( 25 December 1976 - Prince Manor )

Severus groans in his sleep when the curtains to the Master bedroom open to allow the sunlight from outside to shine across his face. Very reluctantly, he blinks his eyes open to see Jinx smiling at him from beside the bed with a tray in her hands.

"Wakey, wakey, master. It's a bright day and Jinx has made breakfast for you" sang the House Elf with the cheerfulness that usually does not belong with her kind. "Merry Christmas!"

As much as he wants to snap at the House Elf and go back to sleep, he can't find himself cruel enough to do so. Jinx has been kind to him the very moment he arrived at the manor and he can't bring himself to put the happy House Elf's mood down.

"Thank you, Jinx. Merry Christmas to you too" he yawned as he pushes himself up so he can lean against the headboard. Jinx floats the tray onto Severus's lap before she starts to clean up the bedroom.

"Master Apollo and Bridgette have asked me to bring you to the lounge room."

"Thank you, Jinx" Severus nodded with a smile. Technically, his grandparents shouldn't have any right to order around the House Elves but it turns out that they are quite liked by their servants, even in death.

After finishing his breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages, Severus gets dress in a simple emerald shirt and his blue and white striped pajama bottoms before walking down to the lounge room. Going down the spiral staircase, he notices a few presents lying at the bottom of the large Christmas tree. "Who are these for?" Severus asked a nearby House Elf who's name escapes him. With the manor having exactly one hundred and twelve House Elves, he suspects that it will take a while for him to learn all of their names.

"Those gifts are for yourself, Master Prince. Sent by owls early this morning."

Severus raises a brow and turns back to the presents. "Really?" he asked in curiosity. The only presents he ever got on the holidays were from Lily and her family and he's positive that they don't know that he is back in England. He walks to the small pile of presents and checks the labels to see who they are from.

"Ezekiel, Amy, Chloe, Rachael, Michael, Takashi, Jeffrey and Lucy" he read out. For each name, his smile brightens ever so slightly. Not just for the fact that he got presents but for the hidden meaning behind them. Each present signifies that he actually has people that care for him. For once, it feels pretty good.

After deciding to open them when he finishes his business with his grandparents, Severus makes his way to the lounge room to see what they need from him. Opening the double doors, he walks into the room to see his smiling grandparents from their portrait over the fireplace.

"Severus! I was wondering if you would ever get up" said Apollo with a smirk.

"It's eight in the morning" Severus answered with a deadpan expression.

"Eight!? In my day, you'd be up by six. Imagine all the work you could have missed out on!"

"Ignore your grandfather. He gets excited whenever Christmas comes around" giggled Bridgette.

"Jiinx said you wanted to talk with me?"

"That's right" answered Apollo before pointing a hand to the direction of the small cupboard by the wall. "There's a box on the cupboard. I want you to open it."

Seeing no reason to question him, Severus walks to the cupboard and opens it. Other than a vase and a few trinkets, there is a small box in the cupboard. He picks up the box that is small enough to be hidden in his grip. Returning to the front of fireplace, he scans the small box. "What's this?"

"Open it and find out" beckoned Bridgette.

Not seeing no reason not to, Severus opens the top of the box which reveals the last thing he expected. "What's this?" he asked again with a bit more worry in his tone.

"What do you think it is?" asked an amused Apollo.

"I think that it's two wedding rings but I'm sure it's just my eyes playing tricks with me." As true a fact, in the small box are two silver wedding rings which both have intricate designs of a snake with its mouth open to show off a flawless emerald inside of it.

"They aren't just any rings, my boy" smiled Apollo as he looks at the two small pieces of jewelry with a reminiscent smile. "Those rings are the Prince's most prized possession. Crafted by our family's founder a thousand years ago, they have since passed on from generation to generation of Prince ancestors through marriage. There's an old rumor about the rings that explain that whichever two who marry using those rings arensaid to be blessed with happiness till death do they part. I'm not too sure if the rumor is true or not but it seems to have worked with me." He chuckles when Bridgette playfully slaps him on the chest with a smile of her own to match his.

"Think of it as our Christmas present to you and whichever woman who's lucky enough to catch your attention" said Bridgette before she throws Severus a coy wink. "Maybe a certain Metamorphmagus perhaps?"

