Author's Notes: Here's the science - concentrate! I felt that a sequel to Trials & Tribulations wouldn't realy be possible due to changes in canon post-OotP. However, I discovered the other day that I'd really done a lot of planning about Snape's childhood while writing T&T, and it seemed a pity to put that to waste, so if you've read T&T you may consider this a prequel. If you haven't read T&T then read this...then go read Trials & Tribulations (There's a link to it on my authors page). Thanks to my betas. Big ole warning, this contains non-graphic, non-consensual sex.
A Classical Conditioning
February 10th, 1959
The wind was knocked from her as she was shoved unceremoniously against the stone wall, held up by his hands. The rough surface grazed her through the thin silk of the once-white gown, now muddied at the hem and starting to shred at the back.
His lips trailed down her neck, hot breath steaming in the icy February air. Her hands gripped his shoulders, but he pushed them away, pinning them roughly to the wall. She struggles half-heartedly, rubbing her hands against the stone until slick, warm blood starts to seep from them.
"Please, Claud, stop..."
One hand is removed from hers, pawing and grasping at the skirt of her gown. A loud rip is heard in the bleak silence and the harsh wind whips her bare legs. His hand covers her mouth until only moaning can be heard from between his fingers, even as hot tears slide over his skin, mingling with the blood left from her grazed hands.
She opens her bleary eyes to the darkness of the night. They connect for just a moment with his black pupils, that had once seemed so endearing, before they roll up in his head in pleasure, and his head falls forwards against her shoulder. Her own eyes roll up to the full moon above them, lighting their consummation with a ghostly sheen. She pants through his splayed fingers, but not with pleasure.
Tears and blood and semen trickle down her skin, and she wonders what she did to deserve this.
November 13th, 1959
"Are you sure you wouldn't like to be with your wife, Mr Snape?"
"I'm better where I am. Tears and blood and who knows what else," the tall, mousey haired man shuddered. "Just tell me when she's done, there's a good girl."
The nurse raised her eyebrow slightly, but nodded and swept into the delivery room carrying the lavender and chamomile calming infusion. Hetty Longbottom had not been in maternity long and had only assisted on ten or fifteen births, but Mrs Snape was the quietest mother-to-be she had yet experienced. The various nurses and midwives scurried about her, but the raven-haired woman just lay there, sobbing quietly, waiting for her baby to come. She gave an occasional gasp of pain, or a quiet request for some water, but there was none of the panic that usually accompanied labour.
She was just in her last stages now. It had not been long compared to some, but it had started at night and carried on through until dawn, and the poor woman looked ready to pass out.
"It's coming, Mrs Snape. One last good push should finish it!" the midwife said, holding the baby's head carefully as the body began to slip out. "It's a boy. Quick, pass me that wand!"
As the midwife cut the umbilical cord and passed the baby to another nurse, Hetty couldn't help noticing the look of relief on Mrs Snape's face.
"Would you like me to fetch Mr Snape, Ma'am?"
Mrs Snape's eyes widened slightly, and she reached out for her baby, holding it tight to her. She smiled slightly down at his black mop of hair, and then frowned and nodded. "Yes. I think that would be best."
Hetty nodded in return, and walked quickly from the room. Mr Snape was sat quite calmly in the corridor reading a newspaper. Without looking up, he inquired, "Is it a boy?"
"Yes, Sir," Nurse Longbottom replied. "Would you like to come and see him?"
Claudius Snape lowered his newspaper and peered at the nurse through oval shaped spectacles. "Yes, I suppose I'd better," he drawled, standing slowly.
The nurse smiled nervously. "Just this way, Sir."
She turned and led him into the delivery room, where Estrella Snape smiled down at her silent baby, enfolding him in her arms. She looked up at the nurse's re-entrance, and seemed to hold her baby tighter as her eyes slid to her husband's imposing figure. She quickly lowered her head so that Greecian black curls fell forward, partially masking her face.
