Summary: Eileen looks back at her life and reflects.
Main pairing: Tobias Snape/Eileen Prince
Warnings: Somewhat Dark: mentions of domestic abuse and intimate situations. Reader discretion is advised.
Disclaimer: © 2010 shigeki11. All rights reserved. This work may not be archived, reproduced, or distributed in any format without prior written permission from the author. This is an amateur non-profit work, and is not intended to infringe upon copyrights held by J.K. Rowling or any other lawful holder. Permission can be obtained by e-mailing the author at sevvy [dot] shigeki [at] gmail [dot] com.
Dedicated to my cousin. Without her, life would be significantly cloudier.
Fear is the Heart of Love
I was born in a time governed by fear and mistrust, of a Dark Lord on a rampage, and of two wars.
I was fortunate; my family sheltered me as I grew up, and as I was born into a rich Pure-blooded family, I did not want for anything. I was an only child; my parents, though they adored me, were often not at home. And so I grew up alone, happily ignorant of the wars ongoing.
I entered Hogwarts in 1952, and was sorted into Ravenclaw. Fairly unremarkable, I hid in the shadows and in my books; the only extracurricular I shone in was Gobstones, and I was Captain of the Gobstones Team in my fifth year. My academics were excellent; my father oft boasted to my suitors of my intelligence, that what I lacked in looks I made up for in smarts.
Useless, in my opinion; what man wanted a smart wife? I had only to look at my mother, and therein lay the answer.
My father was Augustus Prince. My mother: Severine Prince, née Burke. It had been an arranged marriage, and unhappily so. Even as a child, it had been obvious that their marriage was strained, and the only reason they were civil, was, frankly, because of me. My father drank to forget that he had no male heir, that he had, what he called, an "ugly wife with a bitch of a tongue", and that he had lost valuable assets because he had failed to ward them against the incoming bombs in the Battle of Britain. All this I learned in my later years.
What I did see growing up was the tension between my parents, and the almost Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation my father underwent when he took to drink. Sober, he was a jolly father; drunk, he was mean. My mother often sent me to the other end of the mansion, but I knew what was happening. She always came back with bruises. And I…I came back swearing I would never fall in love with someone who loved the drink more than me.
I had always been mature for my age.
But the year I became an adult…I lost my head. Teenage rebellion, as it would later be termed. My parents had informed me for years that I was to be betrothed to Charles Nott, which, when all was said and done, was a good match – politically. But I knew him from school, and his reputation preceded him.
He was a fifth year in my first. The first time I met him…I thought him terribly handsome, and excited that he was my betrothed. But the look in his eyes sent a shiver down my spine, as did the casual tip of my chin to get me to look him in the eye.
He was a Gryffindor, but a cruel one. There were rumours that he tortured hapless Slytherin first years, and I could only be thankful that I had not been sorted into that House. And when he left…he joined an extremely secret group, one that my parents approved of, though not openly.
Logically, I approved. In my heart…that was another matter. Once Nott had joined it, I knew it was bad news. You-Know-Who had not yet turned to terror, but instinctively, I knew – I knew that if someone like Nott was welcome into the fold, then it could not be a good cause. And so I had begged my parents to break the betrothal, but to no avail. They may have spoiled me, but this was where they put their foot down – really, it was my father, but my mother dared not disobey him.
I ran away. I knew that there would be no happiness for me if I were to be married to Nott. In my anguish, I Apparated to the first location in mind – a quaint little pub that I had seen passing through Manchester.
But in the middle of the dark, I had neglected to think – it was not quite so quaint when I arrived, full of drunken, brawling men. I remember tiptoeing out of the alleyway, desperate to go unnoticed. But as always, my luck was horrendous. I came out just in time to be knocked off my feet, with a fist to my face.
A man had peered drunkenly at me, and leered rather unattractively. And, oh God! He had put his hands around my thighs…the next bit became rather hazy. All I could remember was my heavy sobbing and his heavy hand smacking my face, before someone finally pulled him off of me.
My saviour. His blue eyes peered at me concernedly, and I-I was enthralled. He was not by any sort of standards a handsome man with his hooked nose, but his eyes…they drew me in. And my heart melted at the concern that he showed me, when he helped me to my feet. Love at first sight, I think. He brought me to a local hotel, where he paid for my room that night upon finding that I had no money on me. No questions were asked about my strange clothes, nor what circumstances had made my face so swollen before the fist had landed on my face. Instead, he made sure I was safe before he left.
He did not return the next day.