Severus looks down at the rings in his hand so he can hide his blush under his hair. "A bit soon to ask for marriage, don't you think?"

"Damn right it is. Don't make the same mistake of others and marry too soon" scoffed Apollo. "I can almost guarantee you that it won't end well for either party."

"Take it as a keepsake. If you wed or not, it matters little to us old fossils. The rings are the Prince's heirlooms and as our heir, they rightfully belong to you" said Bridgette with a smile as she remembers the years of having the same ring on her own finger.

Severus looks down at the priceless heirlooms of his family and smiles back up to his grandparents before he nods. "Of course. I promise that I'll keep them safe from any harm."

"Good man."

Jinx pops into the room beside Severus. "Master, I've completed what you asked of me."

Severus brightens up at the sound of that. "Really? No trouble at all?"

Jinx shakes her head with a smile. "None whatsoever. Got out of there before anyone could see me."

"Thank you, Jinx. You don't know how much this means to me."

"Mind explaining to us dust you did?" asked a perplexed Apollo. They can't see it from under Severus's hair but he has a bitter smile in place.

"Cutting ties."

( Spinner Street - Evan's House )

The Christmas three is standing tall with blinking lights tied around the branches, making it dazzle whenever the room grows the slightest bit dark. Presents line the bottom of the tree in all sorts of colours, shapes and sizes. The smell of Christmas cookies and cake drifts in the air, adding a pleasant smell to the pleasant sight. To any, it looks like any normal day for a loving family on Christmas day.

However, Lily can tell that something is wrong.

Waking up by eight o'clock, she found the rest of her family already in the living room and awaiting for herself so they can open the presents. She always does enjoy the warmth of Christmas day, thinking of how she's going to sit on the couch in front of the fire and watch TV while eating cookies and playing with whatever gifts she got.

So far gone in her fantasy, she almost doesn't notice the depressing mood in the room. Looking at her family, she doesn't see the Christmas cheer she would usually find in them but instead, she finds her parents on the couch with her mother seemingly staring into space and her father looking at the Christmas tree with a blank stare. A glance to her sister and Lily sees Petunia sitting by the Christmas tree, simply staring at the presents. The idea that Petunia hasn't opened a single present has warning bells signalling in Lily's head.


Harry Evan's jumps in his sit and turns to his daughter who takes a step back when she looks into his wide eyes. It takes a moment for the man to remember where he is and when he does so, he sighs with a small smile. "Lily. Good morning."

"Good morning..." replied an unsure Lily. "Are you alright?"

Harry shakes his head and rubs the top of it. "Sorry. Had my head in the clouds, that's all."

"Is this about Sev?" She doesn't need to hear her father's reply, seeing as her mother and sister jump out of their own thoughts to finally notice that she's in the room with them.

"*Chuckle*, I guess it is." chuckled Harry as he turns back to the blinking Christmas tree. "Just thinking about the times when we would celebrate the season with him. He would always get everyone something for Christmas, even when we knew about how his life at home was like. It still amazes me how good a child he became under Tobias's roof."

"You wouldn't think that about him if you saw what he's like at Hogwarts" thought Lily, bitterly she remembers his snide remarks to students and Professors alike, all the angry glares he would give everyone when he thinks that she's not looking and his unbelievable arrogance when it came to Potions.

Yet, she can't bring herself to tell her family about her own thoughts about Severus. For a brief moment, she feels the need to see him as well, only to block them out when she remembers the incident by Black Lake.

"We'll have to keep his present until he comes back, won't we?" said Petunia as she lifts up a rectangular-shaped present which is wrapped in green wrapping paper with silver diamonds.

Mrs. Evans nods with a forlorn look in her eyes. "Poor Severus. He could be anywhere for all we know."

Lily can feel a bit of anger swell up in her chest over the pathetic sight in front of her. This isn't what her Christmas is suppose to be like! They're suppose to be celebrating and laughing with Christmas music on. It wouldn't be the same without Sev but they need to get use to not having him around. Not wallowing in self pity, hoping by some miracle that he will show up and everything can be back to normal.

