Title: Reflections of Severus Snape, Wizard
Age-Range Category: Two
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Severus Snape; Lily Evans, Poppy Pomfrey, Minerva McGonagall, Lucius Malfoy, Lord Voldemort, Avery, Knott
Beta Reader(s): Timandsophsmom, Velveteen Bunny
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): Angst, references to masturbation, underage teen/teen sexual activity, and possible non-con.
Note: I took liberty with canon as Severus gets older in order to continue the theme of birthday reflections in these vignettes, most especially in 1980. According to HP Lexicon, although Severus overheard the prophecy in 1980, Dumbledore does not hire him until 'circa 1981'. I hope you will forgive me! Thank you so much to Timsandsophsmom and Velveteen Bunny for the beta and Brit picking!
Summary: Ten birthdays of Severus Snape's life. Ten reflections.
January 9th, 1971
11 years old
Severus was finishing his breakfast when he heard his old man shout that he'd be back 'later' and then the front door slam. A thrill of relief, hope, and then joy ran through him when he realised that today was THE day, and his old man would not be home to spoil it…at least not right away.
His mum hummed softly, doing the washing up by hand as Severus finished the last of his porridge and then handed her his bowl. He picked up the nearby well-worn tea towel and began to dry the stack of crockery.
"Severus, I have enough flour and cocoa to make you a cake; would you like to help?"
Severus looked up quickly from his work. "You do?"
"Yes, my sweet boy. I've been saving it back so I'd have enough."
Severus smiled and eagerly agreed to help. As he placed a few bowls on their shelf on the dresser, he asked, "Mum…do you think it will come today? My letter?"
"Of course it will, Severus! The letters always come on your eleventh birthday. Mine came in the afternoon, but my best friend's came early in the morning."
A frisson of excitement swept the air only to be gone a moment later. "What happens if Da is here when it comes?"
"I doubt he'll be here before supper, and it will surely be here before then. Rest assured, my boy, we'll have plenty of time to enjoy it together." Eileen reached into the pocket of her kitchen smock and pulled out a tatty looking package. "By the way, Sev, happy birthday! It's not much," she indicated the package in her fist by handing it to him, "but I hope you find it useful."
Severus stared at the small, hard package in his hand. It had been wrapped in an old bit of newspaper, which he began to carefully remove. Everything in his home was used and reused. He still remembered the pain he suffered for a few days after his old man boxed his ears for ripping his jumper when he was nine. It was Tobias', handed down, and really much too big to begin with, and Severus had gotten the cuff caught on barbed wire when walking back from the play park.
As he pulled away the last of the paper, the gift turned out to be a book, more specifically, he learned after opening it, a journal. The cover was soft faux leather, and he could see that a few pages had been removed.
Eileen explained, "I got it at the second hand store; it was a diary, but only a few pages had been used. I took those out. I thought that perhaps you could use it to begin your own Grimoire or as a potions journal; I know how much you love potions."
"It's perfect, Mum; thank you!" Severus said excitedly, hugging his mother briefly.
"Now," Eileen began, "you go tuck that away in your bedroom, and when you get back, we'll start on your cake."
They had just finished putting a thin looking glaze on the chocolaty confection when a shadow across the kitchen window caught their eyes. Mother and son, nearly mirror images in looks, both glanced up to see a medium sized brown owl land on the sill.
Severus whooped with joy and eagerly reached to open the window. The owl hopped in, hooted just as joyfully, and stuck out its leg. "I'm too nervous, Mum!" he cried. "You do it!"
With great ceremony, Eileen untied not one, but two envelopes from the patient owl. She handed one to her son and held the smaller one in her hand. She pinched off a small piece of cake and handed it to the owl, who took it carefully from her fingers. Gulping it quickly down, he turned to leave, but not before Severus could give it a quick scratch on its head, and then turned and flew away.
"Oh, Sev; it's cold out!" Eileen remarked and hurried to shut the window. "Well, are you going to open it?" she asked, turning away from the window to see her son running his finger over the writing on the front.
She remembered clearly the day he displayed his first bit of magic, verifying that he was indeed a wizard. He was two years old, and it was in the summer. They had been out in the garden, she hanging the washing and he toddling around on unsteady feet—he had just started walking a few weeks prior—laughing at the colourful flowers she had managed to grow in a small plot dug out in the grass.
