Chapter One- The Gift
It was a warm summer’s day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The sunlight shone through the open windows and landed on the worn stone floors and on suits of armor which gleamed in the light. It made the empty classrooms warm and inviting.
Of course, warmth and sunshine were at ground level and above. Below the surface, it was cooler and darker. Torches lit the staircases and corridors. These were the dungeons which housed the Slytherin Common Room as well as the Potions classroom and Professor Snape’s office.
Snape was in his office, grading fourth-year papers from Ravenclaw students. Grading papers from Ravenclaws were almost a pleasure as grading Slytherin papers. As a rule, heads of house shouldn’t play favorites, but he showed favoritism toward Slytherins, anyway.
As he graded, he wondered about his upcoming N.E.W.T. students. Surely, his favorite student Draco Malfoy, would be in it. He hoped that Harry Potter wouldn’t be though. Surely, Potter didn’t score high enough to make it, although he had heard that Potter wanted to be an Auror. A very noteworthy career, indeed. Still, he didn’t want Potter in his N.E.W.T. class.
As he scratched an E on a paper, a knock sounded at his door. Frowning at the interruption, he nevertheless, said, “Come in.” The door opened to reveal Minerva McGonagall with a box in her hands.
“Good afternoon, Severus,” the witch greeted.
“Hello Minerva. What are you doing here?”
“A gift came for you from one of the students.”
“Leave it on the bed and I’ll look at it later.”
“Hopefully not too much later,” she remarked, setting it down and leaving.
Snape looked at his bed as the door closed. Lying next to his robes, was a box with holes in it. Clearly, his gift was something alive. He got up and approached it. He saw a tag attached to the box. It said:
From: Harry Potter
‘Potter!’ he thought. ‘Why would he send me a present?’ Scowling, he grabbed one end of the green ribbon and yanked it. The ribbon fell away and the thing inside head butted the top off.
Inside the box, looking up at him was a black kitten with large golden eyes. Sitting on the right side of its forehead was a gray patch of fur in the shape of a lightning bolt. “Mew,” it said.
Snape picked it up, looked under the tail, and put it on the bed. He returned to his des and said to the kitten, “Stay, boy.”
The kitten didn’t seem inclined to listen. Instead, he jumped down and wound himself around the man’s legs. Snape grabbed him and practically threw him on the bed. “I said stay,” he snapped. This time, he listened.
Snape blinked. He had first thought, it was just an ordinary cat. But clearly he had a high degree of intelligence. Still, it was Potter who gave him the cat. Nothing good could come from anything Potter gave him.
Hours later, Snape got up and stretched. It was dinnertime and Dumbledore wanted the staff at the table to discuss the upcoming year. Snape glanced in the corner of the room where he had conjured a bed and a bowl of milk, but no kitten. This didn’t concern him. He had to be somewhere in the office. Snape grabbed his robes, put them on, and headed upstairs toward the Great Hall. He failed to notice a furry head sticking out of one of his robes’ front pockets.
Dumbledore looked up as Snape entered the room. He noticed something sticking out of a pocket and smiled. “Hello, Severus. I see you’ve brought a friend to dinner.”
Snape paused and blinked at the headmaster’s words. A friend? There was no one with him. Then, he saw that Dumbledore was looking down. He glanced down and saw the kitten poking out of a front pocket. He scowled as the kitten said, “Meow.”
As Snape took his seat, he replied, “He was a gift from Potter.”
Dumbledore lifted him from the pocket and held him up. “My, he is cute. Have you chosen a name?” The ancient wizard placed the black kitten on the table and stroked the head.
“No. I don’t intend to name anything Potter gives me.”
“Come now, Severus. All living things deserve a name.”
“Fine. But I don’t know what to call him, aside from Pest.”
The kitten tossed him what could be called a resentful look. This human expression further convinced him that this animal was intelligent.
McGonagall smiled at the kitten before saying, “Why don’t you call him Evans? After Lily?”
“I’ll think about it,” Snape said before settling down to dinner.
Chapter Two- A New Term
Snape spent the rest of the summer grading papers and devising lesson plans and almost always in his pet’s presence. Almost always as the kitten had a tendency to disappear from time to time. Snape never saw him leave or return. He would just notice his absence.
He had yet to choose a name. The kitten had perked up when McGonagall suggested the name “Evans.” Snape didn’t want to use that name because it further connected the kitten to Potter.
On the night of August thirty-first, Snape said, “Listen, boy. I don’t want you tagging behind me while I teach classes. I have a reputation I must maintain.”
The kitten said nothing. He merely curled up in his bed and fell asleep.
Snape looked out at a sea of faces at the welcoming feast the following night. He easily picked out several faces. He saw Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Parkinson, Weasley, Granger, and of course Potter.
As Dumbledore had the students welcome back Remus Lupin as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Snape thought about his pet. He had ordered him to remain in the office during the feast. He didn’t bother locking the door- the kitten usually listened to his instructions.
Snape didn’t see the kitten upon returning to his office. He wasn’t worried. He was probably under the bed. He left the door open a crack. He wasn’t sure why he did this, but he let the matter go. As he sat down at his desk, reading, he felt something brush past him. He looked down and saw the kitten rubbing his head affectionately on his legs.
“Oh, there you are,” Snape said, patting the head a couple of times. Content with his pet’s whereabouts, Snape climbed into bed and fell asleep.
The kitten was still in bed when Snape got up the next morning. As he headed for the door, he glanced back to see the kitten just sitting up. He called, “Remember boy. Do not set foot in my classroom.”
His morning was somewhat enjoyable. He began teaching the first year Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs in a double Potions class, then a single period with third-year Slytherins and Gryffindors, and finally his seventh-year N.E.W.T. class before lunchtime arrived.