Nothing can go back to normal!

A knock of the door interrupts her thoughts. "I got it" said Lily, not wanting to stay in the gloomy room any longer than she should. Walking up to the front door, she unlocks it and opens it to see who is knocking at this time in the morning. All she sees is a small pile of presents on the porch with nobody in sight. "Huh?"

"Who is it, Lily?" called Harry from the living room.

"There's nobody here but someone left presents on our doorstep!"

"What?" Harry walks to the front door and as his daughter said, there is a pile of presents in front of the door. "Isn't that the strangest thing. Not one of your friend's from Hogwarts, is it Lily?"

"No. They already gave me their presents at school."

Harry bends down to check the labels on the presents. "Well, they have all our names on them but no word on who sent them."

"What do we do now?"

"Now, we bring in the presents and open them" said Harry with a wide smile. "We haven't opened any yet and it's about time we do so now." He bends down and picks up as many presents as he can, leaving two small ones for Lily to carry.

The duo of father and daughter carry the presents into the living room and drops them along with the rest of the presents by the Christmas tree.

"Who are they from?" asked a surprised Mrs. Evan's as she marvels over the colorful and well wrapped presents that her husband and daughter just brought in.

"Doesn't say. Just has all our names on them" said Harry, taking a few steps back to rest his sore arms. "Bloody things are heavy, though."

"This one is for me" pointed out Petunia as she lifts up a medium-sized box in purple wrapping Paper which has sparkling stars on them. Waiting for nobody, she tears open the paper to reveal a violet-coloured, velvet box that can just barely fit in her hand. Opening it, her eyes widen so much that it almost looks like that they might fall right out of her skull."OH MY GOD!" Petunia lifts the item and raises it over her head. "It's beautiful!"

With everyone's eyes looking at Petunia's gift, everyone's eyes widen at the sparkling gold and jewled necklace in Petunia's hand. They can count six jewals hanging off the gold necklace with five they recognize but the name of the dark pink one in the middle escapes everyone's mind.

Mrs. Evan's picks up the wrapping paper from Petunia's present and reads the label to make sure that there hasn't been a mistake. "Petunia Evan's" she muttered, noticing that their home address is on the label as well. There's simply no mistaking it.

"Who could have sent that?" wondered Harry out loud as he watches his oldest daughter put on the necklace with the biggest smile he has ever seen on her face. The sight warms his heart, making him smile over how happy the present has made his daughter.

"This couldn't be... James... could it?" thought Lily as she looks at her sister as she gushes over the necklace. The thought of James sending her family presents for Christmas causes her face to redden at the appreciated thought. "Wait, how does he know where I live?!"

"Oh my!" gasped Lily's mother as she opens her own present which is a bottle of perfume that she has had her eyes on for the past year and a half but could never purchase since it is one of the more fancier and expensive brands. "How thoughtful of them!"

"I always did need one of these" chuckled Harry as he swings around his new golf club which was apart of the mysterious pile of presents.

"Go on Lily. Open one of yours" beckoned Mrs. Evans as she passes a present to Lily.

Seeing no reason not to and enjoying how everyone seems to be back in their Christmas cheer, Lily takes apart the wrapping paper with reckless abandon to reveal a small jewelery box, similar to that of Petunia's, only for her one to be red in colour. It only further proves the thought that it is James who sent the expensive presents so she opens the top of the box to see what he got her.

Only to cry out and drop it when she sees what's inside the box.

The rest of the Evans family stand onto their feet to see what has caused Lily to cry out and stare at the upside down box like as if the devil himself is in it.

"Lily dear, what's wrong?" asked Mrs. Evans as she comes to her daughter's side and places a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"I-I-It's... S-Se...Se..."

Understanding nothing from his daughter's rambling, Harry picks up the box to see what has his daughter all worried. As he picks up the box, the lone item floats back to the floor and everyone's eyes are drawn to the enticing peace of paper as it drifts down to the floor.

It lands ono he floor while facing up and everyone quickly realizes why Lily is so panicked.

