Authors Note: Snape reflects on his childhood. (grrr! I don't even pretend to know how to delve into Snape territory)
Challenge from: ZoeMcAuthor
'I'm sure you don't even care about my life. Or how it happened. Or if there was ever the perfect ending. You probably don't even care about our manor, or my parents, or my sister. But that's too bad. I'm writing, not for you, but for me.'
He penned the words in dark green ink. He took a sip of gin and tonic and then continued.
'I grew up in a haunted manor. It was cold and distant and not homely in the least. It was fit for ghosts, not children. I lived there with my Mother, June, and my Father, Garron. Mother wasn't very affectionate, she wasn't into 'hugging' or 'kissing' or anything, the most you got from her was a pat on the back and a very boring: "well done." She stayed at home with Isabella and I but the nanny did most of the work.'
'Mother delighted in apple martinis and expensive clothes. Chiffon and lace. She always wore her ebony hair up in a messy bun at the top of her head. As far as character goes she said what she wanted when she wanted to say it. She didn't care for sugar coating or for 'being nice.' She was nineteen when I was born.'
'Father was reclusive and removed. He worked for the Ministry of Magic and he worked often. He was a hard worker, a good man. Unlike Mother, Father didn't care for the 'rich' things in life. All he wanted was his flannel bathrobe and cup of bitter coffee. He was strong and unyielding, arrogant and pompous. He met Mother at their first year of Hogwarts. Mum was in Slytherin, Dad was in Ravenclaw. They married right out of Hogwarts, he was twenty-one.
'Life was not particularly interesting or fun but there was always something to do. Sometimes I would just walk around the grounds or raid the pantry. My sister Isabella and I used to always plot ways to sneak out so our nanny wouldn't see us. Life was rough and filled not with love, but with dreams.'
He smiled at the bittersweet memories, pulled himself together, closed the window, and continued on.
'We didn't have it awful, however. Some other children had it far worse, living in the slums of Calcutta and not having even cold oatmeal to eat. And I'm not trying to complain, because it wasn't all awful. Sometimes it was better than the cold draft that came through the window, and sometimes I had more people to talk to than just the ghosts.'
'Bella was probably the best part of the haunted manor. She's two years younger than me and added light that I've never seen before. She was a whole different person. Meek and outspoken, rude and polite, rebellious and acquiescent. Bella I can say was it all. She held the world in her pale hands and told me silly stories of princes and princesses stating "one day my prince will come." And I believed her, because it was just so unlikely. She was my partner in crime, my one true companion. Bella instilled wisdom in me that will never leave me, for all of my life. Mother and Father weren't particularly fond of her. She was a troublemaker, a real character. Bella once told me in indignation "I am no one's puppet." And she really wasn't. She was my little sister, and I would have given heaven and earth just to see her happy.'
The thought of his younger sister made him smile and he shook his tired hand and continued to write.
'I failed to mention my stories of the ghosts. After I realized that torturing them consistently and attempting to throw scrambled eggs and torn up insults at them I decided to shall we say 'join forces with them.' One was an older looking man, he had a top hat and fancy clothes. He talked too much. 'I died in this house...' he said 'forever I will stay in this house.' The other was his small granddaughter, no more than eight, probably. Her Grandfather called her 'kiddo' and she followed him relentlessly. They strolled outside the manor and made stairs creak and things fly. Bella had always taken a liking to them; she took a liking to everything, actually. She made quick friends with the little girl and insisted I be nice to her. Bella always was our little manipulator. I've moved out of the manor now, obviously, but the ghosts still stay, I know. And sometimes I can hear the little girl saying, 'talk to me.' And the old man saying 'how are you my dear gentleman?' Eerie, but intriguing.'
'I got accepted to Hogwarts at eleven, as did most children from wizarding families. Mother and Father bowed their heads and said 'well done.' A few days later they insisted we go to Diagon Alley and buy my supplies. A wand, robes, cloaks, an owl (later named 'peppermint toad' due to the stripes), and my books. Bella came too and said she would miss me for always. I touched her nose with the tip of my finger and said, "Always is a long time." She laughed. Days later I was on the Hogwarts Express, enjoying my new freedom. The train was cherry red, happy and exciting. New. I sat on the leather seats with Peppermint Toad next to me, I was alone.'
