This is a work of fanfiction, and I am most certainly a fan. I make no money on this. I am not J. K. Rowling, though I like to think she wouldn't hate this.
For those of you who know me from another fic-dom, you should know I love Harry Potter and all the fic that has spun off. For those who don't know me at all, I'm cautiously treading in your category. Please don't hate me for where I come from! I love Severus Snape, and almost every permutation I've read of him. I hope you enjoy my interpretation of this moment. I was going to wait on posting this, but I keep fiddling with it, and I'm reaching the point of diminishing returns.
This is my love letter to all my favorite HP authors, and the HP fic-dom in general. Thanks everyone.
Severus Snape never liked the name. It sat like a burr on his tongue, or a cuff to the cheek. The house was a pile of spare cuts from rejected wood and brick, and everything in it was disposable in his estimation. He never did get rid of it, though.
The councilmen had tried everything, but the death of the industrial revolution had left behind the furnaces, mills, and filth and none of the industry. The area had begun a fast rot, the filmy dust obscuring the light on even the sunniest of days. Names, they said, could enliven even the most decayed district.
The local papers changed names a few times, but the effect was simply confusing. And who wanted to buy a paper called "The Spinner"? It was a play on trendy political terminology, but the area had little in the way of that sort of capital, and the name died even as the presses inked the pages. It was unsavory, too, in a vague sort of way.
"Daily Spin" was another of the same ilk, and though it actually made inroads by avoiding the trendier sounding name, the quality of writing went downhill once the initial batch of articles was out. Self-congratulatory editorials did little to endear it to the readership.
The council examined the name of the district itself, deciding that it was the root of the problem. They proposed "New West End", though it made the locals laugh. The very idea of trying to graft London charm and vitality onto their little patch of sooty ground was declared preposterous by all those who really mattered. The locals never deigned it worthy to use the new names, and the bars and sundry shops kept the old signs and boards.
And so, to the disgust and disappointment of the local leaders and figureheads, the town retained the nickname "The End."
He had rather expected to die there.
There had been plenty of opportunities to do so throughout his life. The more recent times had been while he was treating it like his personal bolt hole from Hogwarts and the open warfare that no one seemed to realise was happening. On any given day he'd known that his 'little retreat', as the Dark Lord termed it, could be overrun, his usefulness outlived, and the narrow little shanty would simply burn to the ground, with him immured in the bricks forever. Possibly literally.
Severus Snape would truly become a grease stain, courtesy of Tom Riddle.
But it didn't happen that way. Nor did it happen at the hand of that thrice-damned Peter Pettigrew. Rats were known to be cannibalistic under certain circumstances, and the sniping little pustule was no exception. What passed for average behaviour in a rat was the ultimate betrayal in man. Pettigrew deserved the Ninth level for his damning betrayal.
On reflection, he would be willing to carve a Tenth Circle just for Pettigrew.
Severus Snape may not have been particularly religious, but he did have a working knowledge of standard catechism and literature, and found it an interesting distraction when he wasn't too busy doing his own damning and betraying.
Perhaps it was an exercise in self-determination.
The threads of silver were a little pile now, and he dug a tiny moat in the heavy clay to contain them. Memories were delicate things, after all.
Hurry! Faster, run faster!
It could have happened in his childhood, too. While not deadly, neglect had a way of twisting children into sad, thin reeds; they whistled in the wind if you listened closely enough. Perhaps that was just the willow.
Moments of great sadness were the marks of his own childhood; sadness and terror, occasionally, though he doubted that his father was always a cruel man. Who set out to abuse their children and twist their wife into a pale ghoul? These things came in pieces. Pieces and fractions, things Severus Snape understood very well. It was the ratios in things that made them what they were. Too little of one thing and you had an ineffective draught. Too much and it would combust or become poison, to say nothing of the way things interacted with each other.
His father was a case of too much bulbadox powder and his mother an excess of lovage; a foul bastard and a woman who, confused and cowed, was unable or too uncaring to leave him no matter how cruel he was to her. Tobias was cruel in general.
Acorns rarely fall far.
His arm was getting tired, and so instead of sweeping the motions from his temple, he rolled his arm along the ground, not really caring that he dug little gouges in the dirt with his knuckles.
Keep up, silly! You don't want to miss it, do you?
