Atop a hill in England, there was a small cottage obscured by tall, full, fir trees. Inside the three room cottage was a fire crackling merrily in the kitchen and a very pregnant woman stirring a pot of stew. She smiled to herself as she turned her wooden spoon twice clockwise, and twice counterclockwise. It would take some getting used to. She wasn’t accustomed to cooking a slow simmering dish by her hands and her knowledge of the kitchen alone. Her husband would be home any time, and then the two would sit down in front of their fire place, at their rickety old table, and sip the stew while chatting about his day. She wondered aloud whether or not she should whip up a quick side salad, and then decided that the stew demanded enough attention without interference from outsiders.
When she heard her husband’s car pull up the drive to their warm cottage, the table had been set, and she stood waiting. He opened the door, red faced and covered in snow, and pulled her into a soft, loving kiss. It was a kiss produced by the wild, blinded love of newly weds, and then, just like she had planned, they sat down at the table in front of the fire place. She still could not get over the shock of her new married name. Her parents were not thrilled that she had taken the name of this man, this wonderful man, who could do no wrong, but she had gone against her parents wishes.
“Why?” They had asked, pleading her to reconsider. “Please think of what you are doing. Have we raised you to be a muggle lover? The shame you will bring upon this family when the news goes out. What about our family name? Our grandchildren will be filthy half bloods, and they will be laughed upon for generations to come. Do you know the hardships they will face? Of course not, for you have never had to face any hardships like these. But marrying a muggle is the absolute last thing this family needs, and if you do so, your name will be cursed in this house. We will never know your children, and you will never have our love again.”
But she had rebelled, and she was cut off completely from her own world. Not that it mattered to her; it was always a secret fascination of hers to live as a muggle. And here she was, with her muggle husband and her wooden spoon. She was not the most beautiful woman in the world. She had dark, full eyebrows atop eyes that were too squinty. She always gave the appearance of being disgruntled, and, most of the time she was. She was mad at the world from whence she came, and rarely even thought about it anymore. Oh, sure, her wedding announcement had been placed in their paper, but none of her relatives had shown for the wedding, none had even sent an owl of congratulations. The only person that could ease her pain was her loving husband, Tobias. He was the only person who had ever taken a true interest in her, and now she was carrying his child. Yes, here she was, Eileen Prince Snape, smiling happily in a world oblivious of her past.
A few weeks later, Eileen was lying in a hospital bed, her husband’s shadow leaning over her as she cuddled her new son in her arms.
“What should we call him?” Tobias Snape asked his wife, red in the face from pushing out their creation.
“I was thinking Severus. Severus Tobias Snape. What do you think?” Tobias’s eyes widened at the prospect of having a son called Severus.
“Are you sure? What about Thomas, or Anthony, or John?” He asked hopefully.
“Those are bloody common names, dear. I want my son to have a name so unique, he’s the only boy in his class with it. And besides, it-it was my father’s name, and, well, I would hope that someday he would want to look at the grandson that bares his name.”
And so it went. The boy was called Severus, and neither of the two could be happier.
Tobias and Eileen were very proud of their son. He had a mess of black hair, and Tobias’s hook nose. The hospital staff had told the proud parents that Severus was underweight by quite a bit. He was very pale, but his mother knew he was special. With any luck, he would turn out to have no magical powers, and then no one would ever have to find out that Eileen was indeed a witch. She hadn’t even confided in Tobias, who though she was just as normal as the next lady on the street. No, Eileen Prince Snape was not planning on telling anyone about her special powers, or her past education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Tobias thought that her parents refused to speak to her because his profession was not high profile, and that he didn’t bring in the amount of money that Mr. Prince did, thus not being able to provide for his wife’s lavish lifestyle of past. Eileen, the last of the Princes, had ruined her family’s blood line, and as such was shunned from her community. She was determined to raise Severus in the dark, not letting him know of his ancestry, and with any luck, he’d grow up to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a school teacher. Eileen turned her head to her son, who cooed and smiled at her in the dim light of the only lamp in the house. He was tucked inside his cradle, his eye- lids heavy with exhaustion. She rocked him slowly, thinking about the wonderful man he would some day grow up to be, a man devoid of the knowledge of what he truly was.
Severus Snape sat on the front stoop of his three room cottage. His mother was in the kitchen, cooking something for dinner. He waited with baited breath for his father to come home from the factory. Severus loved his father; he told him stories before bed, and sometimes let him stay up late to watch the television. Severus was only four years old, and he kept to himself, mostly.
