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It was a meagre bonfire. It consisted of the last personal possessions of a man who'd led a meagre life. There was a shaving brush, a bundle of greying socks, a bunch of old newspapers with depressing headlines. The starched shirts – already crackling in the heat – were mottled with blood and whisky stains. Each one represented a memory to Severus Snape – but they were not the kind of memories that he was sorry to see go up in smoke.

He stepped back, breathing deeply, and watched the mismatched pile of objects smoking. It looked as though the bonfire, just like the man it commemorated, was going to need a bottle of whisky to get it going.

Severus unscrewed the top of the bottle. It was a cheap brand, called Northern Comfort. An oxymoron, of course, but he had never shared this observation with his father. He didn't have much of a sense of humour, especially about his precious whisky.

He sniffed the bottle and felt his empty stomach writhe in protest. There was nothing left to throw up; he hadn't eaten in days. So he didn't resist the burning nausea; he let it run, tingling, from the pit of his stomach to the roots of his hair, until the world swam reluctantly into focus again. At least the disgust was energy. He'd been drooping under the weight of the past few days' events, as though he was beaten – as though he was sorry. He wasn't sorry. God forbid. He'd rather douse himself in whisky and leap head-long onto the bonfire than feel sentimental at this moment. The ham-fisted moron had deserved everything he'd got.

This was like attending the funeral of a man who'd kept him chained to a radiator for twenty years. It was impossible not to feel liberated. But, at the same time, he couldn't be glad. What was there to celebrate? The damage had already been done.

He threw the open bottle onto the fire, and listened with satisfaction while it glugged, hissed and ignited. The flames rose and crackled merrily, sending a pall of smoke into the already-smoky Manchester sky. The spirit of his father – if there had ever been a spirit under all that growling – clearly wouldn't depart without a drink.

The wind rose at his back, damp and smoky, and raised goose-bumps along his bare arms. It patted him on the shoulder, just like a consoling relative might have done, if there had been any left. Severus would have shrugged them off, of course, and he did the same with the wind, hunching his shoulders and folding his arms against its intrusive touch.

He was tired and hungry – well, the hunger had turned into a kind of burning sickness at the pit of his stomach – but he assumed he was hungry. He was still remarkably clear-headed, though. Snape's greatest advantage – and his greatest disadvantage – was his ability to ignore things like cold and hunger until they were very nearly killing him. He had such a vivid, morbid imagination that it soared and slunk by turns, above and below those vulgar physical sensations.

Besides, he was supposed to be in mourning. It looked good, to refuse all food and keep the dark circles under his eyes. The Aurors were watching him.

And the Ministry had specifically told him to burn his father's possessions. They didn't want things like moving photographs or enchanted tea-sets falling into the hands of other muggles. Severus was mildly amused that they expected his father's possessions to contain any reminders of the magical world at all. To his knowledge, the spell that had killed Tobias was the first magic to be performed in Spinner's End for ten years.

He felt the nausea – or whatever it was – stir at the base of his stomach again. Severus kept his gaze determinedly fixed on the fire, blurring his eyes in and out of focus, until it settled grudgingly back down. He couldn't afford to lose control now. Not when he was so close to getting away with it.

'Getting away with it' would not be as nice as it sounded, he knew. In fact, it would probably involve more pain than not getting away with it. But pain was something he could deal with. The alternative was unthinkable.


It had started the day before yesterday, when he'd come to visit his mother for her birthday. He could hear the yelling from the street outside. And, when he knocked on the door, and his mother welcomed him in, without looking at him, the argument had ceased for a few moments – like a stream trying to find some way of flowing around a new obstacle. The hatred hesitated, pooled, and then broke over his head.

"You didn't tell me he was coming," Tobias rumbled, flicking down a corner of his newspaper, so that he could glower over the top of it.

Eileen Snape hesitated. She had just enough self-awareness left to refrain from admitting that she'd forgotten. Severus was sickened by the fact that this actually made him happy.

"You didn't ask me," she replied.  

"Oh, so now I have to ask you every time I want to know what's going on under my own bloody roof?"

He was particularly fond of that phrase. Under my own roof. Severus wondered what it was about the roof that made him so bloody proud. It was missing at least a dozen slates and it leaked even in a light drizzle. Still, you had to take pride where you could, if you had nothing else.   

