Me and My Big Fat Mouth
This story is told mostly from Gavin's POV, though Severus will also narrate in later chapters! Hope you all enjoy the sequel!
Warning: Some strong language and spanking in this chapter!!
* this takes place about six months after the events in Some Good Guys Wear Black
Have you ever woken up in the morning and just knew it was going to be a bad day? Well, that's how I felt the morning of April 15th. It was a Saturday and I had just graduated fifth grade yesterday, releasing me into the beginning of what I hoped would be a long, fun-filled summer, flying on my Windstorm 2000, hanging out with my twin cousins, Drew and Nick, who were only two years older, and learning more magic from my dad. Did I mention that I'm an apprentice wizard? One who has a very rare and powerful gift?
No? Well, I'm a firecaller, which means I have the ability to summon, ignite and put out any sort of fire and also have an affinity for those magics dealing with heat and light. I can also speak to and command most fire-using creatures, save for bronze dragons. Neat, huh? My other little talent is Animal Speaking, I can hear and understand any animal, reptile, or bird if I wish. Both of those talents are in addition to my standard spellcasting abilities, which at the moment aren't much. I only know how to cast three spells presently. Lumos–Light, Nox–Dark, the opposite of the Lumos spell, and Levitate–Wingardium Leviosa. But I've only just begun my training, you see.
My instructor is a famous wizard, and I also happen to be his adopted son. He was once a Potions Master, Defense Master, secret agent, and former Headmaster of a British wizarding academy. Now he's the Director of the DHI (Dark Hunter Intelligence). Yeah, that's right, my dad is none other than Severus Snape.
He adopted me a little over a year ago, taking me off the streets of Manhattan, where I used to run with a gang called the Mystic Ravens, and into his home as his apprentice and son. Lucky me. Sometimes living in the house on Lily Lane in Point Pleasant, NJ was nothing short of paradise. Other times . . .it wasn't, though nothing could be worse than Morningstar Orphanage, where I'd been left as a three-month old. That was a living hell, believe me.
Before Severus, I'd been raised by the tyrannical, God-fearing, fire and brimstone preaching H. J. Ferrous. Ferrous (may he rot in hell), used to beat me any time I used magic, even though I was just a little kid and had no idea what I was doing. Young wizards use magic accidentally until they start receiving formal training around eleven. Mentioning the words "magic" and "wizard" around Ferrous was blasphemous and cause for an instant whipping, as I'd learned to my sorrow. Actually Ferrous considered my mere presence blasphemous, now that I think back, and therefore he was always switching me. It got so bad that I began subconsciously suppressing my magic, and eventually I grew sick and tired of the daily abuse and ran away when I was eight to live on the streets.
Until I met Sev and he adopted me.
My life then took a turn for the better, until now I can't imagine living anywhere else but Lily Lane, or being Sev's son, Gavin Albus Snape.
It was Sev who named me, giving me a real name, which I'd never had before. Abandoned as a baby, Ferrous had never bothered to give me a name other than "Boy" or "Freak" or "Devil Spawn", and once I was a Raven I'd called myself Wolf, cause a wolf was a tough critter and plenty scary. But it wasn't the same and Severus refused to call me that, saying a child needed a normal name, one to be proud of. He named me for his maternal grandfather, Gavin Prince, and Albus Dumbledore, his mentor and another famous wizard.
Most of the good things in my life have come from my dad.
But on this particular morning I woke up in a lousy mood. I'd gone to bed later than usual last night, forgetting I'd have to get up early to begin my potions lesson with Dad. As a result I was grouchy and Dad scolded me for pouting and grumbling at breakfast.
I'm not a big morning person, though I'm used to rising early from my days in the orphanage, when Ferrous used to wake us at the crack of dawn to clean the place. I hate getting up early. I think ten or eleven is the proper time to get up, so I wasn't a happy camper at seven in the morning.
Dad had made a hashbrown casserole and a sausage scramble this morning, two of my favorite things. Normally, I'd have scarfed them down and gone for seconds or thirds, but I was still tired and just picked at my food, which Dad noticed (like he notices everything) and asked if I was feeling okay.
"M' fine," I growled, rubbing my eyes, which felt like a ton of sand was in them. "Jus' tired. Why couldn't I sleep in today?"
"Because I need to tutor you in potions before I start going over this new batch of cases. I told you that last night, Gavin," Dad began with a hint of sternness. "Now why aren't you eating?"
I shrugged. "I'm not hungry. I wanna go back to bed."
I knew I was whining, I knew it bugged Dad to no end when I did that kind of thing, but I couldn't help it. I was miffed about not getting enough sleep and couldn't understand how the hell he could be so damn wide awake at this hour, even with coffee. It annoyed me, so I decided to annoy him. Misery loves company.
