Author: Claro3 PM
Emmeline Vance has a story to tell. Rating and secondary genre are mostly for later chapters. Memnto Mori: loosely translated, remeber your death.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Horror - & Severus S. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,495 - Reviews: 3 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 07-21-06 - Published: 04-15-06 - id: 2894693
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Featuring evil!book!Snape and Emmeline Vance
Summary: Emmeline Vance is dead. She'd like to tell you how that came to pass.
A Note on the Timeline: I'm using the timeline enforced on the Harry Potter Lexicon, so the summer between fifth and sixth years would have been in 1996 , and Emmeline Vance, being 35 years of age, would have been born in 1961 , not 1971, which would make her 35 in 2006. This comes up during the course of this chapter, and I don't want anyone to think that I can't add. Or subtract. Just for the record, though, long division is beyond me.
Disclaimer: Yeah, not even British. So, seriously? Not even going to bother pretending I can stake a claim to the books.
Plea: Please, someone, beta my last three chapters! I need a beta! You can email me or AIM me, see my profile for further info, or volunteer through a review. Which reminds me, please review. Flames, constructive criticism, nitpicks, arguments, unwarranted praise, I'll take whatever I can get.
One more thing: Everyone, everyone, watch Casablanca. It's the greatest movie ever, it really is. Also, read the Tale of Genji, for it, too, rocks.
Chapter Two: History
Before I go on, I would like to take a moment to tell about my family. Do you mind? No, of course you don't.
The only relatives I have ever known are my parents. My father was French, the son of first-generation immigrants, a muggle, and a mechanic. My mother was Japanese, the first and only member of her family to come to this country, a witch, and the Chief Secretary of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, which she told me meant she was in charge of the rest of the secretaries. Not glamorous, I know, but it seemed to pay well. I wouldn't find out until much later that there was no such thing as the "Chief Secretary of, etc."
My father. My father's father and his wife, before I forget, let me tell you that story.
My grandfather was from Bordeaux. His name was Dominique Alain Luc Viens. When he was nineteen he married his sweetheart, who has seventeen. Her name was Marie Lacroix Viens. That was in eighteen ninety-eight. In nineteen-oh-four, they had a son. They named him Peirre Alain Viens. In nineteen eighteen, they moved to England, for reasons I have never been able to discern.
The great flu of that year came to England as well. My grandmother Marie was pregnant with her second son, my father. The flu claimed the life of their first son, but left my grandfather and his pregnant wife physically unscathed. Their son was born early in nineteen nineteen, a healthy boy of an astounding 12.6 pounds. My father was a large man. I inherited his height.
When they arrived in England, my granparents had their last names altered by the immigration officials, from Viens to Vance. When my father was born, his dead brother's name was altered from Peirre Alain to Peter Alan, and given to the healthy new baby.
In nineteen twenty-two, my grandparents hired a nanny to help care for their robust young boy, another French immigrant named, by British immigration officials, no doubt, Eloise Carter, though what her proper name was I never knew. She and my grandfather fell, shall we say, rather passionately in love. My grandmother did not approve.
Fortunately, for everyone involved I suppose, she wasn't around to dissaprove for very long. She took ill and died in nineteen twenty-six, after spending almost three years in and out of hospitals. Did Eloise have a hand in my grandmother's demise? Most likely, but the topic was not a popular one with my father. I suspect he knew more than he let on.
My grandfather married Miss Eloise in nineteen twenty-seven, and they took my father and moved from their small costal town (which, apparently, no longer exists), and moved to London.
This proved to be an unwise move. There was not much in the way of employment for a rural fisherman in the middle of that metropolis, and Eloise refused to take time away from Peter and work. They sunk deep into poverty. My grandfather looked for answers in the bottom of bottles. Drink made him both irritable and depressed, and under its influence he often looked for added comfort in the arms of prostitutes. His wife- always a volatile woman- murdered him in a fit of rage. She used a frying pan, of all things. It was cast iron, and my father kept it. He used it to make the best toast I have ever had. No one could make toast as well as my father. Muggle or not, there was some magic in him.
Eloise's last lucid act of life was to mince her husband's body with a meat cleaver, have my father scrub down the flat, and throw what was left of my grandfather into the Themes.
My father could have run from her then. It was nineteen thirty-four, he was fifteen years old, and he had been helping one of his father's few friends in a garage for six years. He was a fairly skilled mechanic, and he could have abandoned Eloise. He could have taken care of himself.
