Vignette - an introspective look into the mind of a Sevitus Snape
A/N: I wrote this ages ago (pre-HBP, fyi) as a vignette examining the inner workings of the mind of a Sevitus!Snape. I never intended to continue the story; I think that it would lose the voice, which is the most unique aspect of the story, IMHO. However, I do have dribs and drabs of a story coming to me and I could theoretically expand it to a full blown novella. I'm just not sure if I should. But I am considering it. Bugger.
She once told him as she stretched languidly on their bed that she was meant to be in Slytherin. On reflection, he wasn't surprised; only someone with true cunning could talk the sorting hat out of the placement it had chosen. And Lily Evans was quite possibly the most cunning woman he had ever met. It's what he loved about her.
Most days he cursed Minerva for insisting on inter-house teams for their final-year projects. If she hadn't insisted upon the pairing... But then, on quiet winter nights like this, alone in his room in the darkness of the dungeons, he stared into the crackling fire and thanked the gods that his former teacher had had the foresight to bless him with such an opportunity.
Of course, their relationship had to be kept a secret. His father would have disowned him in an instant if he knew that he had married a muggleborn.
At first it was easy to keep their secret. They were young; it was exciting and they reveled in the knowledge that they were getting away with fooling everyone. But as the days of his potions apprenticeship on the continent waned and the pressure from his family to join the dark lord increased, the excitement disappeared and the tension between them mounted. She didn't understand that his family wouldn't allow him to stay neutral for much longer. At the time, he was young and naÃ¯ve enough to believe that there were exceptions to every rule and that, despite her background, she would be that exception.
He sometimes wondered what it was that caused the final blow-up. Both were stubborn, to be sure. But he couldn't even remember what it was that drove him from her that day and sent him in fury and heartbreak to visit the family manor.
Of course, his family welcomed him with open arms. His father, uncles, and cousins recognized that his pain brought with it the perfect opportunity to place one of their own into the inner circle. The dark lord's previous Potions Master simply could not stand up to repeated Cruciatus curses. They made sure of that.
And it was amidst those swirling emotions of anger and despair that Severus Snape gave in to the pressure and was branded a slave. It was no ordinary brand; the dark mark held venemous magic that seeped into his blood and swirled viscously through his own magic. He felt it grasp and begin to harden his soul.
He received her letter, humbly asking him to come back to her. He had every intention of doing so; he would walk into the door of their apartment, roll up his sleeve, and show her where their loyalties were meant to lie. He would show her that it was he who made the decisions for their family.
It was going so well. He had swept majestically through the door, robes billowing behind him. A sneer graced his lips as he reached for his sleeve to show her what he had done.
He hadn't even gotten the cuff unbuttoned when she told him. She was going to have his child.
The words that she spoke broke him for an instant and he slammed to his knees in front of her, face draining of color that never returned. Venom forgotten, he reached out to gently place his hand on his wife's abdomen when he felt something strange. Magic swirled over his hand, up his arm, into his chest, infusing him and grappling to take hold. The dark magic that had been burned into him began to be leeched from him, restoring his soul. He broke down in tears of relief and guilt. Beneath these stronger emotions, amazement over what had happened took root. He was so overwhelmed that he did not have time to think of the immense power that this child must possess even a few weeks from its conception.
Lily, radiant with happiness and mistaking his amazed expression for one of joy reached out to her husband and they clung to each other, tears of laughter running down her face, tears of shame down his.
Her laughter stopped when he confessed to her what he had done.
Horror flickered across the brilliant green eyes that he couldn't bring himself to meet. When he finally wrenched his eyes from the floor to meet hers, he was shocked to see resignation and cold calculation clouding them. He had no doubt that the hat had been right in its initial choice.
He brewed a potion that would significantly slow and extend the gestation process and another, a powerful, and illegal, variant of polyjuice that, when given to a fetus, would last until a counter-potion was administered. Adding genetic material from two people would effectively combine the features of those who donated the material. They contacted Dumbledore; he wretchedly offered his services as a spy, although he never gave his true reason for doing so.
In his shame, he complied with her every request as she carefully went over her plan. No matter their mistakes, he was determined that their child would be able to lay claim to whichever side ultimately won the war.
The foundation laid, they dissolved their marriage, to the glee of the Snape patriarch. Although he was never positive, he had suspected that young Severus had made a rather... unsavory... connection when he had insisted on taking the apprenticeship at Beauxbatons rather than in London. Knowing that it ended after he had declared his loyalty to Voldemort cemented his faith in his son's loyalties. He was willing to absolve the younger man of his indiscretions, as long as he was careful to make no further mistakes.
Lily went to James. He had been in love with her for years and he could provide nothing but comfort when she went to him, telling him that she had been abandoned. Fresh from auror training and with the backing of a wealthy pureblood family, he played the role of savior well. He and Lily married shortly thereafter; the child came just under a year later.
A sharp snap from the fire brought the man in the dungeon briefly out of his reverie, only to shift his thoughts forward to the months that followed the birth of his son.
Seeing, and God help him, participating in, the atrocities committed in the name of blood purity caused some of the darkness to once again seep through the mark on his arm and into his soul. Despair had begun to creep over him as the stench of death infused his senses and the Light and the Dark clashed within him. With hope slipping away, he buried himself in his work, excusing himself from his Death Eater duties for the more esoteric needs of the potions lab. He didn't know it was coming. Perhaps if he had, he would have tried to stop it, even knowing that he would probably die in the attempt.
The news that the woman he loved had died nearly broke him; the knowledge that he was free of the dark lord restored him. He went to Dumbledore to claim his child - the child that had restored the man's freedom.
Before he could tell the old man, however, he was informed that Voldemort was still alive. He was not free after all. Nor was the boy, who had been chained to the evil wizard by prophecy. Once again he was forced to wait to claim what rightfully belonged to him.
Once again he was forced to wait while others made his decisions for him.
Temptation to take the child and run drifted through his mind from time to time. Knowing that he couldn't keep him safe from his fellow Death Eaters was all that stayed his desire. Eventually they would have found him.
A whisper of noise that Severus recognized as wind blowing through the corridor caused his thoughts to shift yet again to the first time he had seen his beloved child.
Seeing his boy wearing the face of one who had tormented him brought him no end of frustration. Seeing the eyes that he loved staring up from that face brought him no end of anguish. His heart seethed with conflicting emotions.
He couldn't help but to test him, bait him to see what the child's personality was really like. And on that first day of class he behaved so like Lily - the fire flashing in those eyes, the ire in his voice - he nearly laughed with delight and pride, allowing himself to indulge in the knowledge that the child was a part of her that he could still protect.
Instead he sneered and turned away, his heart hammering as he did so.
He forced a haze of blackness to cover his mind whenever he saw the child, superimposing outrageous imagined attributes to him to help in keeping his emotions in check. He replaced love with animosity.
And he would wait to stake his claim.