With another miraculous stroke of mercy, Eileen didn't answer him. She went through to the kitchen to fix the dinner, and Severus sat down, relishing the silence, while his father sank back under his doom-laden newspaper. From across the room, Severus read the words 'Murderer sues Grieving Widow'. It was a perfect summary of Tobias Snape's dark, outraged, grumbling views on life.

He was sitting in his usual armchair. It would be smoking gently on the bonfire in two days. Severus could remember him sitting in that armchair for hours at a time, perfectly still, his arms placed stiffly on the arm-rests, while he stared at the patterned wallpaper on the opposite wall.

The armchair was torn in places, and leaking polyester stuffing. Tobias smoked and drank so profusely in that chair that Severus, with the instincts of a born potions brewer, couldn't get the word 'flammable' out of his head. He got a definite feeling that his father could go up in smoke at any minute. Of course, he would have got that feeling anyway. Experience was a wonderful teacher.

Eileen wandered back in, passed her son a plate of food, and then wandered out again. She looked straight through Severus, into whatever world of past agony she was currently inhabiting. He was used to it by now.

It wasn't her fault. She forgot things. She got caught up in bitter memories, and couldn't pay attention to what was happening right in front of her nose. She let the potatoes boil over on the stove. She left her dinner cooling on the table, while she wandered through rooms which she only recognized as the scene of past humiliations.

While the argument was in abeyance, he bolted down his dinner, listening to every separate tick of the clock on the wall. He was almost happier when they were fighting. At least then he wasn't sitting with hunched shoulders, sick with dismal anticipation, waiting for them to start. But that was why it was hell. It was all stops and starts. The pauses were irregular, and just long enough for hope to begin crawling treacherously out of its hiding place. And then it started up again. Probably with a very innocent-sounding phrase like: "Why can't you ever put the lid back on the mustard jar?' And it made him want to burst out laughing – even though he had never done anything that impulsive in his entire life. How could hell sprout up out of a little thing like that? A whole dark empire from a mustard seed.  

Severus tried to eat the boiled potatoes, and looked around. He knew the living room so well. Everything about it was depressingly familiar and soul-crushingly muggle. The patterned wallpaper that made your eyes blur in and out of focus. The worn carpet patterned with beige-and-cream swirls. The electric fire with its glowing orange filaments, stretched wide like a demonic grin. There were no framed photographs or china ornaments on the mantelpiece. They wouldn't have lasted a week.

But he still came back here every year, for his mother's birthday, as though he was on some kind of masochistic pilgrimage. He didn't even know why he did it.

Well, he had a theory. It was easy to forget, when you were swept up in the hedonistic world of the Death Eaters. When you drank elf-made wine in the grounds of eighteenth-century palaces – when you trod on plush carpets and discussed the comparative merits of the Unforgivable Curses, it was easy to forget that your soul had been forged in the cramped, smoky terraces of the Manchester suburbs. But the Death Eaters were just as fake, just as flawed, as the drab, grey inhabitants of Spinner's End. Severus had never found a place where he had felt at home, or a type of person he could conceivably admire – well, only once, and that didn't bear thinking about now.

But, somehow, it was important to remember that people were the same everywhere.

Although he wanted to escape Spinner's End, he didn't want to forget it. This was where he came from. It was what had made him. He would be deluding himself if he ever forgot: just like one of those snooty pure-bloods who pruned the undesirable branches of their family tree. Or, worse, one of those self-absorbed Gryffindors – who thought that, just because they didn't use the word 'mudblood', they were somehow on the side of 'good' – who thought you could perform the acts of evil as long as you didn't adopt the vocabulary. Never. It was more important to know yourself than like yourself.

After dinner, Severus went up to his room to read. No point in antagonizing the drunken gorilla with the sight of a book on Theoretical Transfiguration. But the walls in Spinner's End were paper thin, and it didn't take long for the argument to start up again. Wherever you were in the house, it sounded as though the fight was right at your elbow.

He knew the pattern so well he could practically sing along. His nausea would build to the same pitch as their shouts, until he could feel their voices vibrating inside his chest – until it felt as though they were fighting each other in every cell of his body.

It started off small. Little digs and insults that were so commonplace they went practically unnoticed. She was 'clumsy'. She 'couldn't cook'. He was 'shiftless', 'good-for-nothing', 'drunk'. When she really wanted to get his attention, she would ask him why he couldn't hold down a decent job, why he let his family walk around in rags, why he spent money on 'that muggle poison' when they barely had enough for food.

