Curse of Erised

She wastes yet another perfectly good length of parchment. “Lily Potter. Mrs Lily Potter. Mr and Mrs James Potter.” I can not read it, but I am certain that is her current occupation. I admit a certain delight when the professor calls her name.

“Miss Evans.” She looks up, completely unaware of the question.

“I’m sorry, professor?”

Professor Binns sighs. “The leaders of the Goblin Rebellion of 1532, Miss Evans?”

Of all the cheek, she has to answer correctly. And Professor Binns does not even have the decency to fume at her lack of attention to his class because she has done the reading in advance. A rather difficult proposition, I should think, with Potter attached to her neck.

He is waiting for her after class, too, it appears. I hear as I pass, “I think Severus was staring at me all through History of Magic.” Yes, Lily, go whinge for James to protect you. How he can be attracted to that thing, I will never understand. Ravenclaw. She is lucky she does not play quidditch, red hair and yellow robes, though I suspect if she looked any more sallow, James might find something more worth his time.

What I do not expect is that he take matters into his own hands, though I suppose it is just like James. Why he sets upon me in Potions, I will never understand. It is a continual annoyance. He never had any respect for the course, not even the first day. Beauty is wasted on him.

There are an odd number of students in the class due to some Muggle’s family emergency (I pay no attention to the Gryffindors if I can help it), and I have been lucky enough to work alone for the past week. That bit of luck is what gives James the opportunity to approach me during class. During, not after, class.

“Hey, Snape, can we talk?” That damned casual tone of his. Why does it have to suit him so well?

“I am rather busy, Potter. As you should be.” I continue crushing scarab beetles, wishing the entire time it could be his handsome face.

“If you have a problem with me, fine, but leave Lily out of it. She thinks you’re angry with her, and she’s barely spoken a word to you in six years. Not that you’ve necessarily done anything out the ordinary, but she did notice it if it was ordinarily something she doesn’t pay attention to. Just let her alone, will you? Cheers.” If that is his idea of handling the situation, perhaps I have overestimated him.

He is only at the next table - he and Sirius Black, while Remus Lupin helps that infernal Peter Pettigrew. Pettigrew is of notice only for his consistent failure. I decide to bait them. “It must be nearly time for Lupin to disappear again. Remus Lupin. It’s his parents’ fault. Name him for the wolf, you can expect the wolf will come to claim him.” I keep my voice only low enough to hear. It is James who deserves to have trouble with Professor Giddens, not I.

Lupin pales and bends his head further over the cauldron. James comes back over to me, his eyes burning in rage. An improvement over their warmth whenever Lily is mentioned - at least I have his full attention now.

“What are you trying to do? I could - I should! - wring your nosy, slimy little neck! If you ever bother Remus again, I won't care quite so much about your measly little life, is that much clear?”

I did not realise his eyes could snap so. They are not as dark as one might expect from the colour of his hair, but that only makes them more expressive. “A prefect should not be starting fights, Potter.”

“Fuck you, Snape. And wash your hair.” James turns angrily and goes back to his friends. His infernal friends. He is too good for them, doesn’t he realise it? He is brilliant and handsome and talented, but he has to ruin himself by keeping company with werewolves and homicidal maniacs and that worthless Pettigrew. How can anyone from a wizarding family like the Potters debase himself like that?

Of course, how can anyone from a wizarding family like the Snapes turn out like this? I have gone beyond mad, that much is certain. And yet that is all I can say for it. I fancy James Potter. I could smash his ruddy face every time he grins, mocking me without knowing what it is he does. Unless he does know, and then I should die of shame. There must be a way to put an end to this nonsense. Why does he have to be everything? A prefect. Intelligent. Champion of the Gryffindor quidditch team. I care little for sport, but there is something beyond magic in the way he flies. One might think at first glance that he has nothing to recommend himself. I certainly thought that when, in first year, we had Transfiguration together. One would have expected, with his glasses and, at the time, slight stature, that he was a bookish sort and would prove quite a boring adversary. He had been placed in Gryffindor, which was more interesting, but that was his family house. Hufflepuff would have been more fitting to my first impressions of him.

Except that by the age of sixteen, children have become young men and women. They develop in many ways. James had proved himself of an athletic bent as first year progressed, and he is now as far from the weak little worm I first perceived as a person can be. I hate him because he is better. I hate him because I love him.

I do not admire him. No, I am an aberration. What I feel is not the admiration the school feels. It is not whatever Lily Evans feels that keeps them latched together like the mating ritual of the salamander. I don’t want his respect. I want him. I want his presence, I want him in my mouth, I want him inside of me, I want him to satisfy my needs. I don’t like wanting it, I’d change myself around if I could, but there it is. I hate owing my life to him when his imbecilic friends were so set to take it from me. I hate being a prisoner to this body that has desires I do not understand. I wish I were not myself, and it infuriates me how much my body wants him when my mind knows I should not.

Yes, I hate Lily Evans. She will receive from him the satisfaction I never shall. The satisfaction that would kill me should I receive it. It is not love. I’ve already given it a thousand wrong names. Lust, perhaps. I hate him for the feelings he inspires in me. I hate her for having the feelings I know I should not have and for being allowed to act on them. And they laugh at me without know just what is so amusing. They would never guess what deformed spirit resides in the shell they find so comical. They would be horrified if they knew. And I don’t want his horror. I want his respect. He doesn’t know what is so horrible about me, so there is no reason for him not to respect me. Since he cannot satisfy me physically, some respect for my abilities is the most I can demand of him. And I want to die every time he smiles because the fear that my robes will not hide my excitement is a continual darkness over my consciousness. I would kill him, if I thought it would bring relief. Instead, I simply must suffer until we are finally released from this pit. I hope never to see him and that Lily Evans again. Lock myself in a laboratory, do what I can, and stay away from dark influences. That is all I can do if I am to survive this wretched existence. And it will be easier as soon as he is far away from me, when I no longer have to see that smile and feel those eyes upon me. That will be paradise compared to how I must live now. Only two more years.


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