Eileen had looked over to see Severus standing at the border of the garden when a butterfly flew close to his face. Enchanted, he began to walk after it, stumbling along. She could see him becoming frustrated at not being able to catch the butterfly, and watched as he flopped down onto his nappy covered bottom and gave a grizzly cry. He flung his hands in front of him and suddenly, dozens of jewel coloured butterflies danced in front of him. He continued to hold his hands skyward until one landed on a chubby finger. She'd never forget the joyous giggles that erupted from him.
That day lived in her memory and now, here he was, about to go to Hogwarts. Tobias would be furious, but perhaps she could spin it to his advantage…Severus would most likely go on scholarship—she continued to correspond with her old friend Minerva and the deputy head knew of the Snape family circumstances—so Tobias would not have to pay for it. Having Severus away from the house for nearly ten months of the year would certainly save on food and utility bills, and that would appeal to Tobias' money grubbing attitude.
Eileen hated feeling like she was bartering her son, but she knew that without the day-to-day game of staying one step ahead of her husband, she and Severus would suffer far more than they did. Shaking her head, she exclaimed, "Open it! Come on, what's it say?"
The outside of the envelope held his name and address, which Severus looked at for a long while. It was the very first piece of correspondence he'd ever gotten, Muggle or Wizard. Turning the letter over, he admired the Hogwarts crest that had been pressed into the red seal on the letter before snicking a finger under it and lifting it. Once the flap was open, he reached in and pulled the thick creamy parchment from its resting place. Handing the envelope to his mother, he opened the sheet and began to read:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE (Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mr. Snape,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
Severus' eyes were bright with tears. He could hardly believe it! He was going to Hogwarts! He was going to learn all about magic—not that he didn't know quite a bit already; he'd been studying his mum's own Hogwarts texts for years—and perhaps even make some friends. He fished back into the envelope and pulled out another sheet of paper. After reading it, his hopes were dashed.
"Mum," he whispered, afraid to put a voice to his thoughts for fear it would make them so, "it's an awful load of stuff I need. How will we…" he trailed off.
Eileen took Severus into her arms and hugged him. Once she let him go, she shook the paper in her hand. "I've had a letter from Hogwarts as well," she said. "You're to go on scholarship for the full seven years' course."
"How?" asked Severus. Even at the age of eleven, he was mistrustful of anything that sounded too good to be true. Having a father who would taunt him with promises of happy things only to pull them away at the last moment had taught him to be suspicious at so early an age.
Eileen turned so that Severus wouldn't see her face as she lied to her proud son and pretended to fuss with the cake. "I had a letter several months ago from Hogwarts. Occasionally they send out scholarship notices to families. I submitted your Muggle school awards and marks and you apparently earned a scholarship! Isn't it wonderful?" To distract him further, she said, "Now, let's have some of your birthday cake and then you can go to your friend, Lily, and show her your letter."
January 9, 1972
12 years old
Severus lay in his bed in the dorms, his curtains pulled tightly against the cold that permeated the dungeon dormitories. He waved his wand and cast another warming charm in the hopes he'd warm up a bit before having to drag himself out and to classes.
He shifted his feet and felt an unfamiliar lump at the end of his bed. Looking down, he saw a small parcel and envelope. Quickly reaching down, he snatched up the package and then retreated back under his warm blankets. He turned over the tag to see who had sent the gift.
It was from his mum, wishing him happy birthday. He opened the wrapping and found inside a cap and gloves. They were obviously second hand, and even though they were something he desperately needed, he threw them down in disgust. It wasn't just the cheat gifts, but it was, well, everything.
Hogwarts was not the haven he thought it would be. It was to the extent that he was warm all of the time, well fed, and his clothes clean, but the hope that he would make friends and fit in, were well and truly dashed not long into his first few months at school.
The train ride was miserable. Potter, Black tormented him upon sight. All of the boys, even Severus, had been sent to the Headmaster at least monthly for fighting.
Worst of all, his friend—his only true friend—Lily had been sorted into Gryffindor. Although they still had several classes together, Severus could see her drifting from him, slowly but surely. She was very popular in her house, and Potter, Black, and Lupin seemed to always be around her.
Turning over, Severus pulled the blankets over his head. He thought he would be welcome in Slytherin house, had hoped above hope that he would be gathered into the fold. After all, he knew more Dark Magic than most of them, he was as devious as them, or so he thought.
Shortly before the Halloween feast, the head boy, Lucius Malfoy, had taken the time to speak to him about affecting a more pureblood manner and ways to project it; for example, bathing more often (a habit that was slow in coming after eleven years of once a week baths), getting rid of his Manchester accent, and simple Pureblood etiquette. The good looking seventh year had even encouraged him to continue his out of class studies in Potions, for he had not seen a more clever or gifted student in his own seven years of schooling as he had in Severus, who was only a firstie. Lucius said he had a friend who might pave the way to a brighter future for a keen student such as Severus, once he had completed his schooling.