"Too bad. I told you once before that no child of mine is allowed to lie about in bed all day like a spoiled brat." Dad lectured. "You can take a nap after our lesson. Now eat, I'm not feeding Scout this entire breakfast."
Scout was our dog, a beautiful golden magehound with the best nose in America. Right then he was sitting by my father's feet, drooling wistfully. Sure you can give me the leftovers, Sev, I could hear him panting. I appreciate your cooking more than the kid does.
Be quiet, chow hound, I snorted, earning me a soft growl from Scout, who thinks he's the boss of me too, according to dog pack rank. He's beta to Sev's alpha and I'm just a juvenile yet. Whatever.
I ate, a mulish scowl on my face, though I knew I ought to be grateful Dad was such a wonderful cook and I actually had decent food to eat. I'd never eaten this good with the Ravens or Ferrous, who was a cheap bastard as well as a sadistic one.
The food tasted wonderful, though I was in such a crummy mood I didn't really enjoy it. Then I fed the leftovers to Scout and washed up the dishes, my usual chores.
Breakfast over, we went down to the basement to Dad's Sanctum Sanctorum, as I liked to call his potions lab.
I wasn't allowed to enter it unless he was with me or had given me his express permission. That hadn't been the case until six months ago, when I'd borrowed–okay, stolen if I'm being honest–a Dawnstar Elixir from Dad's private stores to save my Raven buddy Smoke from midnight mushroom poisoning.
Dad takes a dim view of people who sneak around in his lab and take things without asking for whatever reason, hence this new restriction. He had said that if I behaved myself, I could one day regain unlimited access to his lab, but today was not that day.
Today's potion lesson was focused on creating an elementary burn salve, one that could cure first and some second degree burns. This was a handy thing for me to learn how to make, for even though I was immune to being burned by fire, others weren't and on the off chance I accidentally hurt someone with my talent, I could heal them. Lately, I'd been having trouble controlling it, so this lesson was a necessary thing.
Even so, I was distracted by my lingering tiredness, and managed to incorrectly add a certain amount of aloe vera juice, making my potion too runny. Dad shook his head and frowned severely at me. "What part of 2/3rd's don't you understand, Gavin?" He tapped my potions manual pointedly. "It clearly states you only need 2/3rds of a cup of aloe vera juice not 3/4ths. Now this potion is useless."
"Why?" I demanded sulkily. "Why can't I just add more cobwebs or baking soda?"
"Because proportion is of paramount importance in potion making, young man," Dad replied, crossing his arms and scowling. "Adding too much or too little of a key ingredient will throw off the entire solution, and then you could end up with a toxic substance. Preciseness is a prime requirement, Mr. Snape, is that clear?"
"Yes, sir," I sighed.
He waved a hand and the contents of my cauldron were vanished. "Start again, and this time pay attention and don't daydream, for Merlin's sake!"
I longed to stamp my foot and whine that I didn't want to do the damn potion over, I was too tired and all I wanted was to go back to bed and sleep for a month. I didn't, of course. I was almost eleven, way too old to be acting like whiny brat. Plus, Severus would've never tolerated such infantile behavior from me. The last thing I needed was to earn myself an hour of writing lines or be forbidden to fly my Windstorm.
So I resolved to concentrate on my potions lab and do it right this time around.
Unfortunately, I let my attention wander for a split second while letting the salve steep for fifteen minutes. My affinity for fire caused the flames to flare up a bit too high and turned the gently simmering salve into an encrusted blackened mess before I realized what had happened.
I gaped like a witless idiot at my ruined potion until Dad snarled, "Dammit, boy, how many times do I have to tell you, don't put the fire on full force? Does that look like a gentle simmer to you?" He gestured angrily at the flames leaping eagerly over the sides of my cauldron.
I quickly ordered the fire to calm down and it did, but it was too late to salvage anything.
"It wasn't my fault!" I protested. "I didn't mean to make the fire too high, it just happened. You know how fire reacts when I get near it." Fire loved me and when I was near it wanted to burn brightly, as if showing off.
Dad rolled his eyes and said flatly, "Never mind the excuses. Do it over. Evanesco!"
I groaned and wished myself on the other side of the earth. Then I began measuring out new ingredients. I knew it was useless to protest, Dad would keep me here until I brewed a perfect salve, no matter how long it took. That was one of his mottos–practice makes perfect, and he applied it to everything, especially magical lessons.
By the time I had brewed a successful batch of burn salve it was nearly eleven o'clock. After I had decanted it into a jar, Dad told me I could go and take a short nap until lunch.
"Maybe sleep will improve this mood you're in."
The mood I'm in? I longed to say. How about you?
But I didn't dare. Such a smartass remark would land me in more trouble than it was worth. One thing Severus didn't tolerate was mouthy children, especially not his own.