He ate very little because he was anxious. His sixth-year class was after lunch and he wanted to see who was in it. Unable to take this waiting, he got up and headed down to the dungeons. He moved about the classroom, setting it up for the class. As the bell rang to signal the start of class, he opened the door and stood beside it to let his students in.
The first one in line was Draco Malfoy. The pale boy gave a smug smile and a slight roll of his head as he entered. Snape responded with a similar smirk. His smirk turned into a scowl when Harry walked into the room.
‘He passed his Potions O.W.L. enough to get into my N.E.W.T. class! This is unacceptable!’ Still scowling, Snape stalked into the room. He immediately set them to a complicated potion before sorting the vials of potions his seventh-years had handed in.
After fifteen minutes, Snape decided to check his students’ progress. He circled the room, smiling at the Slytherins, nodding at the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, and scowling at the Gryffindors.
As he loomed over Potter’s cauldron, the boy asked, “Did you get my present, sir?”
“Yes,” was the answer.
“Do you like him?”
Snape ignored the question as he examined the potion. The color was wrong.
“You do still have him, don’t you sir?”
“Of course I do, Potter. I’m not the kind of person who would throw a helpless kitten out onto the street.” With a swish of his robes, he continued his rounds.
Harry watched Snape walk away before returning to his potion with a small smile on his face. So, Snape did like the kitten. Harry figured Snape wouldn’t throw it out, he asked in order to find out if Snape liked his gift.
‘He must have him in his office. Everyone would thing he’s going soft if he had a kitten following him around.’
September passed in a blur for both students and teacher. For Snape, it passed extremely quickly. He was busy teaching students, grading papers, giving and taking points, and caring for the kitten. He still didn’t choose a name, just called him Boy when addressing him. The kitten didn’t seem to like being called by gender, but he listened to Snape anyway.
Around mid-October, Snape was making lesson plans when a silver tabby cat walked in. Snape saw it, ignored it, and returned to his work. After an hour, he glanced up to see both cat and kitten gone. Unconcerned, he turned to the house points he had given and taken that day.
“Potter, your attempt is not working. It’s best if you give it up.”
“But, professor, it has only been two months. We need to give it more time. Besides, I think he likes me a little bit more.”
McGonagall sighed. “I don’t know. Oh, very well Potter,” she said when Harry gave her a pleading look. “We’ll give it more time. We’ll talk again in two months before Christmas break.”
Chapter Three- Forged Bond
Halloween arrived, bringing a Hogsmeade visit with it. Snape scowled at the laughing, chattering teenagers that filed past him. He wished he didn’t have to do escort duty this weekend. He couldn’t explain it, but he felt more like playing with the kitten.
He hadn’t grown much, if at all, since he got him. This led Snape to believe the boy was a runt. This belief made Snape feel pity for him and the kitten’s cuteness was slowly melting his cold heart.
‘I’m actually starting to love that little guy,’ he realized as he strolled down High Street.
“Harry, what’s up with you?” Ron demanded as the three friends left Honeyduke’s.
“Ron!” Hermione admonished. “What he means, Harry, is that we haven’t seen much of you lately.”
“I’ve been getting extra lessons from some of the teachers.”
“Extra lessons?” Ron asked. “Who’s giving you extra lessons?”
“Well, I do need help with Potions.”
“What!? You’re having lessons with Snape!?”
“Professor Snape, Ron,” Hermione corrected.
“It’s not that bad,” Harry protested. “I think I’m starting to understand him.”
“Understand Snape?” Ron gasped. “That greasy bat of the dungeons?”
No sooner had Ron said that, then something smacked him on the back of the head. All three turned to see Snape walking past, a rolled up Daily Prophet in his hand.
Silence hung over the trio until Hermione said, “So, what other extra lessons are you taking, Harry?”
Snape arrived at the castle long enough to conjure milk into the kitten’s bowl before going to the Halloween feast. The Great Hall was decorated with its usual floating candles and jack-o-lanterns, and cloud of live bats.
Snape sat down and filled his plate. He only took two mouthfuls when he noticed McGonagall staring at him, unblinking. He tried not to compare her to her Animagus form as he said, “Yes, Minerva?”
“Have you named your kitten yet, Severus?”
“Really? I still think Evans is a good name.”
Personally, Snape thought so, too. He knew giving the kitten that name would be a tribute to Lily’s memory. As he thought of her, he sought out Harry. It took him no time to find the boy. Despite the fact that he looked and acted like his father, he had Lily’s eyes.
Snape returned to his office and scanned it. No kitten. Where did he go? As he passed by his bed, a flash of black streaked out and attacked his shoes. Startled, he leaped back and saw the kitten sitting there for a split second before chasing his tail. He eventually caught it seeing as it was a little longer than his body. He pounced on it with claws and teeth exposed. He released his tail when he bit too hard and started licking it.
Snape shook his head. “You’re going to have a sorry-looking tail if you keep doing that. Try this.” He waved his wand and a purple ribbon came out of the end and fluttered down to the kitten.
A fluttering ribbon was too tempting to pass up. He leapt up at it, batting at it and, then pouncing on it when it landed on the floor. He backed up, wiggled his hindquarters, and leaped at the ribbon. However, his spring had too much power and he overshot his target, slid across the floor, and almost hit the wall.
Snape sat on the bed, watching the kitten’s antics. He chuckled whenever the neko attacked the ribbon at crazy angles. The kitten soon tired himself out and curled up in his bed.
Snape levitated the ribbon to land beside the cat bed before getting ready for bed. He was soon climbing between the sheets. He looked at the still sleeping cat and smiled. “I’m glad I have you even if you did come from Potter.” With that, Snape laid down, unaware that his kitten had heard him.