While Lucius' advice was all well and good and helped Severus become less obtrusive in the company of the purebloods, he had discovered that his friendship with them was really all about his worth to them. Pay him a few sickles and your homework was done. Sneak a few ingredients to him and he'd find a hidden place to brew your not-quite-legal potion.
At first, poor, dumb Severus was thrilled at the attention, the esteem and recognition he seemed to be getting, only to find out later he was being used. He had been elated to have a bit of pocket money so that he could buy Lily a Christmas present, even it if was from the second hand shop. Lily had seemed pleased about the gift and even gave Severus a kiss on his cheek in return, but even that added to the wound in his pride when she saw her more vibrant reaction to a gift given to her by Potter.
No, Hogwarts was not the haven he thought it would be, but perhaps, just maybe, it would get better? After all, it was really only a few months into his first term.
With a sigh, Severus sat up and pushed the blankets away from him. He picked up the hat and gloves and reconsidered them. He knew how much his mum would have given up to save for the gift. With a small smile and a soft snort, he decided that he loved the gifts for his mum. He placed them in his beside cabinet and went to take a shower. Breakfast should be served in about a half an hour, and Severus was looking forward to some pancakes.
January 9, 1973
13 years old
Lily…oh, yes…Lily, don't stop!
Severus came slowly back from his euphoric state and realised that his hand was still wrapped around his softening cock and covered with his fluid. He was grateful for his Silencing charm for he was not sure if he called Lily's name when he came.
Puberty had arrived in Severus Snape's life last summer. With it, he discovered an even better way to wile away the afternoon's rather than moping around about Lily's absence; her parents had taken her and her sister on a holiday to France. Instead, he dreamed of Lily on those hot July afternoons and discovered his body's response and how to handle it. After his first attempt at a wank, he wandered to the local library to discreetly research the changes his body was experiencing. Severus Snape was determined to excel at everything in his life so that he had total control at all times…all times.
In addition to his sexual burgeoning, other aspects of puberty were making themselves known. He had grown several inches between spring and summer, causing his mother to worry about finding trousers to fit him. She'd buy one pair that fit only to find a few weeks later that her son was walking around with a tatty pair of socks showing for several inches below the hem.
Severus also discovered, to his dismay, that spots began form on his forehead, nose, and chin. It was bad enough that the Snape nose also chose to make itself more pronounced as his face lost its puppy fat—not that there was a lot to begin with—and began to take on a more adult look, but it had to sport spots as well. If it were just one or two here and there, he'd not be so self-conscious about them but they formed in clusters; some dry and scaly, others oily and pus-filled. He knew they could not afford to go to Diagon Alley and get some potions to get rid of them. Perhaps Madame Pomfrey would have some when school started?
Another thing that went awry with his body was his hair. The hair on his body darkened, as to be expected given the Prince heritage, and his father's own genetic contribution. He had no hair on his chest yet, but his underarms sported a furry growth. A faint line of dark, wispy hairs began at his belly button and travelled downward where they thickened and became wiry, circling his prick (which also seemed to undergoing change as hormones began surging through his body). Severus was not at all bothered by the changes in the amount of hair on his body, but rather the change on the hair on his head. He had begun to wear it longer, as the other pureblood boys his age did, but it was becoming rather oily as well. He knew that the potions he did, licit and illicitly, had had an effect on his hair, but he when noticed the spots on his face, he noticed the greasiness of his hair.
His Mum had given him a rather harsh looking bar of soap to use and while it controlled some of the oiliness, it also succeeded in making his hair limp. Oh well, he conceded, better limp than oily. Maybe he'd ask one of the other boys what they used. He had started to become friendly with Knott and Avery at the beginning of the school year, and they often talked about the sorts of things blokes talked about, so maybe they'd have an answer.
Perhaps the only thing about puberty he did like was the breaking of his voice. He knew it was not complete and that it could take years before settling, but he had noticed it was a deeper register than it had been in the past. When it cracked in class, the other boys snickered, but he was able to snicker back when those boys' voices cracked, too.
Severus fumbled under his pillow for his wand and quickly cleaned up the mess he had made while masturbating. He then cancelled the Silencing charm he had put up when he had gone to bed. Snores filled the room as his dorm mates slept on. If he hurried, he mused, he could get to the showers first and enjoy a nice long, hot one without the usual horseplay when more than one boy used the showers at a time. Afterward, he'd head to an early breakfast. Perhaps he could have pancakes again?