The piece of paper is actually a picture from the time that the family went to the fair when it came to town. They had brought along Severus at the time to Lily's beckoning. Knowing that there was little to no chance of Severus going with his own family, none of them saw no reason not to. After they spent a few hours having fun in the fair, they ended the day with pictures for nostalgia. Two pictures were taken that day with the Evans family keeping one while the other went to Severus.

Except, it's now lying on the floor by their feet.

( 2 January 1977 - St. Fierra )

"Results are proceeding as expected" said Severus as he watches from a one-way window into the small infirmary room. In said room is one of his test subjects who had lost his left hand in an accident revolving around a wayward Dragon. So far, he is liking the results of his Limb Regeneration Potion.

Having celebrated the Christmas season with the House Elves at the Prince manor, Severus went straight back into his work on his Limb Regeneration Potion after receiving a letter from the Head of Healers in St. Fierra. Turns out that his headmaster had sent off his Potion with no troubles and St. Fierra is now willing to accept tryouts.

Tryouts has started yesterday and already, the results are looking very positive. His first test subject has already grown a small hand from where his stub use to be and while it is nowhere near to what his hand use to be like, it's still a positive result, especially since the hand is sill growing. All he has to do now is wait to see if the hand stops growing at its intended size or if it will continue its process. The subject had to be given a Potion to numb down the overwhelming pain of growing another limb but he hopes that by the end of the week, it will be worth it.

"Fascinating. I couldn't even imagine the Potion taking effect so quickly." Beside Severus is his provided assistant, Healer Baldwin, a tall man with skinny features, curly brown hair and thick glasses that keep lowering down his nose. While his constant need to tap his quill against his clipboard is annoying, Severus can appreciate the man's advanced knowledge in medicine. Whenever the smallest detail occurs, he is onto Severus with about five questions. Others would find the constant questioning annoying but for Severus, he is enjoying the time to explain to a fellow intellectual on his Potion.

Of course, he doesn't care much for the constant attention from his little fanbase of Healers who don't know when they get too close for comfort. At one stage, he almost hexed a Healer when she tried to get too close for comfort.

"We'll need to alter the required doses to counteract the properties of the Numbing Potion, as well as the subjects age and gender" said Severus as he walks down the hallway so he can see the rest of his twelve subjects who have been given the same Potion. It didn't take long for St. Fierra to find test subjects from people who have lost limbs from accidents or attacks. All of them range in different ages with the oldest being eighty one and the youngest, sadly being a nine year old.

Severus stops by the window to look at the child who is staring at what use to be her right leg in awe. From the reports given, she was born into the world with a deformed leg that had to be removed so she has spent all of her young life on a wheelchair. It has made going to school and making friends difficult for the young girl but Severus hopes that he can fix that. So far, her results are looking to be the best with almost an entirety of a leg being reformed from where her stump use to be. While the skin is still paler than the rest of the girl's body, the fact that she can move her newly grown toes is an achievement in itself.

The parents must think so too since the father is hugging his daughter and the mother is sobbing beside them.

"Feels good, doesn't it?"

Severus turns to face his assistant who looks solemn. "Excuse me?"

"Helping them. It's because of this very reason why I wanted to help those in need" said Baldwin as he smiles at the sight of the rejoicing family. "They thought that for the rest of her life, the young girl would have to live her life with only one leg. They feared for what could happen to her when they eventually leave this world but now..." He turns to face the bewildered student. "You've given them hope for the future." He looks back at the little girl before writing on his clipboard. "Her future."

Severus turns back to face the happy family and while he doesn't try to admit it, he does feel a sense of joy that he has helped someone in his life. Almost reluctantly, a smile shines on his face as he watches the girl move her toes with a bright smile on her own face. He turns to look at the other subjects. Just because he has somewhat grown a little girl's leg back, it means nothing if she can't use it.

"We need to calculate the correct doses, immediately."

( 7 January 1977 - Oliver Gardens )

"Happy new years to you all!" cheered Chloe as she wraps her arms around Rachael and Amy's shoulders, causing the pair to jump up from the sudden hug from behind.

"Chloe!?" cried Amy as she turns around to keep her back away from her friend. The last time she turned her back to Chloe, she got groped by her and she will be damned if that happens again.

