A Black Flower

Part I

I

-o-

Richard Evans built houses for a living and was a skilled carpenter, while Elizabeth Evans worked as a math teacher at the local secondary school before they started a family. The fact that she was a math teacher delighted me. She may not have been on my level, but it was enough to get me started working up to that point early. So when I was three years old I asked her to teach me math, and she was more than happy to comply.

I think she thought I was just interested in what she did for a living and wasn't actually interested in math, but I didn't particularly care what she thought my motivations were, as long as she "taught" me.

I decided not to waste time pretending to have difficulty with basic addition and subtraction. Playing dumb with the basics just meant it would take longer to move on to more advanced topics, and it would already be ages before I could get back to university level mathematics.

After a short lesson, Lizzie gave me a worksheet she made up with ten simple problems for me to solve while she did some housework. I doubt she expected me to actually complete the worksheet, so when I went up to her some fifteen minutes later while she was washing dishes from breakfast and lunch, she was a bit startled.

"Mum," I said tugging on her skirt. "I'm done." I didn't mention that I'd finished moments after she'd left. It was already unrealistic that I'd learned the skills after a single lesson at three years old, there was no need to make it even more unbelievable.

She blinked at me for a moment, then smiled warmly. "Is that so, dear? Let mummy finish the dishes and we can go over it together before your nap, okay?"

"M'kay." I nodded. "I'll go play with Lily until you're done."

"Alright, sweetie. I shouldn't be long." she said fondly. I had a feeling she didn't think I'd managed to do everything correctly.

I walked through the archway from the kitchen to the living room where Lily was stacking wooden blocks into a tower. I hoped the colourful paint didn't contain lead or something. When was lead paint banned again? It's dangers were well known, at least, so hopefully Lizzie and Richard knew to avoid it.

"What ya got there?" Lily asked, pointing to the worksheet in my hand.

"Mum is teaching me math." I answered as I plopped down next to her on the floor. "You want help with your tower?"

"Yes please!" My twin beamed, then crossed her arms and pouted. "It falls."

"Show me." I told her, and she started stacking the blocks haphazardly. It wasn't long before her "tower" toppled over.

"Try building it like this." I took the blocks and made a large, even base, then stacked more on top in similar layers, making a pyramid shape. Soon, the blocks were stacked higher than Lily managed. She promptly knocked my pyramid over.

"My turn! My turn!" she declared, gathering up the fallen blocks. I watched on as she mimicked my method, and built her own tower, even taller than the one she just knocked over.

When Lizzie walked into the room drying her hands on a dish towel, Lily grinned up at her. "Mummy, look at the tower I builded!"

"Oh wow, Lily! You sure built a big tower!" Lizzie praised, emphasizing the correct grammar. "Why don't you try making it even taller while Pansy and I go over the school work I gave her?"

Lily nodded and refocused on her blocks while Lizzie and I moved to the little pink and purple table Richard had mad for me and my sisters. I sat on a little purple stool, while Lizzie sat on the floor beside me.

"Let's see, Pansy Lee." she said. I put the page in front of her and she pulled a red crayon out of the box sitting on the table. She quickly went through it, marking each answer with a red check mark.

"Well done!" she smiled proudly at me once she finished. "You got them all right!"

"Of course I did," I bragged. "It was super easy. You should teach me harder math. After nap time, though."

My new mother chuckled and agreed before sending me up to the room I shared with Lily to nap, while she worked on convincing Lily to do the same.

I had to say, scheduled nap time is probably one of the best parts about being a kid again.

-x-

One of the worst parts about being a kid again was the lack of autonomy. I had little control over where I went and when. For the most part, it was fine. I didn't have anywhere I wanted to go. However... there were places I did not want to go. As child I had little say in the matter though, so I had to resort to childish tactics to get my way.

I wasn't just doing it because I didn't feel like going somewhere though. I only acted out when I genuinely was vehemently opposed to our destination.

You see, Lizzie was very religious. Richard was religious too, but not quite to the same extent. As such, they went to church each Sunday. However I retained my very strong moral oppositions to organized religion from my previous life.

I hated it. I felt that it was morally wrong to indoctrinate young children and that religion was just a tool used to justify horrible atrocities. I held nothing against religious people themselves. You know, don't hate the player, hate the game. But I refused to bow and play the game myself.

