Disclaimer: No, regretfully I do not own the wonderful professor Snape, or his lovely wife (wife in this universe anyway). Pretty much anybody you recognise is the property of J.K. Rowling, and the plot – of Severus getting a chance to get his life right second time around – comes from the wonderful story (also available elsewhere on this site ) by Sindie "the Moment it Began".
That was what Lucy Margaret Potter could see as she peeked through her curtains early one morning in June. There had been a tap, tap, tapping on the glass that certainly didn't sound like any sort of tree branch, so she had crawled out of bed in her pink nightdress to investigate, and found herself staring into a pair of emerald green lamps. "Evan?" she blinked, then hurriedly unfastened the latch, allowing the boy to scramble into her bedroom.
"Merlin!" he grinned. "It's not easy!"
"I climb that tree all the time," Lucy protested, reaching under her bed for the bag of Cauldron Cakes she had stashed there.
"It's not climbing the bloody tree that's difficult, Luce," said Evan Snape, holding his hand out expectantly. "It's getting from the tree onto your windowsill."
"I suppose it is harder," she agreed, extracting one of the remaining treats and passing it to her friend. "So, why bother?"
She waited while he chewed and swallowed, before saying, "Did you get your letter?"
"Oh, yes!" The girl grinned. She had rather a nice smile, and it wrinkled her small nose. "It came at breakfast yesterday."
"Your Mum and Dad pleased?"
The girl shrugged and lay back on her bright yellow counterpane and stared at the ceiling. Slowly, she began picking at the fabric beneath her fingers.
"Things…aren't so good at mine right now."
"What do you mean?"
The black haired boy guessed. "He lost his job again?"
"Merlin, this is so embarrassing. Other people's fathers can hold down a job for longer than six months. Why can't mine?"
Evan just shrugged. He had a feeling, based on overheard conversations between his parents, that it had a lot to do with the fact that Lucy Potter's father seemed to think the sun shone out of his arsehole, and he was simply too good for any job he got. Too good to need Auror training. Too good for a desk job at the ministry. Too good to run a shop. "I sometimes think," his father had remarked bitingly to his mother, one time after a frustrated Mary Potter had finished her tea and scones, and Apparated back to her newly-redundant husband. "That James Potter has taken an oath to never do an honest day's work until Engand's Quiddich team sees sense enough to turn its captaincy over to him."
His mother had laughed, and swatted him with a nearby wooden spoon, but Evan, who had only met James Henry Potter once, nevertheless thought that his Dad had summed the man up quite well. He had waited until they had stepped outside, then made good his escape, laden with scones and raspberry jam.
But Lucy. His Lucy. His best friend, she did not need to know any of that. Or, at least, she didn't need to know that's what he thought. She was probably perfectly aware of her father's shortcomings.
"And that's not all," she said suddenly, sitting back up, blue eyes wide.
"It gets worse?"
She nodded slowly. "Promise not to tell?"
"Word of honour."
"Dad…he…you know how we've used up most of the family gold?"
Evan resisted the temptation to squirm under that intense sapphire stare, but meet it squarely and nod. "Uh huh."
"Well, Dad just blew the rest on a sure thing."
"He staked everything left in the vault on that last match in the world cup."
"Spain against Scotland?"
She nodded. "Did you go? I didn't see you there."
"No. Mum had some money on that too, actually."
He shrugged again. "Scotland were the favourites. Mum wanted to put it on them, but Dad said put it on Spain. So they did."
She stared at him. "Sometimes," she said solemnly. "Your father scares me, Evan. Everything he touches turns to…"
"I know," he grinned. "It's awful, isn't it? He always says he's had enough misery for one lifetime, whatever that means, so he's making up for it now."
"What's it like, being Severus Snape's son? You know…Head of St. Mungo's, the hero who defeated the Dark Lord, worshipped in the streets, has his health drunk in every pub in England…"
"Shut up, Luce." He paused, thinking about it. "It's a lot to live up to," was the final conclusion. "But we weren't talking about my father."
"No," she sighed. "We weren't"
"Dad reckoned Scotland had it in the bag. He was so sure…Mum thinks he got a tip from one of his daft mates." For the first time, her voice grew waspish.
Evan digested this. "All of it?" he asked.
"All of it," she agreed, and swallowed. "They were fighting about it last night. Really screaming at each other. I…Evan, do your parents ever shout?"
He thought about it. "No. They argue, and Dad's voice gets all waspish, and once Mum blew his study door off its hinges because he wouldn't answer her when she was calling dinner." He broke off and surprisingly chuckled. "Turns out he had been working all the night before and he'd fallen asleep in there. Didn't think I'd ever see Dad jump like that. Merlin, they both laughed afterwards."
Lucy sighed wistfully. "It's been years since either of my parents laughed," she confessed.
There was a little silence. Evan finished his cake. "So, what happens now, then?"
