Other Evils In This World

March 26, 2012
By Your_Beautiful_Lies SILVER, Cairo, New York
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Your_Beautiful_Lies SILVER, Cairo, New York
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Favorite Quote:
"Expirence is a brutal teacher, but we learn. My God do we learn."~C.S.Lewis








OR
What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939, translated from French by Lewis Galantière


The Great Hall was always so vividly lit, full of eager students returning to yet another year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each new year always brought along with it a new group of students with which to fill newly evicted beds passed down from graduated students. That was what it had been like for Lilia Gunner only two years ago. Now headed into her third year, she had grown quite accustomed to the constant ritual of sorting out the new children into the appropriate houses and then commence with dinner.

She lifted her head just the barest amount when one of the young boys was sorted into Slytherin. Her house. It was rare for a Muggle Born to be sorted into such an esteemed house, but she had been sorted there almost as soon as the Sorting Hat had touched her head.

She was one of the quiet ones in Slytherin, never one to boast of her status, after all, she wasn't extraordinarily brilliant as far as book smarts went, decently smart but nothing special, and both her parents were Muggles. What was there to be proud and arrogant about? She preferred to not speak of the answer.

As soon as the Sorting ritual was completed and all the first years were seated at the corresponding tables, the food appeared magically in front of them all. She swallowed, having grown a little hungry and so timidly reached out to grasp the handle of the silver tongs so she could plate some chips when someone reached over and smacked her hand carelessly out of the way.

Her green eyes narrowed, her gaze falling upon none other than Draco Malfoy.

"Watch it Mud Blood, privileged classes get first pickings after all. You should know this after being here the last two years," the sharp looking blonde spat with a sneer.

Lilia stayed silent, her dark green eyes standing out in sharp contrast to her pale white skin. She chose to say nothing, preferring not to get into a senseless squabble with a spoiled brat like Malfoy. However, she felt someone's eyes on her and turned to her left towards the tables where the professors sat.

Snape had been watching her. Or more specifically, the near argument between her and Draco. He looked as calm and cold as ever, so she turned her head away, ducking behind her straight black curtain of hair.

Lilia had never been afraid of Professor Snape like most of the other students in the school. To her, he was just another Slytherin who seemed arrogant and thought himself better than those around him, including those he taught. She supposed that was why he was so good at being head of Slytherin house. Either way, she didn't want to get his attention focused on her now, seeing as she'd evaded his snarky tone the previous two years.

After she finished eating what she'd picked up from the middle of the table, she got up with her classmates and slowly proceeded back to the common room, keeping her head down slightly to avoid eye contact with anyone she didn't feel like speaking to at that very moment.

Once in the Slytherin common room, she, along with the other third year girls headed up to their dormitories and got ready for bed.

Lilia was among the first to get changed and brush her teeth before laying down and closing her eyes once her head lay upon the soft cotton pillow.

When the lights were all out and the other girls were merely whispering to themselves about their morning classes, Lilia opened her eyes and simply revelled in that moment in the dark where no one would think twice about her and let her sleep a night in true peace.

The following morning, classes begun and of course, Lilia climbed out of bed with the rest of the girls and got ready for her first day. She buttoned up her white cotton shirt, fastened her skirt, pulled on her stockings and shoes, then put on her tie, followed by the jumper each student was supposed to wear. Lastly, she donned her black cloak with the Slytherin house symbol embroidered onto the left breast. Once dressed, she went to the mirror located just above her own dresser next to her bed and brushed her thick straight black hair all the way down to her waist, and then quickly ran the brush gently through her fringe of dark straight cut bangs. Setting the brush down, she gathered her books and headed to her first class of the morning. Herbology.

Personally, Lilia enjoyed Herbology. In comparison to most of the other classes within the school, she found it to be rather relaxing. It was a relatively easy start to her mornings, and she was rather good at the subject, so that only gave her more interest to begin her day with the subject. After Herbology, Lilia went on to her Charms class which was always alright. She always chose to sit at the back of the class, as she did in most cases, not really delighting in being called upon to practice the newest charm Professor Flitwick imposed upon the newest victim. Afterall, who would want to be the focus of attention only to be humiliated if the charm itself didn't work or went wrong? Not her. After charms, Lilia moved on to Transfiguration, a class she seemed to do well enough at, though as usual, there were others who did far better and grasped the material much faster than her. She preferred not to race through it though. She enjoyed taking her time to perfect the spells before attempting them, after all. She'd always been extremely cautious when it came to those things.

At last, her fourth period arrived, brining Lilia Gunner to stand outside the Potions classroom. She opened the door and proceeded to find the nearest vacant seat. She looked around, swallowing when she saw they were all taken up at the back, and moved closer to the front, then closer and finally to the front row where there was a seat empty in the middle.

Quickly assuming this vacant chair and placing her books neatly on the desk in front of her, Lilia awaited the arrival of their Potions Master.

Only seconds after Lilia had seated herself, she heard the door to the dungeon's door be kicked open, followed by the immediate presence of their darkly clad Potion's Master and head of house, Severus Snape.

Lilia's green eyes watched him as he stormed somehow gracefully and powerfully to the front of the room and assumed his place by his desk and turned to face the class.

Snape scanned the room for anyone missing and then stood straighter, pulling his black cloak closed around him like… some sort of vampire; or so Lilia at least thought to herself.

"Good afternoon, third years. Can anyone tell me what we will be working on today?" he asked, nodding towards the ingredients already stationed at regular intervals between each pair of students.

Lilia sighed lightly and glanced down to look at the ingredients upon her desk. Daisy roots, skinned shrivelfig, a caterpillar, a small spleen, a rat's? and some kind of liquid. She thought for a moment, trying to recognize the liquid, recognizing it as leech juice and then realized all these things were used to make a Shrinking Potion. She glanced around from beneath her curtain of dark hair, wondering if anyone knew.

"You there, girl, can you tell me what we might be making today?" Snape suddenly asked.

Lilia's gaze turned to meet Snape's, her eyes widening slightly. She glanced down at the ingredients to be sure once again and then parted her lips to answer. "A shrinking potion, sir?" she said.

Snape eyed her for a moment, long enough to make Lilia doubt her answer and feel foolish for thinking she might have actually gotten it correct when he nodded.

"Good, and what are the effects of this solution, exactly?" Snape asked, his dark eyes scanning the room for yet another unprepared victim to center out and humiliate somehow.

Lilia breathed a sigh of relief, leaning back into her chair and closed her eyes for a moment, a bit surprised when she heard a slight chuckle come from her right. She opened her eyes and met a pair of deep blue eyes and a slightly amused grin.

"Is something funny?" she whispered, glancing over the brown haired boys shoulder at Snape to make sure they wouldn't be caught talking.

He shrugged. "Your reaction to getting the answer correct merely amused me," he replied calmly, quirking a brow. He then extended his right hand over his left arm out to her. "Quinn Prewett," he said.

Lilia looked at him curiously, then down at his hand. She was about to reply that her name was Lilia Gunner when they were interrupted.

"I do not believe that anywhere in the curriculum it says to flirt with your potions partner, Mr. Prewett."

Lilia and Quinn both looked up to see their Potions Professor looming over their desk, looking down his nose at them as though they were some filthy vermin.

Lilia had always hated the feeling of being in trouble in plain view of those around her and so her eyes widened in surprise and she sat dumbfounded while his Professor looked back at her with a cold gaze.

"Apologies sir, I was merely introducing myself is all," Quinn said calmly.

Snape's gaze moved from Lilia to Quinn and remained there for some time. "Don't let me catch you introducing yourself to anyone again while I am instructing this class, Mr. Prewett… It would be a shame to have to reprimand one of my own Slytherin house students under such… childish circumstances…" he said coldly and moved away calmly, his gaze lingering a moment longer on Quinn and Lilia.

She watched him move on and resume his class.

Once Snape finished his instruction and the students began work on their Shrinking Potion, Quinn once again tried to make conversation with the quiet dark haired girl next to him.

"So, I didn't quite catch your name," he said, a slight grin forming on his lips, the corners of his mouth being tugged up at th every slightest against his will when he looked at Lilia.

She raised her head only a little and looked at him, then glanced down seeing his hand was yet again outstretched to her, she supposed, in a friendly manner. "Lilia Gunner," she replied quietly, turning back to the daisy roots she was evenly chopping into pieces for the potion.

"Lilia Gunner. That's a nice name for such a nice looking girl," Quinn boldly stated with a flirtatious smirk.

Lilia glanced over at him for a moment from beneath her dark fringe of bangs and frowned slightly. She wondered what sort of arrogant boy she'd landed as her partner for the assignment.

Quinn watched her chop the daisy roots and then chuckled. "Aren't much for conversation are you?" he asked.

She glanced at him curiously. "Is that a problem?"

"Not at all, I don't mind, I'll speak for both of us," he grinned.

Lilia looked at him like he had just grown another head.

He looked at her and then cleared his throat. "Sorry, I didn't mean to come on strong, I just wanted to meet someone new this year is all," he said calmly.

She looked at him quietly. "You can start by not distracting me while I'm cutting, thank you."

Quinn grinned and sighed, sitting back and waited for her to finish.

The rest of Potions class went on with a bit of a drag to Lilia. She tried to get out as quickly as possible, being one of the last to stay behind and clean up the desks for the next class. She had felt compelled to hurry especially since she felt Snape watching her every movement. Perhaps he was watching her because he was surprised to have a student who had recognized the ingredients of the Shrinking Potion? She couldn't guess.

Once that had been done, she gathered her things and glancing once quickly to see Snape reading something, she headed out, wondering if the feeling of him watching her had merely been something her mind had conjured up to make her paranoid.

Her eyes were so green. Even more vivid than Lily's had been when he had last seen her. Snape had never noticed that young dark haired, pale young woman in his classes before, but there she was, in his third year class, somehow having been there all along and without him noticing her.

She wasn't anything special at first glance, what with her thick dark black straight hair and short bangs covering her forehead, and almost her eyes. Her skin was so pale it was nearly completely white, quite possibly even paler than his own. But her eyes. So green, like a pair of emeralds had been plucked from some deep treasure trove and placed into her sockets. But they weren't merely startlingly lovely to look at, but so empty and sad.

Never in all his years of teaching had he ever seen such an empty gaze from such a young child. It was a look far beyond her years. Even that infernal Potter boy had been through too much for most children to bear and even his eyes weren't so devoid of emotion.

What sadness could possibly have burrowed its way into such a young girls heart and had such a toll that even her eyes were windows into the darkness of her soul?

Snape wondered who that young girl was and why he had never seen her before in any of his classes. How had one such as her evaded him for two whole years?

'Why is this boy following me around everywhere I go?' Lilia thought to herself that gloomy morning as she walked to class, Quinn in tow. Over the course of a couple weeks he'd somehow come to the conclusion that Lilia wanted to be friends with him, which she had never said directly or implied in any way; at least not that she herself could see.

He was nice enough, but Lilia wasn't exactly the most sociable creature in the school, and hence was unaccustomed to having some loud mouth boy following her around and trying to peak her interest. The only obvious conclusion she could think of was he was merely thinking through the wrong head.

"Ah, Potions. How delightful. Want to sit together again, Lily?" he smiled at her.

She glanced up at him and stepped into the classroom, mentally snarling that her name wasn't Lily but Lilia. "Aren't you a bit too cheerful for a gloomy day like this?" she asked him dryly. 'For a Slytherin in general?' she wondered to herself.

Quinn chuckled as they sat down somewhere in the middle of the classroom. "Oh come on now, why should I let the weather have any effect on the way I feel?" he smirked and leaned a little closer than was necessary, whispering into her ear, "Especially when I'm with you?"

She shuddered inwardly, glancing at the dark haired blue eyed boy next to her, but then turned to face the front of the class when Professor Snape entered it. She flinched involuntarily when his gaze fell upon her for a brief instant but dismissed it as a mere check of attendance.

Once class began, Lily paid close attention, having always wanted to be better than she was at Potions. She had done well in Herbology and Transfiguration, seeing those two as rather necessary and useful classes to excel at, but Potions she knew she still needed to improve. Especially under Snape's sharp eye for detail.

As usual, Quinn decided for her that they would be partners in that morning's potion making assignment. She reluctantly said nothing, watching as Quinn went to get the proper ingredients, several students crowding around the cupboards to get the appropriate things needed to make their potion assigned to them.

Lilia's sad green eyes watched as the other students expectantly greeted their partners back, large smiles on their faces, laughs and whispers going on around her, things she had never been included in. Especially not in Slytherin house.

She turned her gaze down to read over her notes on the potion of that morning when she felt like she was being watched. She slowly looked up, flinching slightly when she noticed Professor Snape watching her intently. She blinked a few times, wondering when he would look away, and when he did not, she did by looking up to see Quinn fast reproaching their designated desk that morning. She swallowed, only half hearing what Quinn was saying while they began their work of chopping up ingredients and putting things in a specific amount of order into their cauldron.

Lilia's mind began to drift a little when she picked up the newt juice and was about to add it to the cauldron when she heard someone exclaim something in alarm.

"Lily!" Quinn exclaimed in alarm and snatched the vial of juice from her hand.

She flinched again, a bad habit forming she noticed, and looked up at Quinn in surprise when she heard the smash of something made of glass at the front of the room. Her green eyes turned to see Snape muttering something under his breath as he leaned down to pick up broken shards of some kind of glass container. He paused just as he was about to pick up the largest shard and turned to look at the now silent class. "Get back to work," he said in a warning tone.

Almost immediately the class jumped right back into what they had been doing, with the exception of Lilia who was staring wide eyed at Snape who had caught her gaze and not let it go for several seconds. Her lips parted slightly in surprise but he turned away before she could think of what to do.

Slowly, she turned back to face Quinn and looked up at him. "I… I'm sorry, I don't know where my mind was just there," she said hesitantly, looking down, feeling the heat of an embarrassed blush forming on her cheeks.

Quinn looked at her and smirked. "No problem, you look so cute when you blush like that I think I just might forgive you this time," he chuckled. "Just don't let it happen again," he teased. "That could have very easily blown off your hand there," he smirked, reaching for it and holding it softly for a moment.