I remembered the first time I was aware enough to realize where they were taking me, I started wailing and screaming. I was still a baby, not even speaking quite yet, so that was all I could do in protest.

To be honest it was actually kind of fun. Lizzie would have to take me outside so I didn't disturb the sermon, and then I would stop crying. She'd get this really relieved look on her face and bring me back inside. Except as soon as she stepped back in the church, I'd start up again.

Even as a baby, I could tell Lizzie and Richard were confused. For the most part when I was a baby I didn't cry, so my behaviour was truly out of the ordinary. They tried bringing me to church a few more times after that, but eventually gave up once they realized that no matter what they did, I would scream my little lungs out so long as I was inside a church.

Once Richard even joked that I must have been touched by the devil and couldn't stand being in such a holy place. Lizzie didn't find his joke particularly amusing, but I did.

Anyways, so for the next few years Richard would stay home with me while Lizzie took my sisters to church. But by the time I was three and had shown that I was more mature, they decided it was time to take me back.

The Sunday they decided to take me to church again started a bit differently than I was used to, so I knew right away something was up, but not what. Instead of letting me sleep in, I was woken with Lily and made to get dressed.

I was a bit fuzzy in the mornings, so it took me a bit to catch on, and when I did, I threw a temper tantrum. I refused to leave the house, but Lizzie just picked me up and put me in the car. When Richard parked in the church's parking long I refused to get out, but yet again my small stature worked against me and I was carried into the church against my protestations.

I did my best to squirm out of his hold, but he was too strong, his grip too tight. I decided to resort to drastic measures.

"If you don't take me home right now, I'll scream." I threatened as Richard entered the church.

"Pansy, can't you just behave? Please?" he pleaded with me. "Why are you do against going to church? You haven't even tried it."

I glared at him, refusing to answer. It wasn't like I could explain to him that I have strong moral oppositions to religion. I was barely three years old. Regardless of my supposed genius, this was not something someone of my apparent age would form an opinion on, especially when not exposed to any material that would help me formulate such opinions.

He sighed in response to my silence, and continued onward.

"Last chance." I cautioned. He ignored me and kept walking.

"Fine." I bit out. I took a deep breath, looked him dead in the eye, and screamed as loud as my little lungs let me.

People whipped around to look at Richard and me. He tried to hush me, but I just kept screaming.

Abruptly, I was removed from his arms. "Watch Lily and Petunia." I heard Lizzie say over my screams. She carried me out to the church's front lawn, setting me down on a bench while she loomed over me. I stopped screaming.

"Pansy, this time of behaviour is not acceptable. You know better than this." she reprimanded me.

"If you don't bring me here then I won't act this way." I huffed, crossing my arms and raising my chin.

She looked up at the overcast sky, sighed and ran a hand through her blonde hair. "Lord help me..." she muttered and took a deep breath.

Her stern gaze returned to me, and with it came a threat. "Pansy Lee Evans, if you don't get inside that church and sit quietly by my side for the entire time you will be sent to your room as soon as we get home and there will be no dessert tonight!"

"Kay." I said.

Lizzie sighed again, this time in relief, and held her hand out to me. "Come along then, in we go."

I shook my head. "No. I mean I'll go to my room and have no dessert."

Lizzie took another deep breath. "Fine," she said. "Then the two of us will sit in the car until the sermon is over. You will sit still and keep quiet. Is that understood, young lady?"

"Kay." I consented. That was perfectly fine by me.

-x-

From then on, going to church became the biggest conflict between me and my new parents. Well, it was mostly between Lizzie and me. Richard seemed to accept my decision a bit more. I think he was secretly a bit glad, actually, since that meant he usually stayed home with me on Sunday mornings.

Those mornings became our time, and to be honest I grew quite find of Richard, sometimes even thinking of him as "dad."

I never thought of Lizzie as "mom" though. I just can't. With Richard it's easier, since in my old life I had an absentee father. But my real mom and I were really close, and I just can't think of anyone as my mom. My first mom, my real mom, went through hell and back for me. She supported me when no one else would. She accepted me no matter what.

Lizzie is great, really, but I just can't think of her as a mom. I call her that out loud of course, but in my heart she has no right to the title from me. Still, she was special to me.

-x-

I was almost five years old when it happened. I'd only give up trying a few months prior.