November passed as quickly as September had and the number of cat toys increased. One ribbon did not entertain pet and owner every day and Snape would conjure something else. Besides, one ribbon would eventually fray and tear and would need to be replaced. Snape had conjured a crate to hold the small collection: Ribbons (green, silver, red, gold, blue, and black), bell balls, balls of yarn, and several toy mice.
One late November afternoon, Snape was grading essay from his sixth years with the kitten curled up between his feet. The kitten had recently taken to snoozing near Snape’s fee if the Potions Master was at his desk or reading in bed. This didn’t bother him. He actually found it comforting.
He scratched an O on Malfoy’s paper before setting it with the other graded essays. He looked at the next paper and saw Potter’s name on it.
“Potter,” he muttered. He skimmed through the paper. “Adequate in writing acceptable essays and yet he can’t concoct a decent potion in class. His work in class will sadly be reflected in his essays.”
As he moved to write a P on the paper, he felt a weight on his right leg. He pushed his chair back to discover his kitten clinging to his pant leg! He moved to pull him off, but the kitten clung on tightly. Snape simply detached each paw with one hand and held onto the removed paws with the other hand. Soon, the kitten was removed and Snape held him up to eye level.
Although the eyes were gold, Snape swore he was looking into eyes that reminded him of Lily. He brought himself back to reality as he said, “You’re a Gryffindor supporter, aren’t you? I suppose I could give Potter the grade he deserves: an A.”
The kitten purred at Snape’s pronouncement and rubbed on the man’s hands. Snape smiled a little. “I might just give you a name yet, Boy.”
Chapter Four- The Name
December brought a cold wind worse than it had been in November. Drafts of wind were felt in the castle’s corridors, causing students to shiver as they hurried for their warm dorms or classrooms. The dungeons were colder than the classrooms above, but warmer than the corridors. Snape was oblivious to it, seeing as he basically lived down there. His usual attitudes with the houses took a downward swing, practically scaring all his students. Snape didn’t care. Today was his birthday and he swore his students knew this and were purposely botching their potions so he would have to assign them work that he would have to read and grade over break.
Well, most of them. The seventh-years performed as they usually did. This pleased him. He wouldn’t have to assign extra work for them. After lunch came the sixth-year class. He told them about the day’s potion and about receiving extra homework if they messed up before letting them go to work.
Several long minutes later, Snape began checking their progress. Malfoy was carefully measuring out the next ingredient. His potion was coming along nicely. Draco looked up from his measuring and Snape, still scowling, gave a nod and continued checking.
He reached Potter’s cauldron and was inwardly surprised to see that he was further along than Draco and the potion was the perfect color for this stage! Outwardly, he gave no indication of his surprise. Instead, he sneered, “Very nice, Potter. It’s about time your potion-making skills met up with my expectations.”
Snape swept away from his cauldron, revealing Ron seated across the aisle from him staring at him, open-mouthed. Harry gave him a shrug before returning to his work. Snape’s comment, though mean, still meant a lot to Harry, especially the first three words. Ron clearly wanted to say something, but Ginny had warned them at lunchtime about Snape’s bad mood.
Snape’s somewhat good mood evaporated when his sixth-year class left. His bad mood persisted until dinnertime.
“Happy Birthday, Severus,” Dumbledore said softly as the Potions Master sat down.
“It will be now that classes are over,” he replied.
After dinner, Snape headed down toward his office, roll of parchment floating in front of him, thanks to a Hover Charm. He opened the door to see his pet sitting a few feet away. He got to his feet, dashed up to Snape, and rubbed on the man’s legs as he circled them.
After setting the parchment down, Snape pocketed his wand, stooped down, and scooped up the kitten. He stroked the chin and then the back while the kitten purred his contentment. Snape felt his mood lift and the tension in his body left him.
“Boy, coming here and being greeted by you makes the whole day more bearable,” he said. Snape then sat at his desk, picked up the first parchment, and read with the kitten sitting on his lap.
Thus began the best Christmas break Snape’s had in years. After grading the homework, he read books and articles on potion-making and DADA, devised more lesson plans, and played with the kitten. It was hard to believe that he had had the kitten for four months and he was already deeply attached to him.
“Well, Potter. It appears that your attempt is starting to go smoothly,” McGonagall said.
“Yes, professor. You said that he loves the kitten.”
“Potter, do you really think Professor Snape will treat you better just because you gave him a pet that he now loves?”
“I kind of hope he will. He complimented me in class today- kind of.”
“Be that as it may, he hasn’t treated you any different than before, has he?”
“Still, a little progress is better than no progress. We shall talk about it around Easter. Have a good break, Potter.”
Snape was in the midst of reading an article on defensive jinxes when his kitten came wandering in, clearly having been on a trek through the dungeons for he hadn’t been gone very long.
Snape smiled at him. “Back from another trip, huh Evans?”
The kitten stopped walking and stood there, looking at Snape. “Meow,” he said.
“I finally decided to call you something other than Boy. Evans was the last name of a girl I knew before she got married. I want to honor her memory by giving you that name.”
The reason for his name obviously didn’t matter to the kitten. He finally had a real name and that was all that concerned him.
For the rest of Christmas break, Snape kept Evans with him at all times. The kitten rode around in one of the front pockets of Snape’s robes. Any student (mostly Slytherin) who passed him would comment on his companion. Snape would simply nod and continue on his way.
The staff hardly failed to notice Evans’s presence, McGonagall in particular. She almost cried when Snape told her that he decided on the name Evans. This reaction confused Snape and he decided to chalk it up to McGonagall being flattered that he took her suggestion.
On the night before classes would resume, Snape reminded Evans to stay in the bedroom. He assumed he listened and so was surprised the following morning when Evans tried to follow him out the door.
