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The first thing he noticed was how clear the skies were – and not just because the Dark Mark had so recently been hanging over him, filling up the horizon, and pouring bright green light into his mother's eyes. You could actually see the stars here – even the pearly gash of the Milky Way. For a moment, Severus felt exposed, without the smoke and street-light of the Manchester suburbs.  

But there was nothing to expose. The sky was just as empty as his chest. All the panic and nausea had shrunk back to let the Occlumency state take hold. He could count every one of his heartbeats; they practically echoed. And now every person who could hurt them was just a variable to be weighed-up and manipulated.

It was still them, even though Severus wasn't completely sure that his mother was still with him. She had her hand tightly curled around his upper arm, but her eyes were darting from left to right, as though she was surrounded by demons who kept lunging at her. Severus doubted she could understand him, but he spoke anyway – in a low, terse whisper – in the hope that she might be calmed by the sound of his voice. He was not usually given to unnecessary conversation, but there were special circumstances tonight.

"We're going to stay here for a while," he said. "This is Malfoy Manor. I don't know if you ever saw it before you moved away from the wizarding world."

Lucius had spoken in no uncertain terms about how much he hated wizard-tourists gaping at his residence as though they'd never seen a stunning, eighteenth-century Manor House before. In fact, he had installed a charm that gave skull-splitting headaches to anyone who stared at the neo-classical façade for over a minute. But Eileen didn't seem to be in any danger of that. Her eyes were still following invisible demons.  

Severus had never seen Malfoy Manor in the daylight. It was a place that reveled in the shadows and the light of the moon. It was a place of tinkling fountains, and tiered stone terraces that stretched down to acres and acres of dark, rolling lawns. The white peacocks drifted around like ghosts, even though they made a very un-ghostly squawking sound if suddenly disturbed. The place had a subtle, night-time elegance that seemed to shun the glare of the sun.

There was so much space here. And the decoration was simple and elegant and didn't make your eyes water. It could not have presented more of a contrast to Spinner's End.

"And, remember," Severus added gently, "we've been here since six."

His mother plane of existence temporarily collided with his. "But..." she floundered. "But they're going to wonder who did it…"

Severus sighed. "They know who did it, mum. The Dark Mark is as good as a signed confession. Trust me, no-one is going to bother looking for another explanation."

She didn't answer, but he didn't want to lose her attention now that he had it, so he went on:

"I need you to perform a lot of basic, boring, domestic charms with your wand," he said, marveling at how steady his voice was. "They could try Priori Incantatem, and there's no way to wipe out the record of the spells that a wand has performed, but they can't tell with any reasonable degree of certainty when the spells were performed, so if you cast a couple of hundred floor-sweeping charms right now, they'll think they're looking at a whole year's worth of domestic magic when they make your wand replay its most recent spells. They won't go as far back as the Avada Kedavra curse. Aurors have short attention spans."

"What if… what if they use Legilimency on me?" she quavered.

"They can't use Legilimency without a warrant. And they don't have enough evidence for a warrant. In fact, they have extremely strong evidence that the crime was committed by someone else. If it weren't for the fact that I'm a Slytherin – and therefore, by their logic, a potential Death Eater – they wouldn't bother questioning us at all."

Eileen sunk back into her terrified preoccupation, and Severus resisted the urge to shout. Even as a little boy, he'd always been too proud to jump up and down, begging for her attention. He told himself – in the forward-thinking way of all Slytherins – that he would have her attention one day, when he was a powerful wizard. Up until very recently, his gaze had been fixed on that mythical 'one day'. He strangled the urge to curse people, thinking about that 'one day', and now that he was sure it would never arrive, he felt both liberated and lost. He didn't know why he was a Death Eater anymore. There was nothing he wanted anymore. There was nobody left to impress. But he would make the best of it, because he'd been squashing down his feelings for years – he had been patient and clever and disciplined for his entire life – and it had to have been for something.

He tried to let the surroundings calm him. He was always in his Occlumency state here, because the Death Eaters liked to practice inept Legilimency, and it would be unthinkable to let them discover how frequently Lily was in his thoughts. Not that they would have discovered it. Their spells couldn't have been more ineffective if their wands had been replaced with dead fish, but it was the principle of the thing. One day, they might get good. And, on that day, they would discover that they were still not good enough.

As they walked on, he was surprised to find his mother casting floor-sweeping charms under her breath, raking up the gravel on the Malfoys' drive. It almost pitched him out of his Occlumency state, but he managed to steady himself.