As was becoming usual for me, I was beyond bored. Lily was fast asleep, and I, too, was supposed to be napping, but for once I just didn't feel like it. I just wasn't tired. Richard was working and Lizzie was downstairs watching TV, so I felt it was safe to sneak into their bedroom and grab the pre-calculus textbook I'd seen on the bookshelf in there.

Unfortunately, the bookcase was tall and the book I wanted was on the top shelf, which was well beyond my limited reach. I wasn't to be deterred though, and opted to climb up the shelf.

I made it up just fine, but after grabbing the book my clumsiness kicked in and I lost my balance. When I felt myself start to fall backwards, I clutched the book to my chest and closed my eyes, bracing myself for the impact.

The impact never came.

After a few moments of confusion I opened my eyes and looked from side to side. I was floating half a metre above the ground.

I was a witch.

-x-

After doing magic for the first time, accidental magic came more frequently, and from there I learned to call upon it at will.

It was far from easy at first. It took me a long time to summon it up on demand. Part of it was figuring out how it felt to use magic. I honestly can't explain the sensation very well, but it was definitely a rush, and to tell the truth, it was slightly addictive. The more I used magic, the more I wanted to use it. I just couldn't get enough.

At first, even being able to call on my magic, I couldn't control what it did when I called on it. It tended to do its own thing. Mostly it liked to levitate nearby objects. Obviously, I was going to kick ass at wingardium leviosa.

I decided to refine the floating thing. I first worked on letting go of a single object, but not the others. Sometimes I dropped more than one at a time or the wrong one, but with practice I got there. After I was able to do that perfectly, I switched to levitating only a single object from the beginning. That was actually a lot harder.

It was hard to explain why it worked like that. But imagine you have a large bucket of water, one so tall that you couldn't just reach into it and touch the water, and so heavy it was hard to move it. Now imagine you were pouring it into a smaller bucket. At first you didn't have much control over pouring the big bucket because you weren't very strong, so the water just flowed without much direction. But after it has settled in the smaller bucket you could take a bit of water into your hands and do whatever with it. Then you could take more and do whatever with that, too. That was how letting my magic out and then dropping things until only a single object was left levitating worked.

But then you got stronger and grew taller, and you didn't need to pour the water into a more accessible container anymore. You could get it directly from the tall, heavy bucket without spilling it. It was hard. But eventually you got strong enough until you could poor out small portions and do with then whatever you pleased.

That was the best I could describe it.

It would take me two years years to be able to levitate things with any precision, and then I would move on to manipulating the movements of objects in other ways.

Once I mastered levitation, it wouldn't be long before I was opening and closing doors without touching them and making my stuffed toys and dolls walk around the room.

-x-

I did this all in the privacy of my new bedroom in the basement. After my first bout of accidental magic, I realized I needed privacy to practice. However, privacy was hard to come by when I shared a bedroom with Lily. Sure, Lily was a witch too, but she didn't know that and I didn't want to explain it all to her. I also doubted her ability to keep her mouth shut and not go running to our parents about it in her excitement.

So one day I innocently brought up the topic of wanting my own room. I knew why Lily and I shared—there were only three bedrooms. However, we had a basement. It was unfinished, but Richard built houses for a living. He could most definitely put up a couple walls in the basement, and I was pretty sure there was enough money to renovate it. The basement wasn't used for anything besides storage, really, and even then there was plenty of space for a bedroom or two.

"Mum, dad, why does Petunia have her own room, but Lily and I have to share?" I asked with as much innocence as I could muster, staring up at Lizzie and Richard with wide eyes.

They glanced at each other, a "oh boy I wasn't expecting this for awhile, who's answering?" look exchanged between them.

Lizzie bravely was the one to answer. "Because there are only three bedrooms in the house, sweetie."

"Can't dad make another one then?" I pushed. "He builds houses for a living, so he knows how to do that, right?"

Lizzie opened her mouth, then closed it. A few seconds passed. "Yes, well... Richard?"

I fought back a giggle. Throwing your husband under the bus, Lizzie? Aren't you nice.

Richard coughed and scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "Why don't you let mummy and I talk about it?"

A month later, Richard started on finishing the basement, including a bedroom for me and a guest room as well.

-x-

My new bedroom was finished by the time I started school when Lily and I were five.

By that time, my math lessons with Lizzie had moved on to basic algebra, which was exciting because it meant I was officially getting closer to high school level math.

