Disclaimer: I'm sorry to say that I own little more than the mindless ramblings. The characters, and Severus's hair belong to the revered JK Rowling.
A/N: Just a little something that my insomnic driven mind lead me to last night. Personally I blame the neurofen I took.

Enjoy! And remember to tip the author. ;)

But They Never Did

They never asked him about his hair.

They'd mumble about it, whisper when he wasn't looking, sometimes the brave would even shout out to him.

"Greasy Git." "Slimy Slytherin." "Should we show you where the water is Snape?"

But they never asked.

It hadn't taken long before he could ignore the flashes of pain each comment brought and after a while he started to look at it as a game. The more he overheard the more he won; after all, only someone truly cunning could hear about themselves so often without getting caught. He'd had a scoring system, nothing so elaborate as the School's House points, and never recorded, but it suited his purpose and he kept on winning.

His downfall had been harder than he'd expected. He wasn't sneakily overhearing. He wasn't catching the other students unawares. They knew he was there, this was their game, and with their rules he lost completely.

He didn't play after that, not after eyes had met his own, unblinking, as their mouth spoke degrading words. It wasn't fun anymore, and what was the point if there were no other options but to lose?

Still, the whispers didn't stop, people didn't move on to better things. Not that he'd really expected them too. He had long since given up even the pretence of believing the Headmaster's twinkling words. So the whispers got louder, the words sharper and he refused to lose, even if it meant he couldn't win either.

They still didn't ask.

His "friends" hadn't minded the words that followed him around. Beneath a hood and mask ones hair could barely be seen after all, so what did they care if everyone else thought his hair to be dirty. They couldn't see it, so where was the problem?

Not that it stopped them from slipping him notes with washing instructions, gag gifts of shampoo at the Christmas feasts, and helpful tips on how to create a near Lucius looking style.

It didn't matter though, anything that might have cared when young had died in that fairytale castle along with any pure dreams he could have hoped to glance. The fading image of what he could have been had been buried deep within his very soul, covered first with wisps of cloth, then walls of stone, finally it was all but forgotten in a castle of turrets and towers that beat to the rhythm of his pulse. A heart of stone. When he'd thought on it, he wondered if his heart had its own collection of training wizards and witches.

A few months, and then the whispers finally stopped. The devouring of death, discussing of torture, these were far more interesting than any strand on his head. If they noticed his hair getting worse they never said.

They never asked.

His colleagues were worse than his "friends". The gifts given in earnest were like cannons on castle walls. His game started again, seven years after he'd vowed never to play another. Neither staff nor student intended his overhearing now; he was far too dangerous for even Gryffindor stupidity. His points racked up, his wins totalling more than he was willing to count less they become too many losses. For every point to himself, he took ten from the castle that had destroyed him.

Evil fell from the world, that's what the faceless masses proclaimed. His hair remained unchanged. Those around him looked in wonder; even after the magical gaol it hadn't become as clean as the rest of him. Had they really expected it to?

Evil rose from the ashes, the spineless masses shuddered in fear. He slipped on his hood and mask covering his hair again. His "friends" were silent. They had their own problems. Everyone did, so he was told, but only his "friends" remained silent. He had to wonder.

All sorts of excuses were made for him.

"I'm sure it's just a genetic thing." "Probably thinks he's above such social niceties." "Must be the potions, spends all day with his head in a cauldron" "Maybe he should stay inside one."

They never asked him why.

He liked to think that he would have told them, had they asked. That he would have opened his mind and told them of green flashes of death, cold touches of icy blades, burning whips of scorching rope and fingers in hair that tried to rip the memories away. Yes, that part of him long dead and cold, huddled for eternity within trembling walls of white stone buried deep in a body that had been dying since those first whispers. That part believed he would have told them all if they had just asked him why.

But they never did.


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