"Either take it off or I'll break it off" threatened Rachael when Chloe's hand starts to thread into dangerous waters. Rachael's short hair starts to spike up and turn into an angry red to show how serious she is.

Chloe puffs out her cheeks and pulls her hand back before she can get a quick grope in. "No fun" she pouted before an evil grin emerges. "I guess with Severus as your boyfriend, you don't need me to cop a feel, do ya?"

"Do you really want me to hex you?"

"Honestly, I'd like the see the guy you'll bring home to your parents" deadpanned Amy. She knows of her friend's tendency to go from boy to boy whenever she feels like it so she'll believe it as some sort of accomplishment for the guy who keeps Chloe on a long-term relationship. She isn't putting any of her hopes up, though.

"Speaking of bringing a boyfriend home to their parents..." Rachael glares at Amy who sheepishly shrugs her shoulders in a crude apology. "How did it go with long, tall and dark meeting your parents? Did they give him the talk? Threaten him with emasculation? Did your dad shove a pitchfork up his a-"

"Okay, that's enough" interrupted Rachael, feeling the need to cut off Chloe before she continues. "And if you really want to know, they hit it off pretty well atually."

"Oh? So are we looking forward to a wedding any time soon?" Chloe quipped with a grin. Her answer comes in the form of Rachael hitting her in the leg with a stinging hex. "Ow!"

"Where is Severus anyway?" asked Rachael, having not seen her boyfriend since returning to Oliver Gardens.

Amy rolls her eyes. "Where do you think he is?"

( Severus's Room )

Ezekiel isn't sure how a simple greeting ended up with him assisting Severus in his trunk with whatever concoction he's working on now.

"Bring me the Mermaid Scales and Rat Tails."

"Yes boss" grumbled Ezekiel as he takes out the ingredients from Severus's shelves. He quickly drops said ingrediants onto the table beside Severus.

"Maybe with less lip next time?"

"Yes your majesty~" bowed Ezekiel with a smirk.

"Smart ass" grumbled Severus as he picks up the ingredients without even looking at them and dumps the contents into his cauldron before, slowly mixing them together, changing the colour of the liquid from a light orange to a dark green.

"Sev! You in here?"

"In the Potion's Lab!" Severus replied to Rachael, not once taking his eyes off his cauldron.

Rachael's opens the door to Severus's private Potion's Lab with Amy and Chloe following close behind her and marvelling over the amount of space in the simple trunk. "What ya doing?" asked Rachael, skipping to her boyfriend's side so she can look at the cauldron to see what he's making.

"Figuring out how to connect the sensory nerves from a regrown limb to the brain."

"Of course. How didn't I figure that out myself?" remarked Rachael with a roll of her eyes.

"Sarcasm is unbecoming of you, Rachael."

"Well, when I have a cute and smart boyfriend like you, I'll need it to keep the playing field open" she said while tapping a finger against the tip Severus's nose.

Severus smirks and kisses the finger on his nose. "Flattery will get you everywhere."

"So, should we turn around and leave or...?" asked Ezekiel, pointing a thumb over his shoulder to the door.

"You guys can leave whenever you want. I'm here to enjoy the show" said Chloe with a wide smile. The smile dies when everyone stares at her. "What?"

"Never mind her. How's the Potion going?" asked Amy as she looks into the cauldron. She pales at the sight of the thick green liquid within it and doesn't enjoy how it's bubbling without any heat. "It's not done, is it?"

"I need it to rest for a week to let the bubbles settle but until then, we wait for a test subject."

"What about all your test subjects at St. Fierra? Don't they fit the bill?" asked Chloe who's noticeably staying far away from the cauldron.

"They do but I have to wait for the results of my Limb Regeneration Potion. I'll admit that it looks good but I can't get ahead of myself until their limbs are fully regrown with no deformities whatsoever. Even if the results prove fruitful, I'll need to calculate the correct doses for each age group and possibly gender."

"Life as a prodigy isn't easy, I'll tell ya that" sighed Rachael with a shake of her head.

Severus blushes under the praise. "I wouldn't call myself a prodigy..."

Chloe laughs and playfully wraps an arm around Severus's shoulder. "Don't get so high and mighty your Lordship. We're all prodigies here. Just different fields."