Listening to my new parents talk, I learned that originally Lizzie planned to return to work after Lily and I started primary school, but that didn't happen.

To them, it looked like I was a super genius. And while I wasn't actually a genius, I was the only one who knew that. Sure, I was definitely above average, perhaps even well above average, but I was never quite a genius, much to my own disappointment.

So Lizzie did not go back to work as soon as Lily and I started school. After much discussion, she and Richard decided to see how I handled school first before making a final decision.

Of course, I handled it terribly.

I was there for a little over a month, and I could still remember it all vividly. The first day stood out to me in particular.

Lizzie dressed Lily and me in matching dresses. Lily's was a pretty mint green and mine was baby blue. Lizzie did our hair in pigtails, tied with ribbons to match our dresses at the ends. She spent ages taking pictures of us in front of the house with our school bags before she finally drove Petunia and us to school.

After speaking with our teacher and kissing us goodbye, she left.

It was horrible. When Lily and I told the other children we were twins, they called us liars because we didn't look alike, what with her flaming red hair and my own blonde, amongst our many other differences. I explained to them that not all twins looked alike, but they didn't believe me.

I forgot how stupid kids were. It brought back memories of my first life. For example, once I tried to explain to a girl that pounds and kilograms were not the same unit of measurement and that sixty pounds was actually less than forty kilograms, you dumb fuck. Well, alright, I didn't actually call the girl a dumb fuck, but the sentiment was certainly there. Had I actually known the term dumb fuck at that time, I was sure I would have used it.

Things didn't get much better from there. The other children thought I was a freak because of how well spoken I was. To be fair, that probably wasn't the only reason. Children are dumb, but they aren't stupid. It was obvious I was very different from the rest of them, even if they didn't know what exactly it was about me that was off. Still, it didn't stop at being awful with the children. The teacher who reminded me of Umbridge because of her horrible pink outfit, despite her more pleasant demeanour, read us a boring, pointless story, made us do simple, stupid crafts, and forced us to play "get to know each other" games.

It only got worse as time went on. Since I was a freak, the other kids didn't want to play with me. This would have been fine, if they all left me alone instead of teasing me. It wasn't like I wanted to play with them either. Some didn't tease me, mostly a couple girls that Lily got along with. She was hesitant to make friends with them because they still didn't like me, but I told her I didn't mind, and off she went, the little social butterfly.

I didn't actually mind the teasing. I'd dealt with worse in my first life, and I hardly cared what a bunch of snot nosed brats thought. But I knew my parents were considering home schooling me, which sounded infinitely better, so I pretended to be upset about it.

After what felt like ages of the torture that was called primary school, my parents pulled me aside and offered to home school me.

"Lily, Petunia," Richard said one evening. "Why don't you girls go play in the back yard? Your mum and I need to speak with Pansy."

My sisters looked at each other, nodded, and left without protest, leaving my new parents alone with me in the living room.

"What is it?" I set the book I was reading down on the floor beside me. I didn't bother using a bookmark. I never did in my previous life, and it was always easy enough to find my spot without one, even in long books. The book I was reading was Prince Caspian, from the Chronicles of Narnia. I didn't read it in my previous life, so it was something new. I wasn't exactly a fan, but it was one of the few books in the house that wasn't so far below me it was a bore or one that I was deemed too young to read.

"What do you think of school so far, Pansy?" Richard asked me.

"Haven't I already made that clear?" I scrunched up my face. I always made sure to tell them how I felt about school.

"Yes honey, but please humour us." Lizzie said. She patted the space on the couch between her and her husband. "Come, sit with us."

I huffed dramatically, but complied without any real complaint. "I hate school. It's boring. The kids are stupid and mean. They think I'm weird because I'm smarter than they are. They don't want to include me when they play, and their games aren't fun anyways. I haven't learned anything at all. The teacher goes over material I learned ages ago in a patronizing way and doesn't do anything about the other kids being mean to me."

Richard and Lizzie exchanged a resigned look, as if this was the answer they were expecting. As they should have, because this wasn't anything I hadn't complained about before.

"How would you feel about your mother home schooling you?" Richard smiled at me gently. "We've been considering it since we realized how advanced you are, but we wanted to give you a chance to go to school and socialize with children other than your sisters. We thought you might have trouble connecting with them, but we wanted to give you the chance."