Tobias would reply in monosyllabic grunts until he was too drunk to ignore her. This generally happened around 11:30. And, for a hairy, wheezing, ham-fisted drunk, he could dart out of that chair unbelievably fast.

"Come here - ," There was a scuffling sound from the floor below. "Come here. You will not talk to me like that, do you understand?" Severus could practically smell the whisky on these words. "Under my own ro - ," Some dying brain-cell evidently informed Tobias that he had said that already tonight. So he switched the words around and shouted, in the hope that sheer volume could make up for originality.

"I put a roof over your head when no-one else would! I pay for your bloody food. Why don't the wizards take care of you, eh? Why don't the wizards give a damn about you? If they're so bloody brilliant, why don't you take up with them and leave me in peace?"   

"Whose fault is it the wizards don't give a damn about me?" she shouted. "They won't touch anyone who's been near muggle scum like you." Another scuffle. It was a while before Eileen's voice came back – and, when it did, Severus heard it with a mixture of terror and relief. "You make me sick. I don't know how you don't make her sick!"

'Her' was the most scathing pronoun it was possible to utter. She didn't have a name. She was always just 'her'. Severus sometimes wondered if she even existed. Perhaps she was just an excuse for them to shout at each other.

"She's not as snooty as you, Eileen. She's not a wand-waving brat from the bloody whimsical world of wizardry." He paused to chuckle at this witticism, and then went on: "She doesn't spend all day muttering to 'erself, either."

"No," Eileen shrieked, "she spends all day muttering to the gossip-mongers! The whole town knows about it. Your own son got bullied at school about it, did you know that? Your own son."

There was a hideous silence, followed by the scraping of chairs against the kitchen tiles. It sounded as though Eileen was trying to put furniture between them.

The worst part was the triumphant way she'd said 'your own son'. There was no pain there. It was as though she only thought of Severus as ammunition.

It had worked, though. His voice was trembling with rage when it came back.

"You don't care -," Tobias growled. "You don't give a damn - ,"

Severus suddenly realized that he'd been digging his fingernails into his palms. With an effort, he released them, flexed his fingers, and tried to breathe. It got worse if he intervened. The bastard would just take it out on her when he left. The last time he'd got between them, she had ended up with broken bones as well as bruises.  

He had wondered more than once if he made it worse. He had spent half his life wondering if he was some kind of catalyst for their antagonism. Severus had always had the mind of a chemist – it was a treacherously appealing idea, to think of himself as the substance which accelerated the rate of their decay.

But that couldn't be true. They hardly seemed to notice him. Hatred was an absorbing pastime, and it didn't need an audience. It often attracted an audience – but that was only because its practitioners tended to look possessed. You could be as surly, shy and middle-class as it was possible to be, but, in the grip of that mad hatred, you spat without realizing it, gestured like a Shakespearean actor and spilled your guts as though you were in a confessional.

Severus had grown up watching these bizarre, painfully earnest, totally un-self-conscious performances. He had grown up being bewildered by them, but every passing year fleshed out his understanding. He even said 'him', when he was talking about Potter, in exactly the same way his mother said 'her'. He had grown up watching it and now he was living it. What had once been a pantomime was now a documentary.

It was cruel, to fall into all the same traps your parents had. But it couldn't have been otherwise. That was the terrible thing about genetics. They really were fighting inside every cell of his body. He was a living war-zone. You could take the boy out of Spinner's End, but you couldn't take the Spinner's End out of the boy.

He rolled over, trying to get to sleep. The argument relocated, from the living-room to the bedroom, but his parents made no other concessions to the night.

He knew how these fights ended. They subsided into a trickle of resentful mutterings that gradually nursed him into an uneasy sleep. They didn't cease upon the midnight with no pain. That would have been too easy.

But tonight, something happened. Just as Snape's eyes were beginning to drift closed, his mother stopped mid-scream, as though somebody had just clamped a hand over her mouth.

For some reason, Severus sat bolt upright in bed, feeling as though an invisible fist had curled itself around his stomach and squeezed. He'd been here before. There was a memory, just stirring at the edge of his awareness, of being five years old, lying in bed, and hearing their arguments suddenly stop. The most unnerving silence had rolled over the house, and he had gingerly got out of his bed, opened the door onto the landing and waited, with his heart in his mouth, for somebody to speak again.