January 9, 1974
14 years old
Severus finished the runes on a scrap piece of paper, proving the curse would work as he intended. Transferring his final incantation to his potions book, adding the note 'for enemies', he then Incendio'd the scrap and brushed the ashes to the floor.
Sectumsempra he had decided to call it. Always cutting. It would kill eventually, but Severus decided he could probably control the depth of the cut with practice. Right now, for a boy who was angry, the idea of being able to continually slash at his enemy until he died was quite a heady idea.
A female voice interrupted his thoughts.
"Sev! Where are you? I know you're hiding in here somewhere!"
A brightly smiling red head peered around a stack of books. "There you are! Happy birthday!"
Lily bounded over and sat next to Severus, placing a friendly kiss upon his cheek.
Severus stopped himself just in time from pressing his own hand to his cheek as though it would seal the kiss in place for all eternity.
"Thank you, Lily," he said, trying unobtrusively to close his books and hide his notes; he knew she would be upset if she saw them.
"Look, erm, I'm sorry about last night," Lily began, "I shouldn't have yelled at you, but I thought, as your friend, you should know how I feel."
"I know, Lily," Severus answered quietly. "I'm sorry, too. But, you also should know how I feel."
"They're always just having a bit of fun, you know, James and Sirius. They never mean anything by it."
Severus spluttered, "Never mean anything by it?! Lily, they corner me in the halls, they continually hex me in classes; nothing so obvious as to get them in trouble; not that the precious Princes of Gryffindor would anyway, given the times we have been caught, but it's all the time. How can you not see that?"
"But Sev, that's just it…I don't see it and most of the time, no one else does either. It's your word against theirs."
Severus became angry. "And of course, since they are in your house, you believe them and not me, who has known you longer than they have."
"Sev, don't be petty," Lily chided.
"Petty. You don't want me to be petty." Severus began to stuff his books into his bag. "They have you in their grips quite firmly, don't they?"
A book fell onto the floor and splayed open. Lily bent to retrieve it. She happened to glance at the open page. "Still scribbling in the corners, eh Sev?" She turned a page. "What the hell? Severus, what's this…Sectum…for enemies?"
Severus snatched the book from her and stuffed it into his bag. "It's nothing."
"Severus, did you create that curse? What's it supposed to do? Sectum means cut, sempra means forever…forever cutting? You created a curse to continually cut? What do you mean 'for enemies'? What the hell, Severus? What's gotten into you? Who do you plan to use that curse on? It's a dark curse, isn't it?"
"Lily! Just shut up!" Severus shouted.
Lily stopped her tirade abruptly. "You've never told me to shut up before. How dare you!"
"How dare I?" asked Severus. "How dare I? How dare you presume that I am suddenly a dark and evil person, Lily. We were friends, good friends until Potter and his gang got a hold of you. They've suddenly decided for you that I am evil, that I am dark and not good enough for you. What happened to the girl I knew who could make her own decisions? Who was able to tell me to stuff it when I suggested she do something she didn't want? Maybe I should be asking 'how dare you' these days."
Severus could see that Lily had no good retort for that and in her usual manner, just stamped her foot and stormed away. It was a trick of hers she had always used when she was mad in the time Severus had known her. Usually, Severus would run after her and apologize, and she assumed he would do so now.
He didn't. He wouldn't. He would not let Lily continually control his life. Or so he told himself.
As he turned to leave the table and library, he saw a long, flat, brightly wrapped gift that Lily had left behind. A tag on it said 'To Sev, From Lily'.
Sheer curiosity pulled at Severus. She had gotten him a gift. Quickly tearing the wrapping away, he opened the box. A beautiful raven's feather quill lay inside, the nib of which was silver and gleamed in the candlelight. Peering closer, Severus noticed the nib had been engraved. He turned the quill this way and that in order to read the words in the candlelight.
He'd give her time to cool down and then apologise.
January 9, 1975
15 years old
Severus stood next to his partner for the evening, Amy Avery, the younger sister of his classmate. Dinner had yet to be served, so they were ostensibly 'mingling', but Severus was watching Lily and her date, Potter. Lily looked very pretty in her long white, high-waisted dress, her auburn hair shiny in the candlelight, especially glimmering when she threw her had back in laughter.
He heard his date cough, and turned to look at her. She was no Lily Evans, but she was willing to go to this stupid party of the Slug Club, and so he had asked her. Amy was as tall as he was, with dark hair and brown eyes. Her skin was not as rosy as Lily's, but it was a creamy complexion with no spots. Severus had been surprised when Avery had told him his sister had a bit of a 'thing' for him.