“No, Evans,” he scolded. “You can’t follow me anymore. I’m going to be teaching. I’ll see you tonight, okay? Stay, Evans.”
Evans sat down and meowed sadly as Snape left. His heart almost broke at Evans’s cries, but he knew he had to maintain his reputation.
By lunchtime, Snape had noticed that his usual attitude was changing. The slight changed seemed to scare the students more than his bad mood did. He still showed the Slytherins his usual demeanor as well as the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. It was the Gryffindors who were scared. The usually nasty Potions Master treated them like the other students. He wasn’t friendly; his dislike for Gryffindors had just melted away.
Snape attributed it to the face that Evans now had a name and a deep bond had been forged between them over the break. Of course, he wasn’t going to tell anyone the reason for his attitude adjustment. It would be his secret.
A Week Later
“Is it just me or has Snape been acting nicer?” Ron asked one night as he, Hermione, and Harry sat in the Common Room with their homework spread out in front of them.
“He’s definitely a little nicer,” Hermione admitted. “I just wish I knew why.”
Harry was silent as he wrote his Transfigurations essay. He knew the reason why Snape was nicer: The kitten. McGonagall had told him that Snape named him Evans, after Lily. Harry debated on whether or not he should tell them about Evans. Surely, there was no harm in it, but if another Gryffindor found out, the story would probably end up spreading all over school.
‘No, I won’t tell them. It will be my secret.’
Chapter Five- The Truth
Snape was noting grades and checking potion ingredients before realizing that it was almost midnight. As he got dressed for bed, he called, “Evans!”
No response. He called again and still no answer. He started searching the room. He looked under the desk and bed, between the wall and desk, and between the wall and bookcases. No Evans.
‘Where could he be?’ he wondered. Raising his wand, he said, “Accio Evans!” A minute later, a furry black kitten zoomed into his arms, fast asleep. Snape shook his head. The little guy must have wandered far from the dungeons and got tired from the walk. Snape climbed into bed, laid Evans beside him, and fell asleep.
January was slowly melting into February and Snape was starting to feel what was called “cabin fever.” He had stayed inside all winter and frankly it was starting to get to him.
It wasn’t getting to Evans, though. There was a whole castle for him to explore. In fact, that’s what he was doing and Snape had been looking for him as he strolled through the corridors. No sign of the black kitten. However, voices outside drew his attention. They seemed to be coming from the Quidditch pitch. A team was doing a Saturday afternoon practice. Curious, he headed for the pitch.
He didn’t have to go far to find out which House was practicing. The scarlet robes gave it away: The Gryffindor team was there. He saw the Quaffle and the Bludgers flying about, but no Snitch. Of course, from his distance, it would be impossible to see the tiny gold ball.
Then, he noticed a lone figure swooping, diving, and zooming all across the pitch. It was clear to Snape that the figure was chasing the Snitch . It was also clear that the figure was Potter.
Snape watched him, a neutral look on his face. In terms of Quidditch skills, Potter was just like his father. However, it would seem that his personality was more like Lily’s, particularly her kindness. After all, Potter gave Evans to him and he was happier than he had ever been.
Snape soon found himself awaiting his sixth-year class Monday afternoon. As the students filed past, he nodded to each one in turn. When Draco showed up, Snape gave him a smirk which earned him a nod from the pale boy. A few more students filed in before Snape spotted Potter. He gave the boy a half-smirk before sweeping in after him to begin the lesson.
The low chatter of students filled the dungeons as they left the class. ‘The class has gone as it usually does,’ Snape thought. The performances from the Slytherins, Ravenclaws, and Hufflepuffs were average. The Gryffindors, however, had improved in their skills. Possibly because he wasn’t breathing down their neck like he had for the last five and a half years.
A shuffle of parchments caught his attention and he looked up to see Potter lagging behind. Everyone else had already left.
“Move along, Harry. You’re going to be late.” Snape gasped inwardly. He had called the boy by first name instead of last! Why had he done that?
To his relief, Harry didn’t seem to have noticed. Instead, he said, “Sir?”
“I said move along.”
“Yes, sir.” Harry gathered up his bag and left the room, smiling once out in the hallway. Snape called him Harry! This was major news to tell McGonagall and it was all thanks to Evans.
Snape was still thinking about his slip, hours later. The reason for his mistake was obvious: Evans and Harry’s connection to Lily. Indeed, Snape had ceased to see Harry as James’s son, but rather as Lily’s son. The boy seemed to be finally showing the same talent for potions that Lily had.
He opened his office door and was greeted by Evans purring and rubbing on his legs. As always, Snape smiled at this affectionate greeting. In response, he flicked his wand at the cat dish bowls and they instantly filled with chopped steak and milk. He learned some time back that Evans would not touch regular cat food. A bit unusual, yes, but Snape rather liked the fact that Evans was picky.
He flicked his wand again and a ball of yarn came bouncing out of the crate. The ball immediately snagged Evans’s attention and he pounced on top of it. He dug his claws into it as the ball moved. Evans soon found himself on his back with the ball on his belly. This didn’t faze him at all- He continued to kick and bite at the yarn. The kitten continued to play until he was exhausted and then he ate some of his supper before curling up on Snape’s bed next to the pillow.
Snape laughed as Evans leaped and chased after the toy mice he had animated with a spell. It was now late March and Easter holiday had begun two days ago. Since most of the students had gone home, Snape felt free to relax and actually have fun. Of course, that fun had amounted to playing with Evans.
Snape noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. He looked at his bedroom door and saw a silver tabby cat. In the last few weeks, Minerva had been coming down in Animagus form to (in Snape’s mind) spy on him and Evans. It was a mystery who she was spying for and why, but Snape wasn’t concerned. He was just playing with his kitten.
