing
for a few days. Not forever. Now forever he had stolen a piece of laughter
from their hearts, something that was simply irreplaceable. And the
tears would come, no more gold, not for them. Everything would be black.
She was dead.
“What’s all the noise? All students should be in the…Miss
Damn. He ran for the door, yet hung in the shadows.
Snape wanted to watch. He wanted to see. The young Transfiguration professor,
Minerva McGonagall, ran towards the body on the floor.
“Miss Roberts? Phoenix? Fee? Oh no…help! Somebody help
He watched as they ran in from the hall, first in small
groups, then as the rumor spread…someone had died…in larger groups,
pushing and shoving. Dumbledore cut through the crowds and the other
staff members held the students back. He could see what was going to
happen next. A murmur started…murmur about murder…and a
sudden hush descended on the students.
He could only stare at the back of the hall, and the
tops of their heads.
People stood aside to let them through. Everybody knew
them, knew the Marauders, they were famous. Famous for their daring
and talent and bravery, their kindness and cleverness and wit. Everybody
loved them. And it scared them all to think that they weren’t invulnerable,
that bad things could happen to good people.
All of their faces were blank. He could see Sirius’
lips moving, repeating over and over ‘it can’t be true, it can’t be
true’. Until they saw. It was true.
Lily burst into tears on the spot, loud heavy sobs.
James held her, hugged her tightly, and having looked once at the body
didn’t look again. Black and Pettigrew, with tears in their own eyes
tried to stop Lupin from seeing, but it was too late. He pushed past
them, and knelt down, put her head on his knees. Stroked her hair as
tears rolled down his face.
Sirius grabbed Dumbledore roughly, and Snape heard
his voice faintly. “No, there has to be something you can do, she isn’t
dead, she can’t be…it must be a spell or something. Not Fee.” He stared
forlornly at the body. “Not Fee.”
“She’s dead.” That was Lupin. When he looked up, his
eyes were blank. The tears running down his face were the only emotion
visible. He seemed numb. Severus put it down to shock.
Malakin came up behind him, and pulled him away. “There’s
one last thing to do. Then we must leave.” Carefully, the former Professor
aimed his wand at the sky above Phoenix’s body. “Morsmordre.”
An emerald skull, entwined with a snake, formed above
the student’s heads. Dumbledore waved them all back, gasps and shouts
filled the room. The last thing he saw was the Marauders, huddled around
her broken body, ignorant of the Dark Mark hanging over their heads.
The only thing they cared about was that one of their best friends was
dead. It made something sit uneasily on his heart.
Before he could think about it, Malakin pulled him
away from the doors, away from Hogwarts, to join the other Death Eaters.
They rode away without a backwards glance.
“P. Roberts,” Hermione continued, opening the book
with a flourish, “was the first victim of Voldemort, the first who’s
death was signed with the Dark Mark. She was killed right here at Hogwarts.”
”Wow. And she was one of your parents’ friends. Harry?
Do you think we should write to Sirius about the necklace? I’m starting
to think that it wasn’t Snape’s. Harry?”
Harry was staring at the picture in ‘Hogwarts: A History’.
It was a school picture, taken in her fifth year. She looked older in
the painting, but no by much. Waving and smiling, she had no idea what
was going to happen to her when that picture was taken. It had just
been another day. He wondered what she’d done. Teased Sirius? Joked
with his mother? Done some last minute homework with his father? Kissed
Voldemort’s first victim. He always thought of his
parents whenever people talked about Voldemort, and neither Sirius nor
Professor Lupin had ever mentioned a Phoenix. Why should they? It was
obviously a painful subject. Three of their friends fallen to Voldemort.
He glanced at the photograph in his album. Lupin and Phoenix had
stopped waving and were smiling at each other, their
heads close together. For Lupin, two of his friends and perhaps something
even more precious…
He shook his head. “We should go and see Dumbledore.
If that necklace belongs to anyone, I think it’s Professor Lupin.”
“So, Severus, what can I do for you?”
Snape snapped from his thoughts, and stared at Dumbledore
as though they’d never met before.
”In your own time.”
That name had never brought to mind so many images
as it did now, all of them painful, none of them welcome.
“Potter found this necklace. I believe it belongs to
Interested, Dumbledore took the locket from Snape’s
outstretched hand. It sprang open under his touch, and he made a small
surprised noise at the picture and inscription within.
”Phoenix…poor, dear child. Dreadful business…I cried
for days, and I wasn’t the only one. Not by a long way. Tragic, really
it was. I remember James couldn’t persuade Remus to leave his room for
weeks...and when he did, all he’d do was eat and just sit there. Then
one day, he woke up and realized she was never going to walk through
the door. Started to live again.” The headmaster paused and looked thoughtfully
at Snape. “The day after that, Voldemort killed James and Lily.”
He shook his head, and they sat in silence a moment
longer. Snape cleared his throat. “You’ll send it to Lupin then.” Dumbledore
nodded, and with a final glance at the necklace Severus left the office.
She was gone. After all these years, he’d finally let
On his way out, he bumped into Potter, Weasley and
Granger. “10 points from Gryffindor. Twice in one day, Potter.”
”We need to see the Headmaster.”
“Oh, you do,
do you? Well, if it’s about that miserable trinket, he’s sending it
to Professor Lupin by owl as we speak.” He registered the look of shock
on their faces with something approaching satisfaction, and leaned a
little closer. “You don’t think I’d keep something that wasn’t mine,
do you, Potter?” he hissed. With that, he headed towards the staff room.
It had been a long day, and all he wanted to do was
sit down. Maybe he could read up on the phoenix.
He hadn’t realized before how much he missed them.