"Obviously you don't do well with other children, in an academic environment at least." Lizzie added. "We don't want you do be socially isolated though, so if you do want to be home schooled, we want you do choose an activity that will get you out of the house and around other children. So what do you think, honey?"

"You mean it? You'll home school me?"

"If that's what you want." Richard ruffled my hair. I scowled and swatted his hand away.

"Yes! Yes, I want!" I beamed. "This is gonna be wicked awesome!"

My new parents chuckled and wrapped up the conversation, telling me the next day Lizzie would give me a list of activities that I could choose from, and then I'd have a week to pick one or two of them.

I thanked them profusely, giving them both a hug and a kiss, which was unusual for me, as I wasn't very affectionate with them.

No more primary school. I was beyond pleased.

-x-

I chose dancing as my extracurricular activity. Ballet, specifically. In my first life I'd taken lessons as a child, but stopped because three of the girls from school who bullied me signed up too. When I got older I regretted giving it up, but wouldn't take back the decision to get away from those girls. I hated them, even in this new life. Another reason I chose it was because I wouldn't have to really talk to other kids much, just dance with them.

When Petunia found out I would be taking ballet lessons, she asked to take them too. Lizzie and Richard were happy to sign her up as well, and dancing became our thing.

Despite what I remembered of ballet from before, Petunia was a much better dancer than me. She was as graceful as a swan, while I had to work hard to overcome my natural clumsiness. I wasn't bad for a kid, but to be on Petunia's level I would have to practice at least three hours for every hour she did, and she danced at least two hours every day.

I was glad she was better than me though. While she didn't hate me for my intelligence, I could tell she felt inferior and jealous, despite being slightly ahead of her peers in school.

Dancing also gave my older sister an appreciation for music. It wasn't long before she begged our mum to sign her up for music lessons. She chose the flute, and after a year of lessons she was playing it beautifully.

Petunia told me that she felt music was her calling. She tried to teach me to read music, but I just couldn't make much sense of it, while for her it was more natural than reading a book. Not that she needed to read music very often. Petunia possessed the ability to just listen to a melody once or twice and then play it herself.

I was happy for her. Petunia needed this. In canon she probably didn't find music and dance, leaving her feeling like she was just average at everything while Lily was special.

-x-

Whenever the weather permitted, Lizzie would take me to the nearby park for an hour each day. She said it was because I needed to get out and play and be active. It was basically my recess.

The park was usually occupied by a few children too young for school and their parents. I was almost always the only school aged one there, but I didn't mind.

For the most part I didn't want to bother with children my age. Lily and Petunia were the only exceptions, and that was because they were my sisters.

At the park I usually went on the swings, but sometimes Lizzie would bring a ball and we'd play catch.

When I was seven I saw Severus Snape.

Lizzie and I were playing catch when I noticed a young boy, a few years older than most of other children in the park during school hours. I took in his black hair, skinny frame and ill fitting clothes and concluded that it was likely that this boy was Snape.

Pain hit me like train. Or rather, the ball my mother threw to me did.

"Fuck!" I hissed, holding my hands to my nose. I took one away briefly to check for blood, but fortunately there was none.

"Language!" Lizzie snapped, but her features softened into an apologetic grimace. "I'm so sorry, Pansy! Are you alright?"

She pried my hands off my nose and gently tilted my face to get a better look it. My face flushed and I slapped her hands away. "Mum! I'm fine."

"Maybe we should go back home..." she said.

"No!" I blurted. "I saw a kid my age. I want to try and play with him. Please don't make me leave!"

"Are you sure, love? You're hurt..." Lizzie looked torn. I was hurt, though not badly, but I was showing interest in socializing with another child. I never showed interest in playing with kids who weren't my sisters.

"I told you, I'm fine." I rolled my eyes. "It doesn't even hurt much now. And he looks lonely and I never see kids my age at the park when it's school hours."

"Well, I suppose you can stay for a bit." Lizzie caved. "But if I notice your nose bothering you we're leaving!"

"Deal!" I grinned at her. I picked up the ball from the ground a few feet away from me. It was a red rubber ball, slightly smaller than a basketball. Easy to catch and throw for the most part. I ran with it over to the sandbox where Snape was playing.

"Hi!" I chirped. "I'm Pansy. I don't usually see other kids my age here. I'm seven, what about you? Are you home schooled too?"

