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Chapter 4
An open book


I’ve realized something very important. Never touch, read, or even pick up foreign objects that do not belong to you. Especially when you are in a house full of teenagers with raging hormones. Oh, so I picked it up, flipped through the pages and said what the hay, why don’t I give it read? Terrible mistake. Holy jeez, let me tell you; those words were far too dirty for my mind, and Lord knows I was sweating to no ends and blushing like the terrible prude that I am. The most terrible thing was that I could not put the ruddy, nasty thing down. Ack. If that’s the process of making babies, I say sayonara baby, sayonara stormy love affair. I think from this time forward I’m going to proclaim myself abstinent. Bold words from an eleven year old.

The thing is; all this could have easily been stored in my mind to wither away along with the rest of the junk up there, my junk. So when Severus came lounging on the sofa opposite of me, no doubt working on one of his mad potion experiments, I jumped and tried to hurriedly hide the book under the cushions. So naturally he noticed. Of course.

He looked up, furrowed his eyebrows and stared at me with those soulless black eyes of his. I stammered, my heart started to beat, a thunderous beat of hooves, and I suppose those were all the syndromes of getting caught red handed reading porn. Perfect. I tried to smile innocently knowing that it would be pointless. Severus Snape could get anything out of me if he wanted to. One penetrating stare and that was it. I had succumbed. I took out the horrid thing and handed it to him wordlessly. Our ‘friendship’ was like that, talk when necessary, and don’t jabber on about worthless things. Speak by your actions. I thought it wasn’t fair, he was very good at masking his feelings while I, on the other hand was like an open book, or so he told me.

“Guard your emotions, there is weakness in letting them see too much.”

I wondered who them was. But most of all I wondered why someone so young could have such strong feelings about guarding oneself. He was enthralling and absolutely mysterious. He was a mystery that I told myself over and over I would break.

As I handed him the object, I couldn’t call it a book, it shamed books to oblivion, I felt this sudden urge to shake him and shout at him.

How do you it?

How do you pretend on the outside? How do you let other people see what they want to see? How do you hide?

I didn’t jump on him and shake him like a mad woman. No, instead I shut my eyes and said, “ I choose to be abstinent.”

And Merlin, at that moment I wanted to pull a Houdini.

*~*~*~*~*~*~

Severus paced feverishly in the boys dormitory. It was very cold but Severus would not be bothered by it. Avery, a fellow murky first year Slytherin watched him amused.

“What’s got your knickers in a twist, Snape?” He called out roguishly while twirling his wand in his long fingers.

Severus wished the boy would shut up. Avery was a perverted fool who thought of nothing but looking up girl’s knickers and making sure everyone knew what a rich boy he was. Severus didn’t have time for such nonsense. He was after all preparing to go home, go home for the summer to his home, with his mother and…. that man. That man was his father, Severus forced himself to never think of him as a father figure, he secretly called the man who had helped conceived him, “The Mudblood Dog.” The bastard that had hurt him and made him hate himself. That man was the cause of Severus’s trouble and Severus hated him more than the world. He was contemplating begging Dumbledore to let him stay at Hogwarts but he knew he would never be able to stoop that low no matter how bad it got. In doing so, there would be questions, there would be the need for answers and Severus didn’t know the answers himself. He knew this however, he would never ever show them weakness, never show or tell anybody of his family. He could not. He would not. It was his oath. He was Severus Snape and he worked alone, for no one and he did not grovel for anyone. He was going home in two weeks and he would bear it like stone, emotionless and solid.

“Mate,” drawled Avery, “ Aren’t you excited for the hols? No more of this bloody place for months. No more of McGonagall shoving homework up our arses or Sluggy kissing up to the Gryffindor’s. Mate, we’re free!” He exclaimed slapping Severus on the back in what he supposed was a friendly gesture.

Severus clenched his fist and whirled to face the boy.

“Don’t touch me!” He seethed. “Never touch me.”

Avery backed away, put off by the hooked nosed boy’s sudden temper.

“Cheer up Sevvy.” Avery taunted and stormed out of the dark dormitory leaving behind a rage filled Severus.