Perversely, once I got in bed I couldn't fall asleep, and ended up tossing and turning, growing more and more frustrated. Lately, my temper had been flaring up a lot more than normal and even the smallest things irritated me. This past month I'd gotten into more arguments with my father than I'd done in half a year, and most of them were due to my sudden shortened fuse.
Yet I couldn't seem to help myself. My emotions, especially anger, were at a constant simmer, and I was ready to fight at the slightest provocation, as my father liked to say.
I knew he was fast growing tired of my prickly attitude. I had overheard him speaking to my big sister Arista one night about my "adolescent mood swings" and my "smartass attitude" and "uncontrolled outbursts of fire magic".
That was one of the drawbacks to my sudden outbursts of temper. Strong emotions brought my talent flaring up, and when I was angry I tended to set things on fire. Three times now I'd had pieces of parchment and once a dish towel spontaneously combust in the middle of a shouting match with my dad. In all four cases I'd managed to extinguish the blaze in seconds, but the fact that I'd set something alight without conscious thought concerned my father deeply.
Severus Snape was a man of iron discipline and control, it was what made him such a good Director and an excellent teacher, but having an apprentice with power like mine so totally out of control worried him greatly. Thus far I'd not damaged anything irreplaceable with my little fires, but I knew he was afraid someday I'd totally lose it and burn down half the house or half the neighborhood.
Much as I hated to admit it, his concern was valid. My firecalling talent was very strong, probably a sixth degree level, and I didn't yet know what my limit was. Six months ago I'd almost burned down Central Park and I had killed a dark wizard with my firecasting. I hadn't meant to, but he'd been trying to kill Severus and I'd panicked and the next thing I knew, Goyle was a human torch.
Not something I wanted to dwell on, believe me.
But no matter how much I regretted killing him, I'd do it over again if I had to, for I'd do anything to protect my dad or my sisters. ANYTHING.
I had drifted into a light doze when I heard Dad calling me for lunch. Groaning, I stretched and yawned, cursing his poor timing in my head.
We had pizza for lunch, not the frozen kind or take-out, but homemade. My dad cooks as good as any of those guys on Food Network, and I wasn't a picky eater. Nobody who'd grown up the way I had refused meals when offered, and so I went to eat lunch, even though I was still grumpy from not getting enough sleep.
I was on my third slice of pepperoni, my appetite had returned and I was starving, when my father announced something that would change my summer vacation radically.
"I've been meaning to discuss this with you, but I haven't had a chance to sit down and talk with my current caseload," Dad began, and I halted in mid-chew.
This didn't sound too good. I swallowed what I'd been eating and waited for him to continue, the pizza sitting like a lump of lead in my stomach.
"But now is the perfect time to discuss your magical studies, Gavin. In particular, your firecalling talent. I've noticed it's been growing stronger and more unpredictable lately. You seem to be using it without conscious thought, son, and that's not the way it should be. Any magic should be used purposefully, with a clear focused intent, not when you're in a temper."
I bit my lip and groaned softly. Not this again! I had heard his lecture on self-discipline so often I could say it in my sleep, by Merlin's bathrobe!
But Dad went on, ignoring my mounting irritation. "I've discussed this with Fireflash, Gavin, and he agreed that the best way for you to get your power under control is for you to spend a part of the summer with him. He also told me that centuries ago, before the Dragon Exodus, the bronzes used to mentor young wizards like you, especially firecallers, teaching them how to use their powers responsibly and control them so they weren't a danger to anyone."
For some reason, his words, delivered in that maddeningly calm and utterly reasonable tone, shot sparks off me, don't ask me why. Maybe it was because I hated people making decisions without talking to me first. I liked Fireflash, don't get me wrong, and I knew Dad was right about my controlling my gift.
But at that moment, all I could think of was that he was sending me away and ruining all my plans for a relaxing summer with my cousins and whatever. So I blurted out the first thing that came into my head. "I can't believe you're sending me all the way across the damn country!" Fireflash's clan lived in the forests of Washington State.
"You should be honored, Gavin, that he's agreed to teach you. A bronze hasn't had a wizard student in several centuries." Dad reproved.
"Yeah, right," I snapped, my temper slipping its leash effortlessly. "I know the real reason you're sending me away–cause you can't handle me as a teacher, and it's easier to pawn me off on the dragon!" I shot to my feet, trembling with indignation.
Dad gaped at me for about half a second, then his eyes blazed and he growled, "Sit down and shut your mouth, boy! You forget who you're talking to. This has nothing to do with pawning you off on anyone, it has to do with finding the best teacher for you."
"Screw that!" I shouted, totally losing it. Fire bubbled in my blood, but I shoved it back down. I wasn't about to prove him right. "You've just ruined my entire summer! Not that you'd care anyhow!"