Lilia looked at Quinn slightly darker hand wrapped around her smaller pale one and looked up to see Snape watching again, an odd look in his dark usually unreadable eyes. She looked away and pulled her hand out of Quinn's grasp quickly, looking down again. "Sorry… I don't feel well today, I think I need to use the lavatory, please excuse me," she whispered shakily, standing up and quickly exiting the classroom. She didn't care right now if Snape reprimanded her and gave her detention for leaving without permission. She felt like she could barely breathe in there right now. What with Quinn's forceful attention and Snape's cold beady stare upon her, watching her for any new mistakes she might make.

She turned a corner and relaxed seeing that it was an empty hallway. She leaned forward to the wall, pressing her forehead against the cool stone of it. She closed her eyes, taking a few deep breaths and then turned to lean her back against it, sliding down to the floor slowly and sighed. Once sitting, she pulled her feet up to her and hugged them close, defensively, to her body. Resting her chin on her knees ad closing her eyes, she didn't notice when someone came to stand nearby her.

"And just what do you think you're doing Miss. Gunner?" came that familiar cold voice.

She gasped and looked up to see none other than her black clad Potions Professor. "Professor Snape… I… I'm sorry, I felt ill and overwhelmed by all the other students. I needed to get somewhere by myself quickly," she said nervously, looking up at him from beneath her dark fringe of bangs.

"I don't recall you asking for permission to leave the classroom, Miss. Gunner."

She looked up at him nervously. "I'm sorry…" she whispered finally, knowing anything else she said would be useless against a cold teacher such as Snape.

He looked down his large nose at her with his cold unmerciful stare, then turned to go back to class.

She looked up at him in surprise, sitting up and watching him go. However, just before he turned the corner, he told her one thing.

"Detention tonight with me, Miss. Gunner."

Her heart sank and she slumped back against the wall. Of course he wouldn't take pity on the quiet little girl in his class. Why would he? He was after all one of the cruellest and uncaring teachers Hogwarts had in it's faculty.

She rested her head back against the wall, figuring if she already had earned herself a detention she was in no hurry to return at that exact moment. Especially since now she really did feel a bit light headed.

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After all her classes were finished, Lilia headed back down to the dungeons in order to serve her detention to Professor Snape that evening. She only hoped that she would make it back in time for dinner.

She knocked lightly on the dungeon door and then pushed it open, stepping inside and closing it behind her. Looking around, she noticed no one was there and wondered if perhaps Snape meant for her to have detention after dinner that evening? She swallowed, walking towards the front of the now empty classroom and looked around. She noticed something glint on the floor, tilting her head and leaned down to pick it up, wincing when it pricked her finger. She picked it up carefully this time and sighed, seeing it was one of the glass shards from the broken glass container that morning during potions class. She still wondered how someone as collected as Snape could have dropped it though.

She brought the finger to her lips and sucked on the bead of blood forming there.

"Foolish girl, haven't you ever been taught not to touch glass before?" Snape growled slightly from behind her, causing her to jump.

"Ah! I'm sorry, I didn't think it was glass at first, Professor."

Snape stepped up the two raised stairs to the front of his desk and leaned his hips slightly against it, looking at her. He then held out his hand to her.

She blinked, looking down at his hand quizzically and then up at him in confused.

He rolled his eyes. "The shard, Miss. Gunner, give it to me so I may dispose of it," he said coldly.

"Oh, right," she said and held it out to him, dropping it into his hand. She was surprised how warm his palm was when her fingers grazed his white skin. Pulling away, she looked down, then looked around at the empty classroom, then back up at him. "In what way will I be serving detention tonight, Professor?" she asked him quietly.

He looked at her for a moment, then went to throw away the shard of glass calmly. When he returned to her, he crossed his arms, his cold dark eyes practically boring holes into her skin where they looked. "Why did you feel it necessary to abandon your classmates this morning and take off down the hall without any permission?" he asked her instead.

She frowned, looking at him in question, then thought about it. "I… I felt a bit light headed is all…" she said. "Quinn was being too close and I felt overwhelmed by him and just being surrounded by the other students so I excused myself and left to be alone for a few minutes," she said, not faltering in her words.

"Is Mr. Prewett being a bother to you, Miss. Gunner?" he asked her calmly.

She looked up at him, wondering why he would even pretend to care and swallowed. "No sir…" she said, "We're merely friends. He was just talking so much and I had already felt a tad ill before class had begun this morning," she said.

Snape looked down the bridge of his nose at her calculatingly, and then turned and picked up a box of folders, setting it down on one of the desks at the front of the class. "You will sort through these files for any damage. If there is any, you will rewrite them on fresh paper without the use of magic until this box is completed. Understood, Miss. Gunner?"

She looked bewildered at the large box and swallowed, nodding. "Yes sir," she said, walking over to the desk and sat down, pulling out the first file and began to go through it while Snape assumed his seat at his own desk, marking what appeared to be assignments from one of the upper year classes.

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Snape sat at his desk that evening, going over the potions essays he'd assigned to his fourth year Potions students when he looked up to see Lilia wincing and trying to crack her wrist. He glanced at the clock, seeing they had been cooped up in the room for an hour and a half now. He then looked to see she had gotten a little over halfway through the box.

"Perhaps your wrist bothering you will teach you not to pardon yourself from my class whenever you feel like it, Miss. Gunner," he said calmly, reading over something on one of the essays and making a note on the parchment.

She looked at him silently and then looked down, grasping the quill and resumed her punishment.

Snape watched her for a moment and then set down his quill near the parchment. "Do you get enough sleep at night, Miss. Gunner?" he asked her.

She looked up at him quietly, her eyes questioning why he was asking her something so utterly random.

"You look tired all the time, as a Professor at this school I must employ the importance of sleep on all my students. I wouldn't want Slytherin to earn a bad rep because one foolish girl is deciding she can avoid sleep in order to do whatever she pleases," he said.

She swallowed and looked at him in disbelief. "I do get enough sleep at night, Professor. I am merely feeling a little ill today, that is all," she said.

"You're a terrible liar, Miss. Gunner," he said, staring at her intensely.

She looked back at him, swallowing. "What proof do you have that I am lying?" she asked.

"Because ever since you came to this class at the beginning of term, you have looked the same way. You have a vacant expression in your eyes as though you are not entirely present, Miss. Gunner. That, to me as a professor, is an alarming thing to see," he said.

She looked back at him, a frown forming upon her brow. "Why are you taking such an enormous interest in the way I appear when in class, Professor?" she asked. "Has it never occurred to you that I might just not enjoy Potions class like most of the other Slytherins?" she asked him bluntly.

Snape narrowed his eyes at her. "Don't be cheek with me, dear. 10 points from Slytherin house thanks to your quick mouth, and detention for the rest of the week," he said firmly.

She looked at him icily, picking up her quill.

Snape looked down at the parchment and swore under his breath, seeing the quill had left a small stain on the right side. He picked it up and used his wand to clear away the spill.

Lilia glanced up at him from under her bangs and then went back to replacing any damaged records.

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When she finished with the box, she looked up to see it was already a little after 8pm at night. She sighed, feeling her stomach churn, wanting desperately to eat something. She rubbed her tired eyes and stood up, moving to pick up the box of newly replaced files.

"Leave it," came Snape's firm tone, glancing up at the dark haired girl and waving his hand away at her. "You've done what I asked you to, you may go to bed now."

She looked at him and then turned to go to the door. "Goodnight, Professor…" she said and turned down the hallway to go.

As she walked, she looked up in time to see the Gryffindor prefect headed her way.

"You there!" he exclaimed and pointed at her, as if there was someone else in the hall to be mixed up with. "It's past 8 pm. You don't have authorization to be in the halls at this hour," he said haughtily. "I should report you," he said.

"There will be no need for such action," Snape said from behind Lilia suddenly. "The girl was serving detention in my dungeon and I will escort her back to the dormitories to avoid any more confusion," he said, daring the prefect to say anything about it.

He looked up at Snape and then nodded, stepping out of the way as Lilia looked up at him, then up at Snape curiously.

Together, they turned down one of the corridors heading towards the stairwell.

Lilia stepped out onto the platform at the top of one of the stairs and began to walk down it, Snape following silently behind her like some ominous shadow. "I can find my way from here, Professor…" she said.

"I have no doubt that you can, Miss. Gunner, however, I would like to avoid you getting into trouble with the other house prefects merely because you took so long to finish your detention this evening," he said.

She glared up at him over her shoulder, sorely tempted to inform him if he hadn't given her such an enormous and damaged box she would have finished earlier. However, the audible growl from her stomach cut her off and she blushed in embarrassment at such un lady-like sounds.

Snape glanced down at the young girl as they turned to walk down another hallway. "Hungry, are we?"

She looked up at him and frowned. "No," she said quietly, trying to walk a little faster so he could go away, but his strides were long and steady while she had to walk faster already just to keep pace at his side. No doubt the height difference did that.

At last they reached the Slytherin common room and she spoke the password to get through the door. She stepped inside and walked in, expecting to hear the door of the common room shut, but instead heard the whisper of a cloak along the carpet. She turned and looked up to see Snape standing behind her and she raised a finely arched brow at his actions.

He looked around, then produced a chocolate frog from his pocket, holding it out to her. "I suppose me supplying you with sugar before bed isn't the wisest idea, but I figured you looked unaccustomed to detention and would more than likely be missing dinner tonight," he said.

She was a little startled by the gesture, but cautiously reached out and took the small packet from him, looking up at him, waiting for him to sneer at her or snatch it back or something. "Thank you, professor."

He turned to go then. "Don't expect special treatment at every detention, Miss. Gunner. You best be prepared for tomorrow evenings detention more so than you were tonight," he said, the common room door closing behind him as he disappeared back down the hallway.

She looked at the back of the common room door and then down at the chocolate frog package in her hands. Carefully unwrapping it, she headed up to her dormitory so she could get some sleep before yet another early morning and possibly confusing evening with her head of house.

Lilia wrinkled her nose in distaste as she picked up yet another rotten flobberworm. She didn't think that she could possibly have gotten herself a worse detention than this one. Not only were they foul creatures to smell and look at, but Snape had denied her the privilege of using any protective gloves to avoid touching the mucus let alone the ugly bugs themselves, with her bare hands.

"Be grateful, Miss. Gunner. I could have had you cleaning out the bedpans in the hospital wing tonight," Snape said from up at his desk.

She glanced up at him and narrowed her eyes slightly in irritation at him, picking up another flobberworm.

By the time she was finished, any hunger she might have normally developed for dinner that evening was diminished by the disgusting mucus coating her small hands.

She stood once finished and looked at Snape, hoping he would atleast be courteous enough to turn on the tap so she could rinse off her hands.

Of course he merely ignored her little problem and continued marking his students papers.

She looked at him and then went to the basin, reaching for the tap and turned it, making sure to get the mucus well onto the tap knob and washed off her hands. She then grabbed what part wasn't coated with mucus and turned it as much as she could so the water would stop flowing and turned to leave.

"Clean it up, Miss. Gunner. I will not stand to have you soiling any area of my classroom," said Snape, without even looking in her direction.

She stopped and sighed, reluctantly going back to the sink basin and washed off the tap knobs, then brought over the sorted flobberworms, putting them onto Snape's desk and looked at him calmly. "I've finished my punishment for tonight. Goodnight Professor Snape," she said, turning to go.

He watched her exit the classroom and then glanced at the flobberworms placed in separate buckets upon his desk. How foul.

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Lilia left the potions dungeon feeling somewhat at ease now that she was finished, and found that somehow hunger had snuck up on her again. She headed to the Great Hall and found a seat near the end of the table by herself and was ready for tonight's dinner, which as always, would be delicious.

When the food appeared, Lilia reached for several of her favourite items, such as the gravy chips and chicken leg. This was one thing she, among everyone else always adored about Hogwarts of course; the food was divine in itself.

About halfway through dinner, Albus Dumbledore stood from his chair and tilted his head in an expectant way while he raised a hand to gather everyone's attention, while Professor McGonagall chimed a fork against her now empty glass.

In a matter of moments, the dining students had quieted down and turned to look up at the teachers desks. Lilia didn't fail to notice that Snape was already seated there.

Dumbledore moved to stand at the podium near the front of the hall and began to speak. "I'd like to make an announcement. This castle will not only be your home this year, but home to some very special guests as well," he stated.

That was when Filch came in and began to run in an odd manner towards Dumbledore.

Lilia, among the other students wondered why he was in such a hurry to reach their headmaster and several students began whispering and muttering amongst themselves in curiosity.

"You see Hogwarts has been chosen," he continued, cut off when Filch met him at his side and whispered something to the Headmaster.

Lilia's green eyes looked around at the other students as they spoke, then up at Dumbledore again when Filch moved away and ran back to the entrance after Dumbledore whispered back with something else.

He then resumed his post at the small podium and continued. "So, Hogwarts has been chosen to host a legendary event. The Triwizard Tournament."

Immediately, there was an excited murmur among the students over this news. Lilia curiously remained listening, wanting to know just what this event was.

Dumbledore continued his speech. "Now for those of you who don't know, The Triwizard Tournament brings together three schools for a series of magical contests. From each school a student is selected to compete. Let me be clear, if chosen.. You stand alone," he said seriously, several students piping down at this and looking curiously at Dumbledore as well. "And trust me when I say, these contests are not for the faint heart. But more on that later," he added. "For now, please join me in welcoming the lovely ladies ofBeauxbatons Academy of Magic, and their Headmistress, Madame Maxime," he said proudly just as the doors to the Great Hall opened to let in a flock of tall, well built young women who seemed to flutter gracefully to the front of the hall with a gracious sigh here and there for effect.

Lilia, among several other girls no doubt, rolled her eyes and rested her chin in her palm upon the table, watching those perfect girls make their way to the front of the hall in a perfectly poise and practiced manner. With a bow, the girls stood together at the front while boys all over the hall exploded with applause, cheers and whistles at the newcomers and their tall Headmistress.

Dumbledore then assumed his position at the front of the hall yet again and raised his arms, inviting silence among the students. "And now our friends from the North. Please greet the proud sons of Durmstrang and their High Master Igor Karkaroff."

With that, the doors opened yet again to let in a strong looking group of young men who carried large staffs which they used to tap forcefully against the ground, sparks emanating from the bases of each one while they headed towards the front of the hall, doing their own sort of chant and acrobatics while their High Master powerfully strode to the front of the hall to unite Victor Krum and himself with the rest of their selected students.