"Good," he said solemnly. "Now add some others, so they don't get suspicious. Try the Riddikulus Charm. Or Evanesco. Keep them dull. Aurors get bored easily, and I have it on good authority that they hate house-work."

And, beneath the calm, he was thinking: Please, not Alastor Moody. Anyone but Alastor I-see-dark-wizards-in-every-corner-and-I'm-going-to-make-them-pay-for-my-difficult-childhood Moody.

The door, when they eventually reached it, was opened by a wretched-looking creature: a House Elf with bandaged fingers and bat-like ears, wearing a loosely-fitting pillow-case. Severus explained – still in that miraculously steady voice – that they needed to see Lucius on urgent business, and they were led into a cavernous entrance hall to await the 'master' and 'mistress'. The House Elf ushered them into velvet-cushioned chairs of stained mahogany, and, with a House Elf's instincts for tidyness, handed Eileen a tissue.

Snape wondered what kind of reaction he could expect from Lucius and Narcissa. They wouldn't hang him out to dry. He knew too much about them. He could denounce Lucius as a Death Eater – come to that, he could denounce Narcissa as a Death Eater, which would be news to Lucius. You had to look after the Death Eaters who knew your identity, in the hope that they, in turn, would look after you.

They might try to blackmail him after this, of course. He would have to keep his eyes open. But he was good at that. They hardly ever closed.

Once again, his mother drifted back to the present. She put a hand on his arm and squeezed. "It was… he made me angry," she whispered wretchedly.

Severus looked at her. It was easier to look at her, now that the green reflections were out of her eyes.

"It's alright," he said again. "I know."  

He felt her grip on his arm loosen, as her attention drifted away. It unbalanced him, even though he'd been expecting it. He felt a lurch of loss in the pit of his stomach.  

"Don't." On impulse, he started towards her, knocking the chair over in his haste. And then he was angry with himself for doing so. The tendrils he'd been inching towards her were sharply withdrawn. His face snapped back into its hardened scowl – the frown-lines seemed to deepen. He couldn't help her. She didn't want him to help her. He didn't matter to her. Hating her husband was still more important to her than loving her son.

That was when Narcissa and Lucius came in, and Severus greeted them with a look which was much more ferocious than he'd meant it to be. They could tell at once – from the overturned chair and the fierce misery in his eyes, that something was wrong, but they weren't Slytherins for nothing. They were all politeness and genteel caution. They maintained a safe distance – standing in a doorway which led to a sumptuously-decorated parlour – but they greeted Severus and his mother as though this night-time visit was a real treat. Snape couldn't stand it.

"We need your help," he said brusquely, cutting across the words of welcome, and trying to keep all unsteadiness, all vulnerability, out of his voice. The idea that they might think he was begging them made him feel physically sick. He had no more intention of begging for their help than he had of begging for his mother's attention. "We need you to say that we've been here since six. The Aurors are coming."

Lucius and Narcissa shared a long look in the doorway – but it wasn't as long as he'd expected it to be. After only ten seconds, Narcissa raised her eyebrows, and that seemed to decide it. Lucius stepped back and motioned them inside. Whether this was a gesture of solidarity or a calculated investment, Severus didn't know. He didn't care. The shame of surviving on their charity was just a background ache at the moment.

He followed them into the sumptuous parlour. It had wood-paneled walls and diamond-paned windows. There was a marble fire-place at one corner of the room, and the wall above it was draped with medieval tapestries, depicting unicorns and maidens. Severus breathed deeply, trying to clear his mind and get the bitter taste out of his mouth.

The first thing he noticed – and it came as a genuine surprise – was that Narcissa was pregnant. When had that happened? Details like that didn't usually get past Severus, but he supposed he hadn't seen her for a few months, and he usually tried to tune out Lucius's monologues about his blissful family life. They were almost as unbearable as the Spinner's-End arguments.

Narcissa's gown was emerald-green, and had the iridescent sheen of peacock-feathers. She rustled expensively as she walked. Her hair had been gathered into an elegant knot on top of her head, and it looked as though it had recently been washed and dried, because it was not as sleek as usual. Feathery static strands had worked their way out of the elegant knot. Oh god, he had probably got them out of bed, hadn't he? That realization made him more annoyed than it should have done.

Still, he was impressed by the speed with which Narcissa could look almost-flawless. He had always assumed it was the work of laborious hours and numerous assistants. But then, she was a scientist, wasn't she? She had probably experimented with lightning-quick cosmetic charms in her spare time. Narcissa liked to hone her craft under every kind of condition.