There were beautiful moments, too, though fewer than he'd like. There was the time he managed to cast his first real bit of magic, knowing from that moment on that he would move on from the filth and grime of The End. Even better was that his best friend was just as peculiar as he, and they would go together.
He had levitated a plate in the kitchen to his mother's surprise, and he'd basked in her pleased expression. Then his father walked in. It had been worth the cuff to the head. Worth it to know that it was real and that he wasn't just strange.
They weren't just strange.
It was the oddest thing when flowers began to spring forth in the murk and gloom of The End. If there was a seed that hit a favorable patch of dirt, within a week of her passing by there would be a bloom waiting- Lily made flowers grow from anywhere it seemed. Her sister was a bint and picked them all, but more always came.
There were the plain weedy flowers that, in any other place, were just eyesores to yank and stomp. But when they were on her footpaths they always had bigger blooms, more color, and the soft blossoms cut the beiges and grays of the streets, winking through the broken asphalt, gravel and rubbish like the finest topiary.
A few better homes had roses, and they always bloomed with greater vigor in the days after she walked by. She was life and color, and her green eyes pushed everything around her to be brighter and more worthy. Like him.
She made him feel worthy.
He drew that one out slowly, savoring the slide from his temple before letting it slink into the puddle.
Their years at Hogwarts started well enough, and ended in a darker filth-covered gloom than anything to be found at home. His parents were dead and gone by then, and he'd gutted the place, starting with everything that had belonged to his father. It was fit for kindling the fire and nothing more, and he'd warmed himself by those roaring fires with a shameless glee during his breaks.
By then she was warming her hands by another man's fire, and he had crumbling bricks and the Mark to keep him company.
These memories were pulled swiftly and without relish; so many bitter potions to be quaffed with haste so as not to bring them back up again. He had no desire to savor them, and he simply yanked them from his head sloppily.
He paused, searching his slowly clearing mind for more things. The vows, agreements, and carefully laid plans that brought him to this place needed to be saved. He promised Albus not to hide his account of it all, but there had been no safe place to keep it apart from his skull, so in they stayed. He stroked the remaining bits of evidence away from his temple, letting them leak away and flow into the divot of clay.
Brewing methods and fundamental elements swirled and flowed. He spooled the decades of information, research, methods and classroom instructions onto the end of his wand, rolling it back and forth to wrap the threads on the end where they clung like fibrous gelatin.
It was by far the greatest portion thus far. When they finally tapered off, he stopped rolling the wand and they softened, unraveling and flowing like silver light to the clay bowl.
He felt lighter.
Come on! You'll miss it!
The wheels squeaked. He must remember to oil it when they got back, and maybe she'd let him ride it then, too. His father would never allow money to be wasted on a toy bicycle. Not when he could drink it, instead.
A few more threads- random scraps he didn't need anymore: books he'd read and students whose names were etched in his brain, the family trees of various Slytherins and other nonsensical shite that muddied up the important things.
The sun was getting close to the horizon, and the squeak got faster.
He pumped his legs furiously to keep up, barely keeping pace with her as she pedaled toward their spot.
Wait for me! I'm coming, Lil!
They were heading toward the edge of Spinners End where the sky cleared enough to let the sunset through. Her hair whipped and danced like flames in the wind as she cut through the dingy air. She would complain about the tangles, but he secretly loved them. They gave him an excuse to run his hands through her hair.
His lungs heaved, trying to keep pace. The wet gurgling splattered him in…sweat? It didn't matter; she would laugh and splash him in the pond later anyway. He hoped the stiffness in his legs would go away before then.
I beat you, Sev!
You cheated, Lily.
She smirked and wrinkled her nose at him. You would have, too.
He'd cheated it for far too long.
This one would stay. It served no purpose for anyone else. This little thread was his and his alone.
She looked away, facing the sunset to watch the last streaks light the haze.
He loved her eyes. He needed to see them again.
"Look… at… me…"
We made it just in time today. Isn't it pretty, Severus?
Yes, it was. Just another pretty sunset at The End.
Goodnight sweet Prince.
I really love Severus Snape. This little ficlet is dedicated to all the wonderful SS writers I love- Aurette, dressagegrrrl, greeneyedbabe, ApolloniaV, Mother of Tears and all the rest. I know it's sad, but it was just a little bunny I had to write. Thanks for giving me beautiful things to read.
Thanks for reading.