"She has you there" chuckled Ezekiel with a shrug of his shoulders. He can't deny her since he was invited to Oliver Gardens because of his outstanding skills in Defence Against the Dark Arts.

Severus, slowly nods in agreement. Sometimes, he can forget that Oliver Gardens is a high-end institution that accepts only the best of the best. After a bit of research on his part, he has figured out that the acceptance rate into Oliver Gardens is less than five percent and that doesn't include the students who are invited themselves, with him being one of those lucky few.

"Enough about hat. Did you all hear the news about our Defence Against the Dark Arts class tommorow?" asked Rachael as she turns to address anyone and everyone ignores how her hair grows down to her feet and changes into lavender colour.

Amy looks to be full of excitement as she jumps in her spot while squealing. "How can I not? To learn how to turn into an animal has been a dream of mine since I was five! I can't wait to find out what animal I'm compatible with."

"And not all of us can turn into whatever we want at will" said Chloe while smirking at Rachael. Rachael sniffs and flicks her hair to the side with a smile.

"What's this about turning into animals?" asked a curious Severus.

"That's right. Severus transferred in so he doesn't know" nodded Ezekiel in understanding. "The story is that for the first month or two back after returning from the holidays, we all get to learn on how to become Animagus during Defence Against the Dark Arts class."

"Really?" Severus asked, very interested over the idea on becoming an Animagus. "That's never thought in Hogwarts. It's actually strictly prohibited unless you sign up for classes from the Ministry of Magic." Of course, the Marauders see themselves above the law and learned to become Animagus without the Ministry knowing. If it isn't for the fact that they are his school tormentors, he would be impressed that they learned the difficult art by themselves. The only reason that he doesn't reveal their illegal learning of Animagus Magic is because Dumbledore forced him under Magical Oath to not reveal their secret after the Werewolf incident in the Shrieking Shack.

"You're kidding me" gasped Ezekiel but from the Severus's serious expression, he isn't joking. "My old school in Italy learn how to be Animagus halfway through their seventh year. Why would your Ministry put such restrictions on it?"

Severus can think of many reasons on why, including paranoia and controlling. "My Ministry isn't the... best governed" Severus finished with the most positive response he can think of for the British Ministry of Magic. "But to learn how to become Animagus is pretty amazing" he said, hoping for the subject of matter to change away from his home country and anything to do with it. He left that life behind him and wants it to stay that way.

Luckily, Chloe falls victim for the sudden change of topic. "Damn right it is!" she exclaimed in joy. "I bet I'll be something amazing, like a unicorn or even a phoenix!"

"Or a dirty rat" chuckled Ezekiel before he winces from Chloe kicking his shin in retaliation. "Hey!"

"Shut up, you deserved that" she accused before she turns to Amy. "Please keep your boyfriend in line, won't you? We don't want him getting too big for his breeches."

"Honestly, I try my best but I like to give him some time outside to cool himself off. You know how it is" replied Amy with an amused grin. Ezekiel fake cries over his girlfriend's demeaning words that treat him like as if he's an animal. In the end, he and everyone else but Severus laugh over the antics.

Severus stares at the wall of his private Potions Lab with a thoughtful expression. "I wonder... what animal am I compatible with?"

( 7 January 1977 - Gryffindor Dormitory )

"Lily, are you feeling alright?"

"Of course I am. Why are you asking?"

"Maybe because you look like a Dementor who just woke up from a nightmare" remarked Mary as she looks at her best friend up and down. To her, it looks like Lily rushed herself while putting on her uniform since her shirt is tucked outside her skirt and she even has the bottom button of it open. Her long red hair which used to be so smooth and silky is now sticking out in all directions, obvious to Lily's lack of brushing it. There are even bags under her eyes, signifying a lack of sleep for her friend, even though they just woke up twenty minutes ago.

"She almost looks like a female version of Severus" thought Mary and tries to ignore the uneasy bubbling in her stomach over such a thought. She walks over to her friend and starts to help her get properly ready. "Here, let me help you."

"I'm not a toddler anymore. I don't need help getting dressed" grumbled Lily but allows Mary to fix her up anyway.