Then, as now, he waited, shoulders hunched, for the screaming to start up again. Then, as now, he edged over the landing, feeling his bare toes sink into the carpet. He couldn't believe that, after all these years – after decades of learning to tune out the arguments – he was just as frightened now as he had been then. And all the details were the same – well, of course they were. Nothing ever changed in this place. But it was astonishing, how clearly he could remember the street-light filtering through the banisters, making orange tiger-stripes on the carpet. The same bars of street-light were striping his feet right now. He remembered fixing his attention on them – using them to hypnotize himself into his Occlumency state, before he'd even known what the Occlumency state was.  

The door at the end of the landing was standing slightly ajar, and it seemed to take him forever to reach it. He couldn't remember what he'd seen behind it the last time. He could just remember staring at the door, while it loomed over him like some kind of Stygian portal.

And the same thoughts went through his head. He didn't want to reach the door at the end of the landing. If he could keep the door closed on whatever was waiting behind it, it would be as though it hadn't happened.

Even as a little boy, he'd known that was stupid. You didn't stop horrible things from happening just by refusing to look at them. The sooner you looked, the sooner you could go about fixing things.

Provided they could still be fixed, of course.

He reached out a hand, and pushed the door open. His memory opened up at exactly the same time, in horrible shades of dark red – and he couldn't be sure, right then, whether he was looking at the present or the past, because both scenes seemed to overlap in front of his eyes.  

Except that, this time, the wrong person was on the floor.

It took Severus a while to work out that he wasn't five years old, and even longer to work out what he should do. It wasn't easy, when panic was roaring in your ears, and your insides were cramping into one hot, leaden lump.

But, eventually, he forced his lips apart, and addressed the woman who was standing, wild-eyed, beside the bed.

"It's alright," he said at last. "Don't be frightened. I'll take care of it."

And that seemed to break the spell that had been keeping her scream back. She collapsed to her knees, wand still clutched in her hand, and moaned.

Severus remained in the doorway, trying to mentally untangle his knotted stomach. That was important. Get the panic under control, and then you could move forward. He tried to take a deep breath, but his lungs had frozen solid and were not accepting new contents.

The figure on the floor was staring up at him, all square-jawed, unshaven and disapproving. It was the soberest expression Severus had ever seen on his father's face.

"What did you do today?" he asked his mother, as casually as he could.

"What?"

He stepped over to her, and she recoiled defensively, grabbing the head-board as though he intended to drag her away. Severus tried to meet her gaze, but it was everywhere. Her eyes were darting back and forth as though she was being tormented by a swarm of invisible wasps. He lowered his voice slightly.

"I just need you to talk to me, just for a few minutes," he said quietly. "It's important. What did you do today?"   

His mother blinked in wretched bewilderment. "I went…" she swallowed. "I went shopping with Mrs. Duff…"

"What time did you come back?"

"I -,"

"What time did you come back?"

"About five?" she quavered.

Severus breathed. "Ok. Listen carefully. You didn't come back. You got the bus to the city centre – the 52B – and I met you at the bus station. We were going out to celebrate your birthday."  

"But it isn't…"

"Yes it is, mum," Snape snapped, passing a sweaty hand across his forehead. "The 20th November? The same day it was last year?"

Eileen just stared at him.

"OK," he said briskly. "Dad didn't come, because he hates the wizard world. Everyone knows that. But we went to Malfoy Manor to eat. We arrived at six, and we're still there, understand?"

Eileen put a hand to her mouth, as though she was trying to physically hold back the sobs, and nodded.

Severus took a deep breath, and tried to sink deeper into to the calm of his Occlumency state. It was hardly going to fill her with confidence if he threw up. Besides, he had seen worse than this – although that wasn't a wise thing to think about right now either.

He went back to the door, looked over the landing, and watched the stripes of street-light on the carpet, until he could feel the calm sinking through his limbs again, un-knotting his muscles, smoothing the creases on his forehead. It settled at the pit of his stomach like sediment on the sea bed.

When he opened his eyes, he wasn't frightened. He was annoyed that he was still in Spinner's End, with the brown-and-orange furnishings assaulting his vision, but that kind of light snobbery had always been a part of the Occlumency state, and, as draw-backs went, it was a fairly small one. He could live with it.  

He went back into the bedroom, took his mother gently by the hand, and led her down the stairs. She was aimless and light. He could feel the bones of her wrist under his fingers.