McGonagall’s head disappeared and was replaced by her tail. It swished back and forth, catching Evans’s attention. Like most kittens, playing with another kitten or a cat was the best thing they could ask for.
Evans crouched down, his eyes following the tail’s movements. His hindlegs wiggled for a second before he leaped for the tail. As if sensing Evans’s leap, McGonagall pulled her tail out of the kitten’s path. Evans stopped in the doorway, turned in the direction of the stairs, and bounded out of sight. Snape guessed that the two of them were playing just outside the door and decided to get up and watch them this time around.
When he got out into the corridor, however, he saw Evans chasing the older cat’s tail up the stairs. He frowned. What did McGonagall want with his kitten? Intending to find out, Snape trailed after them at a safe distance.
He followed them up several flights and countless corridors before cat and kitten walked into the Staff Room. The door was left slightly ajar and Snape elected to stand outside the room and wait for Evans to come out. When he heard McGonagall talking, however, he leaned toward the door to hear every word.
“Well Potter,” McGonagall said, holding a sheet of parchment in one hand. “I must say-.” She broke off in mid-sentence and looked down. “Potter, we’re alone. Change out of your Animagus form.”
The kitten dipped his head for a moment before Harry appeared with a sheepish look on his face. “Sorry, professor.”
“As I was saying, you’ve made remarkable progress with Professor Snape since Christmas.”
“I know. I was very happy when called me Harry.”
“I was pleased when I read that.” She indicated the parchment she was holding with a nod of her head. “I’ve seen an incredible change come over Professor Snape these last few weeks.”
“But, professor, every time you came down, he was playing with me. I mean, Evans.”
“You made him happy, Potter. God knows the man deserves to be happy.”
Snape fumed as he stomped back to his room. The last thing he had heard was Harry explaining about Snape playing with him, er, Evans.
‘How dare that brat try to trick me! I was right all along: He’s just like James. Indeed, he’d probably change back to human and laugh in my face now that he thinks I’m soft.’
Snape could see that exact scenario in his mind. He could also see Harry bragging to his house mates about his trick and Snape getting mocked (behind his back, of course) about liking kittens. These scenes made Snape so mad that he was determined to make sure that Potter’s trick failed.
Chapter Six- Conversations
Snape was deeply absorbed in a book when Evans/Harry walked in. The first clue Snape got that he wasn’t alone was something rubbing against his legs. He looked down, saw the kitten, scowled at him, and went back to reading.
Evans/Harry blinked in confusion. A little while ago, Snape had been laughing and happy. Now, he was cold and distant. What had happened? Sitting on Snape’s right, he let out a sad, “Mreow?”
Snape did nothing, but turn a page and keep reading. Evans/Harry decided to get Snape’s attention another way. He crouched down, leaped through the air, and landed on Snape’s lap where he curled up for a nap. Or at least he would have if Snape hadn’t roughly pushed him to the floor.
Evans/Harry landed on his side, stood up, shook himself, and looked up. Snape was glaring hatefully at him. His expression was so intense that the kitten slicked his ears back and slunk over to his cat bed for some rest. He didn’t know why Snape was mad at him and elected to leave the man be until tomorrow morning.
Evans/Harry awoke to the sound of a slamming door. He blinked blearily as he got up and stretched. He looked around for Snape, hoping he was in a better mood. His hopes weren’t answered when he saw Snape looming above him with that same hateful look. “Meow?” he said.
Sneering, Snape said, “Give it up, Potter. I know the truth. I overheard you and Professor McGonagall yesterday.”
The Animagus blinked at Snape before resuming his human form. “You heard everything, sir?”
“Your trick ends here.”
“You can’t fool me. You were going to wait until the right moment to humiliate me. You were going to wait until I was all soft and completely fawning over you before revealing yourself and laughing at me.”
“No, sir. That’s not-,”
“Enough! Get out, Potter! Now!”
Harry wasted no time in opening the door and bolting for the stairs. His plan had backfired! Now Snape hated him more than ever before.
As soon as Harry went out the door, Snape spelled it closed and locked. The force of the door closing was so hard that several vials fell off a shelf and shattered, their contents covering the floor.
Snape scowled at the mess and pointed his wand at it. “Evanesco!” he hissed. The mess vanished and Snape’s scowl deepened. He loathed that spell now and all because of the first four letters: Evan.
“I don’t understand. Everything was going so well,” McGonagall said.
“I know, Professor. It was going well, until Professor Snape overheard us.”
“If he heard everything, then why would he be so angry?”
“It’s probably because it’s me, professor. I’ve never been one of his favorite students.”
“That’s true. I think it would be best to avoid him for the rest of the break.”
“Yes, professor.” Harry left McGonagall’s office and headed up to the Gryffindor dorm. He gave the password (lion-hearted), clambered through the hole, and came to face an empty Common Room. Of course. Ron and Hermione went home for the holidays when Harry didn’t sign up to stay at the castle. That was fine by him. He felt like being alone at the moment.
Snape was still fuming about the incident hours later. He still wanted to lash out, but he had already let Potter have it and no one else knew about Potter’s trick…except McGonagall! She had been part of the deception and he was going to give her a piece of his mind.
He stalked up the stairs and through the corridors until he found her approaching from the opposite direction.
“Minerva,” he called when he got closer. “I want a word with you.”
“About what, Severus?”
“Potter and his trick.”
“I assure you, Potter was not planning to trick you.”
“Don’t lie to me. Potter would do anything to make me look foolish.”
“You say that because you’re still holding a childish grudge. Mr. Potter is not like James.”
“And you’re saying that because Potter is the headmaster’s Golden Boy.”