Mate, we’re free! Ringed through Severus ears like poison. In the seclusion of his dormitory he allowed himself a snort. Free, thought Severus despicably, I am trapped. Suddenly sick of the depressing dormitory that reminded him of home, he grabbed some parchment and headed to the common room where, hopefully Lucinda would be there to distract him from the inevitable dread he was to endure over the summer.

And sitting in the sofa closest to the fire, he saw her reading a book looking totally transfixed and at the same time horrified. The corners of his mouth twitched, one would call it a smile. Severus crept quietly into the seat opposite of her. He intended to startle her. He liked catching her off guard, he found that she wore her heart on her sleeve, trusting too easily and mouthing off too quickly. In fact, he knew the fifth years in Slytherin, Lucius and Bellatrix to be more precise, despised her because she had told them exactly what she thought of them and told them what exactly they should do to themselves. Severus thought an action like that was very Gryffindor like for it was very brave. He silently applauded her. But during the year, she had been subject of so many humiliating pranks, bruises and hexes that Madame Pomfrey had reserved a bed just for her in the Hospital wing. However, that never stopped her. Severus would never admit it but he thought her endearing in every sense of the word.

So when she literally jumped up when she saw Severus sitting directly opposite her, he couldn’t help but chuckle, it was a very quiet laugh and he was pretty sure she hadn’t heard. He furrowed his eyebrows at her to regain his composure. She was blushing scarlet, her face matching her hair. It was a definite sign she was hiding something. He looked behind her and saw a corner of a book peeking out behind a pillow. He wondered at its content. Severus looked at her and her eyes showed humiliation. She was sweating faintly and her breathing seemed labored. Severus became curious. He searched her eyes for they were easy to read and found resignation. She sighed and wordlessly handed over the book to him. He looked at it curiously but he needn’t have wondered at its contents because just when he was about to open the book she spoke.

“ I choose to be abstinent.”

It was the first time Severus had ever laughed aloud.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

His laugh was raspy and coarse like it had been long out of use. Which it was I had come to figure out. I had not once heard him laugh all year, except for a few smirks and even fewer smiles so when he laughed a real, true and sincere laugh, I smiled, happy not for myself but for him. It was the weirdest feeling in the world. And I had made him laugh. ME! Who knew talking about not having sex could spark such amusement? When he laughed, his nose was less noticeable, his eyes crinkled up in the corners and his skin seemed to glow. He was mesmerizing in his joy.

When he was done, I still stared. This seemed to startle him.

“What is it?” He demanded quietly.

I shook my head and smiled.

“I’ve never heard you laugh before is all.” I said shrugging, trying to hide my real thoughts, “ It suits you.”

To my utter surprise, Severus blushed. Two miracles in one day. Wow, I was on a role. It became suddenly very awkward like the air was thick of something that was telling me to lean closer. I shook it off. Lean closer, what was I thinking?
Severus was the first to get his mind back on track. He cleared his throat and proclaimed he needed to finalize some Potion notes for the upcoming finals. Of course.

“Right.” I groaned. “ Can I borrow your notes?”

Severus rolled his eyes in annoyance.

“Honestly, Gray, you don’t need my notes. Your notes are more than adequate.”

“Yes, but Snape, you’re notes are more helpful plus I bet you know more than Sluggy himself.” I said matter o factly. “You’re his favorite pupil.”

“Evans is.” He remarked quietly. “ The Mudblood.”

“The Mudblood?” I spluttered. “ You… you didn’t say that.”

“Oh, sod it Gray.” Severus snapped. “ This is Slytherin, not Gryffindor, not Hufflepuff and not Ravenclaw. Slytherin. What do you expect?”

“I… I…” I trailed off. What did I expect? Severus to be kind and caring? Perhaps I was too naïve to believe that people could change. What about me? Was I expected to become some prejudice Slytherin? Where did I belong? Father’s unsent letter popped into my mind. To my horror, moisture began forming in my eyes. I frantically blinked them away. I am alone, always alone, always the outsider. Who were my friends? Severus? Hardly. Lily? No. I was alone and I found for the first time ever that it hurt. The tears would not go away. I’m alone. I’m alone. I’m alone…

I turned away from Snape’s glare, praying he hadn’t seen my tears. He hated emotion. But being the ever-observant jerk, he noticed. Typical. He looked me over, my red eyes with tears still unshed, my hair in disarray and my eyes that betrayed me. I silently turned away and stumbled up from my chair while almost falling over. He instinctively reached to catch me.