When they got to the hall, he halted her, and looked her up and down. Her dress had been ripped at the shoulder, so he took some time tidying her up, casting charms that sewed up the dress and healed her bruises, while she stared right through him and into the recent past. Still, at least she wasn't crying anymore.

Then he went into the kitchen, washed up every plate but one – so it looked as though only one person had eaten there tonight – and re-joined his mother in the hall.

He cast a Disillusionment Charm over them as they stepped out of the door. This was a street full of twitching net-curtains and bored housewives. He supposed he would have to visit a few of them to modify their memories of his arrival. But that could wait. The Aurors got called out to muggle-killings five times a night, and this one was going to look just like the others. Questioning the locals would not be high on their agenda.

Besides, an Auror never deciphered clues if there was a chance he could just run after a suspect, hurling curses at him. They were closer to soldiers than police-men.

He pulled out his wand, checked that the Disillusionment Charm was still over them, and then muttered the word: "Morsmordre."

Eileen drew a sharp breath and squeezed his arm. Some information about the outside world had got through to her then, even in her squalid, inward-looking misery. She turned her eyes towards the sky, which was opening up over their heads. The light that had shot from his wand was expanding with a noise like thunder, forming itself into the shape of a green skull with a snake protruding from its mouth. The image hung low over their heads like a rainforest canopy.

It was like one of those fireworks that explodes directly above you, fills your whole field of vision and threatens to rain hot glitter down on your upturned face.

Severus could see net curtains twitching all the way down the street. Some muggles even came to the front door in their pyjamas and gaped. He felt a thrill of contempt towards them, but it was driven out of his mind as soon as he saw his mother's expression.

The green light was reflected in her eyes. Severus felt a lurch of nausea, because they reminded him of other bright green eyes – eyes that had never stared at him in horror, but would do so now, if they could see what he was doing.  

"How did you learn to conjure that?" she whispered.

He turned to face her. And he met that green gaze head-on, just to hurt himself as much as possible, just to plunge the knife as deep as it would go.

"Suddenly you care?" he snapped.  

But then he saw how frightened she was. With some effort, he collected himself, and gave her a bitter, sardonic smile. "I get it. Now he's dead, you care. Well, that's too late for me, mum."  

He stretched out his hand, knowing that it wouldn't tremble – knowing that his eyes were so dark and expressionless it would look as though they'd been painted onto his face – and said: "Now take my arm. We're going somewhere safe. I won't let them get you. But let's be clear about this: I don't owe you any explanations."
An entry for the Spinner's End Challenge [link]

And kind of a companion-piece to 'Potions' [link] - though nowhere near as nice!

This isn't connected to any of the other chapters in my story. Just a lone piece of quasi-canon speculation. A part two is coming, involving my two favourite quarrelling Aurors, Moody and Scrimgeour. :w00t:

Am not having a very good month for writing, so apologies in advance!

EDIT: There is now a part two, which can be found here: [link]
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:icongryffgirl:
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
Brilliant story! I really enjoyed reading it! I love reading stories about the Snape family! Your prose is wonderful--really drew me in! I also love how you protrayed each of the family members. Wonderful! :D
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
Thank you so much! :hug: I'm really happy you liked it! I don't know whether you've seen it, but there's a 'Part Two' here: [link]

Thanks again for your kind words! :glomp:

Lucy.
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:iconjustbecause62:
JustBecause62 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like it...!

I'm trying not to comment on too many of your fics, because you would then be flooded with piles of extraordinarily redundant praise, but I like this one so much I just had to. :D

It's funny, but your Eileen here (and Severus' care for her) reminds me in some strange way of your Oblivia Black and Narcissa's attempts to take care of her.

I love your insights into Sev's past, because there are so many gaps in the story we have from JKR, and you fill them so perfectly it's impossible to find the seams. We get to see so much deeper into his character with your stories, and there's always more to find out. And I could go on and on about this, but I won't, because I have other things to do. ;)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
:hug: Never worry about commenting too much - I love reading comments, even though my replying is a bit slow! ;) I'm so glad you enjoyed this one - it was very depressing to write (as Sev's childhood chapters always are! :() but at least he got to be strong and reasonably in-control.
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:iconpreseli:
Preseli Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2010
Wow - I got interrupted when I had just started reading this ages ago, and only just rediscovered it. Excellent, powerful stuff!

