Severus had received his revised schedule, and the only thing that really changed was the time of his Transfigurations class. That and he apparently now had DADA tutoring with Dumbledore Friday afternoons. This information did not surprise him at all; it was obvious Albus was trying to get Severus under his wing. It didn't matter, though; he could try all he wanted, but nothing short of the Imperius Curse would get him involved in the war this time around.
Professor McGonagall introduced Severus to her class of second year Ravenclaws and Slytherins. She explained his situation and explicitly laid down the rule that he was to be treated as anyone else in the class, and for the most part, they obeyed her orders. There were a couple of immature Gryffindors who tried to mess around with him, but a good freezing charm on Severus' part quickly put a stop to that. The rest of his classes were the same, except he was given more advanced work and extra homework. The week in general continued pretty much the same, at least until Friday after lunch.
Severus had made his way to Albus' office and found the old wizard popping a lemon drop into his mouth. He was amazed the man still had his own teeth, considering the amount of sugar he took in.
"Welcome, Mr. Snape, please have a seat." Severus listened and sat down in front of the Headmaster's desk. "Lemon drop?" Albus offered.
"No thank you, sir."
"Very well. So let's get down to it, shall we?"
"And what exactly will we be getting down to?" Severus asked, his face an expressionless mask. His Occlumency shields up, he had absolutely no desire for Albus to know what was going on in his head.
Albus grinned as he pulled a piece of parchment from his desk. "I have written down a list of spells. I was hoping you could tell me if you believe yourself capable of performing any of them."
Severus took the list, smirking as he read through them. There wasn't a single one he couldn't perform at maximum strength, but he couldn't have Albus knowing that, could he?
"Well, let's see. Actually, sir, if you have a quill, I can simply check the ones I know off."
"Of course." Dumbledore handed Severus a quill, who in turn marked off several spells, only a few over third year and nothing over fourth. After reviewing the list, Albus asked him to perform some of the spells he had checked, which he did with ease.
"Very impressive, Mr. Snape. Very impressive." Albus then took the list he had made and circled two of the spells Severus had not checked off. "I would like you to practice these two spells and also write a five inch essay on their uses, how they correlate and how they are different. I believe that will present you with a bit of a challenge."
Severus looked at the spells Dumbledore had circled and held back a laugh. The assignment would take him fifteen-twenty minutes tops.
Weeks passed and then months, and it so happened that Severus had been graciously dubbed "genius boy" by most of the student body - not that he let the title go to his head. He did have an advantage of thirty-eight years of knowledge, after all. He had attempted to hold back a bit in his second year Transfiguration class, as he didn't want to attract too much attention. As for Charms, after he had finished curriculum with the rest of the class, Professor Flitwick had him practice more advanced Charms, as well as help some of the students who were having trouble. In Potions, Slughorn didn't even bother to have him work with the other first years, but had him help with potions such as pepper-up, pain reliever, burn salves, and other such potions he would normally brew for the hospital wing. He would also give him an odd advanced potion here and there to see where his skills lay, such as Draught of the Living Death and Polyjuice.
His lessons with Dumbledore continued in much the same fashions as the other teachers. He would see what curriculum he already knew and what he still needed practice on, which obviously wasn't much. It was their last meeting of the year, just before end of term exams, when Dumbledore brought up the subject of Severus' former master.
"Severus, I was curious if you have heard of the rising influence of Voldemort."
Severus still flinched at the mention of the Dark Dorms anagram, and subconsciously rubbed his left forearm. It was, after all, a name that had brought him nothing but pain and ultimately death.
"Yes, sir. A little anyway." He replied.
"Hum, and how do you feel about his ideologies?"
How did he feel about the Dark Lords ideologies? Well, that answer was easy, he hated them. It wasn't an opinion he had always held, but he had learned a lot in the twenty years and learned it the hard way.
"You mean about blood purity and all?" he asked.
"Yes, that's exactly what I mean."
"Well, I think it's wrong." A response he would not have given the first time around. For a very long time, Severus truly did despise muggles such as his father and Muggle-borns who simply did not understand their way of life. Lily was always the exception.