“Don’t.” I warned softly. I’m not good enough. Were the words left unspoken. He caught me never the less. Those were his unspoken words. Though they could mean two different things. The first; your too weak I have to help you, despicable. The second; I’ll always catch you when you fall.

The frightening and odd thing is I want it to be the second meaning. But that’s just my own delusional world, my pretend. I don’t want to be alone. I need to belong somewhere.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

He caught her. He held her. He touched her. And he didn’t know why. The only thought that went through his head as he saw anguish in her eyes was; my hope, I can’t lose it. Lose her. His only companion that somehow didn’t pester him. Severus was pretty sure he was losing his mind. He didn’t like it. Not at all.

~*~*~*~*~*~

“I hate this,” I said gloomily while watching kids hugging and crying. “It’ll seem like forever until I see you again” drifts into the air for the fifth time in a whopping ten minutes. Cor, it was only for two months. Get over yourself you over sentimental liars. My outlook on life is positively charming, isn’t it? Severus was rubbing off on me. I scourged the crowd for my family, looking for a gray sweatshirt and hooded eyes. Where were they? I glanced apologetically at Severus.

“Sorry.” I apologized. “You know, you’re not obliged to wait with me. I’m sure you’re family is looking for you.”

A dark look passed over his face.

“No.” He said firmly. “I’ll wait.”

“Whatever.” I muttered and tucked a piece of my fringe away from my face. “Thanks.” I added quietly. He merely nodded.

Suddenly a pair of strong arms grabbed hold of my waist. I squealed and began thrashing about. Until I recognized the soothing voice of Luke. I forced myself to turn and look at my captor. It was my big brother in the flesh and he had gotten a good deal taller since I had last seen him.

“Lucinda!” He cried and ruffled my hair. “You little muppet.”

I smiled brilliantly.

“I missed you too, Luke.” I said hugging him around the belly. He patted me awkwardly, unused to my sudden burst of attention.

“Women.” He muttered sarcastically. I buried my face deeper into his chest and inhaled the fresh, laundry Tide scent emanating from his sweatshirt. I could practically see him rolling his eyes. Gah, I missed that smell. My house was practically full of it, seeing as how my mother was a neat freak.

“Unstable little witch.” He laughed as he caught me smelling his sweatshirt. He pulled me off of him and ruffled my hair again. “I believe introductions are in order.” He said nodding toward Severus who was still and emotionless as ever.

“This is Snape.” I said gesturing toward Severus. “Severus Snape.” Luke held out his hand in what was supposed to be friendly gesture. But I knew Severus didn’t like to be touched and he knew positively well that my brother was a muggle. Severus didn’t budge. He merely nodded.

“Right, well.” I cleared my throat. “Snape, this is my brother Luke.”

“Pleasure.” Severus whispered. There was no pleasure behind it at all. In fact I detected a little bit of hostility on Severus’s part.

“Heh heh.” I laughed nervously, after a few seconds of silence. “Well isn’t this just cozy.”

I glanced at my tall, blonde haired brother and then at my fellow housemate. They were having a staring contest. The phrase, ‘If looks could kill,’ suddenly popped into my head.

“Luke?” I asked tentatively. “Could you leave Severus and I alone to say good-bye.”

Luke snapped his head toward me and raised an eyebrow quizzically.

“No, not like that you prat.” I said punching him on the shoulder. “Go on, tell mum and dad I’m on my way.” I said shooing him off. Lord, that boy was a stubborn one.

“What the hell has gotten into you?” I whispered harshly when Luke was safely a few feet away. “Can’t you even muster up the dignity to even acknowledge my own family? Your stupid pride is not appreciated. My family is not pureblooded, as you very well know. So don’t get all Slytherin on me!”

