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    It was an awfully hot day, hotter than April days are supposed to be. But the sky was blue and every so often a cool breeze blew, rustling the leaves that were just coming back to the trees that had stood bare for too many winter months. It was two days before Easter, and the Snape children were headed to Hogsmeade, just for fun. Severus was, as usual, very excited about the trip, because hanging around with Lucius and Sarraiah and no parents made the boy feel very grown up. Sometimes she even let them eat lunch at their own tableat Madigan's, the new little café near the owlry. Sarraiah sat at her vanity in her bedroom, fixing her hair and makeup as any typical teenage girl would before venturing out in public, trying her best to ignore her younger brother, who was standing behind her, hopping occasioanlly from one foot to the other, impatient and energetic as fifth grade boys typically are. “Can’t Lucius please come with us, Sarraiah? Please? So I’ll have someone to walk around with! It will be so dull hanging around with you and your boyfriend all day long-” “Severus!” Sarraiah snapped. “Do not breathe one word of Johnny to anyone, do you hear me?” “Why not, ‘Raiah? You’re sixteen years old, Mum and Dad said it’s okay for you to go out sometimes.” Severus was ten, and as a little brother, it was practically his duty to spend his time annoying his older sister, but alas, Severus was not the average ten year old boy. He rather liked his older sister, and hated to see her get into trouble for any reason. “You don’t understand, Severus. He goes to Hogwarts but he’s...well, you know." She lowered her voice. "He’s Muggle-born.” She applied a layer of mascara as her bewitched brush and comb styled her hair. “He’s a Mudblood, then?” “Severus!” She exclaimed in her most grown-up, disapproving tone. "Mudblood is a horrible word.” “But Father and Uncle Folter say it all the time...” “Father and Uncle Folter are wrong, love. You’ll learn that for yourself, someday. Muggles, and muggle borns, can be wonderful, so very wonderful. This fall, when it’s your turn to head to Hogwarts, you’ll meet all sorts of people, and you'll understand. Not that any muggles ever make it into Slytherin House.” “What is your boy—I mean, your friend in?” “Ravenclaw.” She put on a dark red lipstick, then proptly wiped it off and applied a pale pink shade. “It’s where the cleverest of Wizards go. And he IS clever. A bit of a hothead though, he’s got a temper, like Father.” Severus was concerned. “Like Father?” “Well, no, love, not exactly. Just...a temper. That’s all. Come on, let’s floo to the Malfoy’s and pick up Lucius. We can walk to Hogsmeade from there.” “Thanks, Sarraiah!” An hour later Lucius, Severus, Sarraiah and Johnny had arrived in Hogsmeade. All had been properly introduced (though Lucius recognized Johnny from Hogwarts, where the younger boy was a second year and the older was in his seventh). The had already been to Honeydukes, Potion Queens, and All Thing’s Dark, which was having a huge going out of business sale (the owner, a Mrs. Elvira Monical, was soon to be retiring to spend more time with her pets, a Cobra, two Jaguars and a Three-Toed Sloth, interestingly enough). “Let’s go to the Pendulum Swing next!” Suggested Lucius, to which Severus wholeheartedly seconded. “Tell you what,” Sarraiah smiled at them. “Why don’t you two head over, and we’ll meet you back at Honeydukes in two hours, alright then?” “Alright,” the boys agreed in unison. The took off in the right direction, but soon stopped to check out some brand new racing brooms in one of the store windows. “I want that one!” Lucius announced to his friend. “Look at it, fastest broom yet! The Tailswooper 300!” “Yeah...” But Severus cared little for racing brooms. “What do you think of Johnny, Lucius?” “Johnny? Right old Mudblood if I’ve ever seen one. Narcissa Black, from Hogwarts, you remember her?” “Sort of.” “Right, well she has a sister, Andromeda, and she’s already dated two muggles! And one wasn’t even a mudblood, no magic at all, straight muggle. Lives near them, goes to some, well, like we used to go. A muggle school. Narcissa’s parents are thoroughly disappointed of course, but they figure she’s very young yet, and it’s just a phase. A rebel thing, you know the sort. Perhaps it’s a phase for Sarraiah too. One can only hope.” Severus pondered this for a moment. Was dating a muggle really so bad? Sarraiah and Andromeda didn't seem to think so...But Lucius...and their fathers... "Severus? I said, one can only hope, eh?" The ten year old nodded. “Yeah. One can only hope.”

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