"Why do you growl every time you look at Evans?" Amy asked.
Severus looked surprised. "Do I?"
Amy giggled. "Yes, you do. Rumour has it you like her even if she is a Gryffindor and Muggleborn."
"Would you like another drink?" Severus asked, avoiding answering the nosy bint.
"Sure," she said lazily.
Severus went to the drinks table, and on the way back, he stumbled and spilt them down his front. He was furious at his own clumsiness until he heard familiar laughter. He looked over at Potter who was stowing his wand away and whispering into Lily's ear. It was her smile and obvious giggle that incensed Severus further. Dropping the glasses, he began to head in James' direction when he was waylaid by Avery.
"Hold up there, mate. Now's not the time for revenge. Too many notables here," he finished, nodding his head in the direction of Slughorn and a guest, who happened to be the undersecretary for the Belgian Minister of Magic. "You wouldn't want to do anything that may hamper your future."
Severus nodded in agreement. "Thanks, Avery; you're right. However, Potter will get his later."
"Too right he will! I'll even help you. Now, I'm going to slip out of the party in about ten minutes. My date is a bit eager to go somewhere a little less crowded, if you get my drift?" Avery winked at him, and Severus smiled slyly. "Why don't you take my sister for a walk around the lake? Might be worth your while, eh? However," Avery gave him a mild punch on the arm, "you don't make it too worth your while, understand?"
Severus blinked owlishly at Avery's inference. "No," he said slowly, "no, of course not!"
Severus and Amy, bundled up against the cold, wandered slowly around the lake. It was cold, but not windy, and the moon sat brightly in the clear sky. Thousands of stars offered even more light.
"What is it with you and Potter and his gang, anyway?" asked Amy.
Severus shrugged. "Don't know. They've been after me since we were on the train in first year."
"Is it because you like Lily?" she asked, jealousy lacing her voice.
Severus stopped along the path. "Lily and I were friends; we grew up in the same neighbourhood."
"But you like her."
"She's my friend," Severus stated. He would not tell anyone, even this pretty girl, that he loved Lily. He feared that if he ever voiced his true feelings, his dreams would die.
"I suppose. Am I your friend, Severus?" Amy asked coyly.
"I guess. I mean I know your brother, so I guess you're my friend."
"That's not very convincing," she giggled.
Severus suddenly became rather unsure of himself. What was Amy inferring? He had no experience with flirting…was she flirting with him? He was drawn from his thoughts when he realised her body was suddenly much closer than before.
"Amos said today was your birthday," she whispered.
Her sweet breath washed over Severus' face. The suddenness of her proximity and the warmth radiating from her caused his body to react.
"Yes," he answered timidly.
She moved closer still. "May I give you a present?"
"Erm…okay?" he answered confusedly, and before he could wonder what she would have gotten him as a gift, her lips pressed against his. He didn't react at first, but then he realised what was going on, and made his hands move to press against the girl's waist. He tilted his head a bit to accommodate his nose and pressed his lips back. He was rather clumsy, and as suddenly as it began, it ended.
Amy pulled away, but not too far. Severus noticed her eyes were glistening in the moon light. "You've not done this before?" she asked.
Severus felt his face redden a bit, and he shook his head.
"Here, let me show you then," she said, guiding his head down.
Hours later, maybe only minutes, he was never sure, but they parted again, and she began to pull him back to the castle.
"It's much warmer in the common room and we could, erm, continue this," she waved a hand between them, "if you'd like."
Severus, whose brain was quite foggy and whose pants were feeling constrictive, especially in the area of his cock, could only nod and whisper, 'Okay'.
Hours later, in his bed with charms to silence his cries, he held his spent member in his fist. Amy had been very accommodating up to a certain point, letting Severus feel her bare and pointed nipples, but pushing his hand away when it wandered lower. Their evening had ended at curfew when the pair left the empty alcove they had found—the common room had been too full—straightening clothes and hair and using a quick glamour to cover love bites.
Severus rolled over to grab his wand and clean himself up. Allowing his sated body to sink further into his mattress in a boneless heap, he remembered it was his birthday.
Happy Birthday to me, he thought smugly
January 9, 1976
16 years old
Severus woke up to voices outside of the curtains that surrounded his bed.
"He's not eaten a thing since he'd been here."
"That's been three days!"
"I know. He'll drink a sip of water now and again."
"Has he said anything?"