Lilia watched as they assumed their designated spot at the front, not noticing the distasteful look upon Snape's face while they moved to position; much more interested in the strong and handsome appearance of the male guests as they filed in order at the front of the hall near the females.

"Albus," came Karkaroff's voice as he strode to embrace his old friend, or so it looked that ay to the student population as they applauded the second group to have arrived.

With that, dinner was finished and the students sat expectantly to hear more as Dumbledore made his way to the front of the podium again. "Your attention please!" he called out over the excited conversations amongst the students in their houses. When everyone had quieted down, Dumbledore continued. "I would like to say a few words. Eternal glory; that is what awaits the student who wins The Triwizard Tournament," he said powerfully, holding the Hogwarts students at full attention. "But to do this, that student must survive three tasks. Three, extremely dangerous tasks," he said, his tone enforcing these were not tasks to be taken lightly by those who entered of course. "For this reason, the Ministry have seen fit to impose a new rule. To explain all this, we have the head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, Mr. Bartemius Crouch."

Lilia noticed there was movement to the left of the teacher's tables when suddenly there was an alarming flash of lightning and thunder crashing around them, alarming the students since it came from the bewitched ceiling of the Great Hall.

Suddenly, students were screaming, but Lilia was watching the man who suddenly pulled out his wand and shot some sort of spell into the false sky and calmed it, causing quite the stirrup amongst the students as they all began to notice him and his odd appearance.

Everyone watched as he approached the front of the hall and reached out to shake hands with Dumbledore who seemed to welcome him with relief.

Lilia watched curiously while he drank something from a flask of sorts he had on him, turning away as he did so for a moment. She frowned, finding that a bit odd behaviour.

Suddenly, Mr. Crouch stood before the Hogwarts students and began to speak in a loud clear voice. "After due consideration, the Ministry has concluded that for their own safety, no student under the age of seventeen shall be allowed to put forth their name for The Triwizard Tournament. This decision is final!" he said firmly over the loud outraged exclamations from the students.

Lilia watched quietly while the other students expressed their outrage at this while Mr. Crouch looked on uncomfortably in her opinion. Luckily, Dumbledore stepped forward and demanded silence from the school.

Once everyone was quieted again, he moved to reveal the Goblet of Fire, which in fact stood tall and proud, a blue flame atop its rim.

"The Goblet of Fire," Dumbledore said in a loud voice, clarifying what many of the students were thinking. "Anyone wishing to submit themselves for the tournament, merely write their name upon a piece of parchment, and throw it in the flame before this hour on Thursday night. Do not do so lightly," he said, eyeing the students carefully. "If chosen, there's no turning back," he said ominously, sending a chill up Lilia's spine.

She only wondered what sorts of tasks the students chosen would have to do.

"As from this moment," Dumbledore continued, "The Triwizard Tournament has begun."

Lilia looked on in awe of that brilliant blue flame while the students began to talk amongst themselves of who would be competing. She too found herself caught up in the excitement of it all, wondering who would be selected out of all of Hogwarts to compete in representation of their school.

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That night, Snape lay in bed, scratching the dark mark upon his forearm absentmindedly as he thought about the upcoming Triward Tournament. The moment those boys from Durmstrang had entered the hall his gaze had involuntarily gone to that… girl. Lilia. He frowned at the brief memory of interest on her face when those infernal boys had come in, doing some ridiculous showy routine.

Of course Lilia was like most girls in that sense. She saw a muscular handsome man and instantly grew interested. He knew that. So why did he despise those boys simply because she had looked at them in that way? Why was her interest in them making him so… irritated?

He glanced down and scowled seeing he'd scratched through the skin upon his forearm which was now raw and just beginning to bleed a little. He scowled as he got up from his bed and went to wash his fingers in his sink, then the scratch to stop any irritation that might render him unable to sleep right now.

He climbed into bed and lay there, staring at the ceiling in the dark finally and frowned. Thoughts of that infernal child kept creeping up in his mind and he didn't like it one bit. He was a fool to be interested in what she did or thought. She was nothing to him. Nothing but a student.

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Snape stood at the front of the class, drumming his fingers along his desk the following morning, his stone cold face watching the class silently. She was late. Five minutes late already, coming up on six very quickly.

"Professor, class has begun," said one of the students from somewhere in the middle of the dungeon which doubled as their potions classroom.

"Quiet, boy. I will begin class when I see fit," he snapped coldly.

The students looked at Snape unsure of what was stopping him from teaching and whispered amongst themselves, feeling a bit uncertain about how to go about in front of their potions professor.

At last Snape somewhat reluctantly gave up waiting for a certain someone to come to class and began his lesson, not failing to notice that a certain Mr. Prewett was not present either.

About twenty minutes into the class, Quinn cautiously opened the door, peeking in and closing it behind him while Snape was turned slightly away, giving a lecture on the importance of how to properly handle a flobberworm when making potions. He quietly pulled out a chair and sat down in it, nodding to a few of his comrades while he opened up his book and got out his ink and quill.

"How nice of you to join us, Mr. Prewett," Snape said almost venomously as he turned to look at the young boy who now looked petrified to have been caught sneaking in. "And just where, might I ask is your little girlfriend, this morning?" he continued, his dark stare boring venomously into him.

"Er… Miss. Gunner is not quite herself today. She said she will try to make it for detention this evening and apologizes for missing class today," he said, feeling very uncomfortable with everyone watching him while Snape stared him down.

"Is that so..?" Snape asked coldly. Somewhere deep down he'd half hoped Quinn would deny being Lilia's boyfriend, however this didn't seem to be the case, much to his involuntary annoyance.

"Tell Miss. Gunner I expect her to be here tonight for detention even if her head has swelled to two sizes its usual appearance and she has slugs crawling out of her ears," he said.

Quinn swallowed and then nodded, too stumped to say anything as everyone returned to paying attention to their darkly clad Potions Professor.

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That evening, Lilia knocked on the dungeon door and moved to open the door to find it locked. She looked up at it in confusion, wondering if perhaps she was unfortunate enough to get it stuck so she tried it again. When there was no luck she looked at the door again and sighed, turned around to go back to her room, still feeling rather ill when she gasped, startled to see Professor Snape lurking right behind her.

She stepped back into the door, looking up at him wide eyed and clutched her chest. "You startled me, Professor," she said.

Snape rolled his eyes and moved to unlock the door. "Clearly…" he muttered and went inside, not even holding the door for her as he strode over to his desk. "Tonight, I will be having you disembowel a bucket of horned toads for my upper year class to use in their potions class tomorrow," he said firmly.

Lilia looked extremely unenthused by this idea, subconsciously reaching for her stomach area and rubbing it slightly.

Snape looked at her and then down at her small pale hand upon her abdomen, raising a brow. "Something wrong. Miss. Gunner. You don't agree with my method of punishment?" he said, daring her to say something about it.

She looked up at him almost helplessly and there was a moment for Snape when he nearly let down his cold demeanour, wondering if there really was something wrong. "No sir…" she said quietly, walking quietly past him towards the bucket. He watched her silently, then nodded and went to do something else while she served her detention there.

Lilia assumed her usual seat at the front of the classroom and began her work, slowly and without any enthusiasm. After all, what normal student could possibly take pleasure from disembowelling a bucket of horned toads? Or any creature for that matter.

After Lilia finished disembowelling them, she stood, looking paler than usual as she brought her work to Snape, silently setting it down upon the counter to the side of the class.

"Miss. Gunner, your boyfriend, Mr. Pewett informed me today that you were too ill to attend class. Is this the case? Or did you merely think you were entitled to a day off whenever you felt like it?" he asked her.

She looked over her shoulder at him while she washed the knife she'd used as well as her hands. "He is not my boyfriend, sir," she informed him before anything else, causing a foreign feeling of mild relief to coarse through Snape's body. "And I was in fact ill. My stomach was being… disagreeable this morning and I could barely bring myself to get out of bed. I haven't eaten anything yet today except for a small handful of 'Bertie Mott's Every Flavour Beans'," she explained. "I know you would only give me more detentions if I did not come to this one, so I forced myself to arrive. If that is all the questions you have for me Professor then I would please like to go lay down," she said.

Snape looked at her curiously, his eyes narrowing suspiciously as he watched her go. "I expect you to attend class tomorrow, Miss. Gunner. Detention as well," he said seriously.

She looked over at him as she opened the door and nodded. "Yes sir. I will try to make it for tomorrow," she said, turning to go, the heavy wooden door closing behind her.

Lilia arrived just as the bell rang for students to be in their classes at the according time that afternoon. She sighed, sitting down in her seat at the back of the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and pulled out her books, awaiting Professor Moody's arrival.

It was most unusual for the students to be there before the professor, so of course everyone was murmuring and looking around curiously. That was when Snape entered the classroom.

Immediately, there was a groan of despair that rippled through the majority of the classroom, but oddly, Lilia felt her stomach flip oddly at the sight of him now as he shut the window shutters with a flick of his wand and assumed his position at the front of the classroom, his back rigid and his face as stoic as ever as he looked over the classroom the same way he always did in Potions, right before this class.

"Turn to page two hundred and forty seven," Snape commanded, eyeing the class, his gaze falling upon Lilia and lingering for a moment longer than was necessary, his face continuing to turn a few millimetres more, his gaze finally tearing away to inspect the rest of the students.

"Professor, where is Professor Moody today?" asked one of the third year Griffindors. Ginny Weasley, Lilia recognized her. Harry Potter's friend's sister. It was obvious enough with the red hair.

"Mr. Moody requires a day to tend to his own business. He asked me to fill in for him and," he quirked his head, looking at Ginny with a narrowed gaze, "here I stand… now… page two hundred and forty seven…" he repeated precisely and in a dangerously calm voice, his fingers lacing together as he leaned against the front desk, watching the classroom for any disobedience or students simply not paying attention.

Everyone obediently turned to the required page and Snape began his lesson, speaking clearly and commandingly. Though, for the majority of the lesson all anyone could really focus on was who they thought would be entering The Triwizard Tournament. Of course, this got on Snape's nerves and he demanded that everyone focus and pay attention to the lesson at hand or the next person to even mention The Triwizard Tournament would be serving a week of detention with him.

'Rather friendly there with those detentions…' Lilia thought to herself, resting her chin in her hand as she listened to Snape's lesson on vampires and how to repel them if ever at close hand with one alone.

After class, Lilia gathered her books and stood up to go, walking alongside one of the girls she had partnered up with during the lesson to go over the assignment and talk to.

On the way out, she glanced up to look at Snape who stood near the door, and met her eyes. "I see you're feeling less ill today, Miss. Gunner. I'm assuming your illness has come and gone overnight then?"

She met his gaze and nodded. "Not entirely, but I am able to attend classes today. I'll be in attendance for detention tonight as well, Professor," she said calmly.

He nodded. "I'll be waiting with your according punishment," he said dryly, watching as she passed by to continue to her final class that afternoon.

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"You will be pickling rats brains tonight until I am pleased with what you've accomplished, Miss. Gunner," Snape said as Lilia followed him to a designated area where she could do as she was instructed to that evening in detention.

"How delightful…" she muttered somewhat sarcastically under her breath.

Snape turned and looked at her with a slight frown and came to stand alarmingly close to her, leaning close. "Does this form of detention not please you, Miss. Gunner?" he sneered, meeting her gaze directly, dark eyes staring right back into deep emerald green ones.

Lilia looked at her Potions Professor in shock of being so discomfortingly close to her and swallowed, unsure of what to say to him, wanting to be cheeky in some way or say what she really thought of these tedious detentions, but found it very hard to do when he was practically breathing into her face.

"Perhaps if you obeyed the rules better than you do, you wouldn't be stuck here tonight as well as for the next three days left in this week," he informed her coldly, standing up straight and turned to go to his desk, another mass of parchment papers - essays no doubt - piled atop his desk, ready to be marked. "Don't burn anything," he said simply, taking a seat without glancing at her.

She looked at him wide eyed, swallowing, alarmed at having been so close to someone, let alone her own professor.

Without saying anything, she turned and began her distasteful job for the evening.

Once finished, Lilia washed her hands off and informed Snape she was finished, heading to the door which by now had practically become an image bored into her mind, seeing it daily now.

"Only three more days of detention, Miss. Gunner. No need for the dreary expression," he said from his desk, writing something on one of the parchments.

Lilia looked over at him as she stepped out of the room and frowned while she walked. Had Severus Snape, one of the coldest and meanest men in the world told her to perk up in some way? Why on earth would he ever say something so… unlike himself to her? She shook her head, deciding it was a useless thing to trouble herself with and headed up to dinner.

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The Great Hall was abuzz with talk about The Triwizard Tournament of course. Lilia even got involved with a few girls she had come to know in Herbology on their opinions of who would be selected.

"I think it will be a Slytherin. What other house could possibly be chosen to represent Hogwarts in such an important event, after all?" said Ariel Mulpepper, one of the girls in fourth year who knew Lilia's friend Cimbeline Cuffe.

"Guaranteed it will be one of those ungrateful Gryffindors," said Dawn Pyrites, the girl whom Lilia had paired up with during Defence Against the Dark Arts that afternoon. At first glance, Lilia had been unsure how pairing up with Dawn would work out, what with her crimson red waves and intensely dark eyes and sharp brows; but once they'd begun speaking, Lilia felt at ease around her and didn't mind in the least bit about working together on their assignment. Either way, Dawn Pyrites was a large improvement over that lost dog, Quinn Pewett, in Lilia's opinion. He was just far too smothering for her liking even though they barely spoke or knew one another. "They always get everything since that blasted Potter came to this school. I'll bet they've rigged it to even let Potter win," she rolled her eyes.

"He isn't over seventeen, Dawn. He can't even enter," Ariel pointed out.

Dawn shrugged and rolled her eyes. "Either way, he'll get into it somehow. He gets to do all the fun stuff around here. Just you wait, it'll happen," she said, convinced of her opinion.

"Who do you think will be picked, Lilia?" asked Ariel, turning to the dark haired girl who hadn't spoken about her opinion yet.

Lilia looked up from her now empty dinner plate, which hadn't been filled with much to begin with, and shrugged. "No idea. Though I suppose Dawn is most correct. I wouldn't be the least surprised if Potter was selected," she said with a mild shrug.

Ariel shook her head, smirking. "Ugh, you two," she laughed softly and went back to eating while her and Dawn argued over their logics behind the slection for Hogwarts.