This is where my father's story begins. He left the school he had been attending, and took a full time job at the garage. Eloise had sunk into a deep depression, from which she was never to arise. Most of the time she was catatonic, and my father could not care for her himself, so he had committed at a private hospital. With the majority of his salary, he paid one-third of the rent on a flat built for one, which he shared with two other men, their wives, and the eldest's three young children. With what was left, he paid for Eloise's care. Food was provided by the two wives, both of whom worked for what should have been hat pin money- what would have been hat pin money, in a fair world.
On the weekends, my father made brunch for his housemates and- after eating- spent the afternoon with Eloise who, from what I could gather from the brief times my father spoke of these visits, railed against him, his mother and his father, when she was not utterly insensible of the world around her. I asked him, once, why he put with the woman who had killed his father, and his answer was this: his father had loved her, when he was in his right mind, and she loved him, when she was in hers. He owed it, he said, to the memory of their love.
It was my father who turned me into a hopeless romantic. I can't hate him for it.
Eloise passed away on September 7th, 1940. It was the first mass air raid on London. My father joined the army immediately.
That he survived the war was miraculous to me. He never spoke of it, but I knew- knew- that his story about an accident at his garage was a lie. I always knew that he got his limp in the trenches.
After the war, my father moved back to London, and found as many of his old housemates as he could. The wives and children- Mattie, Jeanine, and Mattie's boys, Ben, Jack, and Winston- had survived. His old boss, a one Alton Smith, had also survived, being too old to enlist when the war began. My father and Alton took Jeanine's two oldest boys into their employ and set about rebuilding the old business. Winston was never to be of any use, for he was severely autistic. It was his good fortune that his mother was both loving and patient, and (ironically) poor. She could not afford to send him to a private hospital, and refused to use any of the less than reputable options available to someone in her socio-economic class.
Things must have gone swimmingly for them, for my family never wanted for anything, and inherited quite a bit from my father, by middle-class standards.
I never inquired much about this period of my father's life, and he was never one to offer much information spontaneously, but from his rare anecdotes, I have pieced together this portrait of his life between the end of the war and his marriage to my mother:
Alfred, Jeanine, Mattie, the children and my father all moved into a flat together- again, a flat smaller than was truly comfortable- for economic reasons. Mattie and my father did not fall in love, exactly, but my father did woo her, for a time. I suppose he felt responsible for her, the widow of one of his good friends. Mattie, however, could never get over the death of her husband, and on January 7th, 1946, she committed suicide. She turned on the gas and went sleep. She never woke up.
Neither did Winston. Perhaps Mattie did not know that he was home, perhaps she didn't care, but the young boy succumbed to the gas along with Mattie.
Jeanine found them. Mattie, on her own bed, and Winston, curled up under Jeanine's.
Jeanine called the police, turned off the gas, opened the windows, waited (thank God) for the gas to clear, retrieved Alton's pistol from the bread cupboard, and shot herself through the left temple. She had been taught to write with her right hand by the nuns at her primary school so many years before, but she had been born left-handed. It was an evil she never could conquer, and the nuns had always hated her for it.
By the time Jeanine's other boys returned home, the police had already cleared away the bodies.
The boys did not remain in London long. Three months after the death of their mother, they moved to Liverpool to live with their last living relative- an Aunt Mae.
My father and Alton continued to run their business as best they could, but Alton's health was failing and soon my father was on his own. My father had always been a lucky man and his luck did not abandon him- he managed to acquire, by the grace of providence, a small and wealthy clientele. Mostly, he catered to gentlemen of good standing with too much free time and a penchant for then classic cars- now they would be called "antique".
My mother fled Japan after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She told me that she came by boat, but I know better. She apparated all the way to England, right into the Office of the Minister of Magic, the longest recorded single distance apparated by a witch in all of magical history. That little feat secured her life-long employ, but I will discuss that further at some other time.
My mother, soon after arriving in London, found herself put up in a way that she felt would keep her under the wizarding radar. She took a small flat, and acquired a muggle car. The car and my mother did not get along. One day in 1946, it broke down a mere half-block from my father's garage. My father fixed my mother's car free of charge, and asked her to make sure to return. My mother's car broke down four times over the next three months, each time near my father's shop. They were married two years after they met, on July eighth, 1948.
My parents, between them, instilled in me a deep and abiding belief in fate. I never for one moment thought that anything happened by mere accident. Part of me, though, always expected the end result of all things to be romantic.
I had fancied that part of my long dead.
Severus Snape, it turned out, knew me better than I knew myself.
He had watched me for months- maybe years- I supposed. He had timed his arrival perfectly.