I remember looking everywhere for him, getting nowhere. I told myself I was eager to repay him for helping me, but really, in my heart of hearts, I knew it was because I could not leave without knowing his name. Thus, I stayed out in the Muggle world. My father, of course, was furious over my refusal to return. He begged me to come back, at first, and then he resorted to force. But I was stronger – magically – than he was, and I warded myself against him. My mother sent me money, until she was found out. And when that happened, I had no choice but to gain employment.
I found myself as a waitress in a local restaurant not far from the bar where I had been attacked, and that was where I met him again. I remember holding my breath, wondering if he remembered me. He did; and after I was done for the night, we went out for a drink – thankfully at a different bar.
His name was Tobias Snape.
His father was the owner of the local mill, and he was the second son, which, he had said ruefully, meant he would receive the smaller share of the company. I didn't care. All I could see were his beautiful blue eyes and slender hands just the tiniest bit callused.
His laugh was infectious, and I, so normally stern and severe, could not help but smile along with him. He was tall, where I was short. He was a practical person, where I was an academic. And, most importantly, he was a Muggle, the epitome of my struggle against my parents.
He was twenty-one, I was seventeen. Four years difference made little difference to me; my parents had been ten years apart. Of course, he had misgivings and I had mine; he thought he was too old for me, and I thought the polar opposite. And though he did not know, I worried about what he would think when he found out I was magic.
But we forgot everything when we were together. He took me to the local fairs, where I experienced my first ride on a Ferris wheel. It was our place to be. Never before had I felt so free; me, a witch who could barely ride a broomstick could fly on this Muggle contraption. It was also where we shared our first kiss.
It was magical. One minute I had been gazing out over the lights of Manchester, and next, his eyes had caught my attention as they sparkled in the evening light. My breath had caught, and he – he had blushed. As I had started to turn away, he grasped my hands tightly, and I looked back at him, confused. And in the next moment, I found his lips on mine.
We spent every spare moment with one another. At work, I was given a crash course on what and how Muggle inventions worked, so that I would not appear to be a total fool when I went out with him. But still, there were places where I slipped, which he quickly brushed off as my eccentricities. We spent several happy months together, and there were moments where we both could not imagine life without the other. I was his Princess, and his name symbolized what our life had become – God was good.
We gradually fell into deeper territory. It had been fairly innocent at first, and he had been completely honourable. But I had found that first glimpse of freedom, and without my parents watching over me, I found myself pressuring Tobias, and it was inevitable that he caved. Our first time love-making was awkward, but no less impassioned. And we continued to grow closer.
In the meantime, I had forgotten about my parents, but they had not forgotten about me. They soon found out about my relationship with Tobias – through constant surveillance which I remained blissfully unaware of, but convinced that it was just a fling, they held off the criticism, believing I would come to my senses.
For a brief period of time, there was an uneasy peace.
But like all good things, it could not last. And I was a fool for believing that it could – and would. The Notts' threatened to break off the engagement, and my father ordered me brought back home, willing or not. Tobias put an end to that – which, of course, did not endear him any to my parents whatsoever. At the same time, Tobias proposed to me, and I, very much in love with him and very put out with my parents, consented.
His parents approved of me, as I knew they would. My father, on the other hand, physically attacked me and brought me home. But to no avail; to their – and my – consternation, I found out I was pregnant with Tobias's child.
The Notts somehow found out, and I was disgraced. My father, incensed, disowned me. My mother, I think, knew why I had done what I had – and had given me all her life savings, the ones I knew she had saved up in order to get away from my father.
I returned to Tobias. He was unhappy with my parents' decision, but – sweetly – told me that he and his family would be mine now, to, in his words, replace my "ridiculous and shameful parents who did not deserve their daughter".
As for my own reaction…I was numb. Yes, I had not seen my parents in a year, and the love of my life was becoming mine, but there was an air of disbelief and shock surrounding me. Tobias did the best he could to shake me out of my reverie, but with little success. Looking back, it was perhaps this time that probably started the chasm between us. I could not explain to him why, nor take him to my parents, as my parents' home was not Muggle-friendly.
I knew I was hurting him, but I could not stop myself. For once in my life, I wish I had been born Muggle.
For a while, the news of my pregnancy distracted him from my problems, for which I was grateful. I needed time to come to terms with my father's decision.
My parents-in-law, deeply sympathetic, showered attention on me, as this was their first grandchild, and I was happy again, for a while. Tobias had just advanced in his father's company, so that I could stay at home and "rest my feet", so that his baby would be safe. At first, I smiled at the opportunity not to work, but it became dreadfully boring as time passed. And I told him. At first he was upset, thinking that I was being impertinent and provocative, but he finally understood that I felt like my mind was going to waste just sitting around. As a solution, my father-in-law placed me in charge of the books, and I happily counted the figures and checked them every day.