After Lilia finished eating, she excused herself, having had her fill even though it wasn't much and proceeded back to the Slytherin common room, then to her dormitory to get some sleep.

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That evening, Snape sat in his private study, just finishing up marking some papers. He put them off to the side once finished and sighed, running a hand through his shaggy black hair, closing his eyes as he thought back to what had occurred earlier that evening between him and Lilia in detention.

He'd been so close, and had seen immediately that it alarmed her. He frowned at the thought, wondering how his mere presence close to her could make her look so much like a trapped animal who just might claw right through him to get away if given an opportunity. He wondered what could cause a 13 year old child to look and act in such a way. Perhaps she had never been in such close proximity to another person before, or so he would have thought, but her reaction would have merely been to step away from him or glare and tell him to move away. Instead of that she'd looked nearly petrified. Perhaps she herself didn't notice this form of reaction, but he of course had, and it unsettled him somewhere deep inside for reasons he could not fathom.

He stood from his desk and walked over to his bed, sitting on the edge of it and frowned as he continued to think about her. He suddenly came to the realization he was inwardly displaying concern for one of his students. He would never feel concern for any of the students in the Hogwarts student population, yet just one look from those soulless green eyes of hers and he grew curious and worried as to what might have happened to her to make her look that way or react the way she did to certain situations.

Since the start of term, he had noticed her and found that even when with friends, or people she was assigned to work with, she never smiled. Not once had he seen that girl laugh or smile. He would have thought this weird, but found that he never smiled either, so instead he wondered what would lead a thirteen year old to look at the world through such a bleak and uncaring gaze. He had his reasons, so what were hers? Perhaps the answer was simply that she didn't get enough sleep at night, and merely lied to him over her sleep patterns, but something in his gut told him there was far more to that girl than first appearances let on.

He knew he couldn't simply ask her however, somehow knowing she wasn't the type who easily opened up to people. From the way he could see her react around other students, he could see she didn't like people very much and preferred for them to leave her alone and not bother her. If she didn't open up to students why would she ever open up to him? Simple; she wouldn't. He knew that, but something about her just drew him to her.

He finally sighed and lay down, turning out the light and draped his arm over his eyes, closing them and let out a groan of frustration. "Why did that foolish girl ever have to make herself known to me…?" he muttered in distaste, not looking forward to seeing her again tomorrow morning in class and then again at detention.

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"Sit down," said Dumbledore as the students filed to their according house tables in the Great Hall.

Lilia had just made it in time from her final detention with Snape and sat with Dawn, probably the only person she could at least stand for the time being as everyone took their seats, obeying their Headmaster diligently.

"Now the moment you've all been waiting for, the champion selection," he said and raised his hand to dim the lights in the hall. Approcahing the goblet with a quivering hand, Dumbledore said nothing as he backed away quietly, watching the blue flame in the now dim lighted hall. Suddenlt it turned a deep red color and spat out a piece of parchment into the air, the small piece falling until Dumbledore quickly snatched it from the air and turned it over to read it. "The Durmstrang champion is Victor Krum," he announced, eliciting cheers from the boys of the institute from the North and gracious applause from the Hogwarts students. After shaking hands with Dumbledore, Victor Krum left to where he was required. Suddenly the flame spat out a second piece of parchment and Dumbledore caught it as well, looking over the scorched piece of paper. "The champion for Beauxbatons… is Fleur Delacour," he announced, the Beauxbatons table bursting into excited cheers for their champion while Hogwarts students clapped again politely.

Lilia turned to watch as the tall, slim blonde made her way to Dumbledore to shake his hand and proceed in the same direction as Krum had gone. Atlast the goblet spat out a third parchment piece, her and Dawn especially watching ad Dumbledore read it.

"The Hogwarts champion, Cedric Diggory," Dumbledore announced.

Dawn let out an exasperated breath and sunk back into her seat, glaring at the smirking Ariel. "Oh shut up, don't you dare ever bring this up again or I swear I'll wipe that smirk off in the most nasty way I can," she said glumly, crossing her arms.

Lilia glanced at Dawn and then at Dumbledore as he spoke out loudly over the loud cheers of Hogwarts school. "Atleast, we have our champions!" he announced. "But in the end, only one will go down in history. Only one will hoist this chalice of champions, this vessel of victory. The Triwizard Cup!" Dumbledore exclaimed, turning around to point as the cloth atop the cup was removed to reveal a beautiful goblet of sorts to the students still in the hall.

The students burst into cheers in excitement, in awe of the prize to be awarded to only one student among the three selected.

Lilia clapped mechanically along with the students but her claps slowed when she saw Snape stepping forward with an utterly curious expression on his face. She followed his gaze to the goblet of fire which burst forth a fourth piece of paper in the most brilliant red flame yet. So bright, several students sitting closer had to cover their eyes with their arms from the light of it.

Dumbledore approached the fluttering piece of paper and grasped it from the air, reading it curiously as everyone went silent and watched, wondering what it said.

Lilia leaned forward very slightly, hearing Dumbledore mutter a name to himself. He then lifted his head and looked around.

"Harry Potter," he called out, everyone turning right away in their seats to look for Harry wherever he was sitting. "Harry Potter!" Dumbledore shouted in a demanding way, most unlike his usual composed self.

Lilia turned to follow the gaze of several students who had turned to follow a sign of movement near the back of the hall. Harry Potter was rising from his seat.

He looked as shocked as Dumbledore and the rest of the population as he approached the headmaster and took the parchment from him when Dumbledore extended it to him. "Cheater!" someone called out at the boy who nervously and silently went to wherever the champions had gone to.

Ariel swallowed and then glanced at Dawn who now wore a very large self satisfied smirk upon her face.

Lilia glanced at the two whom she sat with, realizing Dawn really had been right in her assumption.

"I do believe I must say 'I told you so'", she chuckled.

Ariel rolled her eyes. "Oh stop smirking. Just because you were right doesn't mean you should be so thrilled. It's still not a Slytherin that was picked for the tournament," she pointed out acidly, crossing her arms with a dissatisfied huff.

Lilia looked between the two of them wearily, then glanced up to where the teachers had gathered to deliberate and then headed through a door near the front of the hall where The Triwizard Champions had gone through, obviously in order to find out how Harry Potter had been accepted by the goblet to compete in the upcoming events.

Lilia winced as she watched Cedric dodge the blast of fire thrown into his face. She bit her lower lip, not in worry over the boy, but just at the tension building up as he narrowly avoided death in the face of a dragon.

The dog Cedric had turned from a rock in order to distract the dragon was barking considerably still. This caused the dragon to momentarily be distracted again while Cedric went to retrieve the golden egg from the nest, thus successfully completing the challenge, seeming for the moment to forget about his burned profile judging by the enormous grin on his face when everything was finished and the arena was bursting with cheers.

Up next, was the girl from Beauxbatons. Fleur Delacour, Lilia remembered. She watched the blonde young woman come from the small entrance where Cedric had previously come out through.

At first she seemed a bit delicate and unsure of how to go about ensnaring an egg from a dragon's nest, but as soon as the oversized reptile made its presence known, she enchanted it to sleep and from then on traversed her way up to the dragon's nest in the arena. Of course, it wasn't nearly so boring for the onlookers. The dragon let out a ground rumbling snore and a jet of fire found its way to Delacour's skirt, setting it aflame.

Dawn, seated nearby Lilia burst into laughter along with much of the arena as she watcher Delacour try to put out the flame, eventually doing so, though sniggers and giggles still remained even after she had retrieved her egg and completed the first task.

Then came Victor Krum. Lilia sat up a bit more, knowing his dragon, a Chinese Fireball was a nasty one to be dealing with. She wondered how he would do. He seemed intelligent enough to manoeuvre through the arena below and get his egg, but she wondered what sort of challenge the dragon would pose for him.

He came in through the same entrance the previous two champions had come through and almost instantaneously was greeted by his selected dragon.

The dragon put up quite the fight for Krum, but eventually the Northern student used what Lilia thought she recognized as the Conjunctivitis Charm to blind his dragon and retrieve his egg.

It would have seemed easy enough to get his egg and just win outright, but the dragon ended up stomping around so much it ended up crushing half the eggs in its nest, thus resulting in docked points for Krum, much to Lilia's inner amusement, though she merely watched with a straight face the entire time, save for the occasional wince when fire spewed from a dragon's mouth or one was close to being squashed against the rubble beneath the dragon's feet.

At last, Harry Potter was to come out and attempt to get past the Hungarian Horntail. It was a nasty looking piece of work, and Lilia herself wouldn't have wanted to be down there in the same arena as that overgrown angry lizard.

When he came out, Harry looked around hesitantly, not looking the least bit enthused to be going up against an angry Horntail. Especially without the assistance of anything but his wand.

He was foolish enough to step out without really checking his surroundings, but Lilia figured he knew that as soon as a horned tail smashed into the boulders right next to him.

Immediately the task was begun and Gryffindors as well as other students alike were on the edge of their seats to watch the 14 year old run around, desperate to, for the moment, stay alive within the arena.

Someone yelled out as a reminder to Harry to use his wand from somewhere among the spectators, and in a moment he waved his wand around, shouting out some sort of spell… which didn't really seem to have any effect.

Dawn laughed. "What a ninny! His spell didn't even work!" she said, clearly amused by Potter's predicament, as was - it seemed - Ariel.

Within seconds however, Potter's Firebolt came soaring down from the sky and he seized the moment, flying around, just out of the dragon's grasp, when the binds on it's neck snapped and the Horntail was free to give serious chase.

The Grryfindors looked horrified by this development as Harry did all that he could to stay out of the Horntail's line of fire, the flames just barely missing the young boy when he soared towards the outer limits of the arena and flew over the tops, outside to get away in a moment of desperation. With that little move there, he nearly put the Hogwart's teachers and guests in danger, the Horntail's tail swooping down and tearing through the roof of that area in the arena, demolishing it and barely missing obliterating several people.

Lilia's heart dropped, having noticed Professor Snape was seated there, but was relieved when she saw him sit back up after ducking to the side to avoid getting hit along with other teachers. And of course, there was that same irritated look that he almost always had when dealing with anything Potter-related. It nearly made Lilia smile. Nearly.

The arena quieted when they realized Harry had sped off rather far, the roars of the dragon barely even heard from the arena anymore.

Several people were looking around in confusion, Lilia among them, wondering if Potter was weak enough to get eaten by a dragon in the first task.

There was a loud roar from somewhere far, but a little closer a few minutes later, causing the Gryffindors to look rather uncomfortable at the thought of Harry out there, alone, trying to escape the clutches of a vicious dragon.

Suddenly, Harry appeared over a hilltop, his Firebolt practically sputtering as he struggled to manoeuvre it towards the arena and in the direction of his goal; the golden egg.

He did it. He swooped in and managed to snatch the golden egg, thus completing his task, and the arena bursting into another round of cheers for the final champion having completed his task.

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Snape had only been half watching the tournament from where he sat, his gaze occasionally scanning against his better judgement for a certain green eyed student. When he'd found her amongst the third year Slytherins, he felt slightly elated, but that was short lived when Victor Krum stepped out and she, along with the majority of the other girls leaned forward and sat up a little more to watch the well built, handsome young man duel his way past the Chinese Fireball dragon.

He frowned, watching as he was nearly stomped upon, a slight smirk tugging up on the corners of his lips during the match. However, once Krum had blinded his dragon and retrieved the egg successfully, he was back to frowning, watching as the onlookers were roaring with cheers over the Durmstrang boy. He felt slightly better when his points were deducted due to his dragon stomping over half the nest of eggs. He nearly chuckled at that little incident, though he merely smirked.

Curiously, he glanced at Lilia again, finding her gaze upon him for a moment. He was surprised about that, but her line of sight moved away from him so quickly he couldn't truly say whether she was looking at him, or just around at the other spectators in general. He simply ignored it; no reason to fuss over stupid things like someone catching his eye. Especially a child like her.

When Potter stepped out he took a slight bit more interest in the boy's match, one, because he shouldn't even be in the tournament to begin with and two, for reasons very personal to himself which he would never in his lifetime admit to.

There was an alarming moment when the Horntail escaped its bind and soared after Potter, its tail smashing through the suspended roof and rafters above the professor's seat box, nearly injuring a few people on the way past.

Snape sat up, a most irritated expression upon his face as he brushed off debris from his black cloak, fixing his hair as he straightened up alongside McGonagall and anyone else who had quickly ducked off to the side to avoid the tail of that nasty Hungarian beast.

When everyone was more put together and calmed, he turned to see a pair of green eyes watching the teacher's box in relief when everyone straightened up. Of course, it must have only been concern at the teachers in general. Why even think otherwise?

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The morning after the first task in the tournament, Snape entered the potions dungeon, the class already assumed with third year Slytherins on one side and third year Gryffindors on the other.

"Get out your cauldrons and get the same ingredients from yesterday," he ordered immediately.

"Professor, what did you think of the tournament yesterday?" asked one of the Slytherins from the back of the class.

Snape turned to regard the boy who'd spoken and narrowed his eyes. "I believe I gave you instructions to begin your potion, Mr. Colfe," he said, emphasizing each word carefully like he always did.

The class dropped their gazes as everyone got up to get their things.

"I heard the Gryffindors had one hell of a celebration after. Was quite a scream," said someone from the front while everyone was getting up.

A few people laughed as the Gryffindors glowered at whoever had said it, while Dawn rolled her eyes, coming to stand next to Lilia while they waited to move up to get their ingredients.

"Why are boys always such pee brain morons?" Dawn asked no one in particular, but did glance at Lilia as she said it.

Lilia shrugged, picking up her things and going to her desk again, recoiling inwardly when she saw Quinn taking up a seat next to her.

"Good morning, Lily," he smirked, patting her seat, as if it were some privilege to sit next to him, in her seat nonetheless.

She sat down and moved her stool a little away from him.

"So, this morning when Professor Snape was telling us Slytherins about the Yule ball, before classes and everything, I was wondering…"

"I'm not going," she said, cutting him off before he could even dare to ask her.

He looked at her sceptically. "But, isn't it every girl's desire to attend a dance whenever they can?" he asked her.

She frowned. "Not every girl has such mundane things to worry about," she said coldly.

He looked at her curiously and frowned. "Well… alright then, I suppose Ariel will want to go with me then," he said, thinking it might make Lilia jealous and take back her cold attitude.

