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    ***~~~*** He had been to Platform nine and three quarters many, many times with Sarraiah and Lucius. He had seen the Hogwarts train countless times and was even permitted to get on, once, just a couple of years before when his sister had been made prefect. But now it was Severus’ turn to board the Hogwarts Express, to spend a year living at the castle he had read so much about, and to return home only for Holidays and the summer. And he was very excited. “Severus, come on, we’ve got to board!” Lucius called out, glancing back at his ‘cousin.’ “I love you, little one, and I will see you at Christmas,” Ebony was obviously trying her hardest not to cry. “Go on, boy, and make us proud.” Stalinus ordered. “Once you’re settled in, you send an owl to tell us how the sorting has gone.” “Oh Father,” laughed Sarraiah. “Of course he will be in Slytherin! All the Snapes have gone to Slytherin!” “Yes, well, let’s not break tradition now, all right then? Go on, you two. Get on the train.” Sarraiah hugged their mother and gave their father a quick kiss on the cheek. As cold as he often seen, the look in his eyes bore a stong affection for his little girl, his baby, his angel. Severus often hoped to see his father looking at him with those eyes, but it had yet to happen. “Goodbye Father, Mother.” He said, hugging his mother and returning an approving nod from his father. “Please, love, you’re not too old to call me Mummy,” Ebony stated, smiling at her little one. “Alright then, Mum. See you at holiday!” And Severus ran off to join Lucius on the Hogwarts train. ***~~~*** Sarraiah had to sit up front in the cart for the Head Boy and Girl, where they would give instructions to all of the new prefects before patrolling the cars, so Lucius and Severus found a spot in the back, where they were quickly joined by three attractive but not altogether nice, teenage girls. “Hello there,” said the first to enter, a blonde girl Severus recognized as Lucius’ girlfriend. “You remember me, don’t you? Narcissa Black. Betrothed to your wonderful friend here.” She smiled, a small, tight-lipped smile, and sat down next to her future husband. “My sister, Bellatrix,” Narcissa introduced the thin, harsh faced brunette whose steely gray eyes made Severus give an involuntary shiver. “Charmed,” she said, though she certainly seemed neither charmed nor charming. “I’m Severus, Severus Snape,” the first year said nervously. “You’re sister is Sarraiah? Head girl, in my class too.” Said Bellatrix. “We were friends once, but now I’m afraid she has much more in common with my other sister, Andromeda, a sixth year. Rather nasty habit they seem to have, this dating muggles. So I do rather relate to you, child. Narcissa and I know what an embarrassment it is to have a mudblood lover in the family. If ever you need a hand, someone’s picking on you for being her relation, you see me. Got that?” “Um, yeah. Thanks,” Severus was quite confused. Picked on? Embarrassment? Mudblood Lover? The other girl in their compartment had still not spoken, she simply sat beside Bellatrix, across from Narcissa and the boys, and took out a copy of “Hogwarts, A History.” Bellatrix noticed Severus’ staring, and she smiled slightly. “Ellyson Lestrange, a fellow first year,” Bellatrix informed him, nodding at the girl, who did not respond. “Her father and mine arranged just under two years ago for my marriage to her older brother. Graduated, he did, so I’m looking after Ellyson. Isn’t that right, child?” Ellyson looked up, but did not respond. Severus couldn’t help thinking that she was a beautiful girl, with long auburn waves that framed her face, clear and pale skin, and sharp blue-gray eyes. A second later she cast her eyes back down to her book and continued reading, though Severus also could not help but notice that she had yet to turn a page. “In any case,” Bellatrix continued, “It is nice to know whom who are set to wed. Narcissa, darling, you are quite the lucky one. Few girls know so soon, as the families of eligible young men usually wait to make absolute sure the woman, or girl, is entirely worth their while. I had to wait until my fifth year. Andromeda was set up last year herself, but it fell through quickly after when she was caught snogging that Michael something-or-other up in the astronomy tower. He’s not only muggle-born, but a Hufflepuff too!” The whole car (minus Ellyson) burst out laughing at this, which Severus naturally joined in, though he wasn’t quite sure why it was so very funny to everyone else. Their laughter was soon interrupted by a knock at the door. “I’ve got it,” said Lucius, who stood to open it. “Sarraiah!” Severus exclaimed when he saw his sister standing there. “How nice your new badge looks with your robes!” “Head girl,” mused Bellatrix. “Fancy that. How are you, Sarraiah? Still with the Ravenclaw what-his-face?” “Johnny, and yes, we’re still together. Honestly, Bella, I don’t know why--” “You’ve met my sister, Narcissa? She is to marry your cousin.” “We’re not really cousin’s,” Lucius pointed out. “It’s just that our families are close, you know, so we’re almost like relatives.” “And this is Ellyson Lestrange. You will recall her older brother, graduated last year.” Bellatrix continued, ignoring Lucius. “Hello, Ellyson. Anyway, thought I’d let you know the cart is coming ‘round any minute. Here, Severus, Mum gave me some pocket money to split with you. Try not to spend it all on sweets. Good day, all.” “Bye, Sarraiah.” Said Lucius and Severus in unison. Bellatrix nodded at her former friend and current bunkmate. “Good day.” ***~~*** By the time the Hogwarts Express reached it’s destination, Severus had sampled nearly every goodie on the witches’ snack cart, old favorites like Pumpkin Pasties, Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bots Every Flavor Beans, Ice Mice, Droobles Best Blowing Gum, and a couple of new items, Musical Fruits, (each strawberry, banana and grape plays a different popular song) Lucky Clovers (Taste however you wish them to!) and Caramel Kickers, (plain milk chocolate, shaped like different