She had always felt more confidence in her casting abilities than her appearance. Her skin was speckled with goose bumps. She did not know if it was from the winter chill, or the anticipation she felt. It was the night of the Yule Ball during her fourth year at Hogwarts. She ran a hand through her curls, feeling that she had bested her hair in the ongoing battle for beauty. Her dress held the reminiscence of peonies that grew outside of her non-wizarding household. It further maintained that otherworldly aura, being less traditional than the chorus of dress robes that she saw many of her classmates purchase in Diagon Alley. The sound of her heals on the stone floor was foreign as she hastily headed to met with the first date of her young life, Viktor Krum.
Severus Snape, distancing himself from chaperoning the event as much as possible, caught a glimpse of the girl in pale violet and pink in the castle hall. What was it with girls and their resemblance to flowers? Was it their desire to be such, or did nature simply intend for it to happen? As he watched her glide steadily forward, he smirked when he recalled how he had halted the assault from Weasley and Potter in the dining hall. He recollected their mockery towards the girl and the indignation he felt as he empathized at being an outcast, the last resort in a dance that would be worth nothing, years into the future. As soon as the red-haired boy had gathered the gall to ask, Severus had pulled back his sleeves and gave the youngsters a refresher course on manners. He raised a charcoal eyebrow as the girl, with the once frizzy hair and rabbit-like teeth, had said that she had gotten a date. Was it a farce meant to sting her cruel friends? His mind soon came back to her lonesome form in the corridor.
He decided to investigate. He was a teacher, after all. "Do you have a reason to be walking the halls so late, Miss Granger?" Was that make-up on her visage, or had his advancement caused her to flush?
"You must know Professor Snape, tonight is the dance; as you can see." She gestured to her outfit to further the point. As if the movement of her hands had permitted him, his gaze lingered on her lithe frame, draped in pastels. Abruptly, his dark eyes came back up to examine hers.
"Indeed." He allowed. "And yet, where is your date?"
He could practically see the magic energy well within her. "He is waiting for me in the Great Hall." Her eyes shifted back and forth, indignantly holding his gaze.
"Very well, then." He stepped aside.
He watched her start forward, her shoulders hunched. "Honestly, I would expect these comments from Ron." she mumbled to herself. There was that stubborn Gryffindor spirit.
An arm swiftly appeared before her, connecting to the castle wall and blocking her path.
"Do you place me at the same level of intelligence as that Weasley boy?" Snape loomed above her.
"I do not, Sir." She spoke tersely.
Perhaps she was cunning in her obedience after all. He began to move his arm away.
"However, the level of sensitivity appears to be poignantly familiar." She noted as she brushed past him.
With that quip, he was unsure whether to add points to her house, or to take them away.
She strode confidently onward. As he watched her turn the corner at the top of the stairwell, her smile grew. It was as if he and her worries had dissolved into the background. There in the empty hallway, Snape knew that the honor of her first reveal was not to her friends nor to her date; it was to himself. That was something that he would hold on to.