“Oooh,” Said a voice from behind me. I whipped around. I was in a bad mood. I pitied the person who had chosen at this moment to pester me. Sirius Black, James Potter, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. The four Gryffindor princes. Great. Peachy.

“What the hell do you want?” I seethed. The look on my face must have been murderous for Pettigrew squeaked. “Up for a last minute prank on dirt face and Snivellus or maybe you’ve come to jabber on how we’re having a “couple” fight.”

I stared and waited. Potter leaned in over to whisper in Lupin’s ear.

“We’re getting too predictable mate.”

I shook my head. What a stupid bunch. I can’t believe I ever thought James Potter was charming. Sure, Lupin was decent, he got good grades, wiped the messes the rest of his friends created, and he was a good boy who was prone to illnesses. I’d never got around to talking to him much, which was not a surprise seeing as how I was a Slytherin and he was Gryffindor but he did seem less conceited and arrogant as Dumb and Dumber there. Pettigrew was a fool. Potter was a condescending moron who spoke and breathed Quidditch and Sirius Black was the sarcastic, moody idiot that despised Slytherin almost as much as he despised the world. He cracked jokes at other people’s expenses and jinxed people he didn’t like for the hell of it. I was usually on the receiving end of those bloody pranks. Severus and I both.

It was a burden we both had to share. But whereas Severus had managed to befriend the other Slytherins, the Slytherins hated me and with pranks coming from the fantastic four I also got usual beatings and hexes from the SS inc, the Sadistic Sycophants. I was a regular in the hospital wing and no matter how many times Pomfrey would demand who did this to me, I would stubbornly stay silent. They couldn’t break me. Did I cry? Oh boy, I cried. Did I cry in front of them? No. “Never let them see you cry,” was my motto.

It was the end of first year and all I wanted was to get home in one piece, leaving behind all the bad memories of my horrible start to Hogwarts.

“Leave us alone for once, yeah?” I managed calmly.

Lupin nodded and murmured to his friends. I was grateful. I gave him a nod and a grateful smile. He nodded again. The four of them shuffled off, Sirius cast me a dark look. While James cast a dirty look to Severus, both were obviously restraining themselves.

I turned to Severus who still hadn’t spoken a word. There was fire raging in his eyes from me or from the fantastic four I couldn’t tell.

“Have a good summer.” I finished cordially. I hated the way my voice sounded fake and forced. This was not how I pictured our good bye.

I turned to find my brother when I felt a pair of cold hands on my fingers. I smiled at Severus. He nodded, and then let go. I watched his robes billow out from behind him. I watched him go until I lost him in the sea of black robes and hats. I touched my fingers tentatively; I could still feel the light touch of his hands on mine. I smiled. And went searching for my brother, a wide smile plastered on my face.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Her hands were deliciously warm. Severus knew he’d miss her company. It was his unspoken way of saying, “I’m sorry.” And he was. He was sorry he had acted so cold toward her brother, so sorry he had dismissed her family as a bunch of Mudblood lovers. But he was still a Slytherin and he couldn’t shake off the feeling of her being incredibly different, so incredibly Un-Slytherin like.

The look on Lucinda’s face when she first saw her brother was one of pure devotion and willingness. Her eyes had light up in the most magnificent way, her smile had been dazzling and her laugh was loud and melodious. Her attention was wholly focused on her elder brother who Severus had noted with jealously was a right good-looking bloke. The moment she had wrapped her arms around him, Severus had the sudden urge to punch the bloke’s face in. A sudden urge of protectiveness engulfed him and it scared the living daylights out of him. How did it feel to be looked on with so much joy? Lucinda had forgotten him the moment her brother had arrived. Her attention was focused on him, her dazzling and lively attention while he had been forgotten.

Severus shook his head. The feel of her hand in his was still planted firmly in his mind as he approached his mother. That man was nowhere in sight, so Severus walked over to her and carefully wrapped his arms around her thin and fragile waist.

“Welcome home, Severus.” Eileen Snape said softly to her son.



Here it is. Another chappie. Hope you enjoyed it and please review! :]]

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