They stood together by the fireplace, to let their guests admire the splendor. Narcissa had probably worked out that, if she stood with bright lights at her back, she tended to blind people. She adored visual effects like that.

After giving them long enough to admire her, Narcissa took Eileen's hand and showed her the medieval tapestries hanging on the wall above the marble fire-place. Severus couldn't understand this bizarrely friendly behaviour, until he remembered that Narcissa's mother was bewildered, submissive and vacant-eyed too.

They waited, in tense luxury. The House-Elf brought them coffee, and Severus forced some down, for the look of the thing. His mind was racing, totally independent of his frayed nerves and tensed muscles. It was as though the cord anchoring him to those physical sensations had been cut. He could reattach it at will – and he would suffer when he did – but, for now, he was just a speeding train of thought, with a slip-stream of consciousness.

They would want to talk to the House Elf – but House Elves could lie if their masters instructed them to. What else? What was he missing? Could his mother be trusted to lie?

Severus looked over at Eileen. Narcissa was playing Gobstones with her, and she was – for once – happily absorbed in the task at hand. It was a big sacrifice for Narcissa, he knew, because the idea of being squirted in the face by foul-smelling substances would not appeal to a woman who took as much time over her make-up as she did. Perhaps she didn't expect Eileen to be so good. Either way, Severus appreciated the sacrifice.

It wasn't easy for him – because his whole being was screwed up in concentration, and every muscle was tensed in expectation of attack – but, when Narcissa looked over at him, he tried not to frown too severely.

It only took the Aurors ten minutes to arrive. Severus knew them. Moody and Scrimgeour. They were scary enough alone, but they always worked together, because Moody had a habit of turning innocent by-standers into ferrets, and he needed a shrewd, smooth-talking apprentice to handle the complaints – and the reporters. That, thought Severus – above the dull roar of the panic – would come in handy.

The wretched House Elf ushered them into the parlour, and they stood in the doorway, looking twice as grim and scarred in the fire-light, dripping rain-water onto the oriental carpets.

Moody growled: "You again, is it?" But Scrimgeour put a restraining hand on his shoulder.

"Mrs. Eileen Snape?" he said, in a well-practised voice of hollow sympathy. "I'm sorry to report that your husband was killed earlier this evening."

Eileen started trembling, but she said nothing. Narcissa put an arm around her – and you would have to be looking very closely to notice that she was holding her shoulders a little bit too tightly, more to restrain than comfort her.

"It's alright, Eileen," she said.

"Well, that remains to be seen, Miss," said Scrimgeour, with a grim smile. "The Dark Mark was found above the house. That is – most unfortunately – not unusual in this day and age, but it inevitably leads the observer to wonder how your husband came to the attention of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and, even more pertinently, how He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named knew that you and your son would be out this evening."

"Did I understand you correctly?" Lucius asked, with a frown. "Are you saying the mere fact that Severus and his mother are not dead is grounds for suspicion?"  

"Just pursuing all avenues of enquiry, Sir."

"This is boring," Moody rumbled. "We'll forego the pleasantries, shall we, Malfoy? We all know that you and your snooty Slytherin cronies are involved with Voldemort."

Scrimgeour winced.

"That is a very serious accusation," said Lucius, folding his arms.

"Yeah, it is," Moody replied gleefully. "And here's another one. You and Snape here - ," he gave Severus a nauseated look – "got Voldemort to do your dirty work for you. You wanted this man out of the way – probably because Snape is ashamed of having a muggle for a dad – and so you arranged to take the magical members of the family out for dinner, while Voldemort came calling."

"As I understand it, Moody, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is far more likely to kill the family members of his enemies than his friends."

Moody spread his arms innocently. "And that'd be fine if Snape here had a history of speaking out against Voldemort."

Lucius gave him a patronizing smile. "I see. He is a suspect because he is a Slytherin. Slytherins do not proclaim their opinions in a very loud voice just to receive attention. He is a suspect because he's not like the brash and arrogant fools that you went to school with."

Scrimgeour folded his arms. "It is not foolish to speak out against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, sir."

"And it is not suspicious to refrain from doing so. If it was, you would have to arrest two thirds of the wizards in the country."  

"If we have to, we will," Moody growled cheerfully. He was evidently enjoying this. "But, since we're here, Malfoy, we might as well start with you and your slimy-haired mate."

Eileen started crying. She pressed her face against Narcissa's silk-draped shoulder, to try and keep the sobs in. Severus wasn't thinking much at that moment, but later on, he would be very impressed – very impressed – that Narcissa didn't pull away to stop the tear-stains from soaking into her priceless dress. She was resolute as steel.

