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Severus' Story

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This is a ghost story. Severus is writing it himself. In the story, he is sitting on a tree stump in the middle of a barely cleared space before the fallen tree's twin. The standing tree is tall and thick and gnarled, and Severus would swear if asked—although no one ever asks him anything except, "Where've you been?" and the like—that the gnarled bits of bark and sap have eyes.

They don't watch me, thinks Severus, looking up at the near-impenetrable canopy, through which only a slight ray of light slips. They watch for me.

Nothing can hurt Severus in his "forest," and there is much to keep him entertained. He turns his attention back to Tree, with her large limbs and secret, shadowy places in which little animals and skittering insects chirp and chitter. Sometimes, it is their eyes he sees, briefly, before they thrust themselves away from his view. He wishes that they would trust him—the slugs passing slowly over the moss-covered tree roots do not seem to mind him, but no one talks to slugs—trust him enough to reveal their secrets to him, but as of yet, they do not.

I've only just found this place. It'll take time, time, he thinks, stumbling over the thought, for them to like me.

His Mam's parents had not liked him, he knows that, and more than that, he knows that no amount of time will help make them like him. Of course—two pearly faced snobs with shiny robes and sticks to hold their fags—who wants them to like him, anyway? He certainly does not, and he never will.

"I don't care about them." Severus kicks at his stump. "I don't!"

A screech rises into the air with the bird that he has disturbed.

"Sorry!" calls Severus, hoping very hard that it is, in fact, a bird that he has disturbed.

Perhaps he should have called out, "Apologies!" as he has recently learnt some people, some pale and supposedly perfect people, do.

"No," Severus says quietly but firmly. "No."

He is not sorry. He is a good boy, and his mam is a good mam, and he rejects anyone who cannot see that.

He feels eyes upon him and warms to the attention. His "ghosts" are not frowsty and disapproving. His ghosts are his friends, and sitting on Stump, Severus returns to their story.