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Chapter 1: SongFic Tutorial: Acceptable SongFic
Acceptable Songfic Tutorial
"Songfics" on this archive are defined as stories based around or inspired by the lyrics of a song AND which contain more than 4 lines of song lyrics in any given chapter.
The following is an example of a songfic that would be validated. It meets all the requirements for validation, including: (1) clear identification of the title and artist of the song, (2) song lyrics that are easily distinguished from the story text and spread throughout the chapter, (3) a word count of more than 500 words EXCLUDING the song lyrics, and (4) a story text that is not merely a paraphrase of the song lyrics. This story is also not a karaoke-fic (i.e., the characters are not singing the lyrics).
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Man in Black: A Severus Snape Songfic
Lyrics by Johnny Cash
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.
“Why does Severus always wear those dreadful black robes?” Professor McGonagall whispered to Professor Sprout. “And all those tiny buttons, all stiffly buttoned and starched. He looks like a Victorian vicar. He can’t possibly be comfortable, not in this heat.”
Pomona Sprout shook her head slowly. “And with that pasty white skin and greasy hair – he looks like a vampire. That’s what happens to men when they haven’t got a good woman in their life to dress them. I’d put him in earth tones, personally. Maybe some nice cashmere. And a good shampoo. Maybe a haircut. He’s not a bad looking man, under all that scowling and grease.” Her eyes narrowed as she gazed at the Potions Master, mentally redressing him.
Irma Pince leaned in to the conversation. “Not earth tones,” she hissed. “Jewel tones. Deep blue, emerald green. No, wait . . . Picture him wearing Gilderoy Lockhart’s wardrobe. Purple lace and frills!”
Professor Sprout shook her head vigorously. “Mercy, no. I’m thinking maybe some nice moss-green robes. A dark brown cloak, lined in light gold satin. Simple, yet elegant.”
Minerva smiled at the thought. Professor Snape wearing . . . color? Surely the world would end and hell would freeze over, first. But still, earth tones were still quite sober and grave, it wasn’t as if Pomona was planning to make him wear scarlet and gold brocade. At the thought of Severus wearing Gryffindor colors, she stifled a giggle. Why, she hadn’t seen Severus wearing anything but black since his Sixth Year, before he took the Dark Mark.
The Dark Mark. Her mouth tightened into a thin line as her mind made the association. It was midway through his Sixth Year that Severus Snape had begun removing all traces of green from his school uniforms, adopting severe black robes, sweeping his long, angular body from head to toe, like a widow. It was all perfectly clear now: Severus had abandoned all traces of color because he was mourning his crimes against humanity.
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.
Across the table, Professor Snape met their gaze and glared fiercely. Meddlesome witches, that’s what they were. He lightly brushed Professor Sprout’s mind and scowled when he realized she was fantasizing about taking him shopping. Earth tones, indeed! The frumpy, dumpy little woman didn’t know the first thing about him or his life. The inky black robes suited him just fine. He didn’t deserve the luxury of cashmere or color. Even navy blue or hunter green seemed too trivial, too frivolous for a man who, had justice not been swayed in the form of Albus Dumbledore, ought to be in Azkaban, with the other condemned. Wearing tattered, threadbare robes and eating moldy crusts of bread. Suffering his last days in a life without color or light. He deserved life imprisonment, if not the Dementor’s Kiss.
The black robes had become his adopted uniform, a sort of armor that protected him and gave him courage to face another day, despite the nightmares that not even dreamless sleep could prevent. His nights were haunted by the ghosts of the poor souls he had tortured and killed. Flashes of bright green light and horrifying screams. Yes, he ought to be in Azkaban, Albus Dumbledore be cursed!
I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.
Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.
Curse the old man and his lofty soliloquies about forgiveness and hope, love and charity! The Headmaster was a bloody war hero, beloved by the whole country. Albus had killed and received the highest Ministry honors, medals and commendations and a bloody statue in a courtyard at the Ministry. What did he know of nightmares, of post-traumatic stress disorder? He’d wager that Dumbledore, with his lemon drops and sense of Christian charity, had no idea what it was like to awaken, screaming, bed sheets soaked in a cold sweat. Trembling, afraid to close his eyes lest the ghosts returned. And they always returned.
I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.
Jacob Potter. Helen Messing. Anthony Bones. Regulus Black. Fabian Prewett. Gideon Prewett. Honore Gilbreth. And hundreds upon hundreds of muggles, mudbloods, and half breeds. All gone from the world, in an instant. An incantation, a flash of light, and then . . . nothing. He had removed them from this world, pushed them beyond the veil. And the world would never again be the same.
It was almost inconceivable, that a human life could be snuffed out with such a quick streak of green light, and the long litany of names sickened him. He forced himself to swallow, nearly gagging on the hot bile that rose in his throat. It tasted like death.
And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.
He had killed. Often. Many. And had even enjoyed it. The rush of power that accompanied the killing curse was something so rich, so potent, that those who have not experienced it could not possible imagine. It was blissful, addictive. Each time he killed, the bloodlust grew stronger
For these crimes, he wore black. He had to. He had no right to anything else.
Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.
The past could not be undone, time could not be turned back, the names in the Book of the Dead could not be erased. He had killed. Even though the ghosts haunted his nights and he would never admit to it, deep down, he sometimes missed the killing, the brilliant flash of green light, the mad rush of power.
He was condemned. The killing had tainted his soul until he was so unclean and impure that not even Jesus Christ himself could free him from this self-imposed demonic bondage.
Some sins cannot be erased nor made right. Atonement has its limits.
Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.
He knew, despite the trio of witches who were busily eyeing him and reinventing his wardrobe, that he would never wear color again. Even his funeral pall would be black, as would his casket and headstone. Severus Snape could not be separated from the darkness; it had become too closely entwined with his soul. The darkness ran in his veins – when he bled, the blood was black with the darkness.
He longed to go beyond the veil himself, to be embraced by the light, but he knew that was not possible. He was the darkness.
He was, and would continue to be, the man in black.