"There's my baby girl." Mrs. Evans quickly enveloped her daughter in a hug as soon as she was through the barrier.
"Mum…can't…breathe." Lily gasped.
"Sorry," she said, reluctantly releasing her daughter. "I've just missed you so much."
"I've miss you, too, mum. Where's dad and Tuney?"
"Your father had to work, I'm afraid, and Petunia, well, she's at home. So, where's Severus? I thought for sure you two would be together."
Lily sighed pushing a piece of her hair behind her ear. "He decided to stay at the castle for the holidays," she explained her lips pulling into a slight frown.
"Hum, well, with his father…"
Mrs. Evans decided it best not to vocalize the rest of her thoughts concerning poor Severus' home life. Instead she and Lily headed to the car. During the ride home, Lily told her mother all about Hogwarts, her subjects, and of course Severus.
"He's blossomed at school, mum. Really! His personality, looks, attitude, everything, and, mum, get this, he's doing so well in school, his teachers are moving him up a year in some of his subjects."
"Really, wow." Rose Evans had often listened to her youngest daughter talk about her best friend, but never like this. She would normally mention how she worried about him and his mother, how he was so much better than he gave himself credit for, but now…now it was nothing but praise and admiration for the boy from Spinner's End; and the way she complimented him, it made Rose think that perhaps her daughter was developing a crush.
Sirius Black was shocked when his mother actually greeted him with a hug. She never hugged, never, and when she did hug, it was usually his younger brother Regulus who received the affection. He had to admit, he liked it. He loved his mother for the simple fact that she was just that-his mother, though he had not gotten along with her in quite some time.
"I am very proud of your accomplishments, this year Sirius," she said, yielding the smallest smile.
"You-you are?" That was a first.
"Of course, your father and I were so worried you wouldn't end up in Slytherin, but you did, didn't you? You are excelling in your classes as well. I had always known you were a bright boy, but you spend so much of your free time on Quidditch and those ridicules Muggle motncinkels, I was worried you wouldn't live up to your potential." Sirius snickered at his mother mispronunciation of motorcycle, but thankfully she didn't notice. "Thankfully my worries were for nothing and it would seem you are doing quite well at Hogwarts."
It was true Sirius had been doing well in school. He obviously couldn't play Quidditch as a first year, so he didn't have that distraction, and the friends he had made in his house, those ones who shared his beliefs about Muggles and Muggle-borns, were rather studious, and he often found himself studying with them. The question was, how did his mother find out?
"I'm doing okay, I guess, but how did you know, I didn't mention my grades in my letters?" he asked as they made their way through the crowds of people at King's Cross.
"You cousin Narcissa wrote her mother and mentioned you being second in your class, and only next to some child in Ravenclaw who seemed to be a prodigy of some sort."
"Yes, that would be Severus."
"You know him?" she asked, a look of excitement twinkling in her dark blue eyes. It was always wise to make friends with power, and if the boy was as smart as he sounded, he could make a useful ally. Sirius nodded. "So he's a friend?" She asked to clarify.
"I guess so, though we're not really all that close. He hangs out with Lily more than anyone."
"Oh, well, you should invite him over sometime; we would love to meet your friends."
"Um, sure, maybe over the summer; he's staying at the castle for the holidays."
"That would be fine. Perhaps your father can get an extra ticket to the World Cup that's coming up in July. Do you think he would enjoy that?"
"I don't know", Sirius shrugged, "I guess I could ask."
"Of course you should." Walburga looked proudly at her son, a small smile still pulled to her lips. "So tell me what you know about this Severus…"
Severus spent much of his holiday in the library; he had decided to pick up research on a project he had started many years ago. It wasn't as if he had much else to do, anyway. He had opened his gift from Lily already; he didn't feel like waiting for Christmas. She had gotten him a book on rare potions. It was actually an excellent book; surprisingly it wasn't one he had in his previous collection. As he sat at a table in the library reading a book on magical mind impairments, a voice interrupted his study.
"Hello, Severus." The sandy-haired boy pushed his bangs from his eyes as he sat down next to the Gryffindor.
"Hello, Remus. So I see you decided to stay here for the holidays."
Remus nodded as he pulled a book from his bag. "My parents, well, they went to visit my grandmother in France, and I…never mind."
