This was a prompt, given to me by SpicyWolfsbane! (We had no ideas, so this arose). My phrase was "Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?" and the situation was "During class, drawing eyes on the parchment". I think it turned out pretty well! Who knows, it might extend into something more ;)


Here is a riddle, to guess, if you can:
What makes a monster?
And what makes a man?
-
Alan Menken/Steven Schwartz "The Bells of Notre Dame" [The Hunchback of Notre Dame Soundtrack}


It was History of Magic, and no one was paying attention. Not even top of the class student, Severus Snape. He was writing, but he wasn't glancing up or looking around at all. James Potter had been ("Quite unfortunately," as the other Marauders put it) sitting next to Severus during this class. James glanced over at what Severus was writing. He wasn't writing at all, James noticed. He was drawing eyes all over his parchment. They were very good, but slightly unsettling, because he drew them all looking at James. James took out some of his own parchment and wrote on the top, What did you do that for? He passed it to Severus, who read it quickly, and wrote back. Severus slid the paper back over.

James read it, and it said Do what? in spidery handwriting. James glanced at him, and he was still drawing.

Draw all of them looking at me. James passed it over.

You say that as if people don't already stare at you all day, Potter. Pass.

They do not.

You've got flocks of girls all around you, Potter. How could you not notice their staring? James sort of gaped at this sentence. Oh, he was well aware of the many girls who had a crush on him, but he had never paid much attention. He was only really staring at one person, and that was the one next to him. He wasn't staring out of admiration particularly, but he was because he was puzzled. Severus Snape was an enigma to him. Every time that James and his friends hurt him or pranked him, he just got back up and brushed it off as if nothing happened. He knew it had to have some sort of effect on him, because Severus didn't walk quite right and he was always sort of shrunken back, as if he was expecting an attack from anywhere.

It sort of saddened James at how Severus seemed to be used to it at this point. He knew it was wrong to continue going after him like he was, but James couldn't really figure out how to without causing extreme confusion in the Gryffindor house.

Because I'm not looking at them. Slide. Severus looked at it, and James noticed his eyes widening. He wrote a fast reply, and gave the paper back to James.

What?

I was never looking at them.

Because you're looking at Lily. James looked a little confused, because how could Severus not notice he was looking at him and not Lily?

No, I was looking at you.


Severus felt like his heart stopped when he read what James wrote. James? Looking at...him? It couldn't have been possible. Severus was driving himself up the wall with...whatever his feelings were, and couldn't believe that there was a possibility of them being reciprocated. He questioned his morals every time he even glanced at James Potter. Why would he fall for his tormentor, his bully, this way? Why would he fall for the biggest prick in school? Severus had begun thinking there was something wrong with him, or that he was somehow twisted. There had to be a different explanation to this.

What?


James wrote back quickly. Yes. I've only ever been looking at you.

Is this some sort of sick joke?

James sort of expected that, but it still hurt slightly when he read it.

Why do you think that?

James wasn't sure he was ready for the answer when it finally came.

Everything you've always done to me was a joke, Potter. What do you think? Have you actually truly looked at me? No one has, no one's made that mistake. I suggest keeping your eyes on Lily or on someone else, I doubt you'd find any answers or whatever you're looking for.

James wasn't sure what to say to this. It wasn't a joke, but James wasn't sure how he'd convince Severus of that. James just wanted to know more about him, because he had always wondered. He wanted to know why Severus walked the way he did, he wanted to know why he scratched out things and rewrote instructions in their textbooks, he wanted to know whether Severus ever had glasses or if he ever needed them, he just, for some strange reason, wanted to know anything and everything.

It isn't a joke. How can I convince you of this?

James received a surprisingly fast reply.

I'm not sure you can.

But James already had his own ideas.


Two weeks had passed, and Severus hadn't gotten so much as a shove from any of the Marauders. It was odd. Even though Severus was beyond grateful for that, he couldn't help wondering if something bigger was going to come along and give him a rude awakening. For a strange reason, the Marauders had avoided him all together, and had stopped any antics directed at him. Severus was confused for a while until he realized one day:

Was this James trying to convince him that the notes two weeks ago weren't jokes?

Severus then walked to his next class, Transfiguration, quickly, and took a seat. He knew his year Gryffindors were coming in after him, so he wrote a note out quickly. He put a spell on it to appear in whichever seat James chose, and to only appear when it was James who sat there. Class was about to begin, and Severus spelled the note away.


When James sat down in Transfiguration after the Slytherins left, he felt a piece of paper drop into his lap. He unfolded it, and recognized the spidery handwriting at once.

Thank you for convincing me.

James couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the class.