"Not a thing. Minerva, I could just kill Albus."
"I know, Poppy, I know. It's just so…complicated; he felt it was the best thing to do."
"Best thing to do? Best thing to do?" Poppy screeched in a whisper. "What about that boy? What about you? You've defended those Gryffindors time and again when the four of them have been at it. All of a sudden you're on Severus' side?"
"I know, Poppy!! I've been wrong about Severus, too, but he's not blameless, either."
"I understand, but Minerva," she said imploringly, "I've never seen him so, so, well, just 'gone' in all the times I've treated him. Normally he's fighting mad or quiet and remorseful, or even sad, but now…he just sits and stares. He rarely speaks. Occasionally he'll go to the loo, but he doesn't bathe while he's there. It's as if he's lost all hope," she finished sadly.
"Today's his birthday; he's sixteen," Minerva said softly.
"And nothing to show for it. If he'd at least eat, I'd have the elves bring him a bit of cake."
"His mother said chocolate was his favourite."
"You and his Mum were friends?" asked Poppy.
"Of a sort; I knew the Princes of course, and was sad when I had heard that her family disowned her."
"Do you think we should bring her here?"
"I haven't heard from her in several months; I sent her a letter that went unanswered. I think even if I brought her here, she would be overwhelmed by seeing Hogwarts and sensing so much magic again."
"The boy needs something," Poppy mused.
"He has you," said Minerva.
"He needs more than just me."
Severus heard rustling as the women walked away. Poppy was wrong; he wasn't just sitting here. He was thinking. He was so deep in his thinking that nothing could penetrate.
There were no presents or letters at the foot of his bed this year, not that he cared. Who cared that he was another year older? As far as Severus was concerned, his life was over. It ended last summer right after OWLS. He tried to apologize, humiliating himself to the point he had spent the night outside Gryffindor tower in the hopes he'd catch her and he could apologize. Letters were returned unread or even within a fresh envelope as nothing but ashes.
Maybe he would get lucky and have an accident as the staircase shifted, falling to his death. In fact, perhaps he would not use his wand against the Marauders the next time they struck, in the hopes they would finally kill him.
They tried, and oh, how they tried. Black had whispered a little secret into Severus' ear one evening last week, after having cursed the Slytherin to his knees. Severus would finally know where they were going! If only he had been a better judge of the sort of laughter a maniac laughs when sending a foe to his death.
Three days ago, at the full moon, Severus had snuck out of the castle and made his way into the Wimping Willow. Potter played the hero of course, pulling Severus from the jaws of Lupin at the last moment.
Dumbledore, taking the side of the Gryffindors once again, threatened Severus with expulsion if he told anyone of the events that night, and set the young boy on a path to destruction, whether he was aware of it or not.
Severus had decided several things while in the hospital wing. One: He'd never forgive Albus Dumbledore. Two: He'd learn Occlumency somehow, even if he had to teach himself. Three: He'd take Avery and Knott up on their offer meet Tom Riddle.
From all he heard from them and a bit from Lucius Malfoy, Riddle would bring him the recognition he so craved. All of his desires and wants would be satisfied at last. That would certainly make up for everything that happened in the last year.
He rolled over, intending to sleep a bit when a voice at the curtain disturbed him.
"Severus. It's Madam Pomfrey; may I come in?"
Severus grunted and the curtain opened.
"Severus, please; you need to eat something. I know it's your birthday, and I brought you a bit of chocolate cake. Won't you eat it?"
He did not respond, and Poppy sighed.
"I'll just leave it here then." She placed the plate on the table beside his bed and left.
Severus looked up at the confection. He remembered the cake his mum had made on the last truly happy day he remembered…his eleventh birthday.
All the hopes and dreams he and his mother had talked about on that day had been cruelly ruined. An overwhelming wave of anger, grief and despair drew through Severus' body. He threw the cake with a scream of rage at the curtains and lay on his bed, his body wracked with sobs, not caring if anyone heard, for no one would care.
Outside of the curtains, Poppy stood, tears streaming down her own face as she finished the Silencing charm around the bed of the lost soul who lay upon it.
January 9, 1977
17 years old
Severus dropped into bed, exhausted, slightly drunk, and full of conviction. He was finally of age in the Wizarding world. He could finally do whatever he wanted and whenever he wanted…when he graduated from Hogwarts, of course.
Tonight had been, well, spectacular in his opinion. He had attended a ball given by Lucius in honour of that man's engagement to Narcissa Black, along with Knott and Avery. Since it was a Saturday, the headmaster had given permission for the boys to leave the grounds even though it wasn't a Hogsmeade weekend; Malfoy money had most likely bought the favour.