"He has your hair, I see, Ella. Pity about that. Would have thought the Snape genes would win over." Mrs Snape gazed up at her husband, a carefully measured blank expression on her face. "Well, let me look at the boy."
The woman looked down almost regretfully at her child, before handing him into Claudius Snape's outstretched arms. "He's quiet for a baby. I expected him to be bawling by now. Everything alright with him, is it?"
"Everything's fine, Mr Snape," Hetty replied. "Some babies are just that way. Make the most of it, I would."
Snape smiled half heartedly at the girl, then returned to inspecting his baby. "Goodness, I've never known a child to be born with frown lines. Such a severe little chap." He looked at his wife. "His name will be Severus. It's a family name, and considering his disposition I think it quite fitting."
"Yes, dear," his wife replied quietly.
"Severus Aquilla Snape."
Hetty left the room quietly behind Jody, the midwife, leaving the family to their business. As they left the room, she whispered to Jody, "There's something not quite right there, you know. Something with him."
Jody rolled her eyes and replied, "It's the same with a lot of pureblood families. You can bet your bottom dollar they're not married because of any passionate romance. Always ends the same, too. I pity that poor kid."
December 25th, 1960
"Why will he not come to his dear Grandmama, Claudius?"
The stumbling child made a beeline from the wing-back chair to his mother's lap, flinging his arms around her legs as she looked sheepishly up at her mother-in-law. "I'm sorry, Mrs Snape. He's a little shy around strangers."
The stately woman snorted and looked down her hawkish nose at the fairytale beauty her son had been foolish enough to marry. "Stranger, indeed. Who should he walk to if not his own grandmother? It's stubborness and contradiction. So sad to see in one so young. I should be careful of it, Claudius," she added in a stage whisper. "Get it out of him before it causes his character damage."
Estrella Snape bit her tongue hard and scooped the toddler up into her arms, planting a firm kiss on his forehead. She raised her eyes and watched from beneath her lashes as her husband ducked his head to converse quietly with his mother. She could not hear what they talked about, but could very well imagine.
"I think it a complete crime that you don't have a wet nurse, Estrella. The boy will become far too attached. It will be his undoing." Claudius straightened again, his jaw tight. Estrella knew that whatever they had been discussing was her fault.
"And I would agree with you, Mrs Snape," Estrella lied, "if I were still working. However, as I am at home anyway it would be...foolhardy to employ someone to look after the boy when I can do so myself at no expense."
Severus struggled in his mothers arms and slid inelegantly to the floor, running towards his father, then veering suddenly to the window. Estrella smiled fondly at the bounding figure, dressed up in his Sunday best for Christmas. Mrs Snape senior raised a critical eyebrow at the expression and began to rise.
"It is nearly dark. I shall take my leave, Claudius."
"Thank you for coming, Mother." Claudius kissed his mother's cheek stiffly.
Estrella quickly crossed the room and picked Severus up. She held him on her hip as she kissed her mother-in-law goodbye. "Thank you for coming to see us, Mrs Snape." She turned her head to smile at her child and lifted his arm with her free hand, whispering, "Wave good bye, Severus."
Mrs Snape smiled benevolently at the child's gesture, but made no move to make one in return. "See me out, would you, Claudius."
Claudius Snape nodded sharply and followed his mother from the room. Estrella followed them quietly, stopping at the door where she could just hear into the entrance hall.
"That girl will smother your boy if you let her. She is far too protective, far too attached to him. It's not right for a mother. You must check her, Claudius, or the boy will become a spoiled, clinging wretch. See to it that that does not happen or mark my words, you will be sorry you did not listen to me."
"Yes mother," the quiet response.
Estrella sighed heavily and held her child tightly, kissing his mop of black hair. She muttered against his soft skin, "I won't let them take you away from me, Sev. I won't let them."
The boy, only a year old, pulled away to look at his mother. His deep, onyx eyes stared into hers before he stretched his arms around her neck and buried his face into her hair.
Please review and make me happy. Next chapter should be up within the next fortnight.