Behind The Masks
The Bell and the Black Dragon
Summery: Severus Snape has had a generally hard life. He made lots of decisions that changed his life, for better or worse. Why? I'd say it had something to do with his abusive father. This is not one of those "Severus is ten and we show his life from there." No, the war wages on. With one change. Daddy's back. Post OotP
The rain poured down mercilessly, cracking down his mental shields and beating on his consciousness like an anvil. It almost hurt to breathe. Was it possible to feel this terrified and this exhilarated at the same time? He watched the pouring rain with a feeling of justice undone, with a feeling of only the surreal calm before the storm.
He watched as lightening arched across the sky, beautiful and threatening at the same time. Brushing his shoulder length black hair out of his eyes, he watched as some of the other recipients of The Night Bus awoke from the clashing thunder.
He was a man of about six foot two, with obsidian black eyes that sparkled full of intelligence, and a desire to rectify past mistakes. He was currently on his way to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Looking down at the newspaper he saw his own face printed on the cover. Under that he saw the headline and story. Bold words to be about him:
Dr. Shaeden Snape, 58, Saves Young Girl
Angelita Dennice, 7, was given a second chance in life by the world-renowned healer Shaeden Snape. After battling with Brain Fever for three years, the young girl finally seemed to have lost her fight. The only way for her to heal was a very complicated operation on her brain
With the girl's young age this was a definite risk, but with the parents permission, they went on with the difficult surgery. Brain Fever is an infection of the brain, due to the contraction of meningitis.
After the four-hour operation, the girl has finally been given the chance for a normal life, thanks to the talented healer.
Shaeden gazed at his picture. It had been taken, along with this interview two days ago. He looked at the long black hair, the pale complexion, the high cheekbones, the sculpted lips and the crooked nose. There were almost impossible to see, gray streaks in his long hair, that no one would notice unless they saw them every day when looking in the mirror.
When the world looked at him, what did they see, he wondered? Did they see a wealthy man, dressed nicely, with a fruitful career? Or did they see the loneliness in his eyes, and the wish that he could change things, and have back all that he had taken from himself; to erase his self inflicted emptiness.
It's all my fault… all my fault.
You know that they say about murderers… When you look in the mirror, never look into your own eyes, because what you see will haunt you till the day you die. He understood this, and understood this well, though murderer he was not. He might as well be, for all the lives he had ruined. Hogwarts… it had been a long time. He wasn't quite sure why he was going.
He had just received an owl from Albus Dumbledore, yesterday, asking him to drop by for tea around three or four. He had said he had a proposition. Shaeden didn't know what that meant, but was all too willing to find out. After all, one did not just ignore an invitation from Albus Dumbledore. If Dumbledore had a reason for inviting him, then Shaeden believed he had a reason enough to go. He trusted Albus Dumbledore. He had had complete faith in Dumbledore when he had said Voldemort had returned.
And now this. It had been so long… would he still recognize… him? Would he be able to recognize his own son? Would his son even want to be recognized? No. He would not. That he had made clear upon their last meeting, almost twenty years ago. Twenty years. He had been thirty-eight then. He had been twenty one when his son was born, thirty-six when his son had run away from home, and thirty-eight when he had last saw him. He was fifty-eight now. Twenty years… my god… twenty years…
Severus had been seventeen the last time he had seen him. And now he was going to Hogwarts where Severus lived. He had his own place to live in the summertime, he knew. When fifteen, he had run away and spent the summer in Diagon Alley. The next year he did so again, and at seventeen he resided in Malfoy Manor with his best friend Lucius Malfoy, who had, just this summer been named a Death Eater.
Yes, I know in book 5 they say Lucius is 41, where we know Severus is 37, but I changed it for my story, Lucius is now 37 also.
He never knew if his son was also a Death Eater, and if so he was very cunning to have a position at Hogwarts and still not get caught. He hoped his son was not. He hoped his son had made good choices, though his father didn't. He hoped the if so, his son had changed his ways… Even if so, he had no doubt that the way he felt for his father hadn't… He never doubted that Severus hated him. Still did. How could he not, after what he had done to the boy? To his own son?
He could still hear the screams when he slept at night.
"No! Father! Stop, please stop! Don't hurt me anymore! I haven't done anything wrong!" The young boy lay in the corner, tears streaming from his face as a tall man came at him, eyes bloodshot, betraying his alcoholism.
"Shut up! You are nothing! You are just an insolent wretch that I have to put up with! You dare stay here, and befoul my house! You are just another worthless mouth to feed!"
He then rounded on the other occupant of the house, who huddled in the corner, scared and sobbing, unable to look up at her husband hurt their son. She was frail and looked like she had once been beautiful, but the stress of being beaten had aged her years; she looked close to death.
"You dare defy me! Look at me when I speak to you! I. Said. Look. At Me!"