"Perhaps she will, you'll have to ask her yourself," she replied quickly, wanting to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

He swallowed and then without another word, turned to his cauldron, setting up his own station, feeling rather uncomfortable suddenly around Lilia.

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Snape glanced up from where he sat writing upon a piece of parchment, a satisfied smirk tugging up at the corners of his mouth, watching Lilia tell Quinn to essentially go away and leave her alone.

He found it amusing how that boy could be foolish enough to think Lilia even liked him the remotest bit. How could she? She was quiet and introverted, preferred to be alone and wasn't a very sociable creature. Like him.

He paused in his writing for a moment and frowned. She was like him. The thought made something in his chest puff out with some sort of unnamed pride, but also recoil inside him at the thought that a thirteen year old student had so much in common with him. He reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose and inhaled a breath, returning to his writing for the time being, choosing to ignore the odd nagging sensation at the back of his mind.

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A few nights later, after the students had had ample time to practice their dances, the Yule Ball began to commence. The four Triwizard Champions made their way into the hall where the décor had been transformed into a winder wonderland of sorts for the occasion.

Lilia stood amongst the crowd inside the hall, clapping mechanically as the champions entered, Fleur in first, followed by Cedric, then Krum and lastly Harry, all four having their dates in tow.

They began to dance and soon everyone was making their way onto the dance floor with a partner.

Lilia had worn a black dress that had a hint of deep blue as an undertone. It was strapless, a corset top with a flowing bottom made out of different layers of fabric. Her hands had lace gloves which reached her wrist, and her hair had been tousled into loose waves which hung down her back and over her shoulders, her short straight cut bangs pinned to the side a little for a touch of elegance with a silver hairpin.

When more and more people began to dance, she managed to evade them and stand watch from the sidelines, simply there to witness a most un-Hogwarts like moment. After all, she might never see another ball in her life. Atleast she should know what all the fuss was about.

It wasn't that Lilia disliked balls or dances because she herself couldn't dance. She supposed if led by a decent partner she could do just fine. But she didn't like large groups of people. She wasn't scared or intimidated; she merely felt out of place amongst the other cheerful and happy students. Even Potter seemed to be doing alright for the first half, even if he wasn't the most graceful dancer to ever grace the earth.

Eventually, she had her fill of drinks and watching couples glide across the dance floor, then jump around as bands began to play.

She turned to go, heading towards the exit when she saw him. That familiar man in black.

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At first, he didn't recognize her. He simply saw out of the corner of his eye a lovely young lady clad in a elegant black dress with lace black wrist gloves. Her hair was wavy and her makeup done to perfect, not enough to overwhelm her delicate features, but enough to add that touch of brilliance to those green eyes he'd come to think about unwillingly for several months now.

But as soon as he realized it was her, he turned to look right at her, catching her eye almost immediately.

They looked at each other for longer than was probably appropriate, given the circumstances. He didn't do anything though except watch her. No betrayal of surprise upon his face when he saw her, no awe over the way she looked, only watched her as she paused in her walk towards the exit, tucked a bit of hair behind her ear, then looked away after a few long seconds and left.

The moment had come and gone.

He cleared his throat when her figure disappeared through the open door out into the hall, headed to the Slytherin common room no doubt. He turned back to watch the other students calmly like he was required to do as a Professor. However, though he seemed serious in watching the other students enjoy themselves for that night, he was stunned on the inside at the way Lilia had looked that evening in her dress. The image would certainly be difficult to forget anytime soon.

When he found her, she was a sight that suddenly made his breath catch for a moment. He paused in his steps, not standing near the entrance, but catching her movement outside one of the many windows of the school.

She was a slight black shadow upon a perfectly white snow capped world, save for where she'd stepped out into the outside grounds.

He looked at her face as she let the snow fall upon her pale skin, touching her cheeks, kissing her shoulders. He wondered how her skin felt for a moment, but quickly dismissed the idea as absurd. He looked as she opened her eyes and actually smiled. But there was something wrong with it.

Even from where he stood, he could see it was not a real smile, at least, not a happy one. Her eyes didn't mimic the feeling behind that mechanical muscle tug of her lips, pulling the corners up. Her eyes simply remained vacant and distant, devoid of true emotion like he knew her gaze to be.

And then she crumpled to the ground. He watched her for a moment as she seemed to fold in on herself for a moment and figured now was the best time to leave her be and do whatever it was thirteen year old girls in black dresses did in the snow on their own.

He turned to go back to the dance hall, having merely wanted to check and see that she was alright after seeing her leave the ball so early, even though she had stated in Potions that she wouldn't be attending at all. Apparently she changed her mind.

It was then that he heard her whimper in a strangled way.

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It was happening again. Lilia breathed shakily, her body trembling helplessly as the snow fell around her silently. She then gasped and let out a pained cry, clutching her stomach. That horrifying pain was back. She never knew when it would creep up on her, but there it was… and here she was, without help again.

She collapsed into the snow, trembling and panting shakily, her eyes welling up at the nauseating pain filling her body. She lay in the cold, not really caring about the fact that she was freezing; caring more about wanting to stop the pain inside.

She shut her eyes and helplessly let out a scream of pain, clenching her teeth as she kicked futilely at the snow which obviously did no good.

She heard someone coming after a minute or two, she didn't really know how long it had been. She opened her eyes which were blurry with tears, her left hand clawing into the snow towards whoever was approaching.

"Please, please help…" she whimpered, her sides feeling like they truly might split at any moment.

She felt the cold suddenly recede, noticing she was held in someone's arms, being lifted off the ground.

She whimpered again, her fingers clutching at the stranger's shirtfront, closing her eyes, ready to begin sobbing helplessly at the overwhelming pain racking her body. She then gasped and pushed them away suddenly, turned her head away and retched onto the ground a few times, her body shaking in shock, pain and fatigue. She then began to cry, feeling horribly ill and weak and in pain.

She was unaware how long it took, but she then felt her bed under her, curling up under the warm thick covers, sobs of pain escaping her against her will.

Why now? Why did it have to happen when she was so unprepared?

It felt like forever until she felt someone close by and then the touch of a cold glass against her lips. She opened her eyes and whimpered at the light, her head exploding in pain suddenly, already covered in cold sweat no doubt.

"Drink it," someone ordered near her.

Without arguing, she obeyed and drank the warm liquid inside the glass. She regretted it the moment she swallowed. It felt like fire in her belly and it tasted horrible. She tried to open her eyes and found the world to spin when she moved her head against her pillow.

And then she felt something under her slip away and everything went black.

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She heard movement somewhere close by. Lilia opened her eyes, seeing it was morning and squinted. Instinctively, she burrowed under the covers away from the light and shut her eyes tightly, sighing softly. And then someone cleared their throat.

She opened her eyes under the blankets and pulled them down, looking around and then looked to the other side of her bed and her eyes widened seeing Professor Snape seated there. "You! What are you doing here?" she asked him suddenly. And then she narrowed her eyes at him, something dawning upon her. "You found me last night didn't you..?" she asked.

Snape looked at her coolly and raised a brow. "Is that not to your satisfaction, Miss. Gunner? I was under the impression you required assistance…" he replied calmly.

She glared suddenly. "You drugged me…" she snarled quickly. "Why?" she exclaimed.

Snape looked at her calmly, seeing the ferocity in her gaze at the thought of being left helpless in another man's mercy. Something told him it wasn't just a reaction to it being him, either.

"I assisted you, Miss. Gunner. Don't think so highly of yourself that I would do something to you while you were under the influence of my potion" he replied, meeting her dead in the eyes.

She looked at him angrily and breathed through clenched teeth. "Regardless, I don't see how drugging me helps in any way, Snape," she hissed.

Snape crossed his arms as he moved to stand at the foot of her bed. "If you took a moment to pay attention, Miss. Gunner," he said, emphasizing the words 'pay attention', "You wouldn't have failed to notice the pain you were inflicted with is no more."

She looked up at him from under her haphazardly pinned bangs, no doubt having come undone partially while she slept, and then noticed he was right. The pain was gone. She swallowed and touched her sides out of habit, rubbing them softly through the blackish blue corset top of her dress which was in fact still on and not undone or anything. "What did you do?" she asked him cautiously, pulling the covers up over herself more and then looked around. "And where are the other girls?" she asked.

Snape re crossed his arms and sighed in exasperation. "I provided you with a potion of sorts which would numb part of the pain, enough for the sleeping effect to take place so you could sleep through the rest of the pain without having to experience the brunt of it. As for your friends… they saw that you were receiving assistance from me, and after asking if you were alright they left to give you the room so you could recover to full health without distraction," he said calmly.

She rolled her eyes. "I don't need an empty dorm room in order to sleep," she scowled, moving to stand from the bed and then gasped, quickly sitting back down, her face burning in embarrassment.

"I see…" Snape said, having noticed the red stain upon the bed sheets.

She glared furiously at him. "Get out!" she shouted.

He smirked faintly at her. "Why so hostile, Miss. Gunner. it's normal for a girl to go through such… events every now and then," he said, knowing it made her uncomfortable. For some reason even though he hated the idea of embarrassing her, he couldn't bring himself to treat her any differently than any other student. Why should he? She was nothing to him after all. "I'm assuming this is the so called illness of which you speak when you are required to take a leave of absence from class?" he asked her bluntly.

She glared up at him and swallowed, her eyes welling up in humiliation. "It isn't exactly something I advertise, Professor," she spat venomously.

He raised a brow. "Then why not seek aid from the infirmary?"

"In case you haven't noticed, I cannot even bring myself to get up when in pain. What makes you think I can get up simply and walk to the infirmary to get help when I am here on my own?"

"Why not ask another student to get help?"

"I don't want help!" she suddenly screamed.

Snape looked at her silently, raising a brow. "You do not want help when you are in so much pain you cannot move from your bed and you are retching onto the floor..?" he asked sceptically.

She trembled softly and her eyes welled up while she glared furiously at her feet on the floor.

"Is it a reason relating to why you always look so vacant and empty?" he suddenly asked her.

She looked up and met his eyes. "What?" she whispered.

He looked at her quietly. "Your eyes. You look like you've been ripped open and everything good and trusting and caring inside you has been ripped clean out of your body," he said. "You think by refusing help and pushing everyone away it will make all those problems go away, don't you?" he sneered. "You're only a meagre girl of thirteen, Miss. Gunner," he said to her, amazed at how cruel he could be to someone who looked so vulnerable to him. Someone whom looked so easy to take advantage of right there, her eyes brimming with tears, embarrassment written on her face, a pain hidden and locked away in the darkest part of her heart. "You aren't the only one here who has problems," he murmured, leaning closer to her and looked her in the eye. "Your problems… are nothing to me. If you want to be selfish and refuse my help or anyone else's then so be it… perhaps you deserve to suffer," he said. "After all… a brat will never learn her proper place in the world without a little bit of punishment," he finally said in a cruel tone, turning to the doorway. "Clean yourself up, Miss. Gunner. It's disgusting the state you let yourself get into last night," he said.

Lilia watched him go, every single one of his words ripping deep into her when no one else's words could inflict her. She felt her eyes brim with tears, her eyes wide with shock at her professor's cruel harsh words. He couldn't possibly understand the hell she had been through, that would cause her to hide herself away and push everyone away. Why she hated everyone she met… everyone except him.

"There are other forms of evil in this world, Severus… forms you can't even see… forms no one's darkest nightmare can conjure…" she whispered, her eyes darkening as she lowered her head, taking a deep breath.

The water was ridiculously cold. How in the hell were the four champions supposed to get their tasks done there?

It had been a few days since the first task, and here the school was, gather out upon the lake just outside Hogwarts, watching from their seats as the four students assembled below in swimming gear which sent gooseflesh spreading throughout others bundled up warmly, just by looking at them dressed in such a manner in the cold.

Lilia watched silently, only half paying attention right now, the argument between her and Snape a few days prior almost haunting her. It was unfair that someone as cruel as him was the one who could pierce through the tough shall she'd built for so long with just a few simple words. She supposed that was what happened when… no… that would be absolutely stupid. He was selfish, arrogant, rude, cold hearted and vicious. It would never ever work that way. Life couldn't possibly be so cruel. Not now.

She watched as the cannon exploded to signal that the task had begun and the four students dove into the water. Well… more like three dove and the last one, Potter, was shoved into the murky cold water by Professor Moody.

Lilia sighed and rested her chin in her hand, looking as Potter shot himself into the air after a few nervous moments for the Gryffindors, cheering in excitement, the spectators looking on with cheers, or at least most did.

Once Harry dove beneath the water line again, it quieted down and Lilia realized the majority of the tournament would be unseen, which she hated. She stood and left the area, moving to the back so she could at the very least be among the first onto the boats to head back to the school once everyone resurfaced.

Sometime into the first task, Fleur Delacour was pulled out, unable to continue competing for reasons un stated. Lilia raised a brow curiously and then shrugged, turning her head to look out at the school.

All she could bring herself to wonder was why Snape had bothered to help her that night when he thought she was a brat deserving of a nasty punishment. It just didn't make sense. Sure he was her head of house, and thus had a large responsibility over her, but he could have just brought her to the infirmary and left her there to be taken care of if it was such a huge issue and a pain for him. So why bother staying by her bedside over night and give her that potion to stop the pain and knock her out in the hopes of it working? She just couldn't wrap her mind around his hot and cold motives. It was just far too confusing for her to make any sense of.

One thing she was sure of, she shouldn't have been so hostile towards him when it really was obvious he'd only meant to help her. For whatever reason, he had taken it upon himself to care for her when he could have just brought her to someone else and gone to do something more interesting. For that… she figured she should at least apologize. Maybe… not one accustomed to saying she was sorry, she wasn't sure if she really would go through with it, especially seeing as Snape wasn't exactly the most approachable professor either.

When Cedric Diggory and Cho Cheng burst from the water first, the crowds cheered in excitement that there was already an end in sight, with one in the lead so far. Soon following was Victor Krum with Hermione Granger pulled alongside him out of the water. However, it seemed to be taking far longer than was necessary for Potter to come up and resurface like the others.

There were two people that suddenly burst forth, one of them being Ron Weasley, and the other, some young blonde girl who that young woman from Beauxbatons instantly cried out for in what seemed relief and desperation, pulling the small child out of the water and into her arms immediately, causing quite a ruckus below the stands.