Our son was born the ninth of January, 1960. He inherited his father's nose, and my eyes, and was the most serious baby I had ever seen. We had originally wanted to name him Nicholas, after Tobias's father, but the moment I saw him…he was Severus. Severus Tobias Snape; an austere and noble name for one I knew was destined for great things.
We were dreadfully proud of him. There was no other parent on the block who could claim that their child could speak perfectly at the age of eighteen months (though for ages we did worry because he would never really childspeak), nor could they boast of his obvious intelligence. To his father's dismay, though, Severus never did really pick up on rugby, nor with football; he did, however, play cricket (if a child could play cricket…). We were happy, those first four years of little Severus's life.
I suppose I was naïve for thinking it would last forever. When things were good, they were spectacular; but when things went downhill, everything rolled together all at once. My father-in-law passed away the day before Severus turned five, and my mother-in-law followed not long after. With that, the estate was supposed to be split an even fifty-fifty between Tobias and his brother, but his bastard of a brother –and to this day I do not know how or why I did not see it coming – liquidated the entire estate, and left with all the money.
By the time I had persuaded Tobias to call the police, his brother was long gone – and our money with him.
And then Severus began showing signs of magic.
I had not ever told Tobias about my…abilities. To be completely honest, I had not thought that far into the future. I had been in the middle of an idyllic life, an almost perfect one. To have everything just…crash in less than a year proved to be too much for our marriage.
It was not the money problem. We had enough saved – that had not been tied with the company – to live comfortably without jobs for five years or so. No, it was that Tobias felt he could no longer trust me, especially because I had withheld something – in his eyes – so important. I begged him to trust me again. I did everything I could build up the rapport we once had.
I could even see him trying. But magic was just the door to unlocking all my secrets, and once he knew that…there was no stopping the incoming avalanche.
He told me he thought he had married a stranger.
I told him I was still me.
He told me he needed time.
I begged him not to go.
He walked out the door anyways.
I told myself it would be all right.
It was not.
And it would never be.
In my self-pity and the need to busy my hands, I turned to taking care of my son, and…to my horror and guilt, Tobias turned to the drink. Unlike my mother, who had no say in the matter when it came to my father, I felt as if I had singlehandedly pushed Tobias off the edge.
He was a mean drunk, not unlike my father. But unlike my mother, I faced my punishment. Every time he hit me when he was drunk, I knew I deserved it. But I would not allow him to hit Severus. Severus was innocent.
It became a cycle. Tobias would become drunk, eventually out of shame for what he had done, I would face my punishment, and then, when he sobered, he would again regret what he had done. And get drunk again.
All our money went down the drain, and what earnings I brought home I either hid – for my son's sake – or went into Tobias's drinking fund. We moved out of our house-with-the-picket-fence and into the slums. What friends we did have before left us; not that I blamed them. We were evidently not the best of company.
The worst of my regrets was my son. I did not regret having him; he was proof that Tobias loved me, even if Tobias was too drunk to know half the time. But Severus – he had my eyes, and in them, I saw a part of me reproving me of my actions, or I suppose, in Severus's eyes, my inaction. His eyes had begged me to leave Tobias, but I could not. I still loved him. He could not remember the man Tobias had once been, and I could not fault him. If it were not for me, we would still be one happy family. I know Severus did not understand why I could not just wave my wand and solve the problem. But I could not; magic represented all that I had left behind, and, more importantly, my mistake – that had ruined everything for us.
I watched my son turn his back on me in justified anger and to a place where he thought he was accepted. I lamented at how I had failed him – really, how all the authority figures in his life had let him down; yet, I did nothing about it. My life had spiralled out of my control long before this, and I no longer had the will to reel it back in. My pride, my intelligence – all was lost in self-recrimination. And I was too blind to see it. And helpless to help both myself and my son.
At the end of the day, it was entirely my fault. I ruined my parents' hope for the continuance of their ideology. I ruined my marriage, and drove my husband to ruin. I ruined my son's life, who became a pawn governed by iron fists, one of terror, the other of self-righteous ends.
I guess it is only fitting that I did not know how my life ended; in any case, whether by my husband's hand, or by my son's friends…it did not matter.
They tell me – as consolation, I suppose – it was only because of me, inadvertently, that they were able to defeat the self-styled Lord Voldemort. The Greater Good. But in front of me, all I could see were the personal tragedies that I had caused in the lives of people around me. Fear had driven me to rebellion, and fear had driven me to destroy; but, in retrospect…it had also driven me to love. And that – that, I did not regret. And in the end, I suppose it was all that mattered. Love.
– FIN –
Author's Notes: Review and tell me what you think! And don't worry, updates are coming for my other stories! Cheers!