Severus was still a bit star struck over the events of the evening, for this was the first time he had met the elusive and most talked about man, Tom Riddle, or Lord Voldemort, as Severus was told to call him.
The man was engaging, charismatic, handsome, kind, and attentive to his audience. He was most intrigued by Severus, and when he learned that it was Severus' birthday, he immediately turned the event into a more grand celebration for the newly engaged couple as well as for the wizard who had finally come of age; Severus was not short of dance partners that evening.
Severus was completely beguiled. Here was a man who could secure his fortune, who could vault him into a glorious career with lauds and honour, provided he joined Tom's cause.
Tom had practically purred in Severus' ear about how he had heard of Severus' knowledge of potions and how well he did in his Dark Arts classes. He intimated to the young man how, with his help, he could make Severus' wishes come true…money, education, accolades, even the woman of his choice, no matter the impediment.
No matter the impediment. No matter the impediment. The phrase repeated itself over and over in his head. Impediment. He knew of four impediments that would fall into that category.
Four impediments that had made his life miserable from the moment he stepped onto the platform at King Cross. They stole everything from him, his pride, dignity, his best friend. Tom had promised in a rather titillating way to retrieve all of that for him, all of that and more.
He heard a distant snore just as he began to drift off. What young, lost, half-blood boy wouldn't want that?
Severus Snape did. He wanted that.
He wanted that.
January 9, 1978
18 years old
Severus sat in front of the cauldron where a potion quietly simmered. It was one he feared brewing, but one which also teased and called to him. He had never wanted to give in to it before, and had managed not to be in class when it was the assigned potion for the day.
However, today was his eighteenth birthday and given all that had happened, he would give himself a small birthday gift and see…just see if…well…see if it really were her.
He had woken that morning to a note on his bedside table from his mother and a small gift from Poppy. He smiled at the thought of Poppy Pomfrey. Since his sixteenth birthday, she went out of her way, in the most kind and quiet of ways, to remember his birthday with something special. His Mum's note was just a few lines, wishing him a happy birthday. Poppy's was a book token and a note telling him to buy something wonderful, price was no matter, and enjoy it.
Severus had begun to think of Poppy as his second mother in these short years since he had turned sixteen. He sometimes wished it were truly so. After the night of the incident, she began calling him to the infirmary to give him checkups, concerned about his mental health—although she never outright said that was what she was doing, but he figured it out and was grateful—and it had become a habit for them to have tea at least weekly. Poppy never treated him like a child, although at times, she did call him 'my boy' just before she chided him with a reproof.
The timer went off and he added the last ingredient and then gave the potion two stirs clockwise and then four more anticlockwise and then one figure-of-eight. He wiped his stirring rod and set it down and then set a timer for eight minutes. In eight minutes he would know.
He sat back on the stool and sighed. There were days when he missed her so much it hurt. Where he longed to send the hundreds of letters he had written, each more apologetic than the next, although if truth be told, they were each more pathetically desperate than the next. He knew she'd laugh if she ever read them, and knowing her, she would share them with Potter and most likely Black who would parade them around the school, probably even post them in Witch Weekly. No, it was better those letters stayed in the tightly warded box under his bed.
If he couldn't have her, at least there was something to look forward to in his life; Lucius Malfoy, had secured him an apprenticeship for when he graduated. It actually had come through the generosity of Lord Voldemort, but if not for Lucius, it would not have come at all.
It came with a price, though. Severus must pledge himself to the Dark Lord upon his graduation and this Severus was glad to do. He had made the decision after his birthday last year. Voldemort had promised Severus so much and now, giving him this apprenticeship, Severus was certain life would change for him. Perhaps he would finally get the girl of his dreams…Voldemort had practically promised after all.
The timer went off and Severus stood. Leaning over the cauldron, he waved his hand to waft the beguiling steam toward his nose. With joy spreading through his body, he noted the scents…she was still there. He smelt daisies, the flower he had turned into a butterfly for her when he first told she was a witch, and lemons, the scent of the shampoo she always used. There was the subtle yet indefinably scents of a warm summer day, the river bank in Cokeworth where they'd spent time, and very deeply down among the other scents, her own body smell. Severus remembered lying next to her in the grass after time spent playing and smelling her sweat.
With bittersweet agony, he bottled one phial of the Amortenia, placing a strong ward against breakage upon it, and Evanesco'd the rest. He felt a tickle in his nose, and when he reached up to scratch it, he felt a wetness on his face.