"That's enough," she said. "You're upsetting her. Severus and Eileen have been with us all evening. The House Elf can testify, if you don't consider me or my husband trustworthy sources. You'll produce your evidence for this accusation, or you'll get out."

"My evidence, you snooty - ,"

Scrimgeour coughed loudly. Moody changed tack, without missing a beat. "My evidence, Mrs. Malfoy, is three-fold. One, it's well-known that your husband here thinks muggles are sub-human scum."

"It's 'well-known'," Lucius repeated scornfully. "'Everyone knows'. You sound like a reporter, Moody. Who are these knowledgeable people you keep talking about?"

"Two," Moody went on, ignoring him completely, "we've had reports that the deceased wasn't treating Mrs. Snape very well. And three - ." Here, he approached Severus's chair, leaning down until their noses were almost touching, and all Severus could see was a vista of scar-tissue studded with sharp brown eyes. "We've met Snape before. We know he has a habit of turning up in places he shouldn't be, knowing far more than he ought to. We know he arranges his face into that carefully-blank look whenever we're getting close to the truth. We know he sticks to powerful people like a morally-deficient barnacle. We know there's nothing he wouldn't do for his sickening, Slytherin ambitions."  

Severus met his gaze, allowing a flicker of disbelief to show itself through the mask. "Are you supposed to talk to the bereaved this way?" he asked seriously.

"He's right, Moody," Scrimgeour muttered, just on the edge of hearing. "There have already been six complaints about you. We have to go carefully."

"We're at war," Moody pointed out, still with his face pressed uncomfortably close to Severus's.

"And that means civilians don't have rights?" Scrimgeour snapped. "It doesn't look good, Moody. If the Prophet gets hold of this - ,"

"You and your damned Prophet!"

"Moody," Scrimgeour growled, nodding in the direction of Eileen. "His mother's crying again."

And that was it. That was the only thing that could have caused Moody to back off. He glanced at Eileen, and his mismatched features twisted themselves even more – in disgust, probably – or self-disgust, hopefully. He fixed Scrimgeour with a resentful, beady eye and nodded.   

"We'll be interviewing your House Elf. And I'll be watching you personally, Snape," he growled, not even bothering to look at him. "Wouldn't trust anyone else with a job as important as that. You haven't got away with this."

"I hope you hunt dark wizards with all the fervour you direct against their victims," said Snape lightly.

"You can count on it," Moody replied.

And that was it. It was almost too easy. There was still the night to get through, of course. Severus plundered the Malfoys' library and read in his four-posted bed, listening out for the sounds of his mother's stifled sobs in the next room. He couldn't do anything about it. There was probably nothing he could do for her now – but, somehow, it was important to catch every separate sob. It was important to know everything, even if it made you miserable.

He couldn't keep the clarity and calm of the Occlumency state while he slept, so he didn't try to sleep. And, when the sunlight finally filtered through the leaded windows, he felt as exhausted as if he'd been running all night – which, in a manner of speaking, he had.  

He got up as soon as he heard his host and hostess stir, and found Lucius reading the paper in what was usually referred to as 'the breakfast room'. Of course, they were rich enough to have a room for every meal. They were rich enough to have a room for between-meal snacks – although they were much too thin to eat any.  

Lucius knew better than to try and make him eat breakfast. They had a friendship that depended on respecting one another's privacy. He simply disappeared under his Daily Prophet, looking for one gut-wrenching second like Tobias Snape.

Severus glanced at the paper. His father's death hadn't even made the front page.

"The Dark Lord is claiming the murder as one of his," Lucius said at last, "which sounds to me like approval. He thinks you did it."

"I did," said Snape expressionlessly.

"Of course," Malfoy replied, with practiced diplomacy.

But Narcissa had been alone with Eileen, and she could wheedle secrets out of anyone. She was so genteel and pretty. The picture of everything Eileen Prince had once wanted to be.

He should have done it, he thought grimly. Years ago. He should have done it as soon as he was old enough to hold a wand. It might have saved her.

He should have been there, while she was inching towards the end of her tether. He should have kept trying. But Severus had a fatalistic imagination. He always assumed that his attempts were doomed to begin with. It was hardly stretching credulity to believe that his mother didn't care about him. After all, she wasn't the only woman who'd withdrawn her gaze from him, to stare at someone brash and loud and vicious.

