Chapter 10 : For Your Own Good
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After making sure Severus was still breathing and gently cleaning the blood off his face with a warm wet cloth, the witch headed downstairs to call the police station and have Tobias arrested for domestic abuse and assault. It was something she wished she had had the courage to do years ago, but she had been a foolish romantic and had hoped that Tobias would change, and quit drinking and come to love Severus as his intelligent and talented son. And love her the way he used to. But it had never happened. And now she was certain it never would. Tobias had broken her wand in a fit of anger, and Eileen couldn't afford to have it repaired, so she now relied mostly on wandless spells.
The police arrived a few minutes later and after seeing poor Severus, promptly cuffed and arrested the very inebriated Tobias. Tobias was still out of it, for the most part, the police had to haul him off the couch bodily and manhandle him into the patrol car.
"Ma'am, you might want to take your son to the hospital to get looked at," suggested an officer. "He might have a concussion, among other things. Would you like me to call an ambulance?"
"No, I'll bring him myself, it's no trouble," Eileen said swiftly. She knew that her potions would do a better job than any Muggle hospital would, and it was bad enough everyone would know her husband had been arrested on charges of domestic violence, they didn't need to know details of what he had done to her poor son as well.
Once the police were gone, Eileen headed upstairs to tend to her son, an odd feeling of relief coming over her. By filing charges, she knew she had started something that could end in either joy or disaster, but either way, she knew it was for her and Severus's own good.
* * * * * *
Severus woke to a cool cloth upon his battered face and knew his mother had come home. Either that or he was dreaming and he wanted to never wake up. But no, he recognized the smell of water with crushed arnica on the cloth, and he cautiously opened first one eye and then the other.
His head still hurt, but not with that first fearsome throbbing, now it was bearable. He wondered if he had a bald spot where Tobias had yanked him up by his hair, it had felt as though the older man were about to pull out his hair by the roots. He discovered he was in his room, lying on his side, his mother would know better than to have him lie on his back, for such would only aggravate the welts left from this latest confrontation. Severus flinched as he recalled the sharp sting, though he had gone away inside his head for the most part, and hadn't really felt the punishment afterwards. But he was feeling it plenty now.
"Sev, are you awake, honey?" Eileen asked softly, her hand stroking his hair back from his head. "How do you feel?"
How do you think I feel? He wanted to snap at her, but refrained from doing so. His mother meant well, but she tended to overstate the obvious, something that kind of annoyed Severus sometimes, especially when he was hurting. But all he said was, "Not too good, Mum," which was the understatement of the day.
"Oh, Sev," she murmured, and in her tone were years of regret and guilt. "I'm sorry I wasn't there to . . .to try and talk to him so he didn't do this."
Severus shifted and hissed as the movement made his tender skin start burning. "Wouldn't have made much difference if you were, he'd just have gone for you first."
"I got a letter from Regulus Black and he saw it."
"A letter? He did this to you over a letter?" she repeated angrily. "Sodding damn bastard! I'm glad I had him arrested. Glad!" Then she started to cry softly.
"Arrested?" Severus tried to prop himself up, his mouth falling open. He hated it when his mother cried, especially since he knew she was crying, not for herself, but for him. "As in you called the police?"
"Yes. I always . . .I never wanted . . .anyone to know . . .I hoped that he would change like he promised but . . .tonight proved that he hasn't even tried. And I . . . can't let him hurt you that way again, Sev." She shook her head sadly. "I'm sorry . . .I should have done it long ago. I'm a terrible mother."
"No!" he objected, wincing as he attempted to sit up. "You're not. He's just an arsehole. Nobody's perfect, Mum."
She gave him a reluctant half-smile. Then she handed him a short vial. "Drink that, please. It's a pain reliever."
"Thanks." He quickly gulped it down.
Immediately, the pain in his head and some of the pain in his thighs and backside dulled. He sucked in a breath in relief.
Then Eileen vanished his jeans and underpants, rolling him onto his stomach. She hissed in sympathy as she saw the awful marks upon her son's pale skin.
Severus buried his face in the pillow, clenching his jaw.
Eileen carefully washed and rubbed salve all over, apologizing for any additional pain she caused him, though Severus made no sound except a faint whimper every now and then.
But soon her potions had numbed his backside and thighs and he gasped sharply, a few tears dampening the pillow in relief.
"Try and sleep a little, son." She gave him a Headache Remedy as well, pulling the light sheet over him.
"How long will they hold him for, Mum?"