The old wizard's grin grew,. "And what do you think is wrong about it?"
"One cannot base a person's magical ability on blood; it makes no sense. I do understand why some wizards and witches may resent Muggles; however, Muggle-borns are born with a magical core just as we all are. My friend Lily, she is one of the top in our year, and she's a Muggle-born, and I myself am half, so really the ideology that the more 'pure' your blood is determines a better wizard is utter rubbish."
"I'm glad to hear you say that. Now, you mentioned understanding why some witches and wizards may not like Muggles." Severus nodded. "What exactly did you mean by that?"
"Well, while some Muggles such as Lily's parents embrace our world, while other fear it, which in turn turns to anger and sometimes violence." Of course, he was thinking of his father and Lily's sister Petunia. As much as Severus could not stand Harry Potter, after his fifth year when he went rummaging through the boy's memories, he could no longer cling to his wanted belief that the boy was a spoiled, pampered brat. Petunia had been hateful and even cruel to the boy at times.
"Hum, I believe I understand. So, you think we should judge each Muggle on their own worth?"
He was digging, and Severus knew it. He knew he needed to be careful how he phrased his wording.
"I think that the Statue of Secrecy is of great importance. We should reveal ourselves to Muggles when necessary, such as revealing our world to the family of Muggle-borns; however, I believe we are better off living our lives separate from theirs."
"That's very interesting to know. Well, I think that's enough for now. Since this is your last class of the term I will let you know that I plan to continue these lessons next year, if that is okay with you, that is."
"That's fine." Severus could be forced to meet with the old coot every second of every day for the next six years, and it still wouldn't change his plan to stay neutral in the war.
"Wonderful. Oh, and so you know, we have decided to put you in with the third years for Charms and Transfiguration next year; the schedules have already been made, and all it will simply do is move around your free period hours."
"Thank you, sir. What about Potions?"
"Professor Slughorn would like to continue the arrangement he has with you. Don't worry, Severus; I am sure he can continue to find ways to challenge you."
Severus simply nodded before giving a quick good bye to the meddlesome old wizard before heading back to his dorm.
The rest of the week went by quickly. Final exams came and went, and all the students headed towards the Hogwarts Express. Just as Severus and Lily reached the train, Severus spotted Lupin, which was perfect in that he needed to give him his summer supply of pain-reliever. He had been brewing it for him since Christmas and decided to go ahead and make him a batch for the two months they were away from school.
"Thank you, Severus. I really appreciate this," Remus said, pocketing the two vials his friend had given him.
"No problem, just remember to keep it chilled for maximum strength."
"I will, and thanks again." Remus headed into a compartment with some fellow Gryffindors, while Severus and Lily headed into an empty one towards the back of the train.
During the train ride home, they talked about everything from how they thought their final exams went to their plans for the summer.
"My mum wrote me about a week ago, and she's planning a long holiday to France," Lily said excitedly.
"Maybe you can come with us?" Lily suggested, looking hopeful at the possibility.
"Normally I would love to, but I have some things at home I need to take care of." Severus stated.
"Oh." Lily had spent at least a little time with Severus every day since school started (minus the Christmas holiday), and she was not at all looking forward to being away from him.
Severus grinned at her thoughts, because yes, he did take a peek at them. "Don't worry, Lily," Severus said, pulling his best friend into a hug and kissing the top of her head. "We'll be together again soon."
Severus was shocked his mother had actually met him at the train station. "There's my brilliant son," Eileen Snape proclaimed, quickly enveloping him in a hug, a hug Severus took pleasure in, for he had not seen his mother alive in nearly twenty years.
"Well, look at you," she said, finally getting a good look at Severus, noticing he was currently dressed in a pair of black jeans and white and black striped polo shirt, his dragon hide boots adorning his feet, and his hair…she didn't realize it was possible to make it look that good.
"Doesn't he look great, Mrs. Snape?" Lily spoke up, grinning up at her best friend.
"Yes, he does." The question that was floating through Eileen's mind was how did her son come by this new look. She knew he didn't have the money for such extravagant clothes or fancy hair care products. She would ask him later at home.
