Author's Note: This is just a silly little piece that I wrote when I suddenly realized Snape was growing up possibly near Manchester in the 1970s. Unbetaed, and un-Britpicked. Apologies.
"Oi! You there!"
Severus froze, hand halfway to his wand before he remembered that he wasn't at Hogwarts and Potter couldn't bother him here.
"Yeah, you, you skanky git!" Potter or not, the voice was angry and Severus cast about for a place to hide.
Too late. A large hand seized his hair and pulled it sharply downward, forcing his head painfully back so that he was staring up into the face of a heavyset man with dirty-blonde hair, glaring daggers at him. Severus was reminded of a lion, somehow.
"Why've you been mucking up me city?" the lion demanded. He smelled familiar, like stale cigarettes and alcohol.
"I haven't!" Severus protested, trying vainly to escape from the iron grip on his hair. "I dunno what you're talking about!"
"Oh, you don't know about the graffiti what's just been painted on a wall ten feet from where you was skulking about like a long-haired approved school escapee!" Flecks of spittle landed on Severus' upturned face and he tried not to show his disgust.
"No!" he insisted.
"Guv!" a new voice broke in. "What are you doing?" Severus couldn't twist his head around to get a look at the newcomer, but he thought he sounded younger and, hopefully, a bit friendlier.
"Just having a bit of a chat with the future of the city," the 'Guv' responded casually.
"Of course," the younger man answered, and Severus could appreciate the amount of sarcasm dripping from his mouth. "And what does 'the future of the city' have to say about his hair being pulled out of his head?"
"He's not too pleased about it, to be honest, sir," Severus piped up.
"Well, that's what he gets for wearing it so long!" the Guv shouted disdainfully at him. "I hate teenagers, Tyler. I hate 'em."
"Has this one done anything in particular, or are you just venting?"
"Graffitied a wall down the street."
"I never did!"
"Guv, please," Tyler requested, and the Guv sighed. Severus felt his hair being released with a shove to the back of his head. He turned to face the two men defiantly, tossing his hair back from his face with a reflexive motion. Tyler was indeed younger than the Guv, and cleaner-cut. His hair was cut short and he wore a nice shirt under his black leather jacket, and Severus thought he would probably smell of aftershave rather than beer and fags.
"Just look at him, Sam!" the Guv insisted explosively to his younger colleague. "Got trouble written all over him."
"You can't just hand out ASBOs because someone's wearing clothes you don't like," Sam rolled his eyes. Severus had a feeling they'd had this conversation many times.
"Az-whats?" the Guv asked, but he didn't seem very interested.
"Listen, kid," Tyler addressed Severus. "What's your name?"
Severus debated for a moment. 'Never trust a copper,' his dad always said. But he reckoned his dad meant the ones like the Guv here. Tyler seemed different, somehow, out of place – and then the thought hit Severus like a freight train. Could Tyler be a wizard, too? An Auror, undercover with the Muggle police?
"Severus Snape," he said finally, making up his mind.
"Severus?" the Guv snorted. "What in the ruddy hell were your parents thinking?"
To Severus' disappointment, Tyler also laughed. "Severus Snape?" he chuckled. "You're joking."
"No," Severus answered sullenly.
"And, ah," Tyler tried to contain himself, "where do you go to school, Severus?"
"In…Scotland," Severus answered, trying desperately to think up a fake name. "Little place; you won't have heard of it."
"Not called Hogwarts, is it?" Tyler laughed. Severus paled. He had to be a wizard, then, to know about Hogwarts. But surely it would be breaking the Statute of Secrecy to mention it in front of this very Muggle copper?
"Wouldn't send any kid of mine to a poncey school named that," the Guv interjected. "Sounds like something you catch from a prozzie."
Sam ignored him and turned to Severus, still chuckling.
"Listen, Severus," he grinned. "You ever run into a kid called Harry Potter, you cut him some slack, all right?"