"Clearly." Mary rolls her eyes while buttoning up Lily's shirt, right. "What caused all this, though? You're not one to ignore personal hygiene" she asked while she tucks in Lily's shirt down her skirt.

"I just have a lot on my mind. That's all" sighed Lily in obvious exhaustion as she thinks back to Christmas. After finding the fair picture in the box, the only conclusion they could come up with is that Severus had sent them the presents. However, that only led to more questions needing to be asked than answers, most importantly being the question on how he could possibly afford such gifts, especially Petunia's gold and jeweled necklace. His sudden disappearance, the sale of his house and the gifts only adds more to the mystery that is Severus Snape and it has been keeping her up awake lately.

Honestly, it's her Christmas present that has been keeping her up most of the nights. The fact that the presents weren't from James isn't what troubles the redhead but it's her personal present that has her disturbed. That has been the only picture given to Severus with the entirety of the family in it and the thought of its meaning has her greatly worried.

Since it most likely means that he is severing himself from them, entirely. The picture is most likely a testament of that, acting as the symbol of Severus's connection with her family and he is cutting himself off from them.

Mary frowns in concern for her friend. "Want to talk about it?"

"You wouldn't understand."

"Try me" Mary challenged as she makes Lily sit on her bed and climbs up behind her so she can brush her hair down. It proves to be quite a challenge since the hair seems to refuse to lie down without a fight.

"It's about Severus." Lily doesn't miss how Mary pauses in her brushing for a split moment before the process continues. In all honesty, she can somewhat understand why. Mary never did like it when she hung around with Severus, especially with him in good graces with Mulciber of all people.


A simple response but enough for Lily to know what Mary thinks about the subject of her former best friend. Lily forces a small smile to grace her lips, just so it can match up with the dry laugh that she allows to escape her throat. "Yea, it isn't easy for me to think about either."

"But I thought that you stopped being friends with him" asked Mary before she finishes with brushing Lily's hair. While it looks presentable enough, there are still a few split ends sticking out but it will have to do for now. "Or am I wrong?"

Lily shakes her head. "You're not. It's... complicated" she answered, having no other way to put it. It isn't like she can share her family problems with Mary, no matter how good of a friend she is.

"I can see that" replied Mary as she gets off the bed and faces Lily. "Just so you know, if you have any trouble with him, you can call me for help or even James and his friends."

"The last thing I need right now is James" thought Lily. Right now, she isn't in the right mood for James or any of his antics and knows that if he is to get word on what's worrying her, he'll most likely try and hunt down Severus to punish him in some way. He never did like Severus. "I'll keep that in mind." With no more to say on the matter, Lily stands up from the bed and exits the dorm room and walks down the steps to the Gryffindor Common Room. She has an hour until breakfast is over in the Great Hall and classes begin so she has some time to go to the library and find some answers.

However, before she can make it halfway through the room, James walks in front of her with a wide smile and glittering hazel eyes "Not now!"

"Hey Li-Lily? What happened to you?" James asked after he sees Lily's unruly hair and bags under her eyes. "You look like a mess!"

"Thanks, Potter. You really know how to make a girl feel special" deadpanned Lily before she tries to walk around James but he proves to be more of a nuisance then she realizes when he takes a step to his left to block her path.

"What's wrong? You know you can ask me for help if you're in trouble, right?" asked James with his warm hazel eyes bearing into her green ones. He even places a comforting hand on Lily's shoulder to show that she isn't alone.

Only for her to brush it off without a second thought. "I'm fine, James. Really. I'm just heading to the library so can you please move out of my way?" She tries to keep her tone of voice even and low but the more of her time that James wastes in distracting her is less time with her figuring out what's going on with Severus.

"Want me to accompany you?" he asked and the begging tone isn't missed by Lily. "The snakes have gotten more violent lately and I would hate it to leave you alone with them out there."

"I can take care of myself so thanks but no thanks" stated Lily as she walks past the Potter heir and towards the portrait of the Fat Lady. However, a strong hand on her shoulder stops her again and she almost feels like growling at the offending appendage that is stopping her.