"Dad's going to try to get another job, I suppose. He's running out of options, though."
"What about teaching?"
"Honestly? The only subjects Dad could teach would be Defence against the Dark Arts or Transfigurations."
"They're both filled, though, aren't they?"
She nodded. "Mum wrote Dumbledore to ask. She wants Dad to go apply for that position in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Department, with Arthur Weasley. I suppose he'll have to, now. But in the meantime, the wallpaper is starting to peel, the house needs painting, there's bugger-all food in the kitchen and I need books, potions stuff, a uniform, a wand and Merlin-knows what else!"
Evan sighed and sadly shook his head. It was true; the Potters had once occupied a lovely, cheerful white bungalow in Godric's Hollow. Four years after Lucy had dragged him along to see it for the first time, the Potters lived in the same bungalow. But the garden was a jungle, and the fence was missing several palings. The dirty paint was splintering and cracking, and inside, the wallpaper curled away from the walls as though trying to escape. Mary Potter could no longer be found polishing the dusty furniture, and the wonderful smell of her cooking very seldom hung in the air. It had been a long time since the oven had been used. Evan privately wondered if the Potters lived on porridge and fried potatoes, which he had been given for dinner two weeks ago when Lucy had dragged him over, desperate for company over than her silent, seething parents.
The Snapes also lived in Godric's Hollow. Evan's house was as bright and pristine as the day his proud parents had brought him home to it. It always smelled of roasting meat, sizzling ham, fresh-baked scones or bread. Everything he owned was brand new, from his shirt and jeans to his Nimbus two thousand sports broom.
He moved a little closer to Lucy and draped a comforting arm around her shoulders. "It will work out okay, Luce, I know it will. Maybe not now, but soon. Why don't you come to mine for breakfast today? Your folks won't be up for ages, but Mum had just put the coffee on when I left. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Frank are coming with Neville, so we can all go to Diagon Alley together after we've eaten. "
She smiled wanly. "Thanks. I'd love to come. Do you think your Mum will make ham and eggs?"
"She's bound to, what with company coming. Our Neville has an appetite."
Lucy grinned. Wait for me at The Spot, she instructed. "I need some time to have a shower and get changed. I'm not showing up at your house stinking!"
"Okay. The Spot. Fifteen minutes or I'm going home without you. I'm not missing ham and eggs for anyone."
"Evan, get out of here!" she shoved him in the general direction of the window.
"I'm going, I'm going!" He eased himself gingerly back into the branches of the leafy oak, and began scrambling down.
Lucy watched him until his feet hit the soft, overgrown lawn and waving, he took off at a run. Then she ducked back inside her room, rummaged in her chest of drawers for some clothes that were not dirty, obviously patched or outgrown and stalked off to the bathroom, more than a little depressed about how difficult that task was becoming.
As the water pummelled her body, and she lathered and rinsed both her skin and hair with various bathroom products, she wondered for the first time what she would have done about breakfast that day, if Evan had not extended his family's hospitality. As of last night, to her certain knowledge, there had been no food in the house except for a quarter-loaf of stale bread, and what remained of her Cauldron Cakes stash. Her stomach gave a loud growl, suggesting this was an unacceptable state of affairs, and sighing, she towelled off.
A few minutes later she was running a comb through her hair in front of a mirror she had cracked with a cricket ball several weeks ago, wearing her best mary-jane shoes, a blue cardigan knitted by her Gran for her last birthday and a short pair of corduroy dungarees that had once belonged to her mother.
Lucy bore a striking resemblance to Mary Potter. Same startling stone-blue sapphire eyes, same small, straight nose. Her hair, still wet from the shower was the same pale white-blonde as her mother's as well, but while Mary wore hers long and braided, Lucy's was bobbed just below her ears.
Her Hogwarts letter was lying on her vanity table, next to a purple hair-brush. She plucked out the list of necessities and frowned.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
First year students will require:
Three sets of plain work roes (black)
One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
One winter cloak (blak, silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot
Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling
A Beginners' Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble
1 cauldron (iron, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 set brass scales
Students may also bring and owl OR a cat OR a toad.
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS
How on earth were her parents going to afford all this right now?
She shook her head and forcibly squashed such depressing thoughts to the back of her mind.
Evan…waiting for her at The Spot. The shady place in the copse by the brook in the park, where the air was always wet and warm, and where they had wound up the first day they had met. If she didn't go now she would be late, and although she didn't think he would, in fact, indulge in an orgy of tender ham, lightly fried eggs and buttered toast without her, she didn't want to test that confidence.
So she tucked the list into her pocket and scrambled out of the window. Her father, she knew, had been sleeping on the sofa for the past week, and sleeping none too well. She would wake him up if she went out the main door anyway. Especially with the staircase that creaked.
Safely on the ground, she picked her way through the weeds and grass to the pavement and began to run towards the park.