This piece of biblical irony was my single favourite detail:

How could hell sprout up out of a little thing like that? A whole dark empire from a mustard seed.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2010
Yay, thank you so much! :hug: I'm really happy you liked that little 'mustard seed' detail, because I was thinking of leaving it out (I really need to edit my stories, but have no idea which bits I should leave out and which bits I should keep!) Anyway, thank you so much for reading and commenting. There's a part two to this here: [link] but I didn't submit it to the challenge because it isn't set in Spinner's End.
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:iconhapticmimesis:
HapticMimesis Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010  Student Digital Artist
I really enjoy how you captured some of Snape's dark, wry humor. My favorite line is probably: "It looked as though the bonfire, just like the man it commemorated, was going to need a bottle of whisky to get it going." Brilliant.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
Thank you! :hug: That really means a lot to me. I love writing Sev's dark, sarcastic sense of humour - especially in sad stories like this where it's kind of the only thing that cheers me up! ;)
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:iconhapticmimesis:
HapticMimesis Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Probably the only thing that cheers him up, too. You do it well!
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:iconjoeyv7:
joeyv7 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
:jawdrop: Lucy, it just grabbed me and wouldn't let me go until the end. And it shook me a few times for good measure. Amazing, sordid . . . I don't have the words.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010
:dance: Thank you so much, Cathy! It was a painful piece to write, but it makes me love Sev even more for his strength. You know, Eileen and Tobias in your incredible "...Mummy..." painting were a big inspiration for this chapter. :heart:
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:iconjoeyv7:
joeyv7 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2010
:iconiloveyouplz: I thought of that pic, when I read this. It's amazing how words can make something even more gritty than an image. Well done.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2010
:hug: Yay, thank you! Sometimes I think words could never be as powerful as an image (particularly that amazing painting) but, if this chapter has managed to capture the feeling of it, then I'm very happy! :dance:
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:iconjoeyv7:
joeyv7 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2010
I think it captured it, allright :iconseriousnod:
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:iconflameofthewest7:
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2010
Excellent, really brilliant writing. The tenseness is so palpable. You did a terrific job conveying his emotions towards his father and the place where he was raised--so full of hatred, yet so deadened at the same time. This bit was great:
Severus had always had the mind of a chemist – it was a treacherously appealing idea, to think of himself as the substance which accelerated the rate of their decay.

Great work!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2010
Thank you so much! :hug: I always love reading your comments, and the description of Sev's attitude as 'so full of hatred, yet so deadened at the same time' really struck a chord with me! That's exactly how I see his feelings towards his home. It's hatred, but it's such a familiar hatred that he's almost bored with it - if despair can ever make you bored, that is. It's grown so familiar that there's almost something comforting about it. Poor Sev! :(

On a happier note, the grown-up Malfoys are featured in part two, and it was wonderful describing Malfoy manor. Your fics really gave me some good inspiration for that!
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:iconflameofthewest7:
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2010
Yes!! I can hardly wait to read your take on my favorite fictional residence, and of course, its smug inhabitants ;) It is going to be a crazy weekend for me, but I'll check back and reply on it as soon as I can. You know how much I love it when you write about the Malfoys!

Poor Severus indeed...you are perceptive to note the boredom that, as I see it, hovers over his experiences of "home" like a glowering raincloud. The excruciating minutia of listening to his father's mundane muggle-ness must be suffocating to him!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2010
Absolutely! Poor Sev - although Malfoy Manor will be a nice antidote to all the muggleness of Spinner's End! ;)
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
This was wonderful! I've been so busy lately, but I've been wanting to read this when I had the time to sit down and absorb it all.

It's already been said, but your description of Spinner's end is so encompassing - I felt numbed and hopeless reading it. You seem to have harnessed the powers of dementors and wield them with words.

Not when he was so close to getting away with it.
Chilling.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2010
Yay! Thank you! :dance: :hug: It was a distressing thing to write, so (although I feel bad about inflicting all this depressing subject matter on you lovely, patient readers! ;)) I was kind of hoping my own sad feelings would come across in the writing!
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:icongreeneyes-17:
greeneyes-17 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2010
This is amazing! you made spinner's end come to life with your descriptions of the tawdry furnishings!
Poor sev! From what he told Harry to do during their Occlumency lessons, you can tell that he himself must have been obliged to use Occlumency, to be able to survive the many horrors he must have witnessed.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2010
Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it! :hug: :) Yes, I always imagined that Sev had been practising Occlumency - without really knowing he was doing it - since he was a little boy, just to survive that horrendous childhood! :(
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:iconshyfoxling:
shyfoxling Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2010
Whoa. Riveting!