"Lily, I seriously insist to come with you. I can't in good heart leave you alone in the hallway with those snakes crawling around" James insisted, hoping for Lily to agree and let him come along. Not only for her protection but also so he has an excuse to hang around in her company and hopefully find something to connect with her on a personal level. So she can finally see him as less of a friend and as something more important.

It's because of that reasoning why he doesn't see the slap coming.

James's head turns to the left after Lily's slap registers with his cheek. The entire common room grows quiet as everyone stops with whatever they are doing so they can watch the drama unfolding in the middle of the Common room. James's touches his stinging cheek in obvious shock and turns to looks back at Lily but flinches when he looks into the raging pools that are her emerald eyes.

"I told you no, James! Why can't you get the hint and leave me alone!"

Everyone's eyes all widen as they stare at Lily in disbelief, especially James who doesn't understand what he did wrong. Lily doesn't care for all the eyes on her and quickly leaves the Common room so she can finally complete her intended task.

With her objective in mind, Lily heads towards the library to find a missing piece of the Severus Snape puzzle.

( Oliver Gardens - Defence Against the Dark Arts Class )

"As I'm sure you're all aware of, today's class will revolve around the studying and mastering of becoming Animagus" spoke the French, Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Mrs. Beaumont. Transferring from her home country, Beaumont is in her late forties but has clearly been taking care of herself over the years, hence the lack of wrinkles on her brow. Her long mocha-coloured hair is scrunched up into a messy bun on her head with quite a few strands escaping its confines. She adorns a simple button white shirt and long black skirt with a pair of black high-heels which raises her from her normal size of 5'8" to 5'11".

With her beauty and attire, she has become a crush for many of the students in Oliver Gardens. Unfortunately, Mrs. Beaumont is known across the campus as being one of the most strictest professors in all of Oliver Gardens with rumors stating that she can even scare the headmaster into submission.

All the tables and chairs have been removed from the classroom, leaving everyone to stand at attention and wait for their guidance from their professor. Many eyes are on the long table behind Mrs. Beaumont which is covered by a red blanket to hide whatever is on it. Whatever it may be, they know that it must be alive at least since the blanket won't stop fidgeting in place. Some students are sweating over the sight of the movement while others are wondering what is hiding underneath the blanket.

"I won't lie. Some of you won't leave this institution as Animagus" bluntly stated Mrs. Beaumont, uncaring of the groans and protests coming from her students. "Quiet! You don't learn to become an Animagus overnight! Animagus Magic takes immense patience and is extremely difficult to master. If done wrong it can result in disaster" she spoke with her accent showing.

"What kind of disaster?" asked Amy with her hand in the air.

Mrs. Beaumont's sharp eyes regard Amy for a few seconds, causing the young girl to nervously lower her hand and try to make herself as invisible as she can. A moment later and Beaumont starts to walk up and down the classroom with her hands and wand behind her back. "Over the years, many people have failed to take Animagus seriously and have disfigured themselves, permanently. If you make a simple mistake in your time hear studying, you will probably grow a few claws, feathers and tails. If you're lucky, of course."

Many in the class gulp, nervously over the professor's description but Severus furrows his brows in curiosity.

"Patience and difficult to master? How in Merlin's beard did Potter and his gang master it?" he thought, wondering how they did the impossible. Potter, Pettigrew and Black aren't known for their patience or will to overcome their studies so the idea that the three of them mastered the difficult art on their own is making him wonder his own sanity."How the bloody hell did Peter of all people master it!?"

Beaumont stops at the front of the classroom with her back straight and her last step producing a loud snap of wood, unknowingly causing the entire class to stand up straight with their arms by their sides. "For the next month, I will be teaching you how to unlock the animal within you" declared Beaumont who points her wand in the direction of her class. Then, she smirks and whirls around and with a flip of her wand, removes the blanket on the table. "Now, my favourite part."

Severus blanches at the potted plants on the table with similar reactions coming from the rest of the students. While the plant doesn't look like anything worth mentioning with it's almost dead-like appearance and its leaving barely hanging onto the body, he can remember enough detail of that specific plant to know what it is. And dear Merlin, does he hate it!

"Mandrake, a big part of becoming a Animagus."

Severus silently groans at the sight of the ever-annoying plants. "Bollox."

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