Lily, Severus, and Eileen quickly walked through the barrier where Mr. and Mrs. Evans were waiting, along with, surprisingly enough, Severus' father. Tobias Snape looked presentable and appeared to be sober, a sight Severus rarely saw from his father.
"Hello, son," Tobias said, a small smile forming on his mouth. Severus couldn't remember the last time his father had smiled at him-at least not in a friendly way.
"H-hello, Father." Severus was taken aback by the polite greeting.
"I was just speaking with the Evanses about how well you are doing in school," Tobias said, an actual look of pride filling his face.
Severus was stunned. Since when did his father ever care about what went on at his "abnormal" school?
"Lily had written us about how well you were doing," Rose Evans spoke up, "and I mentioned it to your mum when I ran into her at the grocers."
Severus looked back up at his parents, who were still grinning, then at Lily, who was also smiling, and then back up at the Evanses.
"Um, well, yes, but you know Lily as at the top of our class as well." He attempted to divert the attention away from himself.
"Well, we best get going," Tobias interrupted. "We don't want to miss our reservation."
"Reservation?" Severus asked.
"Your father made reservations at a steakhouse, to celebrate your achievements," Eileen said, taking her husband's hand.
"Oh, that's nice." Completely unexpected, but nice.
Severus bid a farewell to Lily and her parents and headed out to the truck with his parents.
"Severus, where did you get the new clothes?" Tobias asked as he pulled out of the parking lot.
"Oh, I have been earning money tutoring," he lied. He would talk with his mother about the family money later.
They both seemed to believe his lie, and after his mother asked about his hair, he simply said a friend did it.
"You know, your father was offered a new job," Eileen said out of blue.
This was interesting news; he didn't remember this happening the first time around. At least his parents had never mentioned it to him.
"Eileen, I told you not to mention it to him. I haven't decided if I'm going to take it or not."
"You would be a fool not to," Eileen said. "You'll get an increase in pay, as well as steady 9 to 5 work."
"Yes, but I'll have to deal with the unions, and they are all a bunch of fu-"
Severus couldn't help but laugh, which earned him a glare from his mother.
"I think you should do it, Father," Severus encouraged him. "You are always complaining how the unions are run; perhaps this way you will have some influence to change things."
Tobias took a long, deep sigh. "I'll think about it." It was obvious that the first time around he had turned down the promotion.
The steak lunch was magnificent, as was the chocolate sundae that followed it. When they returned home and for the rest of the evening, Severus stayed in his room, planning out his summer. He heard his father head to bed around ten, which gave him the perfect opportunity to speak with his mother.
Severus quietly crept downstairs, where he found his mother sitting at the kitchen table, a cup of tea in her hands, a small smile on the corner of her lips.
"You look content." Severus sat, taking a seat next to his mother.
"I am. You should be asleep, young man," Eileen stated in a rather parental tone.
Severus gave a tiny grin. "I couldn't sleep. I wanted to talk to you, anyway.
"Okay, about what?"
"The money Grandmother left me."
Eileen's smile faded. "Oh." There was a pause before she spoke again. "How did you find out about it?"
"Gringotts sent me a letter, wanting to know why I had not laid claim to the fortune," he lied.
Eileen sighed deeply. She knew she shouldn't have kept the money from her son; it was rightfully his, after all, but she was afraid Tobias would have found out about it. Plus, deep down, she was jealous. Even though her parents had made no attempt to get to know Severus, they had at least left him the moneys and titles, but her, their only daughter…only child, they did not even mention her in their will. It was as if she didn't exist at all.
"I'm sorry, Severus I…I should've told you as soon as I found out, but I...
"It's okay, Mother. No harm done. It would probably be best if we didn't mention it to father, at least not yet."
"No, you're right. He doesn't need to know."
Sirius Black walked down the street of Diagon Alley, his younger brother by his side, his parents just in front of them. His parents had offered to buy him a new broom to reward not only his great marks, but also because he had been sorted into Slytherin. They had feared he wouldn't be. The boy had some strange ideals, after all. Merlin only knew where he got them. Now that he was in Slytherin surrounded by proper Purebloods, they had no doubt he would come around soon enough.