'I didn't much mind being alone, I was quite used to it, really. But that didn't make it any more pleasant. I had my own compartment and simply mused of what Hogwarts would be like. Mother insisted I wear my dark green tie and button-up shirt. It was altogether disgusting, all of the social 'plays' were. I began reading Hogwarts a History and quickly became bored. I fed Peppermint Toad a few owl chows and looked out the window. Secretly, I thought that someone would come and sit by me. Talk my ear off, annoy me. But no one came. Finally we arrived at Hogwarts and for someone as simple as I, the display did amaze me. The tall towers and dark looming figure, the glossy lake. I pulled my trunk along, knowing no one. Trusting no one.'
The memory still made him gaze at the ceiling in amusement.
'Hogwarts was not true freedom, not really. You still had people to answer to and people to appease. I went through life (thus far) as a recluse with only his little sister as a comrade. And here I was with many people...and I was stunned.... I still had tow the line and work hard. I was sorted into Slytherin although somehow that surprised me at the time. I was hoping more for Ravenclaw but even I admit, I'm no book smart genius. I found my new 'home' comforting not because everyone was inviting but because everyone was (too) aloof and obnoxious. If you have to be alone, best do it with your own kind. The dormitory was bland with snake wallpaper and the beds were covered in scarlet sheets.'
'Slytherins, I was soon to figure out, were really fascinating creatures. They were not lovely or emotional but they were intriguing and odd. I breezed through all of my classes, except for History of Magic (which I had a difficult time staying awake in) and was considered to be one of the smartest in my year. No, really. Bella entered Hogwarts when I was in my third year, she was sorted into Hufflepuff. Which although was 'despicable' to my kind, I knew it was right.'
'Bella was the ultimate 'people person' and she would not have been happy in any house other than Hufflepuff although she did say 'I wanted to be in Slytherin with you!' She was sobbing, actually. I told her that I didn't want her in Slytherin, told her they'd trick her into anything under the sun. They would have too. So she retired to the Hufflepuff dormitory a frown on her pointy face...but she still managed to wink.'
'If it's hard for you to believe I went through Hogwarts school 'alone' then you'll be surprised to hear that I was not only alone but made fun of as well. The 'Marauders' as they liked to be called were the worst bit of scum that ever walked the earth and they deserve(d) to die long painful deaths, alone. Evans, Potter, Black, Petigrew, and Lupin, the lot of them. They were not exemplary people or even decent for that matter, they got more credit than they deserved. I've never trusted anyone...and they were the first people to teach me that.'
'I won't sit here and tell you that it 'hurt' being teased like that or that I was 'dying inside' but it was tough. Bella was infuriated 'don't you talk to my brother like that!' she always yelled. I urged her to not get into it, they were older than her and these were not 'little girl' issues. Many a time the fights with the Marauders ended in fistfights and Bella always tried to get in the middle of it. Black accidentally punched her once when she got in the middle of the fight. And I've always loathed him the most out of the losers, because no one hits my little sister.'
He smiled at his schoolboy days and went back to the quill, inkpot and parchment. A smirk plastered on his sallow face.
'I delved into the Dark Arts starting in my second year. Many other Slytherins did as well but I became even more obsessed than any one else. I had a talent for the Dark Arts and no one could miss it. Not even Bella who cheekily said: 'my dear brother, Voldemort's supporter?' I threw a large book at her then.'
'The years did not go quickly but they did pass. Butter spread on warm toast and cold oatmeal, long walks in the rain alone, corridors passed daily.'
'Times passed and finally I was graduating. I'd be away from Hogwarts and yet my feelings were mixed. Bella would still be there for another two years or so and it seemed like I had longer there. My debt will never be fully paid to Hogwarts.'
'It wasn't so much that it was 'the best' or even close, but it was Hogwarts. And magic always lingered there. It lingered in the mysterious corridors, in the broom closets and on the Quidditch pitch. It simply lingers and infests souls. It was magical, and it taught me that magic doesn't make up for imperfections.'
Severus Snape smiled grimly and continued on, his arm getting tired and his gin and tonic becoming quite low. He took a large bite of cheesy pasta and continued.
'Hogwarts is less so a place and more so a location in the heart. In your deepest thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Magic is magic and only matters if you can truly feel it.'
'For magic is forever. And even when you cannot see it, it exists, and it prevails.'
He smiled at the ending and closed up the parchment.