"For as long as possible, son." Eileen answered. "I need to go down to the station and sign some forms, all right? I should be back in a few minutes." She stroked his hair and then departed after urging him to sleep again.
He sank into a twilight realm, drifting upon a cloud, gloriously numb and exhausted.
When he woke again, the sun was up and Eileen and Lily were sitting by his bed, looking at him with a mixture of understanding, guilt, and sorrow. He froze when his eyes met Lily's emerald ones. He longed to close his own and pretend he was asleep, he was so upset and embarrassed that she, of all people, had to see him thus.
"Lily? What are you doing here?" he made himself ask, because he had to say something, for he couldn't bear the way she was looking at him, like a badly wounded animal that she was going to start weeping over any second.
"I saw . . .last night, I saw the police pull up into the drive here and I . . .I just wanted to come and make sure everything was all right." She bit her lip hard. "I had a funny feeling last night that you were . . .that something was wrong . . .I dreamed that a shadow came for you and swallowed you . . ."
He grimaced. "That's one way to put it, I guess."
"Your mother told me that your dad was arrested."
"Yes. That's the only good thing that happened last night, besides Reg's letter."
"You got a letter from Reg?" Lily repeated. "What did he say?"
Severus told her. "He wants me to come and stay there for a week or so, but I wasn't sure if I should . . .I mean, with my job and all . . .and you . . ."
"Severus, you never told me the Blacks invited you to stay there," Eileen spoke up. "I think you should take Regulus up on his offer, son. I'm not certain how long they will hold your father and I want you to be far away from here if he does get released. It's not safe for you here."
"But Mum, I can't just leave. What about my job? We'll need the money now that he's gone. " Which was true, though he dreaded hearing the whispers and rumors that were sure to follow in the aftermath of this incident. He knew they would be talking about it and giving him pitying looks. "And I don't want to leave Lily either," he mumbled, half to himself.
But Lily had extremely sharp hearing, and she caught the softly spoken sentence. She reached out and captured his hand. "Sev, please. Your mum is right, you shouldn't worry about anything but being safe. My dad will understand."
His cheekbones flushed a dull red. "That's not the point, Lily. I don't need to run away any longer. I'm not a coward, damn it!"
"I never said you were," Lily returned. "And I'll miss you awfully, but missing you is better than waking up one day and finding you dead from whatever he did to you. I could never live with myself then."
Still he hesitated, worrying his lower lip.
Then Eileen spoke up briskly, "Severus, it's for your own good. Go to the Blacks for the rest of the summer. I'll speak with Regulus's parents and arrange everything. Right now, the best thing for you to do is to go to London to Grimmauld Place."
"And what about you? I'm just going to leave you here, Mum, waiting till the bastard gets out on parole, huh?"
Eileen laid a hand on his shoulder, knowing his growling tone hid a vast concern for her. "I will make sure that he doesn't harm me this time."
"Do you promise?"
"On my wizard's honor." Then she hugged him.
Severus heaved a sigh. "All right. I'll tell Reg I'm coming. And later on this afternoon I'll have a talk with your dad, Lily, so he doesn't think I ran away or something."
Lily smiled at him, and her smile made some of the wounds in his soul begin to scab over a little. "He would never think that about you, Sev. Do you need anything? Like maybe some water or something to eat?"
He paused before replying, for he really wanted to put on some clothes and go sit with her on her back porch, but he knew that even numbed, his injured behind wouldn't permit it, and so he settled for requesting a cool glass of water.
Lily went immediately to fetch some, leaving him alone with his mother.
He frowned at her and said irritably, "Mum did you have to tell her about it?"
"Severus, I told her hardly anything. She came over here knowing something was wrong and I barely needed to say a word. She has the Sight and when you have that gift sometimes you know things without being told."
He subsided then, and Eileen gently applied more salve to him and spelled a soft pair of pajama pants on him, so that when Lily returned a few moments later, Severus was able to sit up and spend the better part of two hours talking to her about how much he would miss going for walks together, or to the movies, and promising to write whenever possible.
"It's not forever, Sev. Just for a few weeks and then we'll be back in school and see each other all the time," she whispered, taking his face in her hands and kissing him ardently.
"I know. But it will seem like forever," he sighed, kissing her back. The summer would seem endless without Lily there, he thought, biting back a groan. Damn Tobias for ruining everything!
"Oh, I don't think Reg will let you be bored," she laughed, her green eyes dancing.
"I suppose not," he agreed reluctantly, never knowing how true her statement would be.
Well, did you agree with the solution Eileen and Lily proposed?
Next: Despite the best intentions, things go wrong at Grimmauld Place.
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