This was inspired by a AO3 comment on The Wicket Gate by one Bianca, who said, "I look forward to seeing Snape's mother sicced on the marauders." I decided I did, too. ^_^
I was originally going to post it all at once, but I got an offer from a quite clever Methods of Rationality reader to take a look at Valley of the Shadow and make sure there aren't any epic logic-fails so far. I have to bowdlerize it because he's related to me and eeyyurrrghno, and anyway I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to read slash. Besides, I don't know how long it'll take him to read. So we'll be spinning out the interrim one Marauder at a time, and I may post a gen version of Wicket (if it can be done...), because why waste the work.
This is in the Subjectiverse, but AU, AU to canon, each chapter AU to the rest. It's all fine. I mean, AU.
I'll take requests about whether you want James or Sirius next (majority rules or, if it's a tie at the time of posting, first voice wins), but shall we begin gently? }:D
"Mam," Severus said flatly. "I am begging you. Do not do this. I know these people. I'll have to see them tomorrow."
"Belt up, our Very," Eileen told him sternly. "He don't seem like a bad lad, but if he in't taught, he'll never learn."
"Thanks for trying," Remus said weakly.
"Do not imagine," Severus spat, "for a fraction of a second, that I asked it for your sake."
"Well, thanks anyway," Remus said.
Then they were in a cheery room full of ladies of all ages and knitting baskets and the smells of the baked goods piled up in back. A cheery murmur of, "Ney, then, our Ellie, Seth, who's this, then?" went up.
"Owdo, Lizzie and Bess and Sal and all," Eileen said placidly. Severus lifted a hand gloomily, radiating doomed. "This here's young John Lupin, what goes to our Seth's school. He's got pulled into a gang of young bullying roughs, and you all know how that goes."
There was some disapproving murmuring, and the mothers of one or two of the of the local bullying roughs (who had long since realized it was in their best interest to leave Seth Snape alone even if he did look a bit of a hippie) got quite interested and rather unpleasant looks. They would be able to explain very clearly to their boys how they felt about everything, now, without picking fights with people they loved and had to live with, who in many cases were twice their size and often soused.
Severus perked up, too, as he realized his mother wasn't going to humiliate him for his own good by identifying him as the victim after all. Internally, of course. Narcissa would have burned his school scarf in front of him if he'd let it show on his face at this age. No use asking how she would have known, she just would have. Because Narcissa.
Eileen smiled complacently. "His parents think he ought to learn some good Northern manners before he gets too old for them to take. So they've asked me to look after him this summer. Distant cousin and that. He'll be giving us a hand around the place, seeing as our Seth's got a job." There was some exclaiming over this, and Severus got sort of yanked into the knitting baskets in a flail of long limbs to be fussed over. Steady, paying work was no joke around here, not these days, not even seasonal.
Eileen waited until he'd given out his story and looked spooked enough to bolt (it built character, and he ought to learn to take a compliment one of these days) before she cleared her throat and added, "Well, that's the long and the short of it. You should all be just as quick to ask him if you need a spot of work done as you'd ask the lad."
"I, ah, don't know if I'll know how to," Remus started weakly.
"Don't worry, Lupin," Severus said, his eyes glinting, half a skein of old May Perkins's awful, knobbly, itchy orange yarn already wrapped around his hands. "You'll learn loads."