Lilia watched idly by as everyone nervous awaited Harry's surfacing when he just suddenly, literally flew out of the water and onto the dock where the four champions had begun from at the start of today's task.

The onlookers burst into cheers and everyone clapped, relieved that the tense challenge had been completed without any serious injury.

When everyone gathered onto the boats, Lilia decided to wait until there was less people left and the boats weren't so crowded, watching friends flock together to head back to the warmth of the school. She sighed and stood off to the side slightly, letting other go in front of her in line, each boat filling up progressively, each one heading back.

Once Lilia got into one of the last boats, she watched the tall towers built in the middle of the lake recede into the distance and soon they reached land, the students and professors climbing out of the boats and making their way back to the school.

Lilia stood on the dock and looked out at the eerily still lake quietly, glancing down to look at the posts holding up the dock and noticed they barely created any ripples in the water either. She wondered exactly what had been down there that would make the task so difficult for the champions to do.

"What are you looking at, Mud Blood?" came a nasty voice from behind Lilia.

She turned to look to her right up at one of the other Slytherins in her year. Titania Dippet. Lilia recognized her as one of Malfoy's occasional acquaintances. "I'm simply enjoying the scenery… is there a problem, Dippet?" she asked, her voice irritatingly calm and her emerald green gaze infuriatingly devoid of concern to Titania.

"Oh really?" she asked, the olive skinned witch with black hair approached, a smirk on her face as her two friends watched from behind her. "And why's that?" she asked, her tone daring Lilia to try to evade her or lie.

Lilia looked at Titania quietly. "I was merely wondering what lies beneath the water that would have made today's task so difficult for the champions is all," she replied.

"Oh really..?" Titania purred, circling Lilia, looking the slight quiet girl up and down with a smirk. "I heard there are nasty little creatures floating around in there… I also heard the mermaids down there are highly unpleasant…" she said, meeting Lilia's uninterested gaze. "Maybe you would like to go for a visit. There aren't any teachers here to stop you right now, after all," she pointed out.

As soon as Lilia reached for her wand, Titania pushed Lilia into the freezing deep lake water, outraged when the pale girl grabbed the olive skinned one and dragged her under with her, not to make her freeze with her, but in a moment of weakness and fear as Lilia's world turned against her will and the ground disappeared out from under her right before she hit a freezing cold wall of water with the other girl.

They both went under and their thick clothes immediately soaked up as much water as the fabric would allow, dragging them further and weighing the two children down as Titania struggled to keep afloat, trying to reach the top of the water.

Lilia looked up at the other wide eyed, reaching out the grab her before she could swim away without her, but misjudged what Titania was doing, which was made clear when the other Slytherin kicked herself off Lilia and upwards, resurfacing within seconds, or so it seemed to Lilia who remained frozen and petrified in the freezing water, unmoving and afraid of the familiar darkness that she was slowly being dragged down towards.

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Snape stood by checking off a list of students, frowning when he noticed four students weren't back yet. Lilia Gunner, Titania Dippet, Felicity Prewett and Venus Greengrass.

Quinn stood by, glancing back as the last of the Slytherins entered the entrance of the school and then looked out from the direction they had come from. He glanced at Snape who clearly had noticed the absence of Lilia and took off in the direction of the docks, wondering what could have held up that girl.

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"Felicity!" Quinn shouted in alarm, seeing her dragging a sopping wet Titania from the freezing water. "What happened?" he exclaimed.

"They fell in! I don't know where that muggle born girl went, but she's still down there," she said in worry, pointing to the dark murky water.

Snape walked over and his stomach twisted in a must discomforting way at the thought of Lilia sinking further and further with each precious moment they wasted. "What a foolishly clumsy girl," Snape snarled, moving to the edge of the dock, undoing his cloak already without thinking about how he would find her if she'd already sunk far enough and how he would swim back up if he managed to get to her in time.

He didn't need to though. A blue of brown hair flew by him and Quinn dove into the water, his jacket left behind on the edge of the dock near his hysterical sister.

Snape felt rage flare through him at the thought of that infernal boy being the one to help Lilia out of the freezing water. Of course, there was nothing to do now but wait for the boy to come back up; hopefully with the girl.

Each second felt like a million as Snape waited, ordering the girls to take their friend to the infirmary immediately and stop acting so hysterical.

After a few minutes, Quinn resurfaced, Lilia bobbing limply next to him.

Snape got down onto his knees and reached out, grabbing Lilia under the arms and hoisting her out while Quinn climbed out, shivering violently from the freezing water.

"Is she alright?" Quinn asked through chattering teeth, shrugging on his jacket and pulling it closed right away to protect himself from the cold.

"Go to the infirmary. Get checked out and make sure to let the nurses know another student will be arriving soon," he said, eerily calmly.

Quinn hesitated, looking at Snape in confusion. "But what will-"

"Go do it now Mr. Prewtt," Snape said menacingly, looking at him with his beady dark eyes.

Quinn looked at him for a moment, shivering and then got up, heading to the school, glancing back over his shoulder at Snape for a moment, who leaned over Lilia as though afraid to touch her for some reason.

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She wasn't breathing, but her eyes were staring as though alive yet not seeing the now. She looked as though she was seeing something completely different.

Snape swore in frustration under his breath and took off her soaked jacket, placing his ear to her chest. He was relieved to hear her heart was still beating furiously inside her, but there was something seriously wrong. Her eyes, they still looked empty and vacant but in some odd way, there seemed to be fear there. Fear of something that wasn't there. Something only she could see right now.

He did what he could to try and expel water from her lungs in case that was the problem, though somehow he doubted it. He then leaned close to her face, looking at her with a frown. "Don't you dare die because you're foolish enough to inhale some lake water, Miss. Gunner…" he almost snarled in irritation at the thought. He then pinched her nose and crashed his lips down upon hers and blew air into her in a futile attempt to get the damn girl breathing again. He moved back and looked at her still vacant yet frightened stare and was deeply unnerved by it. He wanted to stop her from looking like that. He tried again and when nothing happened he shook her shoulders in frustration. "Lilia!" he shouted in outrage. "Wake up!" he exclaimed, beginning to lose it at the thought of her somehow dying in front of him, the thought a very frightening thing he didn't wish to let become real.

She suddenly blinked and coughed, turning over onto her side and coughed up some water she'd inhaled while sinking. Her body suddenly began to shiver, which until now, Snape hadn't noticed was not shivering either. He grabbed the cloak he'd removed and put it around her, forcing her to stand up and frowned, pulling her along.

"Your presence is required at the infirmary," he said coldly, pushing her along whenever she began to slow.

She stumbled alongside him, finally collapsing to her knees, shivering violently. "She pushed me…" she whispered, her eyes wide as if in shock.

Snape frowned and looked down at the girl now curled up slightly on the snow covered ground. "Who?" he asked, pretending not to be interested.

"Titania… she pushed me into the water…" she said through clenched teeth, her breath shaky due to her shivering. "I'll murder her…" she whispered suddenly.

Snape narrowed his eyes and leaned down, grasping her by the shoulders and forcing her to stand again, the cold getting to him now though he wouldn't show it. "Before you deicde to go around murdering anyone, Miss. Gunner, you need to be sent to the infirmary to be checked out after falling into those waters without appropriate preparations before or after," he explained.

She looked up at him as they walked, not caring about the fact that her clothes were practically freezing to her body and her hair was soaked and sticking to her in odd ways on her face and down her shoulders. "You don't believe me…" she said accusingly.

He looked at her as they approached the entrance to where they were headed. "That is none of your concern right now. Come, I won't stand for one of the Slytherin house to die of hypothermia or some other ridiculous problem," he said coldly, informing the nurse that Lilia was the other student who had fallen in and momentarily lost consciousness sometime during her sink.

Lilia found her shivering to be too much to bear and followed the nurse to take a hot bath immediately and get warm clothes on, clutching Snape's cloak tightly around her still.

As he watched her go, Snape looked down at the jacket he had picked up from the dock which he'd pulled off her. What a bother, now he had to find her when she got out of the infirmary and give it back to her without looking like he cared about something stupid like her lost jacket.

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Lilia walked down the halls later that afternoon, having spent a few hours in the infirmary just as a precaution in case she suddenly felt dizzy or anything from being in such freezing temperatures for several minutes which could have been fatal.

She headed down to the dungeons, turning down a few corridors and finally stood outside the potions classroom. Taking a deep breath, she reached up and knocked, then moved to push open the door, finding it locked again. She supposed with no classes today, perhaps Snape had gone off somewhere else to do whatever it was teachers did in their spare time.

She turned to go, then paused when she heard the door unlock behind her.

Looking over her shoulder at the door, she curiously reached for it and opened it, poking her head in, seeing Snape calmly retreating back to his desk, apparently having just unlocked the door.

Stepping into the empty classroom, she closed the door behind her and looked around.

"What are you here to bother me about, Miss. Gunner?" Snape inquired from his desk, his voice carrying across the room to her easily.

She sighed and walked over to him quietly. "I wanted to thank you…" she said. "For helping me," she explained.

Snape didn't even look up from his papers. "You were close to drowning, what did you expect me to do, sit there and gawk at your expressionless state and waste time?" he asked bluntly.

She felt her cheeks redden slightly and shook her head. "No. I meant about… that night," she said. "A few days ago," she said.

For a moment, Snape was silent, then looked at her with a narrowed gaze. "What about it?"

She hesitated a moment and then looked down. "I apologize for being rude. I understood you were merely helping me, and I thank you a million times over for it. I was merely…" she tried to think of the right way to phrase it.

"Unaccustomed to someone helping you?" he finished for her, his gaze cold and calm as ever.

She looked up to meet his gaze and then nodded. "Yes. I suppose you could say that," she said.

He looked her up and down briefly and then turned back to whatever he had been doing when she'd come to his classroom. "If that will be all, then you may leave now, Miss. Gunner."

She looked at him quietly and was just about to leave when she opened her mouth hot speak again. "You essentially called me a spoiled brat for not accepting people's help when any normal student would," she said, looking at him as he sighed and looked at her again.

"Miss. Gunner, what occurred that night is strictly between you and I. It is done and that is that. What else is there for you to talk to me about?" he asked, clearly wanting to wrap the conversation up.

She frowned slightly. "Will you be there for me if I ever need you again?" she asked suddenly. Mentally she could have punched herself for wording it that way. She merely had meant that if she wasn't in class sometimes and he knew why, then would he help her whenever he could, but instead it had come out sounding like some intimate thing that had transpired between them. "That is… if I am in that sort of pain again," she said, her breath partially caught in her throat.

Snape looked at her and then slowly rose from his desk, approaching her coolly, his face expressionless as ever as he looked down his nose at her. "If I ever see that you are not in my class again, you will receive detention for not having a pass from the infirmary," he stated.

She looked up at him and then looked away, nodding, then turned to go. She reached the door when she heard him say something.

"However, if you are in the same sort of physical pain I saw you in that night, then I will assist you to the best of my abilities, Miss. Gunner."

She looked back at him, her eyes widened slightly, surprised that someone like Snape would actually agree to helping her if she ever needed his help again. "Er… thank you, professor," she blurted, feeling very relieved.

Snape rolled his eyes and waved his hand away at her, motioning for her to go, clearly as unaccustomed as she was to asking for help or thanking someone genuinely.

With that, she slipped out the classroom door, a relief filling her somewhere.

She felt almost silky smooth sheets on top of her and a firm pillow under her. It smelled different than her own. In fact, the whole thing felt different. She opened her eyes slowly, a soft yawn escaping her as she looked around to see a very unfamiliar place. Frowning, she sat up, glancing down when her palm touched a different material. A towel… under her. She blushed, knowing why of course and looked around curiously, still having no recollection of how she'd gotten there during the night or even where she was.

She turned to look to her right when she heard movement and saw Professor Snape stepping into the room.

"Where am I?" she asked, reaching up to fix her messy hair without thinking about it. She hoped her breath didn't smell terrible. That would certainly be embarrassing.

"In the teacher's quarters," he replied calmly, adjusting his high collar. "Specifically my room."

She looked at him with surprise clearly visible on her face.

"I didn't feel the desire to disturb the other girls in your dormitory by brining you there late, so to avoid that, instead of leaving you on the floor of the potions classroom, I brought you here to sleep," he said, his tone clearly telling her not to ask him anymore about it.

She knew he didn't want her to go into his motives behind brining her to his own room, so she asked the only question that she had been wondering herself. "Then… where did you sleep during the night, Professor?" she asked, an odd sensation making itself known in her stomach at the thought of Snape lying in the bed nearby her. She swiftly crushed that mental image when he pointed at a leather chair near the other side of the room. She nodded. "Oh," she said simply.

"You should get yourself to your dormitory quickly so you can freshen up and get a change of clothes on before classes," he said.

She nodded and carefully took the towel, keeping it wrapped around her skirt as she stood from the bed. "Uh, thank you professor. I apologize for imposing on you that way," she said.

"Yes well seeing as you had an episode during our detention, I expect you there tonight to complete what punishment I gave you," he said calmly, turning to go to the door and opened it, then stood waiting for her to go through.

She paused, wondering why he was suddenly doing things like holding the door open for her.

"Miss. Gunner, if you would hurry. I don't fancy the idea of a third year skulking around in my bed chambers when I am not here," he said.

She nodded. Of course that was why he'd stopped to wait.

She walked past him and outside into the hall, looking around and frowned. "How do I get back?" she asked, not having been in the teachers chambers yet before.

Snape sighed, locking his door and motioned for her to follow him.

They made it to a familiar looking hall and Lilia nodded. "Alright, I can find my way from here."

He nodded and without another word, went to prepare his lessons for the day, no doubt.

She watched him go for a moment and then went to the Slytherin common room.

When she got there, she was relieved to hear no one was awake yet, it being still rather early in the morning. She rushed to get a fresh change of clothes and then went into the girls bathroom, turning on the tap and stepping into the tub built for several to use at once. Usually Lilia managed to get it to herself, which she preferred, not enjoying the thought of others seeing her naked. It made her uncomfortable and embarrassed. Yes she was only thirteen now, but other girls had already begun 'developing' while she had only the barest minimum of curves to show for on her sides. Essentially, nothing in comparison to some of the breasts other girls her age were developing, much to her disappointment.

