The sharp words slipped out of the raging man’s twisted lip. They were jagged and broken and oh so very hurtful. He yelled at his hysterical wife but she was to busy shrieking abuse to hear his scathing insults.
Their small pale boy, whose face was splattered with hot stinging tears, sat on the staircase- listening, listening to the sounds of his broken parents tearing each other apart. He thought it was rather odd that the words his parents howled could cause so much pain.
After all, words were just words.
They couldn’t whip or kick or strike you. Oh no, no, his father was much more practised at those sorts of things.
Hadn’t he heard the very same profanities gleefully whispered by other children in the local playground down the road? When the little children with the ice cream stained faces and mischievous eyes swore, it was daring and exciting and gave them all rushes of sweet sugary adrenaline.
Yet when the same words fell from his parents grimacing lips there was a dimension of difference.
They suddenly sounded spiteful and poisonous and foul and heinous and carried the destructive force of a thousand lashes of a leather and glass whip.
He wondered how it was possible that the same meaningless words could suddenly have all the meaning in the world.
(How is it possible? He still does not understand)
But then suddenly the cacophony of broken dreams froze and there was silence. The young boy stifled his tears and strained his ears- listening for a sound from beyond the staircase.
Why had they stopped?
They never stopped. It was an ongoing battle raging between them. Their hate for each other was like the tumultuous sky: a vast, infinite stretch of never ending forever.
He couldn’t decide what was worse; the abuse they hurled at each other or this uneasy anxiety that had erupted in his stomach.
What were they doing now?
Why was the musty air not filled with screams?
Had he finally silenced her?
Or had she been the one to kill him?
The burning desire to know filled his entire being- consuming his puny body as a whole. If only he could scamper off the termite eaten stairs and burst into the locked living room to find out for himself.
But in the end he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
He was not brave enough.
(He always knew he would never be brave enough)
The mundane grey door gently pushed open and his father walked out. That was it. He didn’t stomp or stalk or run or creep… he just walked out with small smile on his face.
And the boy wondered whether he should risk the chance of a cuff to the neck just to find out what had happened to his mummy, but really he needn’t have to ponder. His father saw him on the staircase and his eyes seemed to burn with a consuming fever as he stooped low to corrupt his son’s pure heart once and for all.
"You have only caused hate and destruction. It’s your fault that has happened. Now you can finally see that you will never be good for anything. Remember that Severus. You will always cause pain and suffering...always".
And long after the drunkard had slammed the door shut with a dazed look about him, the stench of corruption, hate and fiery rum lingered in the still air. The young boy sat on his favourite step and silently contemplated what his father had told him.
He was very well aware that, that was the last he would see of that wretched ma: but he could not bring himself to cry. Just because Tobias Snape had left his sullen wife and useless child did not mean everything was okay.
Far from it.
After all, the boy was not dumb. He may have been many things, but he was not dumb.
He has always known that it was his perpetually unhappy mother that started the raging fights. He strained his ears from his upstairs bedroom every night to hear the whirling tornado of rage she would unleash on her unemployed husband, along with the first strike.
Yes, he knew it was her who caused the violence.
It used to be just words but then one night it was suddenly fists and kicks and crashes and pain all mixed into a swirling whirlwind of h a t e.
(Somehow the words still managed hurt him more).
The wise boy knew that Elieen Prince was a difficult woman to please and Tobias Snape just didn’t match up to her expectations.
But now Tobias Snape was long gone.
And the boy realised it was wrong, and silly, and the epitome of selfish but he couldn’t help but envy the free man. Now that her good-for-nothing husband was gone Eileen Prince would turn on her equally good-for-nothing son.
(The boy still has the scars on his heart to prove it).
Soft weeping broke his trail of discordant thoughts and he realised it was his mother.
She never cried.
(This was the first time she had showed any emotions apart from bitterness, anger and unhappiness- but really were those proper emotions?)
The confused child contemplated whether he should enter the room (which was a mess of broken plates, upholstery, clothes and spilt drink) to soothe his distraught mother. But then he remembered his father’s final parting gift to him.
You have only caused hate and destruction. It’s your fault that this has happened. Now you can finally see that you will never be good for anything. Remember that Severus. You will always cause pain and suffering...always.
With an uneasy sigh, the frail six year old rose from his seat on the rickety stairs and ascended up to his bedroom.
(He chose to leave his mother to rot in her own guilt and drown in her newly found sorrow).
That was the day he realised that he must have been born a coward
~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~
The student’s critical eyes narrowed as they took in his too-big black robes and oily crooked nose. He anxiously scampered up on to the stool with a heavy heart and dry throat. The Sorting Hat was roughly pushed on to his head, brushing his greasy black hair over his small beady eyes.
“Well this is one of the easiest sortings I’ve had for years! Sorry what is that you’re feverishly mumbling? You want to be with little Lily Evans? Well I’m afraid I can do no such thing, after all she is in the house of the daring and brave which you are far from. Don’t you remember leaving your own mother to rot Severus? Yes, you left her to slowly deteriorate into complete madness. I am afraid to say that you are a coward Severus Snape.
S L Y T H E R I N!”
And try as he might he tried to explain to the stubborn, insistent hat, that all those years ago- at the tender age of six- he knew the exact effects of his actions to his mother.
He left her weeping because he knew she would descend into sweet delirium
(But you are forgetting that he also knew that she was happier all alone, six feet deep underground with no useless husband to support and most importantly no cowardly-good-for-nothing-destructive-son to be burdened with).
She was finally happy.
And truly that was all he had ever wanted.
~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~
Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize belongs to me.
This is my first attempt at a serious meaningful one-shot. Please leave me a review with some constructive comments and your general opinion so I can improve