Tears to baptize his gift to himself.
Tears to represent his deep regret.
Tears that meant that Severus Snape was not who everyone thought he was and never would be.
January 9, 1979
19 years old
Severus stood under the spray of hot water as he showered, wincing in pain as it stung the open lash marks on his back. The Dark Lord was furious last night; the revel did not end as he wanted and although Lucius bore the brunt of the maniac's wrath, all those involved in the mission were punished. Severus was only thankful it was with a lash. Lucius had had to endure Crucio, the lash and rape at the hands of his brethren, Severus refraining by moving out of the way as inconspicuously as possible.
Bringing his arm up to his eyes, he blearily looked at the writhing tattoo he had once been so proud to receive. It represented everything he had thought he had wanted…respect, power, status.
In reality, it came with none of those things, only false representations of them.
If he hadn't been committed to his apprenticeship for another year, he'd have left long before now. He would have run to America or maybe Australia… anyplace where he'd be far away from the summons and not feel the pain. He knew, however, that would only be borrowed time; several former Death Eaters attempted to do so only be found and killed.
As it was, all the things he had obtained, even the apprenticeship, felt tainted. Respect came only from being feared. Power came only from reputation, and status came only because he now was included with the right crowd.
At first, Severus would admit, it did feel powerful to torture…to be able to control rage and even death. When the Dark Lord learned of Severus' particular skill at a curse he invented, he became second in line in his cadre of torturers—Bella held the first place.
Status brought him at least one benefit; sex. There was a lot of indiscriminate sex among the Death Eaters and drug and alcohol fuelled group sex was not uncommon. Severus occasionally woke the next morning, lying in a corner on some cushions, wondering what had occurred. He was thankful his first time occurred among one of those drug filled orgies, so no one would notice he was inexperienced. He only wished he could remember who had the 'honour' of his virginity.
Even if the sex he did remember was enjoyable, it still left him empty, as did most of the other promises the Dark Lord had made to him upon his initiation.
None of the promises stopped Lily from becoming engaged to Potter.
None of the promises made him welcome in pureblood society without the inevitable sniff and sneers as he was 'looked over'.
None of the promises came without a price.
Oh, he was glad that he had his apprenticeship and that he didn't have to pay for it, but it meant years of service to Riddle and years of 'debt' to Lucius Malfoy.
Severus slammed his fists against the wet shower wall and screamed. He felt trapped like a tiger in a too small cage, fed only when its master wanted something of him.
He wondered if he would ever be free or if he would die in captivity.
January 9, 1980
20 years old
Severus stared up at the canopy of his bed. Happy Birthday to me, he thought.
He rolled over and sighed. When he realised, again, what had brought him to this place, he began to cry…again.
Here he was at the ripe age of twenty, teaching Potions to idiots and Head of Slytherin House; the first half-blood head, ever. He was effectively trapped in this stupid bloody, cold castle, all because of the biggest mistake of his life.
As he had done when he was sixteen, he had considered ending it all those months ago, when the scales fell away from his eyes, and he realized what a sham Tom Riddle was. But if it hadn't been for that stupid visit to the Hog's Head, he never would be lying here in this bed.
He cringed with shame and guilt, remembering how he had run to the Dark Lord with the news of the prophecy. It was just months later when Severus realized that of the two women who would give birth at the end of July, his Lily was the one Voldemort wanted.
Severus had crawled to Voldemort to beg a boon, suffering torture as a result, but finally extracting the promise that Riddle would spare her life. However, weeks later, he had overheard a conversation and realised Voldemort had lied.
Not knowing what else to do, Severus had gone to Dumbledore, who in turn tortured Severus not with curses or lashes, but mentally and manipulatively and now here he was, a Hogwarts' professor and a spy…for both sides of the fight.
He had no fucking idea whatsoever about how to be a spy. It certainly wouldn't be like it was in those James Bond movies he watched at the cinema with his old man…no glamorous women, no neat gadgets to blow up buildings with, no cutting the correct wire with mere milliseconds left on the timer.
No. It would be on his wit and instinct alone, and with the help of a new master who had the art of manipulation down to a science.
Severus wiped his face on the corner of the sheet and dragged himself out of bed. He padded to the bathroom and quickly showered and dressed. As he turned toward the door to head to the Great Hall for breakfast, he noticed a small lumpy package on his desk.
The tag attached to the green package read: To Severus, Happy Birthday, Albus.
Severus snorted and ripped off the paper to find a soft pair of socks inside. A small smile tugged at his lips and he placed the present on his desk and left the room.