(Is there actually such a brand of whisky?)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2010
Thanks! :hug: No, there's no such brand (to my knowledge) - it was just a jokey reference to Southern Comfort.
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:iconshyfoxling:
shyfoxling Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2010
I wondered if that was the reference, lol.
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:iconfayzbub:
Fayzbub Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
My god, this is such an evocative piece! I'm totally in awe of the writing -- the gritty hopelessness is so immediate, so real, that you feel as if you're there, watching, or up in the bedroom with Severus listening. Horrible and wonderful in equal measure. JKR might have created Snape, but you OWN him with this!
Alison
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2010
:) :hug: Thank you so much, that really means a lot to me! It was very depressing to write, but I was comforting myself by the fact that Severus got to show his resolute and determined side (that's my favourite side of his character! :heart:) I'm so glad you liked it, thank you for your kind words!
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:iconsamanthalenore:
SamanthaLenore Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I loved this line: "He went back to the door, looked over the landing, and watched the stripes of street-light on the carpet, until he could feel the calm sinking through his limbs again, un-knotting his muscles, smoothing the creases on his forehead. It settled at the pit of his stomach like sediment on the sea bed."

It seemed like this weird, surreal dividing line between his life before, and the new path that he had suddenly, and unwittingly been thrust upon.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
:hug: :heart: Thank you! It's hard describing the Occlumency state, because I am never that calm! :giggle: It's like writing confident, happy-go-lucky characters like James Potter - it's tricky. ;)

I really love the idea that this moment is like standing on the threshold of a new life. And he doesn't have any choice about it, but he can still kind of perceive that it's happening. Poor Sev!
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:iconsamanthalenore:
SamanthaLenore Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Poor Sev, indeed. :(
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:iconvictory-gin:
Victory-Gin Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Once again you've surpassed yourself in brilliance. I'll just start off by saying that it takes a LOT for me to read and actually enjoy a fic that doesn't have at least some Lily/Sev interaction, but I've got to hand it to you-- your works are definitely the exceptions.

One of things I have always loved about your writing is that your able to write conflict, love, and bitterness without the whole thing feeling contrived. Depicting the tumultuous relationship between Tobias and Eileen Snape without relying on cliched depictions of domestic violence (i.e., sniveling, cowering wife and raging, domineering husband) was very refreshing to read. I also enjoyed Severus rationalizing to himself the reasons that he continues to visit Spinner's End.

The line, "You could take the boy out of Spinner's End, but you couldn't take the Spinner's End out of the boy," is absolutely perfect.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
Thank you! :hug: I'm just the same as you - I find it so much easier to read a fic if there is Sev/Lily interaction (well, you know how often in my story the plot is thrown out of the window so Sev and Lily can have a scene together! ;)) so it was strange writing a chapter where she isn't with him, and where she isn't even in his thoughts very much. I guess he wouldn't be able to be this composed, or this miserable, if Lily was nearby!

So glad you liked Eileen and Tobias's interaction! I don't think I've ever written any Tobias dialogue before (in 120 chapters, that is pretty weird! :faint:), so I'm really happy to hear that you found their interactions convincing.
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:iconvizen:
Vizen Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
It's great, Lucy, really, your best or one of your best stories and it is not easy to say so, as you're so good. Thank you for this Snape.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
:sun: :floating: :w00t: Thank you so much, Bea - you've made me really happy! I think I'd been looking at it too much, so I couldn't judge it anymore, but I'm relieved to hear that you liked it. You see what I mean about it being depressing, though? Poor Sev never gets a break!
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:iconvizen:
Vizen Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
Sev getting a break sounds as an oxymoron too, you see.

I really appreciate how you brought Spinner's End into life and gave Severus a true force and presence. By the way, I've always thought your Snape gets more force -consistency, assurance, presence and power- when he gets older - it's great.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
:dance: Thank you! I really hope he is getting more powerful and self-assured. I certainly wouldn't like to get on his bad side by the end of this fic - he can be scary! ;)
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:iconvizen:
Vizen Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2010
A "depressing" and "scary" fic ? You are spoiling me!
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