Salem Institute of Magic, USA: August 1996

Hope Rowanwood cried silently on her bed as she replayed the shock of the news. Her parents had supposedly died at the hand of two unknown Death Eaters just yesterday. The pain hadn't come full force yet, but the numbness of shock was slowly wearing off. Hope felt so alone. She had been very close to her parents, as many only children are, and had thought of them more as friends than guardians. She had never made many friends among her peers. She was a loner type and knew it. Some of the kids teased her and called her ‘bookworm,’ and it was very true. Hope preferred her precious books to anything, except her parents; and now, her parents were gone forever. She turned over on the bed and stared at the ceiling as if it could bring her parents back. She sighed as she caught glance of the flowers from the corner of her eye. Jeera, her one acquaintance, didn’t even know that she was allergic to pollen. They worked together for projects at the Institute once in a while, but Hope preferred to be the strangler. Even though she was awesome at Quidditch, none of the captains had picked her for Seeker. Her silent personality was mistaken for snobbiness. After all, she did come from a long line of powerful and well-known wizards. She remembered the first time that she had ridden a broomstick. The power and awe it had awoken in her had never been surpassed by anything. She sighed her regret for her lack of friends and tried to sleep away the misery. She had barely closed her eyes when a voice brought her back to reality.

“Hope, dear. I would like you to meet someone.” Professor Sanchez stood at the door while a tall man stood behind her. Professor had offered to take care of Hope, but only temporarily. She had a family and children of her own to foster. Hope understood and was grateful for any comfort in this horror of a heartbreak. The man walked into the room, carefully not stepping on any of the half-done puzzles on the floor. He stood by her bed for a while, reading something in her eyes. Hope felt like she was seeing her father again, the need to comfort was evident in the man’s expression, but she blinked and the moment passed.

Professor cleared her throat, “Hope. I’d like you to meet someone. He’s been a friend of your father for years, but lost contact when John moved here.”

Hope flinched involuntarily at her father’s name, and the man instantly reached out to her before he suddenly stopped. Hope stared into his eyes and recognized the look of fatherly reassurance.

Professor Sanchez, not noticing the interaction, continued, “He’s the one that your parents appointed as guardian. This is your godfather.”

Hope sat up and studied the man with intent. “My name is Hope Rowanwood, sir. What’s your name again?”

The deep, rumbly voice answered steadily, “Snape. Severus Snape.”

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