"Sirius, you and Regulus head into Quality Quidditch, while your father and I take care of some business at Gringotts," Mrs. Black told her son, giving him the tiniest smile.
"Yes, Mother." Sirius and Regulus said then quickly heading into the Quidditch shop and went straight for the broom section.
"You should get a racing broom, Siri," Regulus suggested, his gaze suddenly glued to a rack of shiny cherry wood brooms, the words Dragon Chaser sketched into the handle.
"That broom is near a hundred gallons; there is no way they would spend that kind of money on me."
"Sure they would. You have no idea how proud mother and father are of you, Siri. In fact, you're all mother talks about anymore."
Sirius felt his face flush. It was just too hard to believe that his normally callous mother could genuinely be proud of him. He had to admit, however, that he did like having his parents appreciate him. He knew they loved him for the simple fact that he was their son, but to see them openly boast over his accomplishments was absolutely wonderful.
"Mum is especially happy you were placed in Slytherin; you know she had a nightmare you were placed in Gryffindor." Sirius gave a snorted laugh. "It's true. Father had to give her a calming potion."
Sirius let out a boisterous laugh at his brother's last comment. "I find that hard to believe; besides, would it really have been that big of deal if I were in another house?"
This time it was Regulus who laughed. "Are you kidding? There hasn't been a Black not in Slytherin in over four centuries."
"That's because your entire family is nothing but a bunch of foul, evil, dark wizards who want nothing more than to lick You-Know-Who's arse."
It was Potter. Figures. The git had made a few comments to Sirius at school and had even played a prank on him once, ripping the seam on the bottom of his school bag and causing all his supplies and books to fall to the floor.
"You know nothing of my family, Potter," Sirius said through gritted teeth, his fists clenched.
"Of course I do." James Potter smirked, taking a step closer to the two other boys. "All Slytherins are dark, and sick, especially your family, Black. You're all alike - no good, rotten, inbred-"
Sirius did not agree with his family ideals, but they were still his family, and no one had the right to insult them. The twelve-year-old moved his hand towards his robe pocket, quickly wrapping his fingers around his wand and…
"Sirius." It was the stern, forbearing voice of his father, whose much larger hand was now gripped tightly around Sirius' wrist. "This is not the place for such activity."
Sirius released the grip on his wand. "Yes, sir. S-sorry."
"What's going on here?" Sirius looked up to see an older version of James approach them.
"It would see that my son did not take well to having our family name insulted by your son."
Henry Potter looked down at his son, who was still glaring daggers at Sirius. "James, is this true, were you insulting Mr. Black's family?"
"Yes, but so what? You know how they are, Dad. They're all a bunch of-"
"Enough!" Mr. Potter raised his voice to his son. "You know your manners, James, and it is disrespectful to insult an ancient noble family in public."
Henry Potter was no fan of the Blacks, or the Slytherin house for that matter, but he was a Pureblood, and as such, maintained the ancient wizarding traditions. You never insult your enemy in public unless you plan to duel.
James gave a half-hearted apology, and Henry took his son and quickly left the store.
"It wasn't Siri's fault," Regulus quickly defended his brother, worried his father would get angry and punish him, and being punished by Orion Black was never a good thing.
"I am aware of that, Regulus. The Potter boy insulted our family honor and in so initiating a duel; however, I do not believe the owners of this establishment would have liked to have their property destroyed by two rather haughty twelve-year-old boys."
Both Sirius and Regulus gave a small chuckle at their father's comment. "Now, Sirius, have you decided on a broom?"
"I had not had much of a chance to look when Potter started in on me."
"Siri, get the Dragon Chaser," Regulus once again suggested.
"You just want me to get it because you think I'll let you ride it." The younger Black brother smirked before shrugging his shoulders.
"If you want the racing room, you may have it," Orion told his son, dismissing the price completely. Money, after all, wasn't an issue.
"Um, well, if it's really okay, then yeah, I'll get it."