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“I’m sorry, darling,” she used to whisper, her shaking hands cupped over your cheeks. “I’ll make it up to you someday, my son,” she used to promise, her voice begging you to trust her. And she’d say these words and spill these promises over you as if they were the only thing left to hold on to. At first you believed them. You believed she really was sorry. You believed she would make it up to you. After all, you were just a boy. Just a child who was barely old enough to get himself a biscuit from the jar.
Even at that young age you still understood more than you should have had to. You understood the sound his voice made when it was time for you to run and hide. You understood the look in his eyes, when his anger had lost it’s reason and he simply wanted to take revenge.
You understood what it was like to be terrified, and have nothing to sooth those fears.
Sometimes, even though your hands were sweating and your eyes were locked tightly closed, you’d force yourself to stay hidden around the corner. To be ready when he left the room so you could run into her arms. She would pull you closer to her, trying to hide her tears, and beg you to forgive her. “I’m so sorry, Severus. Someday mummy will fix it… just go to your room for now, okay?” And you would. But first you’d reach your lips up to her sunken, darkening cheek and place a tender kiss over the injured flesh, then scamper away to the comfort of your small, dimly lit room. The one your mum decorated just how you liked it, the one that she said was your secret place, your haven, where no one could get to you, not even Him. She made it that way. It was magic, she told you.
Somewhere between being barely a child and seeing more than you should have ever had to… you changed. You stopped scampering, stopped running away from the sound of Hell breaking loose in the room next to yours. Now you would walk closer to it, it would draw you like an insect to light. You'd throw yourself into it, become intertwined in the swearing and screaming.
Sure, part of you did it for noble reasons, to protect your mum. Sometimes it was the only thing that saved her. But then… everyone has more than one motive for the things they do, right? And your other motive, it scared you. Because while you were standing up against the person who created every nightmare to fill your dreams… it wasn’t just about protection. It was revenge. He was still stronger… bigger… tougher. You wouldn’t last long until you had to bow down and hide back away from his red hot rage.. but it was enough. And you knew one day you’d be the bigger one, the stronger one. The one with the power. What was to happen when that day came, whether or not you could force yourself back against the years you suffered under his iron fist.. you weren’t sure.
“I’m sorry, darling. I’m so sorry,” she’d say again as you were trying to clean up the mess he made of her. But now, instead of believing them, the words just irritated you. If she was truly sorry, why wouldn’t she fix it? If she was sorry, she would make it so neither of you ever had to face this again. Still years away from being old enough to possess your own wand… but you were already fighting a war that you could never win. Trying to stay sane in a world that wanted to take away everything that kept you together.
“Oops! I’m sorry!” she said with her eyebrows bunched together… the little girl down the street who was always smiling. She’d been running too fast and didn’t see you; her body hit yours as her ice cream cone splattered against your new jumper. Although, it wasn’t really new considering it’d been passed down from Him, and reeked of the stale poison he consumed by the gallons, was it?
She did look sorry… her green eyes much too large for her face.
“Lily! Come on!” The other girl yelled, the one whose smile was never as bright, whose words were never said quite so sweet. But she, Lily, ignored the girl and turned back to you.
“I’m sorry for getting ice cream all over you,” she said again as you glanced down and noticed how messy you were. He hated messy. He’d make sure to remind you of that when you got home and he saw what had happened. “Are you okay?” she asked, when your silence dragged on.
“S’okay. My dad… he just doesn’t..” You didn’t even know why you were talking. You had nothing to say… nothing to tell her. Maybe you could get into the house and wash away the ice cream before he even saw.
“My mum and dad don’t like when I get messy, either,” she said with an understanding smile. “I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble…” she trailed off, her face seeming to mold into concentration. You watched out of the tops of your lashes as her fingers, quite a bit smaller than your own, ran through the strands of her much too bright hair.
“I know! I live just down the street… you can come home with my sister and I and my mum can wash your jumper? That way you won’t get into any trouble. It is my fault that you’re all messy, after all.”
Go home with her? That would probably get you into more trouble than just going to your house with a ruined jumper.
“I’m not sure...” you began, but still you found yourself walking toward the way she was already headed.
“Don’t worry, my mum can probably call yours when we get home and say you’re with us. She’s always calling people, so I’m sure she knows the number.” The girl’s voice sounded like a song as she spoke. Soft and happy, and suddenly you realized that you didn’t want it to stop.
Her eyes were on you, and you realized she was waiting for an answer. “My parents don’t really use a phone...” you said quietly.
“He doesn’t even have a phone? Who doesn’t have a phone?” The sharp voice of the older girl irritated you, she was probably mean just like your father. Maybe all to of them were mean. All of the people that didn’t have magic, and were jealous of the ones like you and your mum who did.
“Petunia, go home. Tell mum what happened and that my friend...”
“Severus,” you answered as she glanced over at you with curious eyes.
“Tell her my friend Sev is coming along with me so we can wash his jumper.”
Sev? That wasn’t your name. Your name was Severus. But coming from the soft voice, it didn’t sound at all bad...
“I’m sorry, again,” she added once the older girl stomped away. “Don’t worry, my mum will make sure that yours knows where you are when we get to my house.”
You nodded as you continued following her down the street, unable to think of anything to say.
You couldn’t have known it just then, but that was the first moment you ever began to trust.
So, this was written for academica, who absolutely loves Severus. I don't ship Snape and Lily, but she adores them so much and I wanted to get as close as I could while still holding onto my Jily-ness :P. I know this was short, but I just wanted to do something to show how much I appreciate everything you do for me, Amanda ♥. Merry late Christmas!