Severus pondered if he should let the boy know he was aware of his "furry little problem." He doubted anyone knew at this point; he hadn't told the Marauders until third year. Actually, it was Black who had guessed, and Lupin had admitted it was true, and that was when they had started working on becoming Animagi.
"Remus." The werewolf's blue eyes looked up at the Ravenclaw. His thoughts were on the forefront of his mind and very easy for Severus to read. He felt his parents were ashamed of him, his grandparents disgusted. He just wanted a friend, at least one he could talk to, one who wouldn't judge him, who wouldn't hold his condition against him. "I am guessing you believe your family…resents you because of your…condition."
The boy's eyes widened-panic set in. He knew! Oh, Merlin, what if he told some one? If anyone found out, he could be expelled…or worse. "M-my condition?" He decided to play dumb.
Severus had never hated Remus because he was a werewolf, he had hated him because he was a Maurader, that and he had once tried to eat him. "It's okay, Remus. I'm not going to judge you. It's no one's business but your own."
Remus let out a breath of relief, his condition had to remain a secret in order for him to stay at Hogwarts. "How did you figure it out?"
"You're always in the hospital during the full moon and usually come out of it looking worse for wear."
"Oh. But you won't tell, right?"
"No. I won't. If you want, I can brew you a pain reliever." He would have offered Wolfsbane, but technically it had yet to be invented at that point and wouldn't for another eight years.
"They don't help," he said softly.
Severus smirked. "Mine will. Trust me." Having undergone the Cruciatus Curse more times than he cared to recall, Severus was very adept at brewing pain relievers.
"Oh, well, I guess it couldn't hurt to try. Thank you."
Christmas morning had come, and Lily had received many wonderful gifts from friends and family, but nothing like what she had received from Severus. It was a round silver locket, a lioness and a raven engraved on the front, and inside were their pictures. He had also attached a card.
To my Lily,
Wear this close to your heart, for you are always close to mine.
"Oowwoo! Looks like someone had a boyfriend," Petunia teased her little sister, but Lily didn't care. Severus was her best friend, and of course he was close to her heart and always would be.
"You're just jealous," Lily snapped back as she hooked the necklace around her neck.
"I am not." The Muggle crossed her arms and huffed. "Why would I care if some stupid, poor freak boy likes you?"
"You're just angry because you could never be what Severus and I are. You're nothing but a jealous git!"
Petunia's eyes began to water, but she refused to let the tears fall. She wouldn't give her sister the satisfaction, even if she knew she was right.
"Stop it this instance!" Mr. Evans demanded. "I will not have you two ruin Christmas with your bickering."
"Sorry," both girls quietly mumbled.
"Good, now, Petunia, sweetie, I believe it's your turn to open a gift."
Severus had surprisingly received several gifts that year - a few from his dorm mates, mostly sweets. Potter had even gotten him a book on famous witches and wizards. He thought it a rather odd gift - that was, until he read the note he left in the inside cover.
To the genius boy.
Who will most likely be in the next edition?
Severus laughed as he shook his head in disbelief. James Potter had not only given him a gift, but in an indirect way complimented his intelligence. He never thought he would see the day. He had also received a gift from his parents-well, his mother, though she sighed Tobias' name as well. It wasn't much, just some personalized stationary, but considering how little they had, it meant a lot. She had even attached a note.
Our little Sev,
We are so proud of you, Severus, and we know you will do remarkable and amazing things with your life.
Love, Mum and Dad
Christmas came and went, and a new year began. There was a small celebration in the Great Hall, though not near as grand as the Christmas feast. Severus was one of only six students who stayed at the castle, they had all sat together, at the Headmasters insistence. Severus stayed quiet, mostly just listening to the others talk, but it was light, comfortable conversation, and he honestly enjoyed it.
A few days later, the students returned to the castle, and Severus of course greeted his Lily with a hug and kiss on the cheek. He instantly noticed that she was wearing the locket he had gotten her.
"So, do you like it?" he asked, delicately taking the pendant between his fingers.
"I love it, Sev. It was the best gift I received. Thank you."
"You are more than welcome, and thank you for the book."
"You're welcome. Do you like it?"
Severus nodded, "Very much so. I had never seen or even heard of it before, it actually has some really interesting potions in it."
"Well, I'm glad you liked it."
"Lily, I would love a piece of lint if it came from you."
Lily just laughed, believing him to be joking.