"I'm Severus." Snape glanced to the side and briefly bit his lip. "I am. Home schooled, I mean. And seven, too."

"Cool!" I gestured to the ball in my arm. "Do you want to play catch with me? I usually just play with my mum 'cause everyone else here during the day is little, so it'd be nice to play with someone my age. Mum and Dad think I need to."

Snape looked at me for a moment, like he was trying to figure out if I genuinely wanted to play with him, or if I was just being nice so he wouldn't expect it when I did something mean. Eventually, he nodded. "Alright. I'm not very good though."

"That's okay. I'm not the best either, and I'm only decent because I play enough." I assured Snape. It was hard to imagine him as the mean snarky, ill tempered, potions master he was in the books. He was so small and uncertain and cute.

"C'mon." I ran away from the sandbox, looking over my shoulder to make sure Snape was following me. "Stop there!" I ordered once he was a few metres away from where I was standing. "You ready?"

Snape nodded and I threw the ball. It flew passed him, a little to his right. Unsurprisingly, he didn't manage to catch it.

As we played I used my magic to make sure I always caught the ball while deliberately making it difficult for him to catch. My plan was to either get him frustrated enough to use magic or to purposely throw the ball in a way that made it obvious I was using magic to catch it.

"I'm sorry!" I said after awhile. "I have horrible aim..."

"It's fine." Snape said tightly and I could tell he was getting frustrated. He threw the ball at me, and I used my magic to guide the ball into hands.

"At least you have good aim!" I complimented, but he just scowled. I tossed the ball in his general direction. It went way higher and more to the side than I'd planned, but to my delight Snape caught it.

Before the ball could pass him by, it jerked down and towards Snape, landing in his hands. He blinked, confused for a moment. Fear graced his features as he realized what he'd just done.

"I-I have to go!" he dropped the ball and started backing away.

"Wait!" I cried. "Don't go! I can do that too! Watch!"

Snape froze, looking at me carefully. I just smiled and used my magic to lift the ball from the ground and float it into my hands.

"See? Isn't that wicked?" I boasted, bouncing over to him.

"Y-you're a witch!" Snape stuttered in surprise,

I frowned and recoiled a bit. "That's a mean thing to say!"

"No! No, it just means you can do magic!" he raised his hands in protest. "My mum's a witch too! And I'm a wizard."

"Really? You're not just saying that because you called me names? If I ask her she'll say the same thing?" I crossed my arms and looked at him through lowered lids. I was getting pretty good at this acting thing.

"She will! I promise!" he assured me. "She'll be here to pick me up soon. I'll introduce you."

"Well, alright. But if you're lying I'll tell my mum you were mean to me." I threatened.

"I'm not!"

"Yeah, okay. Do you want to swing with me until your mum gets here?" I offered.

He nodded eagerly, so I brought the ball back to my mum who was sitting on a bench and reading a book. She looked up and smiled when I dropped the ball by her. I think she was going to say something, but I was running off to the swings where Snape was waiting for me.

It wasn't long before Eileen Snape arrived to pick up her son. When he saw his mother, Snape dug his heels into the sand to stop the swing. "That's my mum. Come on."

I wasn't swinging very high, so I jumped off and followed him over to the older witch. The resemblance to her son was strong, but her features seemed more delicate than his.

"Did you make a friend, Severus?" She smiled at her son when we approached.

"This is Pansy, mum!" Snape gestured to me, beaming at his mother. He was so cute! "She's a muggleborn!"

Eileen glanced at me. "Is that so, Sev? What makes you think that?"

"I saw her do magic, mum!" Severus went on to explain what happened, while I stood slightly behind him, biting my lip and wringing my hands. I was a bit nervous. Eileen was a character canon didn't really going into detail about. I think she was only briefly mentioned in the sixth book as president of the gobstones club. I don't remember if she showed up in the memories Snape shared with Harry.

"You can control it?" She asked sharply, her gaze snapping to me.

"Yes, ma'am. A little bit." I admitted.

"Demonstrate." She ordered me, eliciting a shriek of "mum!" from her son.

I nodded and bent down to pick up a pebble from the ground. I held it in an open palm, and used my magic to lift it a few inches in the air.

"Interesting. How old are you, child?" Eileen's features softened now that she was sure I could use magic. Her gaze was still assessing, but it wasn't as cold.

