Death Eaters were children once. Severus Snape and Lucius Malfoy are no exception. AU, complete.
The rich, black velvet of Augustus Snape's cloak fluttered dramatically in the wind as he strode briskly through the crowd one gray August morning, his son Severus at his heels.
The vendors and early morning shoppers in the street looked up as the tall, dark-haired man led his younger, paler counterpart out of the shadows of Knockturn Alley and onto the more cheerful, cobbled street of Diagon Alley. Onlookers quickly averted their eyes as the odd pair hurried up a series of stone steps and into the stark white building of Gringott's Bank, the sound of their steps on the cold marble ringing in the frosty morning air.
Nobody asked any questions - they didn't dare to.
Augustus Snape was known for many things in the wizarding community, outstanding Potions-making, precise wandwork, and magical prowess among them. However, he was equally well known for his lack of manners, biting sarcasm, and shameless cruelty. He was, to be blunt, not a popular man, and limited himself and his family to only the barest amount of socializing. It was rumored, in fact, that he preferred spending his time on more suspicious pastimes, and there was always a whisper of gossip that told of his doing terrible deeds - torturing Muggles, experimenting on dangerous Potions, and dabbling in the darker side of wizarding politics.
He was not a man who was afraid to get his hands dirty.
Since the abrupt arrival of Daemon Snape on the shores of Wales centuries ago, the Snape clan had provided Britain with fifty-seven generations of its most powerful potion brewers, and the Snape family had also long since established for itself a reputation for producing powerful Dark wizards and for acquiring extremely questionable wealth.
Which was why one approached a Snape with extreme caution.
And rumor had it that the young Severus Snape - the skinny, pale, yet surprisingly bright eleven-year-old who was to attend Hogwarts this year - was showing signs of becoming the most magically powerful of the lot, and that the recently widowed Snape senior was training him in secret to become the Dark Lord's new protÃ©gÃ©...
In the midst of the cheerful chaos and the pre-school year excitement of Platform 9 Â¾, five small figures watched and waited, silent and cunning - the calm eye of an otherwise thundering storm.
Among these boys was Severus Darius Snape, thin and greasy Potions Master-in-training, yet also an unexpectedly intelligent and agile wizard, as far as eleven-year-olds go. Long and oily jet-black hair slicked out of the way of his cool, unreadable ebony eyes, his strikingly cold expression did nothing to belie his razor-sharp wit and extensive knowledge of the Dark Arts. His upper-lip was permanently curled in a derisive sneer, and his arms were held loosely at his sides in a posture that betrayed none of his ruthless cunning or graceful, deadly reflexes.
Severus, along with the other four figures standing around him, was dressed in rich, black robes and was a living embodiment of cruelty. Unlike them, however, he was hardly well mannered, watching the ruckus surrounding him with disconcertingly calculating eyes and sneering contemptuously, mockingly. The small group of boys was set apart from the rest of the rowdy first years just in their maturity and cool indifference, and they used their haughty, aristocratic breeding and biting sarcasm as defense mechanisms to keep the rest of the world at bay.
Of course Severus was different. He was from a very old, rich, and powerful family...
He was Slytherin.
Or he would be, soon enough.
It was only a matter of time.
Standing at the center of the small group (easily the most noticeable of the lot) was the fair, blond, and arrogant Lucius Malfoy. He was what could only be described as beautiful - so blond that his hair seemed almost white - and with a face graced by smooth aristocratic features and pale white skin, he attracted admiring looks from the female half of his classmates and envious glares from the male half.
His angelic, never-less-than-perfect appearance, however, did not reveal his true nature.
But his cold, icy silver eyes, on the other hand...
They were a different story.
Lucius was by far one of the cruelest people Severus knew. He had a twisted sense of humor, a completely merciless heart of ice, and had a mocking smirk that was eternally affixed on his face. He was also, however, Snape's closest friend. The two boys held for each other little trust and affection, true, but they worked together well and had been pulled together long ago, united by a common enemy: the rising Dark Lord. They also shared the same interests - the Dark Arts and Potions among them - and both detested their fathers with the passionate hatred born from harsh, intense training and forced participation in the Dark Lord's slow but deliberate rise to power.
Both boys wanted nothing more than the choice to do and say what they wished.
But instead they were forced onto a path that neither wanted to take - a path that required them to give up who they were and walk voluntarily into a world of darkness, despair, and a most likely early death. Forced by their fathers into submission, they each harbored an intense hatred for the two men who gave them life, the same men who had taken from them their mothers, their freedom, and their identities.
But disobedience was not an option.
It never was.
And that was why both boys were so excited at being able to start at Hogwarts this year. Because at Hogwarts, away from their fathers' strict and watchful eyes, they could, for once, afford to drop their impenetrable masks and be their uninhibited selves...
For once, they would be free.
Which was why, Lucius and Severus thought, it would be an interesting year...
Disclaimer: Any and all characters belonging to the Harry Potter series are the legal property of J.K. Rowling and/or Warner Brothers.