It was tiresome and maddening to live in this house with paper thin walls that did nothing but echo the sounds of flesh against flesh, wood or metal or even the unwilling fuck sessions between the adults. The stench of alcohol, sweat and the dirt from the mill permeated the house every time that man walked through the door.
The child curled in on himself in a corner as he watched his mother go sailing through the air into pantry door. If he stayed still and unnoticeable then there was a chance that Tobias wouldn’t see him. He didn’t want to be seen or beaten by the man with the fury twisted face and the stench of misery that seeped from every pore.
Severus’ pitch black eyes followed the man’s stumbling path warily. When he finally left the room the child scrambled for the door and ran out into the daylight.
Severus excelled at running. His legs were long, his body was thin and light and his only shoes were the Red trainers that his mother was able to give him one birthday when she had won a drawing at the local plaza. His breath became steady, his heartbeat loud and his purpose clear. To run was to seize just a bit of peace. To run was to escape the binds of his situation. His ugly violent father, his meek magically repressed mother, his rumbling stomach, the foul names children—wizarding and Muggle alike—called him and every other problem that he faced at age eight.
He finally stopped running ten minutes later when he reached the park that marked the passing from Spinners end to crystal waters. He surveyed the area with a casual glance; there were no adults, only three children two girls on the swings and a boy on the jungle-gym.
Severus moved silently and quickly to the huge metal barrels that were liberally placed around the park. He had no qualms about eating from the trash. He was hungry and food was food no matter the source. There was never a worse thing than being hungry. So he fished through the discarded things finding a half eaten apple and a few bites of a tuna sandwich with pickles.
Eager to partake of the small meal the long legged boy threw him self into a sitting position by some shrubs and wiped the apple against the sleeve of his barely clean smock before he bit into it. He savored the fruit, grateful that the slightly bruised areas had turned off some finicky child. Then all of the sudden a flash of cold flickered across his skin making him alert and ready in an unknown way. He choked down the rest of the apple in two bites and tossed the sandwich to the side.
Severus knew this feeling, this rippling power that just seemed so familiar and indefinite at the same time. He crawled into the shrubs peering through the low branches for the source of his sudden longing. The soothing mix of magic and power made his skin tingle and his mind calm. One of the girls was the source.
If only he could tell which one—There! The smaller one!
Severus watched delightedly as the little girl floated to the ground like the spores of the dandelions that dotted the moors behind the sorry excuse for a shack he lived in. She was magic just like he was. Just like Mother used to be.
He couldn’t help the sloppy grin that spread across his face. This was big, he wasn’t alone anymore! There before him was another like himself, someone who wasn’t afraid to use it. Someone, who unlike Mother, hadn’t had their gift beaten out and ground away.
Mother was a quiet woman, breaking her silence to speak with him or at one point to fight against the beast of a man she married. The Massive man that dragged disdain, drunkenness and melancholy behind him like a prisoner did a ball and chain.
‘You are no less than any other. You are destined for great things— pure things.’ She would say while she crouched over his little body steadily bearing the blows her Husband dealt her.
If what mother said was true then this girl with hair made of spun flames too, was destined for great things. He stepped out of the bushes and she turned, startled, toward him.
In that moment he was caught—
Her large almond shaped green eyes seemed impossibly vivid when outlined by those thick long lashes.
She drew him in and he couldn’t escape her pull.
She said her name was Lily and that she lived on the other side of Spinners end.
That was the first time Severus knew something other than fear, hunger or sorrow. He held onto those feeling and pulled them deep with in himself, keeping them safe from the monster that prowled his home.
He kept his feelings close and Lily closer as time slipped by.
The invitation letter was half expected and well received. Severus sent off his acceptance before he climbed out of bed and skittered to the next room in search of his mother.
Severus found his mum in the kitchen and handed her the letter. He watched her face carefully as she read it. Maybe she would smile like she did in the picture on the mantle where she wore a cream dress that stretched over a big belly that she no longer had.
“Tell them no.” She hissed and tossed the paper down on the table.
“I already told them I would go.” Severus whispered, he always whispered because only two kinds of noise were allowed in this house; whispers or screams.
“You will leave me?”
Mother’s Dark tired eyes bored through his gaze and shifted through his soul. He felt the chilled fingers of some one else’s thoughts wrap around his mind and he took a deep breath trying to ready himself for the pain.
“You want to leave…”
He screamed after all.
He had nowhere else to go. Lily was away with her family and the July storms were coming strong. The pouring rain had sent Mother scurrying around the house with a mop trying in vain to soak up the water that dripped from the roof and forced everyone else indoors too.
Tension was high and quarters were tight.
“It was best to stay out of the way for now,” Severus mumbled into his knees shrinking in on himself behind the deep blue shower curtain. Hopefully Mother wouldn’t find him here. Hopefully Tobias wouldn’t find him here. The man had been trying to corner Severus ever since he stepped foot off the Hogwarts express. Mother helped Tobias by telling him where Severus was, failing to pass on messages that were for her son and pointing out that he couldn’t use magic.
Severus didn’t know how to feel. Angry that they were both against him, hurt that his mother would betray him, or pleased that they had finally stopped fighting (Well, Tobias fought. Mother was more of a punching bag) long enough to look his way?
The small town seemed to close in on him, it was stifling at the best of times but when Tobias was on the prowl and looking for a battle the neighborhood was practically microscopic. Small digs, shoves, slaps and impossible expectations were layered on day after day until Severus went off to hide or slipped away into the streets of Spinner’s End.
‘Why hadn't he gone with Malfoy? Severus pondered while he leaned his head against to cool tiles. Why did he bother to go home to mother who became withdrawn and violent herself? Before she would guard him from Tobais’ wrath, now she freely offered him up as her own replacement and more frequently striking out against him because he shared the same face as their tormenter.
The doorknob squealed from the pressure of what could only be Tobias’ heavy hand.
Severus froze perfectly still. He didn’t even dare breathe. He was stuck in this corner; boxed in. There would be no running, no fighting back, and no screaming for help.
Everything was roaring loud. The stream of the grown man’s piss, the sound of his zipper and the gush of the faucet were all like crescendos in an orchestra house, loud and conspicuous. When the water was off and Severus heard the fabric of the hand towel settle he let out a small breath.
Suddenly the curtain and the rod were ripped down from the wall and there Tobias stood larger than life. He was tall, easily six feet, with broad thickly muscled shoulders that were a hare’s breathe away from massive. His monstrous thick fingers clutched the cloth of the curtain practically shredding it in his grip. That sharp angled face was twisted into a wicked, ugly snarl.
He snarled in a fashion befitting the vicious beast he was.
Something swept all logic away from the little boy pulling him to his feet, making him look the living boogie man in the eye and affix a wide defiant smile on his face. If it was bravery or just plain idiocy, Severus would never know.
He doesn’t regret it.
With a broken nose, cracked rib, and finger shaped bruises on his thighs he fondly remembered the moment he realized that the man who sired him was nothing but a vicious animal. The kind of vicious animal that needed to be put down before he could attack again.
He knew this feeling, this rippling power that just seemed so familiar and indefinite at the same time. The soothing mix of magic and power made his skin tingle and his mind calm. It was feeling that Lily called accomplishment —pride rather.
That’s when Severus realized that he doesn’t regret his decision in the least.