DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thank you for the wonderful reviews! Stay safe, everyone!
September 2, 1971
(twenty-four years ago)
Hermione left the Ravenclaw first-year dormitory very early. She was excited to see Severus and tell him about her House. She also wanted to know how it was down the dungeons. She was planning to go to the Great Hall and wait for him there. Then, they could walk around the castle for a bit or go to the library for light reading before the classes.
But Hermione didn't have to wait for him at the Great Hall. Severus was waiting already outside the entrance of The Ravenclaw common room.
"Sev!" she exclaimed happily. Her best friend was already wearing his new complete school uniform, with Slytherin colours.
He scowled. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to come here from the dungeons? I was already panting when I made it to the bloody fifth floor and I had to climb a spiral staircase!"
Hermione placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "But I didn't ask you to come here."
Severus's cheeks turned red, but he was still scowling. "Nobody would carry that heavy bag of yours for you. And the staircases are moving!"
She giggled, touched by his care. "The castle is sentient."
He still looked grumpy, but he took her book bag from her. He didn't bother offering his arm, but Hermione snaked her arm to his and they walked down to the Great Hall together.
"Please tell me that you slept well last night? You live in the dungeons!"
"There are warming charms and the view is really nice," he replied with a smirk.
"What view? We have the most perfect view because of our airy common room."
"But seeing under the lake is better than seeing the whole castle grounds," he replied simply.
They continued chattering about their Houses and classes they were looking forward to taking. Severus walked her to the Ravenclaw table, which happened to be just beside the Slytherin table. He placed her book bag gently to the floor. "I'll come back when you're done with your breakfast."
"Thanks, Sev. You're the best," she smiled before turning to her plate.
Hermione was soon surrounded by her housemates. She exchanged a conversation with Alona Goldstein and Amelia Bones, her fellow first years. They were both Purebloods but didn't mind when she told them that she was a Muggleborn. Then, their Head of House, Professor Flitwick, handed them their class schedules.
"Oh, we have two classes with the Slytherins!" she exclaimed.
"Oh, yes! I remember, your best friend's a Slytherin, right?" asked Amelia.
She nodded and looked at the Slytherin table happily. It seemed that Severus had the same sentiment. He held up his class schedule to show her and faked a sneer, to which she chuckled. She finished her breakfast in a happy mood.
"Let me walk you to your first class," came her best friend's voice.
Hermione turned her head with a smile on her face. "Thanks, Sev!" She picked her bag on the floor and slid off the bench. Severus caught her heavy book bag. "I'll see you in class," she told Amelia and Alona who gave her and Severus appraising looks.
Severus didn't protest when she held onto his arm as they left the Great Hall.
"Where is your first class?" he asked.
"Greenhouse one; Herbology. You?"
"Charms," he replied.
"So, how do you find the Hogwarts breakfast?" she asked conversationally.
"Good, but I prefer your mum's full English breakfast," he replied casually. "Her sausages and black pudding are the best."
She grinned. "She'll be pleased to hear that. I'll be writing to her tonight."
"Let's go to the owlery together. I promised your father that I'll write to him and tell him about our first day of classes."
They finally stopped outside the first greenhouse. Severus placed her bag on a bench and they sat there. After ten minutes, Hermione's classmates arrived. Severus took the cue. He stood up to leave. "I'll see you at lunch?"
Hermione nodded. "I'm planning to go to the library after lunch," she informed him.
"Good. We'll go together, then. Bye."
Hermione entered the greenhouse with her heart pounding heavily. She just couldn't completely understand yet the feeling whenever Severus was around.
Later on, after Double Herbology, she saw Severus waiting outside the greenhouse and he quickly stood up when he saw her, taking her bag. She muttered her thanks and they talked about their classes while walking to the Great hall together.
September 7, 1971
(twenty-four years ago)
The part of the library she was in was full. She walked towards a table being occupied by a blonde girl, wearing a Hufflepuff uniform. "May I sit here?" she asked politely.
The girl looked up with a smile. "Sure."
Hermione muttered thanks and sat beside the girl. "I'm Hermione Puckle," she introduced herself and offered her hand.
The Hufflepuff girl smiled brightly. "Alice Fawley," she said and shook her hand.
September 19, 1971
(twenty-four years ago)
Hermione was happily walking towards the Ravenclaw table, holding a small pot of sunflowers Sev gave her for her birthday the moment they met outside the Ravenclaw common room. She was going to take it outside after breakfast.
