VII. Severus Snape

The house stank of beer again. That, combined with the fact that Severus could hear shouting, obviously meant that his father was home. There were other men sitting in the living room, too, which was never a good sign. The only time that Tobias and his friends sat drinking in the living room in the middle of the day was when there was no work at the mill, and that always put them in the most rancid mood possible.

So this was what his mother hadn't wanted to tell him.

Severus tried to creep past the living room as quietly and quickly as he could, but unfortunately for him the muggles caught sight of him before he could escape.

"Boy! Get in here!"

Severus flinched. His mother looked apologetically at him and began to lug his trunk upstairs. There was no way he was going to get out of having to see his father… no, not his father, just that hideous muggle. It was a pity; Severus would have been perfectly content never to see the man again in his life.

Instead Severus walked into the living room, glad that his mother at least had been momentarily spared the evil muggle's drunken raving. She, unlike him, had to put up with the monster every single day of the year. At least he only had to stand the man's rage until the end of the summer – if he was still alive by then.

That most evil of muggles was sprawled out on the sofa, a half-empty can of beer clutched in his hand. Two of his friends were sitting with him, all three of them equally burly and gormless and drunk out of their minds. Filthy, disgusting muggles.

"So where's this boy of your been all year?" one of Tobias' friends asked, swinging his hands as he spoke and splashing beer onto the already-filthy carpet.

"St Brutus'," Tobias Snape replied with a grunt. "It's where they send freaks like him. St Brutus' Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys." He slurred so much that Severus wasn't entirely sure if he'd heard him correctly, but it was still enough to make his blood boil. That animal of a man was the one who should have been kept in a 'secure centre'. Or maybe a cage; that would be more fitting. Lucius Malfoy was right, as ever; the whole lot of them should be kept in cages like the animals they were so they couldn't be of harm to anyone. If they did that then he and his mother would be safe, and he'd definitely be able to return to Hogwarts in the autumn.

"No offence, Toby, but borstal's the only place that's fit for brats like 'im," one of them said, then they all started laughing.

"Bad blood, see," Tobias replied. "Never shouldda married that bitch."

"You leave Mum out of this," Severus snarled. The muggle could do what he liked, just so long as he didn't do anything to harm or insult his mother.

It didn't work. He got a slap for his impertinence – the first of many to come during that long, horrible summer.