Snape wouldn't ever like that, she knew. She blinked, blushing deeply at the mortifying thought. How repulsive! She wouldn't ever dare normally think of a teacher, especially Snape in that way! She shook her head, figuring it was just the after effects of the potion now wearing off.

She slid further down into the tub and relaxed, the bubbles reaching up to her chin. She closed her eyes and rested her head back against the edge of the tub, the hot water incredible soothing to her sore and tired body. Oh how she loathed these times during the month.

When she finished, she rose out of the water and dried off, pulling on her fresh clothes and cleaned her other ones of any stains or mess, then put them off to the side to be laundered later.

She then went down to the common room, looking around quietly at the empty room, rather liking the dark and cold interior, admiring it as she took a seat on the black leather couches. It portrayed Slytherin very well in her opinion. But most of all, it made her think of Snape. Cold, black, sleek, dark. Everything he was seemed to be represented here. She found herself wondering if the other heads of house had such similarities between themselves and their common rooms. Was Gryffindor's common room old and serious? It didn't matter.

Getting up, she left the common room and headed down the hall to see if anyone was awake yet and in the Great Hall, waiting for breakfast.

She was just about to turn a corner when she over heard two very familiar voices, one speaking in a more serious tone than the other.

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"You know it isn't wise, Severus to associate oneself so personally with the students," said Dumbledore.

Snape stood tall and silent, looking at the headmaster calmly. "I assure you, Headmaster, nothing transpired. The girl required help so I merely brought her to my sleeping quarters instead of disturbing the other girls that evening."

Dumbledore looked at Snape over his half moon spectacles, a knowing look seeming to form in his eyes. "Tell me, Severus. Do you care more about that girl than would be appropriate for a teacher?" he asked.

Snape narrowed his gaze, hating how Dumbledore just seemed to know every little thing that went on in the castle, including peoples thoughts, and instead of directly answering the question he retaliated. "I don't see why you are troubling yourself over the matter of me helping a one girl when you yourself are always present to help Potter whenever he requires your aid," he said coldly, not outright defensively, but most definitely irritated.

Dumbledore smiled thoughtfully at Snape and reached out with a wrinkled old hand and clasped Snape's shoulder with a surprisingly firm grip. "Just promise me that you will watch yourself, Severus. I am merely looking out for your best interests," he assured the black clad wizard.

Snape eyed Dumbledore coldly and then nodded without saying anything.

With that, Dumbledore nodded as well and bid Snape farewell, leaving the Potions Master to stand on his own and mull over his thoughts for a while.

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Something told Lilia that wasn't a conversation she was meant to hear. She glanced up from the floor where she'd been staring while listening when Dumbledore passed her by. She looked at him quietly and wasn't the least bit surprised when he caught her eye and nodded with a polite smile. Watching him disappear down one hallway, she turned to go back the way she came, figuring it would be best to stay out of Snape's way for the time being.

Instead of going to the Great Hall to wait as planned, she walked outside, strolling along the path leading out of the castle and out onto the field of grass outside.

When she looked up, she noticed Professor Moody headed back to the castle a ways away, drinking from that flask almost desperately again. She narrowed her eyes at him, wondering if he was some sort of alcoholic who couldn't even begin his day without a drink of whiskey or something other. It reminded her almost of someone she knew.

She sighed, looking out at the forbidden forest, disappointed that in a week or two she would be leaving the school again and going back home.

Home… not a thrilling thought in the least.

She was glad that this last December the students had been encouraged to stay for the tournament and Yule ball, and she'd jumped at the chance to avoid leaving, even if it meant being cooped up here on her own. But she couldn't bring herself to leave. She felt so much better here at Hogwarts among people like her than at home with her Muggle father.

She dismissed thoughts of home and the disappointment of having to leave the school again.

Turning back towards the school, she passed by Hagrid's hut, glancing up when he waved to her. "Morning, Miss. Gunner. Lovely day 'ennit?" he asked, his usual excited smile upon his chubby hairy face.

She nodded, waving slightly to him and then went back inside. She was relieved to see other students up again, and wondered just long she had been outside. No matter. She turned in toe direction of the Great Hall and went to sit near Ariel and Dawn again, nodding to them when they greeted her with a good morning. Getting comfortable, soon breakfast appeared and Lilia ate plenty, having not made it to dinner last night obviously.

When he belly was filled, she got up, walking with Ariel to Herbology. After that class, she went on to Charms, then Transfiguration and Potions. After lunch, she resumed her classes with Defence Against the Dark Arts, Care of Magical Creatures and Divination. Astronomy was only every Wednesday night, so she didn't have to worry about that until tomorrow evening.

At dinner, she sat with Dawn again, awaiting Ariel's arrival. When she joined them, she looked excited about something.

"Oh, my goodness. I just heard from Kenny Partridge by far the most shocking gossip I think has ever gone around in Hogwarts," she whispered to Dawn and Lilia.

Dawn shrugged. "Kenny is an idiot who doesn't know up from down. What makes you think he would know a bit of gossip that you or I don't know about beforehand, Ariel?" she asked, raising a sharp brown as she drank her pumpkin juice.

Ariel bit her lower lip, thinking that over and then sighed. "True, but Oliver Lennox turned around in class and said he'd heard the same thing from somebody else earlier today," she pointed out. "And you know if Oliver thinks it could be true then it must be," she said insistently.

Dawn rolled her eyes and sighed, crossing her arms as Lilia ate quietly next to her. "What is it then, Ariel?" she asked, clearly not interested in hearing it anyways.

Ariel smirked and leaned forward towards the two of them across the table. "This morning, someone saw a student leaving Professor Snape's bed chamber," she said slowly in a low voice.

Lilia glanced up at Ariel from beneath her fringe of bangs and hoped there wasn't a name to the student. She could only imagine what people were thinking about a student spending the night in a teachers bed chambers. For the entire night…

She swallowed her food with great difficulty, looking at Ariel. "Does anyone know who it was?" she asked.

Ariel shook her head. Oliver said the person who told him, said the person who saw the student only saw her back. They didn't get to see her face so they can't be sure who it was. Only that she's in Slytherin," she nodded and giggled in a very nasty way. "She must be some student in order to have gotten Snape interested in her," she said.

"In her period," Dawn added, making Ariel laugh.

Lilia looked between the two wearily. She hadn't thought about anyone seeing her leaving Snape's room that morning. It was stupid to not have looked to see if anyone was in that hall. Even if she had never been there herself didn't mean that other students hadn't either. "Does Professor Snape know that he was seen with a student this morning?" she asked.

Dawn shrugged. "No doubt. He's a very smart man. I don't think anything could get past him. But somehow I don't think he cares. If think if someone was to catch him right in the act he would just play it cool like he always does," she smirked. "Now that I think about it… if he is sleeping with a student for real, which somehow I doubt because he doesn't strike me as a pedo, I can't say I blame the girl. He's such a bad ass teacher," she grinned.

Ariel made a face. "Dawn! He's so old!" she hissed in disgust.

Dawn laughed. "Oh come on, he isn't ancient or anything. No grey hairs yet as far as I can see, which means he's still on the market," she smirked, looking in the direction of the teachers table with some interest in her fiery eyes.

Lilia glanced at Dawn and felt a flare of annoyance somewhere inside her at the way Dawn was eyeing the professor's table. She didn't need to imagine which professor she was looking at either.

Ariel flipped a lock of strawberry blonde curls over her shoulder and sighed. "You're such a closet pervert, Dawn. I'll be the first to say it."

"And I'll be the first to agree," said Cimbeline Cuffe, who just sat down to join them after coming from one of her classes.

"Ah, Cimbeline, have you heard?" asked Ariel.

The ashy blonde girl looked up at her friend Ariel and frowned. "Heard what?" she asked.

Dawn chuckled. "That Professor Snape gets around with a student," she purred.

Cimbeline looked at Dawn aghast. "He what?" she asked, her grey eyes practically bulging out of her skull at the thought.

Ariel rolled her eyes. "He does not. It's a rumour and it doesn't say Snape slept with a student, just that a student left his bed chambers early this morning," she pointed out.

Dawn looked at Ariel like she was a two year old child. "Ariel, are you really so thick headed. Why else would someone be leaving Snape's bed chambers 'early in the morning'?" she asked, emphasizing the early in the morning bit.

Cimbeline shrugged. "Maybe she had been asked to come visit early in the morning for something academic related?" she suggested.

Dawn laughed. "Oh god, that sounds just as dodgy," she grinned wickedly. "Well whoever she is, I must commend her for having someone like Snape, who never even looks at women, wrapped around her finger like that. Maybe she's doing it for grades," she gasped. "Oh god, what a scandal," she giggled.

Ariel laughed. "Alright, stop. It's still only a rumour," she laughed.

Cimbeline wrinkled her nose. "Guaranteed it was someone in the other houses who came up with the rumour just to make our head of house look bad," she pointed out.

Dawn pouted. "Aww, Cimbeline. You ruined the scandal of it. No fun," she sighed.

Ariel laughed. "Ah well, I think it's best if Dawn doesn't think of Snape as some predatory sex teacher now," she pointed out.

Cimbeline laughed while Dawn stuck her tongue out at Ariel.

In the meantime, Lilia picked at her food, somewhat relieved that Cimbeline would put forth the idea that it was merely a rumour and probably only one to make Snape look bad. Of course, only Lilia knew that it wasn't entirely a rumour. She knew nothing had transpired and nothing would anyways, but the thought that people were talking about it like it was some big deal made her feel a bit uncomfortable. After all, who wanted to be suspected of sleeping with one of the professors?

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Lilia glanced up from the caterpillars she was supposed to be pre slicing for Snape's fifth year potions class. It wasn't much to do, so Lilia hadn't really felt too bad about serving the rest of her detention there that night. She just found herself wondering if Snape had heard the rumour about him with a student and what his opinion was on it.

"What is it, Miss. Gunner?" Snape asked from his desk.

She looked down right away and shook her head. "Nothing, sir," she said quietly, finishing up another caterpillar and grasping another one, wrinkling her nose in disgust at the creature. She deeply detested bugs of any kind.

When she finished, she brought up her work to his desk and showed him, just to make sure they were to his liking.

He glanced at them and nodded his head in the direction of the counter without a word on her work.

Cleaning her hands off, she moved to wipe them on her skirt and proceeded to the door.

"Miss. Gunner, what's bothering you today?" he asked her. "You look sick again. I will have you know I will not be allowing you to get help from me just because you want it but don't fully require it," he told her, his cold eyes on her as she turned to look back at him.

"No sir, that isn't it at all. I was merely wondering if you had heard," she said, somewhat unsure of how to say it.

Snape watched her almost scornfully, his black eyes boring into her while he waited for her to go on.

She looked back at him and sighed, turning to fully face him. "I was wondering if you had heard that someone saw me leaving your room early this morning. Some students seem to think that it is necessary to take it out of hand and make it into something it really isn't…" she explained, feeling extremely stupid for bringing it up suddenly.

He looked at her silently. "Were you recognized?" he asked.

She shook her head.

"Then do you even care if people take it out of context, Miss. Gunner? Realistically do you even care about what people think or say?" he asked her suddenly.

He caught her off guard and she looked at him, her eyes slightly widened. It took her a few moments but she suddenly realized she really didn't care. About the rumour, what people said, what people thought or what happened. She didn't care…

He nodded. "That's what I thought…" he said before she could reply to his question. He turned back to his work, silently dismissing her.

She took a step back and then turned and left, her expression still showing how stunned she was while her mind replayed the realization that she didn't care. She didn't care not just about the rumor but about several things. She had stopped caring about things a while ago and somehow Snape could see that just by looking at her. That thought somehow frightened her. Not only because he could see into her and know things she tried to hide away from the world but also because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't really care anymore that he knew. He knew she was dead inside and she didn't care about any of it at all.

She looked the same way he had so long ago. His father. Tobius Snape. He sighed, unable to focus on the work piled up on his desk and ran a hand through his black hair, then pinched his nose, closing his eyes as he replayed the moment in his mind when he asked Lilia if she really did care at all and she had made that face… that expression which told him everything he needed to know. She didn't.

What on earth could possibly make a thirteen year old not care about anything and look so vacant all the time, he wondered. She was only thirteen, but her expression was that of a woman far beyond her years who had suffered more than any child should. But not only that, it was an uncaring gaze. One that told him she cared for no one and nothing. The same way his father had.

She was emotionally dead. He wondered if she had ever experienced something that really could make her smile or laugh, and not the way she had when he'd seen her on the night of the Yule ball back in December.

He stood from his seat and made his way to the door, ignoring the sound of the ink bottle falling off his desk to the floor. He would just deal with it later. This, he had to see to right now.

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Lilia hadn't gotten far from the potions classroom when she heard the swish of a clock across the floor and footsteps behind her. She turned and her eyes widened seeing Snape fast approaching with a very seriously expression on his face. An expression aimed at her.

She stepped away and then stumbled back, jumping when her back connected with the wall behind her and he stood right in front of her, his arms on either side of her head as he looked down at her.

She looked up at him in alarm, her heart racing in a panic, her mind screaming at her to get away from him. Her professor… who was now trapping her helplessly to the wall. She looked on either side of the hall and then back up at him, her almond shaped eyes reflecting the discomfort and fear rising up in her in the form of a scream. "What are you doing?" she finally gasped, her eyes not straying from his this time.

He looked at her seriously and frowned. "What happened to you?" he asked her suddenly.

She blinked, obviously confused by this question and shook her head once. "I… I'm sorry?"

"Why do you look that way all the time? Why do you never laugh, never smile? You're a thirteen year old girl, Miss. Gunner. You better have a damn good reason for looking like you could watch the world rot around you without lifting a finger to help or care," he said.

She swallowed, having never been addressed in such a way, and by her professor of all people. No one had ever worded the way she looked in such a… cruel way. Her chin trembled as she looked up at him and then her gaze hardened. "You have no right to ask me such personal questions, sir," she said, practically spitting out the last word.

He glared at her and grasped her shoulders suddenly, leaning dangerously close, meeting her gaze. "I am sick and tired of watching you teenagers walk around thinking your sob story is more important than anyone else's. It's exactly the way I said before, Miss. Gunner, there are more important and more dangerous things in the world than whatever boyfriend broke your heart and left you emotional," he sneered.

She glared at him furiously and moved to suddenly slap him across the face, anger flaring up inside her.