Sev was, as usual, complaining about how heavy her book bag was and how it was hard for him to go down the spiral staircase with it. It was Sunday, but they decided to study by the lake, and she decided to bring a few books. But she only gave him a fond smile, knowing that despite his incessant complaining, he still cared for her. The flowers said it all; a sunflower is a symbol of friendship.
"Hey, Severus, Puckle," called someone when they passed by the Slytherin table.
Hermione and Severus turned to the voice. It was Antonin Dolohov, Jr., their fellow first-year and Sev's roommate. "Toyin," Sev nodded.
The half-British, half-Russian boy preferred to be called by his nickname. "You can use a feather-light charm on your bags."
"I don't know that charm yet, I'm afraid," admitted Severus.
Toyin pulled out his wand. "Do you mind?" he asked and Sev shook his head. He whispered a spell and pointed his wand at Hermione's and Sev's bags.
"Excellent," Sev grinned. "What was the spell?"
Toyin smirked. "Sorry, but you have to find out yourself."
"Thanks!" they said together and grinned at the British-Russian boy.
"I'd rather study alone than be with you, you arrogant prat!"
Hermione turned her head towards the direction where the yelling came from, with a frown. It was Lily Evans, standing and yelling at the Gryffindor table, towering over James Potter (the bespectacled boy from the train) who was sitting on the bench with three other Gryffindor boys.
"But Professor McGonagall told us to work in pairs, Evans," smirked Potter. "You and I. We're perfect together."
Hermione shook her head with amusement and she saw Severus looked at the two Gryffindors with disgust.
Potter had been flirting with and stalking Lily since last week. It was no more secret to the whole castle that he was interested in the redhead Muggleborn, but Lily wasn't amused. She didn't like the attention Potter was giving her.
Hermione slid on the bench, placing the potted sunflowers carefully on the table, beside a plate and turned to Sev fondly. "Thank you again, Sev."
Severus nodded and patted her head before walking towards his House table.
"Is that from him? That's so sweet!" cooed Amelia, her eyes on the flowers. She smiled and nodded.
"At least, Snape's subtle about declaring his love for you, Puckle," a third-year boy commented. "Unlike Potter," he sneered.
"Yes! Snape's really a gentleman!" agreed Alona.
She shook her head and laughed, but deep inside, she was hoping they were right. She ignored the fluttering of her heart and the butterflies in her stomach. "But he's not declaring his love for me. Sunflowers symbolize friendship, and it's my birthday."
The Ravenclaws gasped and muttered birthday greetings and wishes to her, while her fellow first years sang "Happy Birthday". She thanked them sincerely.
Halfway to finishing her breakfast, owls swooped in and an unfamiliar brown owl dropped a large package in front of her. It was followed by a tawny owl, dropping a much smaller package.
Hermione reached for the large parcel and recognized her mother's handwriting. Attached to it was a birthday card where her parents and sister wrote their birthday messages. Deciding to open the package later, she shrunk it using a spell they recently learned. She reached for the card attached to the small parcel and recognized Severus's handwriting:
It's not too much, but I think it would be useful and prevent you from being suffocated by your own hair.
Hermione opened the gift with a frown and found a bottle of anti-frizz serum. She snorted. Amelia leaned to take a look at the present. She handed her the card from Severus.
"Who wrote this?" her new friend asked.
"Sev," she replied.
"Well, that was lovely," Amelia said with an amused look on her face. "Slytherins have different ways of declaring their love. Have I mentioned that my father was a Slytherin and Mum's a Ravenclaw?" Hermione shook her head. Amelia smiled. "Dad declared his love for mother by saying: "' I dislike everyone in this Great Hall, apart from you.'"
Hermione grinned. "That's sweet, but Sev and I are just friends."
Amelia shrugged. "Sure, hun. If that's what helps you sleep at night."
"Happy birthday, Hermione!" Alice pulled her to a hug when they saw each other outside the Great Hall before lunch.
Hermione grinned and returned the other witch's embrace. "Thank you, Alice." Ever since they met at the library more than a week ago, they became friends and made it a habit of meeting at the library after classes, just before dinner. Severus didn't mind having Alice around and the Hufflepuff girl knew when to leave them so that they could spend time together as well.
"Sorry, I didn't know it's your birthday. If I had known beforehand, I would've owled my mum to send something, but here..." She handed her a box of Sugar Quills.
"Oh, Alice! Thank you!" she exclaimed and hugged the girl once more. "I appreciate it. But you didn't have to get me anything. Your friendship is enough."
Alice laughed. "You're welcome. I'm also grateful for your friendship."