They lived so far away from the nearest town that there really was no one else to play with. Once every two weeks the family took a weekend day to go down to the market and buy some food, and his father always allowed him two lemon drops from the candy display. Severus loved those days because his father was home, and he followed Tobias around everywhere. He was Severus’s greatest hero. At last, the tall man with dark hair and a hooknose pulled up in front of the house. Tobias drove an old clunker of a car, and he always vowed he would save up enough in earnings to buy the family a very nice car, but so far he had only managed to survive paycheck to paycheck, paying the bills and putting food on the table.
“Hullo, son,” said Tobias, forcing a smile for the small boy. Severus beamed up at his father, and followed him into the house.
“Elly, dear I’m ho- what in- bloody hell- Eileen, what are you….?” But Tobias couldn’t find the words to describe what his wife was doing. She had a long stick of wood, polished and dark, that almost looked like a wand, pointed at the sink where pots and pans seemingly cleaned themselves. Meanwhile, a roast, brown and sizzling, fresh from the oven, hovered mid-air, clearly on its way to the dish in the middle of the table. Eileen’s mouth was agape, and she was clearly stunned.
“I-er-hello dear, I was just- is it five-thirty already? Dear me, well, I was
just-just you know….”She paused and looked helplessly and hopefully at her husband.
“What are you? Are you…are you…what…get out.” He said quietly.
Tears began to bubble out of her eyes, and she said, pleadingly, “You don’t mean that. I-I can explain, I can! It’s only- It’s just- I-I’m a…” But how to tell someone, who has no idea that magic exists, that it does indeed exist?
“A freak? I married…I married…a…I don’t even know what to call you….” And his eyes slowly turned to his son, who stood next to the door, frightened of his father for the first time in his life. “I suppose he’s just as much as a freak as YOU! No son of mine…no son of mine…” And Tobias stumbled out of the house, pushing his small son to the floor as he passed. Eileen dare not move until he had exited, and then ran to her son, tears dampening her sallow cheeks.
“Oh Severus, dear, sweet Severus, it will be okay.” Severus looked up at his mother with his black eyes and whispered, “Mommy? When is daddy coming back?” Eileen was wracked with fresh sobs as she looked deep in her sons eyes and said, “He’ll be back in a moment, he’s just gone to get some fresh air.” But Tobias was not back in a moment. Nor was he back in an hour, or even a day.
Eileen got no sleep that night, her sobs echoing throughout their small house, keeping Severus awake. Severus had no idea what to think. His father had seemingly gotten upset and left the house for no reason at all. Severus had seen his mother with the stick before; she only got it out on occasion, and only when she thought Severus was sleeping soundly for his daily nap, but he knew that his mother could do special things with the special stick. Didn’t his father know? He must have. Tears began to pour out of Severus’s eyes and he wished desperately for his father to come and comfort him. But he never came. And Severus spent the remainder of the night wondering how his mother could do something so awful to drive his father away.
The next day he returned, his breath stinking of alcohol. He was drunk, and Eileen realized he’d spent half of the week’s check drinking his sorrows away. He collapsed on the bed, and Eileen waited patiently for him to wake up. When he did, he looked up at her, and smiled. “Eileen, dear, what’s going on?” But then his face contorted in disgust as he remembered what he had seen.
“Tobias, listen to me, I beg you. I am a witch. My father is a wizard, my mother is a witch, and I am as they are. I spent my life being taught the ways of magic, and when I met you I knew my life had been wasted on things that weren’t REAL to me. YOU ARE REAL TO ME. I-I only get my-my wand out when I’m running behind in my cooking, dear. And I don’t use it in front of our son.” Tobias listened until she had finished, and then he spoke.
“If you are a witch, and your parents were…were magic then…then Severus might be..he might be..”
“A wizard, yes, but I don’t want him to be. I wish desperately every night that my son has been spared from the magical life. OUR son. You know me,
Tobias. You know who I am, you know I love you more than anything. Please don’t let this ruin us. PLEASE forgive me for what I am.” He stared at her, not daring to move or blink, his breath shallow. “I cannot live without you,”
“Very well. I shall not leave this house, or our son. But don’t think for one minute that I will still love you after this. If a witch is what you are, then a witch is how you’ll be treated.” His gaze penetrated her, making her shrink to the floor in despair. His father slammed the door, leaving Severus--and his mother--devastated.
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