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(2011-08-24 16:51:56)










Severus looked as if he didn't quite agree, but he continued:'Anyway, in 1692 the Statute of Secrecy was signed by the representatives of all magical beings, and slowly, over the years, our world became, and remained, part of muggle folklore and stories for children. Muggles! Ha!' he snorted, 'Little do they know how everything is really under our control!'


He stopped, looked nervously at her, and changed track, 'So you see, you haven't seen any magic because it is a crime to break the Statute of Secrecy. Muggles must never know, or see, magic."


He paused and looked at her, but she was listening intently, hanging on to his every word. He gained confidence.


'Sometimes, families of witches and wizards live close together in small villages, with muggle neighbours being none the wiser. But we are so few…'


He looked at her again.


'In this town," he whispered, 'I thought I was by myself. I thought there was no one else apart from my mother and me. Then I saw you...'


He was gazing at her intently, his voice hushed and excited. Lily understood why he had been so excited the other day. She herself had always felt increasingly different, but for him, knowing that his difference was a certain and insurmountable barrier, must have felt infinitely harder and lonelier.


'Did you ever go to school at Hogwarts?' she asked.


'No. You have to be eleven before you can start there. Till now I was educated at home. My mother did not want to send me to a muggle school'


'It's not so bad,' she said, slightly affronted 'You get to learn things, and you have friends to play with.'


He fell silent. He knew he would never fit in. It had always been so whenever he met anyone his age. His mother had attempted to send him to the local Primary school at his father's insistence, but it had been an undeniable disaster, and she been forced to take him out again.


Other children never could understand him, somehow.


'Well, we'll go to Hogwarts, you and I,' he said brightly, after a while.


'What?' Lily was taken aback.


She was going to St Alden's Girls School, where Petunia was due to start attending. She told him so.


But he shook his head 'No. You'll have to come to Hogwarts – especially since you're from a muggle family. As you grow older, your magic powers will grow too – you will have to learn how to control it or... or bad things can happen to you .You have no choice.'


He seemed happy about this, but for Lily things were going a bit faster than she had anticipated, and this was a lot to take in. She shook her head.


'Mum and Dad won't agree. They've already arranged for Petunia to go to St Alden's Girls' School. I'll be following her there.'


But she sounded doubtful now. A school where you learnt magic! Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined something like this possible. Another thought crossed her mind.


'Mum and Dad - they don't know anything. How- What shall I tell them? They won't believe me!"


Severus didn't seem to think this important. 'When we're eleven, we'll receive a letter from Hogwarts, to attend there - you can show them that. It will be wonderful, Lily. I can't wait to start. There's so much to learn. So many things you can do with magic, and it's all there – at Hogwarts. I wish we didn't have to wait another year" he added ruefully, snapping the twig he was holding in two.


Lily had been looking through the book he had shown her yesterday. His enthusiasm was infectious, and suddenly the prospect of attending Hogwarts seemed more real. He showed her the other books he had brought along, and Lily was amazed to see their contents – Basic Charms and Spells for the Beginner; Elementary Transfiguration (what was that?).


'These are old books. They belonged to my Mum. Wait till you see Hogwarts Library, Lily – Its enormous!' He fell silent, lost in thought. Once in Hogwarts, far away from the squalor of Spinners End, he would finally be able to show everyone what he was worth.


'Is your Mum allowed to do magic?'


Lily's question brought him down to earth with a bump. For a moment he thought she knew, then he realised it had been an innocent question. He frowned, not wanting to admit how things were at home.


'Yes, of course,' he said eventually 'She's a fully trained witch, and was a very good one too. You're allowed to do magic if you're over seventeen, as long as you don't do it in front of muggles.'


She noticed the past tense and his closed, guarded expression, but she really wanted to see some magic, so she ploughed on.


'Hey, Severus, do you think perhaps, your Mum could show me ...?"


'No, she can't!' he cut across her, almost angrily, 'She doesn't use magic much nowadays. At least, not in front of my father. He- he's a muggle and he ... they...' he swallowed, took a deep breath, and continued more quietly, "… they're always fighting and arguing. I stay out of the way and out of the house as much as I can."


His head was bent, his hair covering his face and his voice was so low that Lily had to lean forward to hear what he was saying. He had now broken the twig in a hundred pieces.


'It's been like that ever since I can remember...'


Why was he telling her all this? He had never told a soul about his wretched home life. What if she looked down on him now?


He finally looked up to find her gazing at him with an expression of sympathy.


"I'm sorry to hear that, Severus,' she said 'It must be terrible to hear your parent's row all the time. I don't blame you for staying out of the house – I guess I would've done the same.'


He tore his gaze away from her with difficulty, looking down at his hands, and fiddling with the broken twigs. Then he glanced up sideways at her through the curtains of dark hair falling across his face, and gave a small smile. Lily didn't press him further about his mother, but asked to see his books again, so they lay down side by side on the warm grass, with the shabby books before them, Severus leafing through them , pointing out things he .thought she might like, and she listened eagerly as he unfolded a new world before her eyes.


The sun was starting to set when Lily realised how late it was. She had hardly noticed the time flying. They promised to meet again the following Monday, since Lily had to go out with her family over the weekend, and decided upon the shady glen by the riverside as the best spot. As they got up reluctantly to leave, they both knew they could hardly wait for Monday to come.





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