How he and his master learned of the work I had recently begun, I do not truly wish to know. Dulmbledore has promised me that it would remain secret, and I myself took precautions even the Unspeakables would be proud of- at least, I know of one who would have been. There are only three ways my project could have been revealed, and I do not truly wish to consider any of them at this moment.
Allow me to return to the arrival of Severus Snape.
He sat in the gray armchair, his head resting heavily in his hands, for five- perhaps ten- minutes before speaking.
In that time I closed and locked my apartment door, turned off the television, and sat on the couch, all in the jerky, stilted fashion of a cornered beast of prey.
When I sat, he looked up at me, brokenly, for a moment, and dropped his head again- miserable, exhausted and oddly alluring. I was either too tired to notice the mild glamour he had cast, or determined not to see it. In hindsight, it was fairly obvious.
Severus Snape was never meant to resemble Humphrey Bogart. Laugh, if you will. It's alright, really. The truly dead have a very hard time feeling insulted.
No, Sir Nick is not truly dead.
No, no ghosts are. They occupy the space between life and death.
Stop distracting me. I'm trying to tell you something.
Where was I?
Ah, the glamour. Yes. It worked rather well. I think he may also have been wearing have some cologne- not much, enough for someone sitting close to him to smell, but not enough to be consciously noticed. A subtle touch- Severus was never the type to underestimate the more basic senses.
I was utterly and completely lost- his little glamour, the small dash of cologne, my exhaustion- I began to weave for myself, somewhere in the back the of mind, a wonderful story. Something epic and tragic and devastatingly romantic filled with loss and love and sin and redemption and, I suppose, a happy ending.
I was always a- a- what's the word? What? Sucker. That's it. I was always a sucker for a happy ending.
Yes, I began to imagine Severus and myself as the protagonists in a epic romance- much like Rick and Elsa, or Genji and Murasaki. Only, in our movie, I wouldn't get on that plane. In our novel, I was sure, I would live until the last chapter.
I reached out and placed my hand on his forearm.
His reaction was so well thought-out, so well executed- Severus is like a dancer. Each and every one of his movements- how could I not have noticed it while I was alive?- is carefully choreographed to portray the image that he wants you to see, and nothing else.
He spasmed slightly, and jerked his head up. His eyes were narrowed just a bit, his lips jut barely parted. He paused for a moment, and relaxed his face, eyes widening to a normal size, lips lazily drifting together, before sliding his free hand over mine- both our pale, thin, long-fingered hands resting on his skinny forearm. His movements were subtle, precise- nearly balletic.
Severus claims to value intelligence above all else, but when he wants something from another person, he always appeals to their animal nature. He is a student of human behavior. When dealing with other people, he does not speak the language of tongues. His communications are comprised of movements- subtle cues that his listeners hardly know they are receiving.
The twitch was fear- not so much as to drive me off, but rather, just enough to make me pity him more. He had already sought me out, and displayed the great hallmark of vulnerability- exhaustion- in my home. I would not, unless he made a great show, ever think that he feared me. I had already, without knowing, been convinced that he trusted me implicitly. The twitch was meant to tell me that he had been hurt badly, so badly that even a kind gesture from a trustworthy person such as myself evoked an instinctive fear in him.
The narrowed eyes and parted lips were not terribly brilliant on their own, but paired- as a pair, they were brilliant. The suspicion of the narrowed eyes (a perfect complement to the fear of the preceding twitch) coupled with the apprehensive desire of the parted lips and the scent and the sly glamour, painted for me a perfectly appealing picture of a Byronic hero. Dichotomous, pained, brooding, dark, and- underneath the rough exterior, of course- gentle, courteous and romantic. A Mr. Rochester, or a Manfred.
Truly a masterful performance, he capped it with a gruff apology. And he started to speak. Without urging, without questioning, he told me what I allowed myself to think was everything. All of his complaints about the Order, about Dumbledore- all peppered with opinions that could have been mine.
Perhaps they were mine. Severus truly is one of the greatest Legillimenses of our time.
He spoke, and I listened. His voice was a wonderful tool- he did not so much play it like an instrument as he did conduct it like an orchestra. I cannot claim to remember all of what he said, but was transported by his voice. Enraptured, actually. Truly enraptured.
He stopped talking only to request tea, which he drank without complaint- amazing, I thought, most Pureblood British wizards would have taken offense at being served foreign tea, unsweetened, and without cream. Severus, however, asked if it was from Kyoto- the finest green tea, he used to say, came from Kyoto.
A masterful stroke. I had never in my life been so flattered.
He did not leave until eight in the morning.
He had, by virtue of a virtuoso performance, secured himself permanent welcome in my home- a thing he would very quickly make use of.
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