types of shoes, each one filled with caramel). He wanted to try one of everything, so he did. Once he stepped off the train he heard a loud voice calling over all of the chatter, “Firs’ Years! Firs’ Years Over Here! Don’ worry ‘bout yer trunks, they’ll be sen’ in without ya!” Severus looked to his right to see the tallest man he’d ever seen, a huge man with a thick beard and unkempt hair down to his shoulders. The boys eyes widened with apprehension. “Go on, then, Severus!” Lucius prodded. “That’s just Hagrid, been gamekeeper since he was my age. Won’t hurt you none. See you after the sorting!” Severus followed the other students into the front hall, where a man who introduced himself as Professor Binns stood before them. He spoke in a drone, emotionless voice, and Severus had to pinch himself to stay awake. He stood close by Ellyson Lestrange, whom he had not yet heard speak one syllable, and tried to pay attention. “The sorting will begin shortly, and you will each be placed in one of the four houses, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin. Follow me.” The children filed silently into the Great Hall, several gasping when they first saw the beautiful ceiling enchanted to look like the sky outside. The muggle borns stood out, as they were the ones pointing in awe at the candles hovering about their heads, and shooting nervous glances in the directions of each House Ghost. Albus Dumbledore stood and introduced himself. “Hello, Hogwarts students! For those of you who do not know, I am Albus Dumbledore, and this year I am taking over for Armand Dippet as Headmaster of Hogwarts. Without further ado, let us begin the Sorting!” Professor Binns, a short, heavy man with mousy brown hair and thick gray eyebrows, placed a stool in front of all the students. He rested upon it an old, slightly tattered black witches hat, and stepped back. “What in Merlin’s…?” Severus overheard a boy behind him murmur. He was not the only confused eleven-year-old. Professer Binns cleared his throat, and for a moment everyone thought he was about to speak, but alas, it was the hat whose brim-mouth opened wide to let out words: “A hat I am But smart indeed I understand your wants, Your needs I will place you Where you belong But first sit back Enjoy my song Many many moons ago Before I was tattered and old I belonged to Godric Gryffindor House colors red and gold He, along with Slytherin Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw Chose me to do the Sorting For in student’s heads I saw I can see if you are brave Clever, kind or wise Crafty, noble or pure at heart I see life through your eyes For when you place me on your head I can surely see Whatever house you should go to That is the job of me.” The Great Hall burst into applause as the Sorting Hat finished it’s song, and again Professor Binns cleared his throat. “Avingdale, Joslin!” He called out, and a tiny, pudgy blonde girl stepped forward. She sat on the stool and placed the hat on her head and… “Ravenclaw!” The hat shouted, and the table to the right of Severus began to cheer and applaud their new first year. This went on with the A’s, as Axgrind, Gjennomsnitt, became the first Slytherin. “Your name is what?” Severus heard Lucius call to the boy over the cheering of his fellow Slytherins. “Just call me Ax!” The burly eleven-year-old replied. Then came the B’s. “Black, Sirius!” The hat called out, and Severus’ head snapped up. ‘Black? Any relation to Narcissa and Bellatrix?’ He wondered. But if they were at all related, neither Bellatrix nor Narcissa showed it, though they did seem rather shocked when the hat shouted: “Gryffindor!” The Gryffindors cheered and congratulated Sirius as he took a seat at their table. Severus watched the sorting in awe and apprehension. What if he, too, was sent to Gryffindor? Or worse…Hufflepuff! He couldn’t imagine the shame his father would feel…He would probably be disowned! Disinherited for sure! “Evans, Lily!” Severus looked up to see a beautiful little girl walking slowly up to the hat. She seemed sweeter, and somehow more fragile than the other girls there. Severus quickly erased pretty Ellyson from his mind, and replaced her face with this new girl…This Lily… ‘Please send her to Slytherin, Please send her to Slytherin,’ He found himself praying silently. ‘When the Neptune did I get so interested in girls?’ He pondered next. ‘And what the bloody hell is taking her so long?’ The hat was indeed spending an awful lot of time with Lily Evans. But at last it’s brim widened as it announced… “Gryffindor!” S, for Snape, was of course awfully far down the line, so Severus had to wait a rather long time for his name to be called. He watched as Ellyson joined Slytherin, then Luipn, Remus (‘What a stupid name,’ Severus couldn’t help thinking) became a Gryffindor. Pettigrew, Peter and Potter, James joined the Gryffindors too, and Queenly, Aurora became a Ravenclaw. ‘R, then S!’ thought Snape with nervous excitement. He was getting impatient. “Raison, Liesl!” “Ravenclaw!” “Rayne, Sherona!” “Slytherin!” “Royale, Richard.” “Hufflepuff!” “Sampson, Sally!” “Hufflepuff!” “Sampson, Stanley!” “Hufflepuff!” “Saunter, Jezebel!” “Slytherin!” “Seltic, Kristle!” “Gryffindor!” “Sindelle, Rodger!” “Ravenclaw!” and finally…. “Snape, Severus!” … … … ‘Please be Slytherin, Slytherin, come on, hat, Slytherin, please Slytherin…’ ‘You are indeed clever, but Ravenclaw would hardly suit you. Your sister asked for Slytherin too, as did your father…Wise, very wise, and a real drive to succeed. Cunning? A bit, a bit.. Resourceful, desire to be powerful, that drive to succeed…Yes, yes, I do think I have made my choice. You would most certainly do best in… “SLYTHERIN!” Severus let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding, and rushed off to the Slytherin table to join his sister and Lucius. Slytherin, Slytherin. Father would not be ashamed after all, no disowning Severus today, not today! Slytherin. Good. “Knew you were one of us,” Bellatrix said to him as he sat down beside Lucius. “Knew it the second I saw you boarding the train.”

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