"Seven, ma'am." I answered.

"Severus' age then."

I nodded in confirmation. "Are you really a witch?"

Eileen smiled. "I am. My name is Eileen Snape."

"Pansy Evans. It's nice to meet you." I introduced myself to her, sticking out my hand for her to shake.

"The pleasure is mine." She gently took my hand and shook it. "But you have to promise not to tell anyone about magic and being a witch, okay?"

"What about my family?" I asked.

"Not yet. When you're eleven you'll be invited to a magic school, and you can tell them then." she replied.

"Why can't I say anything before that?"

"Because magic is a secret. Only people with magic are allowed to know. We can only tell muggles—people without magic—when it's necessary for them to know."

"And it's not necessary for my family to know?" I inquired, tilting my head to the side.

"Not quite yet. Do you promise to keep the secret?"

"I promise." I said solemnly.

After promising to keep magic to myself, Eileen wanted to meet Lizzie. The introduction went smoothly and they even exchanged phone numbers and addresses. There was talk of arranging play dates in the future, and I was ecstatic. This was my in to the wizarding world early.

I smiled the whole way home, and so did Lizzie. I could tell she was happy that I finally showed interest in spending time with children who aren't my sisters.

-x-

Our first play date was on a Saturday about a week later at Snape's house. As we walked to Spinner's End the houses gradually grew less and less well maintained. The paint on the houses was faded and some of the numbers were crooked. Almost nobody had flowers planted despite it being mid-June. It wasn't a rough neighbourhood though, just a poorer one.

When we reached the address Eileen gave us I was surprised to note it was one of the better maintained houses in Spinner's End, even sporting a few healthy flowers in pots on the porch.

Lizzie knocked on the door and we waited. Not even a minute later Eileen opened the door and ushered us inside.

She led us down the hall and into the kitchen, where Snape was putting a kettle on the stove, probably for tea.

"I thought we could have some tea while the children play." Eileen said to Lizzie, gesturing to the small dinner table with biscuits and two teacups set on it. "Go ahead and sit."

"That would be lovely, Eileen." Lizzie smiled and took a seat at the table.

"Thank you for putting the kettle on Severus. Why don't you show Pansy your room?" Eileen suggested.

"Sure." Snape agreed. "It's this way."

He grabbed my hand and led me up a narrow staircase. At the top was a hallway with three doors. "The one at the end is Mum's room. On the right is the loo, and this one is mine."

He pushed open the left door and led me inside.

"I like your room." I said after looking around a bit, and I meant it.

It was small, but clean. A twin sized bed sat in one corner, covered with a green and silver quilt. A night table sat next to the bed, a small pile of books on top. There was a small dresser in another corner, and next to it was a bookshelf with books stuffed into every nook and cranny I saw spotted a battered copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and several potions related books.

"Thanks." he blushed. What a cutie. Who would have thought child-Snape was so adorable? "Do you want to play a game?"

"Sure. Like what?" I asked.

"Do you know how to play chess?"

"I know the basics." I nodded. "Do you have a set?"

"Yeah, hold on. I keep it under my bed." Snape bent down and pushed up the quilt on his bed a bit, revealing wooden box with light and dark brown squares checkering the top.

He pulled it out and set it in the middle of the floor. I sat down across from him as he took off the lid.

"Light or dark?" he asked, holding a smaller, lidless box containing light brown chessmen.

"Dark." He set the box he was holding down and handed me the other one. He put the top back on the box and we started setting up the pieces.

"Oi! That's my spot! Not the queen's!" the king said suddenly and I nearly dropped it in surprise.

"Sorry, I forgot to mention they can talk and move a bit." Snape apologized, but I waved him off and moved the queen into the proper place and placed the king where the queen had been before.

"It's fine, let's play."

We played three games and I lost them all. I knew I wasn't the best at chess, but losing to a seven year old repeatedly was humiliating. It wasn't even a close game. He slaughtered me.

In my defence, finding out Tobias Snape died three years ago made it difficult to concentrate.

-o-

Notes: Some parts are completely rewritten, others are copy and pasted with minor changes.

I know very little about schooling in the UK in the 1960s, so I'm keeping it vague. Any inconsistencies can be blamed on the HP-verse being different than the real world.

Important Changes: nothing major, I moved some scenes from the next chapter to this one and reordered others to make it in chronological order.