He caught her hand before it could connect with his face and looked at her with a faint smirk, raising a brow, daring her to try and hit him again.

Lilia ground her teeth in frustration and tried to pull her wrist out of his grasp but he wouldn't let her go. "Let go of me!" she shouted, reaching up and trying to pry his fingers away from her wrist. "Don't touch me," she snarled, pulling even harder.

Snape smirked but his eyes hardened at the same time as he pulled her other hand from his fingers and pinned her hands above her head against the wall, looking at her as she struggled against his hold. "You're nothing but a weak child, Miss. Gunner. You think you're strong one moment and then you think the world should submit to you when you feel upset the next… I think it's time you woke up to the fact that no one will ever truly care about your little relationship problems or dislikes in life," he sneered. "You should be mindful of the way you look. That expression of yours angers me, Miss. Gunner. I would very much like physically remove it, but of course what good would that do?" he smirked. "I'm telling you to smarten up young lady and stop acting like the world is miserable and everyone should pity you," he said, finally letting go of her wrists. "No one wants to listen to a sob story. If you think life is so terrible, then do us all a favour and remove yourself from the planet," he said cruelly, looking at the slight thirteen year old, her head ducked down, her arms hanging limply by her sides as though his words had been some kind of physical blow. "If being a Muggle born is so awful, then die and pray you are reborn a pure blood," he sneered, moving to turn away.

He knew what he said had been severely excessive, but he'd grown annoyed, seeing Lilia come to class with that same uncaring and empty gaze all the time. He hated it. He had been so tempted to slap that expression right off her face sometimes when she would monotonously reply to his questions or leave with her friends, her gaze vacant. But he knew it did more than anger him. It upset him. He hated seeing how empty those beautiful green eyes were. How sad they always looked. He wanted it to stop. Stop tormenting him and haunting him. Perhaps if she just acted normal he would stop thinking about her when he had other things to worry about.

"I don't need pity…" she finally spoke in a soft voice.

Snape turned to look at her and then turned his entire body to face her, crossing his eyes, his cold gaze urging her to continue.

She leaned her head back against the wall, looking up at the ceiling while her hands moved to rub her slightly sore wrists. "I don't want anyone to pity what happened to me. And I never meant for my expression to anger you, Professor," she said and turned her head slightly to look up at him from where she stood leaning back against the wall still, like it was the only thing still holding her up. She then narrowed her eyes and smirked for the first time. "I only expect people to stay out my way so I can drag those who hurt me down to hell with me," she said finally.

Something about the way she said those words sent chills up his spine. That look in her eyes told him she would never cry if she was hurt. Something told him she never did cry when someone hurt her. She would merely hurt them back ten times worse with all the ferocity she could muster. The fact that this was a thirteen year old girl looking at him that way while saying those words to him felt disturbing.

He couldn't remember the last time he felt disturbed the way he did now.

She looked at him silently, the smirk fading to be replaced with the same empty and uncaring expression. "I will never smile or laugh because I will not deny the simple truth that I have nothing to laugh or smile about. You can hit me and slap me and push me to the ground right now and I will not do it," she told him. "I feel nothing because it is weakness," she said finally. "If I didn't learn how to numb my emotions I would have been driven mad by now thanks to people who I have had the misfortune of coming to know," she explained. "With no emotions I can live each day, ignoring the world around me and focusing merely on what I need to do to humiliate and hurt those who hurt me first," she whispered, her eyes staring straight into his.

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Marvellous yet heartbreaking. That was what she was. Her denial of emotions and weakness made her more attractive and incredible to him than any other human had ever been in his eyes. To be thirteen and already deny oneself the show of emotion was an incredible feat he had to commend her for. She was strong… but broken.

He could see it in her eyes when she spoke. She wasn't just refusing to be weak. She was refusing to be hurt again but would never admit to it. Whatever had happened in her life up until now was something he knew could not be changed, but he also knew it was something she didn't deserve, and it made him angry on the inside to watch a mere child speak like some tortured adult.

Sometimes he would forget she was only thirteen, but right now, he saw her for what she was. A closed off, frightened, hurt and angry child who refused to let anyone inside. She was strong, but broken and he didn't know if she was reparable to begin with.

He stepped towards her calmly, looking at the way she leaned against the wall still for support and reached out, firmly placing a hand upon her shoulder, his dark gaze meeting her empty green one. "There are many forms of evil in this world, Miss. Gunner… it's unfortunate that you had the bad luck of meeting one…" he spoke quietly.

She tilted her head to look up at him quietly, questioning his motives for saying such a thing.

"However, nowhere does it say you are weak for asking someone to aid you in your tasks," he told her. "It would be stupid to face it on your own. Trying to be the hero rarely gets anyone anywhere," he said, his hand moving away, the tips of his fingers just barely grazing the skin upon her neck as she looked at him.

She watched him move away for a moment and then looked off to the side distantly. "Rarely…" she murmured. She turned to look back up at her professor. "Perhaps… we shall see," she finally said.

"He thinks I'm some sort of freak," she told Snape, sitting in his classroom again, drinking something her professor had brewed up to fill their stomachs with, neither one of them feeling inclined to go to dinner that evening. Looking down at the mug clasped in her small white hands, she could feel the sudden distaste Snape was emanating at her words. Glancing up at him, she saw his gaze looking cold and darkened as he watched her.

Snape remembered his own father the moment she spoke. Instantly he felt hatred grow in the pit of his stomach at the thought of Lilia going through a similar childhood to his; but something told him there was more to it than him simply telling her she was a freak for being able to do magic.

She looked down again. "I think you already know it's more than just being rejected by own father for what I am," she said. Sighing, she rested her chin in her palm and traced circles into the top of the desk, which they'd sat down at, with her finger. "He hurts me. He'll find it fun to torture me and scare me just to see me do magic… and the funny thing is that isn't even the worst part of it all. If that were it, I think I might be able to smile for real sometimes. But the things my father does to me are beyond cruel," she sighed and looked up at him.

He watched her quietly, not saying a word, not wanting to discourage her from opening up to him. He doubted she would ever do it again.

"My father… is a scientific man. He doesn't believe that what I do and learn is actually magic," she said. "He will try to explain it as some sort of… scientific phenomenon…" she shook her head. "He'll… do things," she frowned. "Things to make me react. He'll take my wand away and force me to try and perform magic without it."

Snape felt his blood curdle at the thought of her having to summon a tremendous amount of magic just to please her father.

"That was when I saw it," she said. "A few years ago, I managed to do magic without my wand… I didn't know what it was at first. I didn't even realize it was magic," she explained. "I would spend hours in the library last year looking for some explanation as to what it was. I'd almost entirely given up hope and thought perhaps he was right. I really was some sort of freak," she sighed and closed her eyes. "But then I found it…"

He frowned, wondering if that was as far as she would go when she didn't say anything for several moments. When she did speak again, his blood curdled at the thought of what she had been encountered with.

"Legilimency…" she said finally, lifting her head and then glanced up to meet his eyes. "I saw into his mind… and in that moment I sorely wished that I hadn't," she said. "I don't know how it happened. He was… hurting me one day," she shook her head, and closed her eyes, "and I suppose I was more frightened and angry than usual when I just… looked. Only for a moment…" she said and then stared straight ahead with a disgusted and hateful look upon her face. "It's happened only a few times after that, but whenever it did, I saw what he thought of me… what he wanted to do, and in that first moment, when I realized these were actually his thoughts, I no longer merely feared him. I hated him," she said, her eyes welling up slightly, but she blinked once and the tears were gone. "I wanted him dead. But not just dead, I wanted him to suffer for what he put me through and I wanted to humiliate him for what he wanted to do if given the chance," she said. She then turned to look up at Snape. "And yet, I am too much of a coward to use the killing curse on him…" she said finally in a quiet and almost tired voice.

Snape recoiled inside at the thought of her having to resort to such a spell in order to free herself from her muggle father's clutches. He looked into her eyes and understood that she was scared and worst of all, alone up until this very moment. He knew in his mind he couldn't live with himself if he let her merely go back home after this month to face that monstrosity of a man again. "What did you see..?" he finally asked her.

She looked up at him and then shook her head slowly, her head lowering. "Don't make me say it…" she whispered wearily.

He felt rage boil in his blood at the sight before him and ground his teeth together. "If you do not tell me what you saw, I will dismiss what you say as mere lies, Miss. Gunner… I cannot help you if you do not give me reason to," he said.

She felt her eyes well up in humiliation and swallowed with great difficulty. "I saw how he wanted to kill me slowly… in the most inhumane way he possibly could," she said. "He wanted to touch me, and rape me and murder me slowly…" she said finally, looking at him with a deadened look in her eyes suddenly. "Every time he touches me or looks at me I want to murder him… make HIM suffer for making me afraid to step foot into my own damn house," she said and shook her head. "Where I live it is no home, merely a house where I am trapped by my sick, twisted, muggle father," she said and glared. "I refuse to cry because of him. I've never given that monstrosity the satisfaction of seeing how much what he does, and wants to do hurts…" she said. "I feel relieved that my mother isn't there to see the hell he's created for us both," she said. "But again, this is my life and I will destroy him the way I want to… I do not need your help, Professor…" she said and rose suddenly. "What I told you today is my secret, and now yours…" she said and looked at him. "I will not let that man come near me when I return home and if he does, I will be forced to kill him," she said finally. She knew she had to this time. "All I have to say to you is… that I appreciate you letting me tell you my story…" she said, finishing her drink and then tucked in her chair, turning to go.

"Why did you never report any of this to Dumbledore or a professor the moment you arrived here?" he asked her with a frown.

She turned to look at him and shrugged. "I don't know the entire reason. I suppose it is because I am ashamed of having a father such as my own, and I don't want people, especially professors or Dumbledore on my case, pitying me over something even I myself don't pity over," she said. "I don't need everyone to know something I don't want to be known… I want to handle it on my own. I don't want to be thought of as another annoying sob story, as you so kindly put it once before," she said firmly, then after a moment, turned to go to the door again.

Snape watched her head to the door and then rose, following her.

For a moment she would have told him to leave her alone, but remembered it must be far past dinner time by now and if caught alone in the halls, she would be in trouble.

The two made their way to the Slytherin common room, Snape's mind weighed down with thoughts of what Lilia had finally admitted to him. He felt somewhat proud to know that she trusted him with her story, but angered that she had to go through so much alone. And yet she never cried over any of it. She had nearly admitted to her own humiliation of feeling so exposed by her own father and his perverted thoughts, but she wouldn't cry in pity or fear over any of it. For that, Snape had to commend her, knowing if she refused to cry over the pain she'd gone through and the fear she lived with, then she was far stronger than most.

When they reached the Slytherin common room without any problem, Lilia spoke the password and stepped inside, turning to look back at Snape. "You promise never to reveal to anyone what I told to you tonight, correct?" she said, her eyes narrowed suspiciously. She didn't want people bothering her about what she'd been through. She hadn't even told Snape everything, and she knew that he knew that, but hat she had admitted was a lot for her to share anyways and she hoped Snape understood that much at least.

He nodded, regarding her coolly. "The information you've opened up with to me tonight will remain unspoken, Miss. Gunner. It will remain your secret and now mine as well," he assured her calmly, his face not betraying even for a moment the anger he felt over what she'd gone through as far as he knew, even if she hadn't told him every detail.

She nodded and turned away to go towards the stiars leading to the girls dormitory when Snape said something to her.

"You're much stronger than I originally gave you credit for, Miss. Gunner… don't ever lose that strength… it may come in good use later in life," he told her.

She stood silently and turned around to reply but was only a moment too late, seeing the common room door closing and Snape walking away, just the ends of his cloak flowing out of her line of vision behind the closing doorway.

.

.

.

Lilia sighed as she pulled off her shoes, then her socks and undid her skirt. She placed them all on the chair next to her bed and then pulled off her vest and tie, unbuttoning her shirt and placed them all on the chair next to her bed as well. She pulled on a nightgown and then brushed her teeth before bed. After that was done, she climbed into her bed, pulling the covers overtop of herself and sighed, staring ahead unseeingly.

She hoped Snape had taken what she said to heart and wouldn't tell anyone else. It was not their business. She knew it was none of his either, but she felt she could trust him, as her head of house to at least know why she did things or acted the way she did without questioning her any further. But she wondered what he also thought of her now. Did he think less of her? Did he tell her he thought of her as strong just to put her mind at ease and stop her from bothering him, when in actuality he thought of her as weak? She rolled over onto her side and pulled the pillow out from under her head, hugging it close to her side and rested her head upon the end of it, closing her eyes and sighed, only hoping Snape didn't think of her as an annoying student with another 'roll your eyes at' sob story.

.

.

.

He wanted to make him suffer. Lilia didn't deserve the hell she'd been trapped in, and he wouldn't just let her go back soundlessly. He needed to speak to Dumbledore about this, but then he remembered he'd made a promise to her not to reveal what her story was. She didn't want people pitying her. Probably because it annoyed her, he figured. Pity was a stupid thing. No one ever actually pitied anyone. Even he didn't pity Lilia really. He just wanted to protect her. The same way he'd wanted to protect Lily Evans, many years prior.

His heart ached at the thought of her and he sighed, running a hand through his jet black hair softly and closed his eyes. He'd failed Lily as well as himself. He'd let Voldemort find them and kill her.

Sitting on his bed, he leaned forward and hung his head in his hands, thinking about Lilia and that solemn look upon her face when she'd spoken of murdering her own father for the atrocities he'd committed, and wanted to commit against her. He would not let her suffer on her own. He would take this chance upon himself and redeem the bad that'd done. He couldn't have Lily or save her, but at least now he had a chance to protect Lilia.

No child should ever be allowed to live in so much hatred and pain. She had been denied her childhood by a cruel and twisted father but he would do what he could on his own to give her a chance at a normal life forever after. Even if it led to her turning away from him and finding another to rely on and laugh with, the same way Lily had done before.

The thought irritated him, but then again, Lilia was only thirteen and he was already thirty five. The age gap was so immense between them he wasn't surprised at all that Lilia wasn't attracted to him in the least, even if he was. He supposed he was used to it by now, however and climbed into bed, feeling angered by Lilia's situation, his own misfortune of becoming attracted to someone far out of his reach yet again, and not knowing where to go with it at the moment from there.

Suffice to say, he didn't sleep as well as he would have liked that night.



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