“That’s not true. You know Mr. Potter is the only one who can defeat You-Know-Who.”
“According to a prophecy. That doesn’t mean that he’s completely innocent. This stunt is proof of that and you were a part of it.”
“I was only checking on how you two were getting along and until now you were getting along well. Indeed, you seemed like a different person.”
“Well, not anymore. Potter will suffer for trying to fool me.” Snape turned and stalked away.
“He’s done nothing to warrant any suffering,” McGonagall called after him before heading for Dumbledore’s office. It was about time he was informed of the situation.
After going up the winding staircase, McGonagall knocked on the Dumbledore’s door. She heard him say, “Come in.” and entered the room. She walked up to his desk and said without preamble, “There’s something I have to tell you.”
Dumbledore’s eyebrows rose and a gentle smile came to his lips. “Do tell.”
“Last summer, Mr. Potter became an Animagus. He wished to know Severus better and decided to use this form to get close to him.”
“Let me guess,” Dumbledore interrupted. “Harry’s Animagus is a black kitten.”
“Yes, Albus. I had been doing scheduled checks to see how they were doing and until yesterday afternoon, they were getting along well.”
“Yes. Severus was being nicer to the Gryffindor students.”
“Yesterday, I lured Potter upstairs for our scheduled talk. Severus had followed and overheard everything. He’s convinced that Potter tried to trick him and make him look foolish. Furthermore, he accused me of being devious and taking part in this plan.”
“And where is Harry now?”
“In his dorm, I would imagine.”
“Send him to me. He must be feeling hurt.” Truthfully, Dumbledore wanted to hear Harry confirm this story and possibly fill in some blanks to the story.
“Come in, Harry.”
The green-eyed boy opened the door and walked over to the desk. He had been in the Common Room until a few minutes ago when McGonagall said Dumbledore wanted to see him.
“My boy, Professor McGonagall told me that you’re an Animagus and that your form is a black kitten.”
“Yes, sir. That’s right.”
Dumbledore smiled. “I should have known when I saw you last summer. Your scar left a gray patch on your forehead.
“Anyway, Professor McGonagall told me that you were using your form to understand Professor Snape. She also said she checked on the two of them periodically and until last night things were going well. Can you explain what happened?”
“Yes, sir. After Professor McGonagall and I had our scheduled talk, I changed and went back to Professor Snape. He was reading and I talked to get his attention. He looked at me, scowled, and kept reading. I jumped onto his lap to sleep, and he pushed me off. After that I slept.
“This morning Snape said he knew the truth. He said that I was trying to trick him. I tried to tell him that I didn’t plan to do anything like that but he wouldn’t listen. Then, he told me to get out.”
“Thank you, Harry. You may go.”
“You wished to see me, Headmaster?”
“Yes, Severus. I was just talking to Minerva about your kitten. Would you like to tell him about him?”
“Yes, sir. The kitten was actually Potter in Animagus form. He was using that form to trick me and make me look foolish.”
“Now, Severus, do you really believe that? Harry would never try to embarrass you. He’s not like James.”
“Headmaster, with all due respect, you’re wrong.”
“Only time will tell, Severus. Only time will tell.”
Chapter Seven- Longing
Harry spent the rest of Easter break alone until the day before classes resumed. He finally told Ron and Hermione what he had been up to all year. Both told him that he had been crazy to go through with such a plan. Ron, however, said that it would have been really cool if Harry’s form had been a dragon.
Harry felt miserable the next day. It was true that classes were back and session and that he wasn’t alone in Gryffindor Tower, but that didn’t cheer him up. He missed his usual dash from Snape’s room to the Great Hall in the mornings and vice versa in the evenings. He thought fondly of those days as he went through his morning classes.
Harry’s fond memories came to a halt after lunch and were replaced by anxiety and nervousness. This would be his first time seeing Snape since that fateful day and he wondered how the Potions Master would act. Harry suspected that he would act exactly the way he did before Evans.
Harry’s suspicions turned out to be right. Snape was back to his old, vindictive self. Despite the attitude change, Harry’s potions performance remained the way it had when he was Evans.
Snape prowled around the room, looming menacingly over the Gryffindors he passed. He noticed that their performances were poor again. He didn’t care.
As he checked Harry’s potion, he noticed that the boy seemed miserable and a little tired. Of course Potter was miserable: His great trick failed.
Snape got a surprise when he looked in the cauldron. The potion was coming along nicely! Keeping the surprise out of his voice, Snape said, “Very good Har-Potter.”
Obviously, Potter heard the slip, but he chose not to acknowledge it, probably because he was still mad about failing. Snape turned away and continued to circle the room, wondering why he almost called Potter by first name again.
Several hours later, Snape headed for his office. He swung open the door and drank in the silence that had dominated the room for several days now. No cat items were in sight. Snape had Vanished them the day he exposed Potter. After all, what use did he have of pet supplies when he didn’t have a pet?
Snape deposited the parchments in his arms onto his desk before sweeping out the door. He was on patrol duty tonight and he was anxious to catch a student out of bed, particularly a Gryffindor.
The fifth-floor corridor was deserted. Torches were lit along the walls which cause the suits of armor to gleam weakly. Stripes of moonlight shone through the windows and landed on the stone floor. Snape strolled down the hall until he came to a section that was very dark.
Snape pulled out his wand and said, “Lumos.” His wand lit up and a gleam in the darkness drew his attention.
Two pinpricks of light appeared close to the floor, evidence that it wasn’t a student. As he got closer, the wandlight soon fell on a black kitten.
‘Evans?’ he thought, his heart pounding. He crouched down and scooped up the kitten. It was then that he took a good look at it.
