"So, Niki." Snape said, resting his chin on his fingertips.
"Yes sir?" Niki asked, thinking she was about to get detention.
"You are aware that the comment you made in class today was completely unacceptable." Snape began.
"What you said to Harry was also completely unacceptable!" Niki said, bristling at the injustice about it.
"I am aware of that, Niki." Snape said.
"You are?" Niki asked, completely taken aback.
"Yes, I am. So, I would like to apologize." Snape said.
"Really?" Niki asked.
"Yes. And, also, I suppose I shall return two points to Gryffindor, along with an extra five for being so unkind." Snape said.
"Dadfoot said that you were really mean and favored Slytherin and hated Gryffindor." Niki mused. "I don't think that's true."
"Believe me, it is." Snape said. "I just, you just remind me of someone I cared about very much when I was a child."
"Really?" Niki asked, interested "Who?"
Snape hesitated, but this felt just like talking to Lily, so he decided to tell her. "Your mother. I loved her very much, but she left me for James."
"Is that why you don't like Harry?" Niki asked. "He reminds you of James?"
"I am ashamed to tell you that it is." Snape admitted. "I shall try to be fair to him, just like I am to you."
"You know, you're lucky it's lunch next, otherwise you'd have to tell Quirrell why I'm late." Niki said.
"Yes, well, watch out for Quirrell." Snape warned. "I don't trust him."
"Yes, sir." Niki said. She stood and skipped to the door, then stopped. "Professor, can I call you Severus?"
Severus considered for a moment. "Yes, I believe you can." he finally said.
"okay." Niki said, smiling. "Bye, Sev." and with that, she was gone.
Severus stared after Niki as she left. She was already calling him Sev. Just as he was about to let his carefully masked emotions out, Minerva entered.
"Severus-" she cut off. "Severus, are you okay?" she asked, concerned, for Severus had already dropped the mask when she entered, and was finding it difficult to put it back up.
"Yes, yes, I'm fine." Severus said shortly.
"No, you're not." Minerva said. "You looked like you were about to cry." She was finding it difficult to believe she was talking to Severus Snape at the moment.
"Well, you may need stronger glasses then." Severus retorted.
"Well, I just saw Niki, of all people, skipping merrily away from your office, so I thought I'd see if you were still alive."
"Are you implying that I am mean?" Severus asked.
"Well, for the last twelve years, students have left your office crying or, at the very least, frowning and angry. A student leaving your office happy must be a new record."
"What do you want, Minerva?" Severus asked.
"I simply wanted to see how your first class with Harry and Niki in it went." Minerva said innocently.
"It went fine. I was a little harsh with Harry, but I very much enjoyed having Niki in my class."
"Severus, you have to remember that they're not their parents. Niki is not Lily and Harry is not James. Make sure you don't treat them like they are!" Minerva warned.
"But Niki acts so much like Lily. She just called me Sev!" Severus exclaimed dropping his mask and not even trying to put it back up. "And Harry is the spitting image of his father. Perhaps not on the inside, but I am having difficulty in seeing past the outside!"
"Severus, you must try!" Minerva said, surprised at how much emotion he was letting show. "You can't treat Harry like he is James, or you will never get along!"
"But he was raised by Black and Lupin!" Severus argued, acting like he was a student about to get detention.
"So was Niki." Minerva shot back.
"But Niki is more like Lily!"
"Actually, I had a class with them both in it before you did." Minerva said. "Niki seemed more like James, and Harry seemed more like Lily."
"Maybe around you, but around me it is the opposite!" Severus shouted, standing up.
"Just because she called you Sev and looks like her, doesn't mean she is Lily!" Minerva shouted, standing up as well. "You have to see past your deluded interpretation to the actual children! If you don't, then you may ruin Niki, who is apparently your perfect Lily! If Niki did not resemble her, would you even like her?"
"OUT!" roared Severus. "GET OUT OF MY OFFICE THIS INSTANT, WOMAN! YOU WILL NOT SAY THINGS LIKE THAT TO ME!"
Minerva gave him a look that, had she been able to, would have dropped him to the ground dead. Then, she swept towards the door, pausing only to turn back to him for one moment. "If you do not realize that they are not their parents, neither of them will like you for long." Then, she left the office.
Severus sat down at his desk, and let the tears fall.
So, that was a very emotional chapter. I hope you all liked it. The next chapter will be less sappy, I promise. As I've put in a mumble, but you may not have seen it, I'll be focusing on this book for the duration of this series. Sorry for those of you that liked the other books, but I'm not working on those for a while.