Oh, I was in a fine rage now, and not minded to listen to reason.
"I've just ruined–?" Dad began, in a tone that meant I was in serious trouble if I'd been paying attention. "Now listen here, young man, I won't be spoken to like that, I'm your father, not one of your street brat Ravens." He was standing too now, and the look on his face could have slain a gargoyle, it was so fierce. I would have been afraid if I hadn't been so consumed with my own anger. "I'd better hear an apology come out of your mouth in two seconds, Gavin Albus Snape, or else!"
I opened my mouth.
But what came out of it wasn't any kind of apology.
Instead I yelled, "Fuck your apology and fuck you too, you damn bastard!"
Don't ask me what I was thinking. I haven't got a clue. The words just leaped out automatically. As soon as the words left my mouth, I could've bitten off my tongue. It was SO the worst thing I could've said to him, not to mention the stupidest.
Me and my big fat mouth.
I was dead meat and I knew it. I knew it wouldn't do me a lick of good, but I tried to make a break for it, turning quickly and starting for the back door out of the kitchen.
Despite being lame in his left leg, Dad can still move rapidly when he wants to. I barely made it two feet away from the table before I felt a hand close over my collar.
"That does it! I've had it with your attitude, mister!" I heard him snarl and suddenly all of my anger flickered and died, leaving only the cold ashes of dread behind.
I felt myself lifted up effortlessly, I was small and slight for my age, and he was six one and used to hauling around heavy iron cauldrons and stirring mixtures for hours. Those slender shoulders contained an unexpected strength hidden in them, one that was more than adequate to pick me up and hold me fast.
I was prepared to have my mouth washed out with soap, he'd always done that when I used the F-word. What I wasn't prepared for was to end up over his knee.
I shouldn't have been surprised, not after what I'd said to his face. Hell, I knew I deserved it, but this was the first time he'd ever raised a hand to me, he normally didn't discipline that way. A part of me was horrified that I'd made him lose it enough to wallop me, something I'd vowed I'd never do.
Stupid, Gavin! So very stupid!
I didn't bother fighting, I'd learned under Ferrous to just take my licks and that was it. And unlike Ferrous, this was one spanking I'd truly earned, to my endless regret.
Three minutes later I was set back on my feet, my butt stinging awfully from the ten sound smacks applied to it. I blinked furiously, determined not to cry like a little baby. I'd gotten a lot worse from Ferrous with belts and switches, Dad had only used his hand, but this hurt worse than anything the orphanage manger had done to me.
I know, that sounds ridiculous, but there it was. Ferrous used to beat me bloody and here I was ready to bawl my eyes out after a few smacks from Severus. It wasn't the punishment itself that hurt so much as the fact that my dad had been the one to give it. I'd disappointed him so badly he'd lost his temper and that hurt more than the swats themselves, oddly enough.
I stared down at my feet, sniffling and wincing, not daring to look him in the eye.
"Don't ever speak to me that way again, am I understood?" he demanded, and he put a hand under my chin, forcing me to look up.
"Yes, sir," I whispered, biting my lip hard. Shame nearly strangled me and the look of utter disapproval in his eyes was nearly more than I could bear.
"Go to your room and think about your abominable behavior, young man," he ordered. "I'll be in there in a few minutes to discuss the rest of your punishment."
The rest of my punishment. Like that spanking hadn't been bad enough. I slunk from the room like a whipped puppy, tears falling silently down my face. Now you've really done it, Gavin you dumbass, I berated myself.
I was certain that after this latest incident, Dad would tell me to leave and never come back. Forget sending me away for the summer, after this he'd probably be glad if I never darkened his door again. What was I but a smart-mouthed street thief he'd adopted to fulfill his Magician's Oath, which stated that if a master wizard discovered a minor without a teacher, he was bound to take said child as his apprentice, after all? I wasn't his blood and they say blood's thicker than water. Besides, he'd been sick of me and my attitude before today's catastrophe, I thought miserably.
I'd just used up the last of my second chances, I thought and threw myself face down on my bed and cried. After about five minutes though I stopped feeling sorry for myself, sat up, blew my nose, and rubbed my bottom (it still stung). I knew I'd crossed every line by behaving as I had, like an ungrateful spoiled brat, and thus I was prepared for him to come and tell me that I could get my sorry ass out of his home, he wasn't putting up with me anymore.
I'd brought him nothing but trouble and he was well rid of me, hissed the guilty part of my conscience. More tears gathered in my eyes but I ignored them, dragged my suitcase out from under my bed and began to pack. No sense in waiting around for him to tell me to go, I resolved, sick to my stomach and wishing I could go back in time and start this dreadful day over again.
So, did you agree with Snape's punishment for Gavin's smart mouth? And Gav's reaction to it?