There was no lightning bolt patch on the head and all four paws were white. Furthermore, the gold eyes had a greenish cast to them. Snape frowned. Why was he thinking it was Evans? Evans wasn’t a real cat.
Footsteps reached his wars and he turned back to a cross-corridor he had passed. The footsteps grew louder and a fourth-year Ravenclaw appeared in the hall. She had a frantic look on her face that changed to relief when she saw Snape and the kitten.
“There you are Mittens. You naughty boy,” the girl chided gently as she came closer. “Thank you for finding him, Professor.”
“Do you have permission to wander the corridors past curfew?” Snape asked.
“Yes, sir.” The girl held out a note which Snape took. He saw Flitwick’s handwriting giving the student permission to look for her pet.
Snape handed the note and the kitten to the girl. “You have him. Now, get to bed.”
“Yes, sir.” The girl headed back up the cross-corridor, the kitten propped on her shoulder so that its front half faced Snape.
Snape locked eyes with the kitten’s until the girl tuned a corner. It was then that he realized something surprising: Severus Snape was lonely.
Harry sat in front of a table in the Gryffindor Common Room writing a DADA essay. His quill scratched a line before he looked in the book for a minute, and then scratched a few more lines. A girlish giggle caught his attention and he looked over.
Hermione was playing with Crookshanks nearby. She was dangling a length of ribbon (without a wand) above her cat. Crookshanks stretched himself up and batted furiously at it, making his owner laugh.
Harry was reminded forcibly of how Snape played with him. The way Snape laughed had been pure and innocent-sounding and Harry had felt pleased that he was the reason Snape had been happy.
While he dwelled on these thoughts, his eyes followed the sway of the ribbon. He also felt a strong desire the play with the ribbon himself. He shook his head and turned his attention back to his essay. What in the world had he been thinking!? He wasn’t a kitten. He was a human. A human with homework, to be precise.
He tuned out Hermione’s laughter as he wrote his essay. His thoughts, however, kept turning back to the ribbon and Harry felt the urge to transform and play. He reminded himself that he was really human, even though he longed for his carefree kitten days.
Chapter Eight- Resolution
The days at Hogwarts turned sunny and was slowly warming up. Students were either sitting in the sun or under a tree, enjoying an unseasonably warm April Saturday. Off in the distance, yellow-clad figures were zooming about the Quidditch pitch: Hufflepuff team practice. McGonagall took in all of this from her office window.
McGonagall turned from the window and smiled at her desk. All her grading, planning, and point giving and taking were done and she felt she deserved a break. A stroll though the castle sounded like an excellent idea to her. McGonagall strolled out the door, changing to cat form as she did so. She felt she deserved to be in Animagus form to make her stroll more enjoyable.
Harry walked down the corridor, deep in thought. He could have been outside, but he preferred inside to truly thinking. Ever since waking up this morning, Harry had been experiencing a few cat-like impulses- for example, wanting to clean his face with his hand, chase his tail, and sleep in a curled-up position. He surmised that this was probably because he had spent most of this year as a kitten instead of a human. Fortunately, Harry resisted his urges.
‘I need to remember that I’m not a kitten. I’m human and I like being human,’ he thought.
No sooner had he thought that, then he saw McGonagall walking past him. He turned around to watch her. He didn’t know why she was in Animagus form, but he wasn’t interested in finding out why. What he was interested in was his teacher’s tail as it flicked back and forth.
The urged to play bubbled up inside him again. He shook his head to rid himself of the feeling, turned back around, and continued walking.
Snape was likewise taking a walk and, like Harry, was in deep thought. He dwelled on his meeting with the Ravenclaw and her kitten. The incident had stirred up a feeling of loneliness. He was not trying to determine what b>kind of loneliness it was.
When he was a student, he wasn’t lonely because he had some friends. When Lily died, he felt grief, yes, but not loneliness. Up until this year, he hadn’t felt lonely after a day of teaching classes. Obviously, he didn’t really desire company. Yet, he was lonely.
As Snape reached the landing to the second floor, he spied McGonagall heading up the corridor in front of him. He stared after her as she continued down the hall and turned a corner.
Snape turned and headed back to the dungeons. Seeing McGonagall just now made it clear what kind of loneliness he was feeling: The kind that only a pet could fill.
‘I miss Evans,’ he realized. ‘Even if he wasn’t a real cat.’
Snape spent all day Sunday and Monday morning thinking about the last conversation he had with Potter. While he had been consumed with anger, Potter was simply confused. But, why? Potter should have been just as angry as Snape had been. There was a piece missing to this puzzle and he was certain that Potter held this piece.
‘I need to talk to him alone. But I can’t just tell him to stay behind. I will find a way to talk to him, though.’
Harry stared happily at the “A” on the top of his paper as he headed back to his seat. An A is the best a Gryffindor can get in Snape’s class. As he passed Malfoy’s seat, the pale boy hissed, “Good job Potter. Your parents will be pleased. Oh, that’s right. They’re dead.”
“Shut up, Malfoy,” Harry muttered low enough for only Draco to hear- or so he thought.
“Potter, only a teacher can tell a student to be quiet.”
“But, Professor. He insulted my parents.”
“Not another word. Sit down.”
“Detention, Potter! I will not tolerate backtalk. Stay after so we can arrange your detention and punishment.”
Once Harry sat down, Snape assigned the class’s potion. After several minutes, he began his rounds. As he leaned over Malfoy’s cauldron to check its progress, he whispered, “I would advise you not to speak ill of the dead, Mr. Malfoy. It shows poor breeding.”
Malfoy’s skin paled and then flushed as Snape swept away. Truthfully, he didn’t care if someone spoke ill of James, but to do so with Lily would not be tolerated.