Sobbing, she did as told, knowing what would happen if she didn't obey. With a yell of fury he brought his hand across her face with all the force he had, yelling to her about how weak he was, as he did so. With a cry she collapsed to the floor.
The young Severus through himself out of the corner and jumped on to his mother, shielding her with his own body, the next attack, meant for her, hit him, and he went flying off his mother; his father, it seemed, had not even noticed he had been there in the first place, intoxicated as he was.
The young boy tried to muster up enough strength to save his mother, something she had been to afraid to do for him, but it was to no avail, the young boy, who couldn't be more than a day older than five had tears streaming down his face, and it would seem his jaw had been broken. His father hit his mother once more with enough force to knock her into the wall where she fell motionless.
He yelled once more about having to live with worthless being not worthy, than ran into the bedroom, slamming it loudly. He struggled once more, and was able to crawl to where his mother now lay unconscious on the ground. As she regained consciousness a dry sob wretched itself from her throat. But Severus Snape's young eyes grew hard. He hated his father for doing this to him.
But his mother… she knew her time wouldn't be for long. She was slowly losing the battle which she had to fight every day. Everyday she told herself she would be strong. She said that she would raise the strength to fight him, and to leave him, and to take her son with her, and that she would never let her husband ever again touch their son.
But every time she saw him coming after her, drunk once more, she couldn't help but try to run. And her son? What of him? How long before he would stop fighting? How long before he too, would lose faith?
She tried to be strong – really she did. But it just didn't seem to always work out. She knew she was becoming frail and would not give up. But she knew she could not live much longer.
But she would, Shaeden knew. She would live through their divorce. She would live through remarrying to one who had seemed wonderful at first – but he would be just the same towards her as he had – just worse as he had no excuse for it. He did not drink. He did nothing. He was just… that way.
He beat his ex-wife and son – no! Not your son! You lost the privilege to call him that! You have no right! – But that man had beaten them for fun. It had to have been ten times worse than anything he had inflicted upon them in his drunken sprees.
But she would live through it. Just as she would live through Shaeden remarrying to a prim and proper detached woman who cared nothing but for her vanity and his money. But that was all Ammarie Snape would live through. Leaving her son at the age fifteen, she would depart from the world.
The only good thing that came out of his marriage to Severus's detached stepmother was that she did not care for her public image to be ruined, having married a drunk. So she stopped that part. She enrolled him into the wizard equivalent of a muggle alcohol-free clinic, where they teach you to learn what you are and stop it. And he would stop.
He became free from what webs had once ensnared him. But it was too late. About three days before Ammarie would die, he was released from the clinic declared fully healed. He had lost his wife. One he hadn't really known. And a son, who's whole existence had been nothing to him but another worthless mouth to feed.
He had lost everything he had never really had.
When free of the alcohol he had been freed from the tangle of strong walls that had once eluded him. But he had lost the fight after all. He fell to a state of absolute melancholy; he would feel loss at it's greatest.
Severus's hateful and abusive stepfather would take custody over him. That same step-father would sign papers at the Ministry of Magic stating that until the legal age of eighteen, Shaeden Snape should not be able to come within a three mile length of his son.
Just when he had corrected his mistakes, the chance to rectify what he had done to his son, he had lost him again. He became a drunk once more. Falling into a state of depression, this time there was no selfish woman to aid him in his trials. No one except his son.
So when he learned of his son running away from home, and fleeing away from his stepfather to the Leaky Cauldron, he had followed. And when he saw his son he couldn't help but feel the loss he had suffered. He had left this behind for drinking? He had left his own flesh and blood. His son saw him… and recoiled.
There it was. He had only had one glass of... that didn't matter did it? He was still a drunk. He was still the same man who had made the first fourteen years of Severus's life hell.
And his son was afraid of him. When he realized this he had silently walked out of the bar and spent the next two years trying to gain a semblance of the life he could of had. That's when it happened. He had been in Diagon Alley applying to see if there was a healer's job open at St. Mungo's. There was. He applied. But a job wasn't the only thing he had found on that day.
As he finished filling in the application, he looked up to meet the stunned eyes of Severus Snape. He had frozen. There in the cobbled streets of Diagon Alley he remained stationary. The wind winded it way through the sky making swirls that knocked his breath away as he gazed into eyes like his own.
He could only have guessed what was going through the boy's head. He tried to remain calm but the tattoo of his heart was growing unsteady. He walked over to his son and opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
Than his son's mouth grew into a thin line, unrepressed hate in his eyes, not even trying to dissimulate the anger in his eyes, " What are you doing here?" His son asked, hate etched into every word.
"I – I was getting an application in for a job at St. Mungo's… I… I have a… talent for healing, it would seem."
" Really? Since when? Well, that's quite ironic, healing, as you spent most of your life pursuing… other interests…" He could see no sign of ctuggle for composure on his son's face.