An hour and a half later, class ended. As the students filed out, Harry gathered up his things, walked up to Snape’s desk, and waited for his doom to fall.
“Potter, you are to report to my office tonight after dinner. Now, go.”
Harry didn’t hesitate. As he left, he realized that Snape didn’t tell him what he would be doing. ‘He’s probably going to spend all afternoon thinking of something awful for me to do.’
“Come in, Potter.”
Harry opened the office door, closed it behind him, walked up to the desk, and waited for his task to be announced.
“Sit down, Harry.”
Surprised to hear his first name again, Harry nevertheless sat. He rubbed a thigh nervously. What was Snape playing at?
Snape then smiled. “Relax boy. There is no detention. I used it as an excuse so I could talk to you.”
Harry, who had been sitting ramrod straight, visibly relaxed. “Yes, sir.”
“I want to talk about that day I overheard you and Professor McGonagall. I’m convinced that you hold a piece of information that I am missing.”
“The last thing I heard was you telling Professor McGonagall was she always saw me playing with you.”
Harry stared at him. “That was the last thing, sir?”
“Yes. It was.”
“You’re right, sir. You are missing some information. After what you heard, Professor McGonagall said that as Evans I made you happy and that you deserve to be happy.”
Snape raised an eyebrow. “Did she now?”
Snape leaned back in his chair, rubbing his chin. Minerva thought he deserved to be happy. He reflected on the past several months. True, it took him awhile to warm up to Evans, but once he did, it was clear he had an effect on Snape. The Potions Master realized that if Harry had wanted to trick him, he could have revealed himself before he learned the truth. But, he hadn’t. Perhaps the boy was more like Lily in that respect.
He looked into Harry’s green eyes- Lily’s eyes- before saying, “I miss having Evans. I was happier with him than without him.”
“And I miss being Evans,” Harry confessed. “I was happiest when I was with you. Sir.”
There was a brief pause before Snape said, “So, what do we do now?”
An even longer silence followed. Snape sorely missed Evans and would love to have him back. Harry even said he liked being Snape’s pet. However, the boy was destined to face Voldemort. The boy couldn’t run away from his destiny and Snape wasn’t about to ask him to do so just to make himself happy. At the very least, though, he would like to get to know Harry better.
“Professor?” Harry spoke up. “I was thinking about staying Evans. You know, permanently.”
“What about the prophecy? You are The Chosen One.”
“I know I have a role to fulfill, but I would rather just be Evans.”
“And I would love to have you be Evans. I think I have an idea. The Dark Lord knows nothing of what the prophecy says. What if we fake your death? Professor McGonagall can transfigure an object into your body and Professor Dumbledore will announce your death to the school.
“Meanwhile, you’ll stay with me as Evans. Word of your “death” will reach the Dark Lord’s ears and he’ll either delay his plans of conquest or step them up. Either way, when he makes his big move, you’ll show up and defeat him. After that, you can stay Evans forever.”
Harry nodded. “I like that plan, sir. Can we tell Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore now? I…I would like to sleep here tonight.”
Snape smiled. “Of course we can. I expect to see you here curled up for bed by curfew.”
Harry smiled back. “Yes, sir.”
. The door of Number Four Privet Drive opened a crack and Petunia peered through the opening, gasped, and opened the door fully. “You!” she spat.
“Yes, me,” Snape answered calmly. He had taken care to wear Muggle clothes for this trip.
“Well, what do you want?”
“I’m here to collect Harry’s things.”
“Well, since he won’t be living here anymore, you have no need of them, do you?”
“What wouldn’t he live here?”
“Oh, that’s right, you don’t know. Harry died in a drowning accident.”
“I see.” Petunia’s voice was devoid of emotion. “Fine, come in and get his things.”
“Thank you.” As Snape stepped in, Petunia happen to look down a little.
“And keep that kitten in your pocket. I don’t want his paw prints on my floor.” With that, Petunia walked away.
Snape went upstairs and into Harry’s room. Once inside and the door was closed, the kitten jumped out of the pocket, landed on the bed, and changed into Harry.
“Your aunt doesn’t seem to like you,” Snape commented.
“You’re lucky you didn’t meet my uncle. He’s worse.”
Snape nodded before conjuring a sack and putting Harry’s belongings in it. Harry turned to the wall to remove his posters and House pennant. As he did so, he reflected on recent events.
McGonagall wasn’t pleased when Harry told her of his desire to just be Evans. She said that Animagi do not use their forms to be merely pets.
Harry said he knew that, but that didn’t change how he felt. He then proceeded to tell her Snape’s plan so she would think he was avoiding his fate. McGonagall seemed impressed with the plan’s details and reluctantly agreed to talk to Dumbledore about it.
When they reached Dumbledore’s office, they saw Snape there as well. Dumbledore wasn’t a bit surprised by Harry’s preference- it was as if he had anticipated this. Dumbledore listened to Snape’s plan and when Snape finished, announced a small change: Harry’s death would be a summer incident and he would pass the news to the Ministry who would eventually print it in The Daily Prophet. Harry suggested drowning since his relatives never him to swim. The suggestion was accepted and once back in Snape’s office, Snape told Harry that he wouldn’t have to call him Professor or sir. Instead Harry called him Severus and Snape called him Evans (except when Harry was in human form).
“I think that about does it,” Snape said, snapping Harry out of his reverie.
The teenager grabbed the wall decorations and threw them in the sack before Snape tied it.
“Okay. It’s time to go,” the Potions Master declared.
Harry sat down on the bed, changed to Evans, and leaped into Snape’s arms. Snape stroked Evans’s back and chin and Evans purred with content which made Snape smile.
Snape put Evans in his pocket, hefted the sack over a shoulder, opened the door, and strode out of the room, closing the door behind him.