Shaeden winced at the insult of it. "Well… I was signing the application out and… well…" He could feel a black holeappearing in his chestat the cruelty in his seventeen year old's heart.
"So, what is it now? You have the audacity to come in here – to come to me – after what you did, and make claim of your worthy sagacity? You dare, after what you did to me? How dare you be so bold, when all my life you abused me? The very man I was supposed to call 'Father'? You are nothing but a drunk who spent his life making his wife so frail that one push from someone else and she died!"
Severus seemed to be shouting now. He was so angry.. this must have been years of repressed hatred... how long had his son waited to say this? The hole seemed to be growing larger. It felt like a part of himself he didn't know of was closing in on itself, the walls collapsing where they stood. He cleared his throat, seeming to have mislaid his voice, as it had fallen, along with the rest of his heart into the ground beneath him.
As he looked into coal-black eyes, he realized his heart was breaking. He had had a beautiful wife and a beautiful baby boy. It was only when that baby boy had grown up, and was standing in front of him, with this hate in his eyes, did realize what he had had. And what he had missed out on.
"And you have the daring to stand in front of me now, talking like a reasonable man, as if you had never spent half your nightsunconscious, then wake up with a hangover that made you... beat me! Well you don't have the right! How dare you presume you're able to still talk to me! Well, you cant! I never want to speak to you again!"
And with that, his only son spun around and charged across the cobbled streets. He felt his world crash as he chased after his son, shouting his name.
"Severus! Come back! Severus, I need you! You are my son! Please! I'm so sorry for hurting you like this! I was... stupid – I... I had no control! Severus – I… please… I need you…"
He trailed off, tears falling from his face, he fell to his knees, tears cascading down his face in rivulets. His shoulders shook, and he looked down, unable to look at the son he had so wronged, who had slowly turned and was watching him now. He could barely stand, but he did, wiping tears from his face. He desperately tried not to look weaker in front of his son, weaker than he had already proven to be.
He looked up at his son and whispered, "Please… You're my son – I need you…"
His son took about three steps toward him, tentatively, cautiously, timidly…
Shaeden reached out his hand toward his son, fingers extended, Severus looked at it, not sure whether he should take it. Looking up into his father's eyes, he saw the open honesty, the ingenuity and sincerity… and reached his hand towards that of his father. He stared at the long slim tips reaching for his own and wondered if he were dreaming. His son… was willing to forgive him...or... at least try?
Then again... didn't a boy need a father? How would they turn out otherwise?
Their fingertips were inches apart when a voice called out.
His son jumped away from him as if scalded, hand falling at his side. He felt something in him stir. Regret? Regret that the voice couldn't have called a few seconds later? Severus's eyes jumped up to his and Severus looked provisionally stunned.
"Severus! Where are you!"
Eyes never leaving his father's, his son responded. "I – I'm over… over here, Lucius."
A handsome, aristocratic looking seventeen-year-old boy stepped over to them, saw Shaeden, and his eyes widened.
"Severus!" He ran to the other boy and stood in front of him like a protective older brother. "I swear, if you ever lay a hand on Severus again, I swear I'll– "
" –Is there a problem here?" A smooth and refined voice flowed. They all looked up to see Luthien Malfoy looking down at them.
"Father! It's him! He's come back to hurt Severus!"
"I – I did no such thing! I wouldn't lay a hand on my son!"
"Well, you've done a good job holding true to that so far haven't you?" Luthien said maliciously, a cruel smirk in place.
"Come, boys. We will go home."
Shooting one last glare at Shaeden, Lucius headed after his father, jerking his head in that direction, telling Severus to come with.
When all Malfoys were out of sight, there was an uncomfortable silence. Severus simply stared at his father a moment. Then something in his eyes hardened, and he turned and walked away.
A single tear fell from Shaeden's eye as he remembered how he had fallen to his knees in the street after his son's back disappeared from view. He had howled his misery in the middle of the street for the world to hear. He had not slept well for months after that. And he cried himself to sleep every night for weeks. It had been painful. And it had been twenty years ago.
And he had not seen his son since. Nor had he taken one sip of alcohol.
He wiped the tear away. The Night Bus's wheels shrieked to a squealing stop. They had arrived. He headed for the door and was bade goodbye by Stan (F' yoo see Neville make sure ya say 'Lo to 'im for me, will ya? Will ya?)
Looking up at the castle's many turrets and towers he wondered if his son was in one of them.
Time to face the music.
I hope you enjoyed it... And yes, I know the teenaged Lucius is very out of character from the one we recall as an adult... But I'll explain all in due time... Well I hope you enjoyed :) Please review... a "Hey, it was great!" or a"That sucked and you shouled be carted off by the fanfiction police!" is all I'm looking for... :)