Severus felt the familiar lurch of nausea again – like a fish-hook in his belly – but he was not going to let it reel him in. It was simply too important that he kept control. She needed him now. It was too late, of course – too late for both of them – but he had to go on, just because the alternative didn't bear thinking about. He couldn't leave her to rot in a cell in Azkaban.

But what would be the difference? said a treacherous voice in his head. She's at the mercy of her worst memories anyway – what could the Dementors do to her? How could they possibly make it worse?

He could get her out of Spinner's End, at least: stop the incessant muggleness of that dreary place from chipping away at her spirit. It probably wouldn't work, because Spinner's End wormed its way into your head, but at least there was hope this way: the slimmest, tiniest glimmer of it.  

"I think he… identifies with you," said Malfoy slowly, perusing the paper. "He too had a muggle father, whom he was prudent enough to dispose of."

Severus said nothing.

"Of course, he will require you to make it up to him."

"I'll think of something."

"He will give you a difficult assignment."

"I'll take it."

"I wouldn't be surprised if he assigned you to spy on Dumbledore."

Snape raised his eyebrows. "Are you finished?"

Lucius smiled. It was the briefest of things, but it seemed to be genuine. He promptly hid it behind his Daily Prophet and, when his voice came back, it was smooth and business-like again.

"The Aurors will soon be allowed to use Legilimency without a warrant. Soon, they'll be allowed to interrogate suspects using the Cruciatus Curse. Panic is growing. Fanatics like Moody will get more and more freedom, and he'll be sure to re-open this case."

"So we get my mother out of the country before that happens," said Snape flatly. "She can't go home, anyway."

Lucius hesitated. "Narcissa wants her to stay here, but… with a baby on the way…"

"You don't want trouble," Snape finished for him. "I understand."

"I have cousins in Denmark," Lucius added, relieved. "They live in a castle on the coast. It's a very private estate. You can fly over it for miles without passing a single muggle settlement."

Severus, without meaning to, thought of Elsinore – where the ghosts of murdered fathers walked the halls, demanding vengeance. But the Occlumency state was too firmly in place to permit a shudder.

"It sounds ideal," he said.

The House Elf brought him a cup of coffee, and Severus sipped it, without caring that it was scalding his mouth, while Lucius yelled at the creature, telling it to look presentable when there were guests in the house. Severus let the argument wash over him. He'd had a lot of practice.

When Lucius was gone, Narcissa strode into the room, wearing lilac this morning. She looked angry, but it had not been enough to put her off her personal grooming. Her face was powdered to perfection, and every one of her silvery hairs had been sleeked back into its elegant top-knot.  

"She's been beaten," said Narcissa, without preamble. "You concealed the bruises very skillfully, but I can tell."

Severus took another sip of his coffee, and continued to read the Daily Prophet. "What would you like me to say?" he enquired politely.

"That your filthy muggle father suffered?"

Severus replaced the cup in its saucer, and turned the page. "I have no idea," he said. "I wish to continue to have no idea."

There was a silence. Narcissa just stood there, with disdainfully-folded arms. "Things like this won't happen when the Dark Lord is in power," she said at last.  

"I'm delighted to hear it," said Snape, who had never sounded delighted to hear anything.

"We can take her to Denmark," Narcissa continued, sitting at the table opposite. "The Minister for Magic there has respect for pure-bloods. I - ," she hesitated, and then plunged on. "I don't think she will be any happier, but Lucius's cousins might be able to help her."

"She's beyond help," said Snape, in a carefully toneless voice.  

Narcissa blinked. "If you believed that, then why did you try so hard to keep her out of Azkaban?"

Snape glanced over the top of the Daily Prophet and raised his eyebrows. "Because, believe it or not, I am not beyond help, Narcissa."

Narcissa frowned. Of course, she didn't understand. He hadn't expected her to. And not just because she was a molly-coddled pure-blood. It was genuinely stupid, to put yourself through something so terrifying, just because not doing it would have been unthinkable. There was no hope of gain; just the hope of avoiding further loss. Narcissa's powers of understanding were limited, but that would have challenged anybody's.

"What are you going to do with the house?" she said at last.

"I am going to exorcize it."

That was yesterday. He had already burnt his father's possessions – on Ministry orders, but with no small amount of relief. It helped to keep busy, so he had given himself the task of making Spinner's End endurable. It would probably take him the rest of his life.

Some of the house's ugliness had permeated its very structure. The patterned wallpaper had melded organically with the plaster, until you would have to bulldoze the place to remove it. Good old-fashioned neglect could be as tenacious as any sticking-charm. So he was planning to cover the walls with book-shelves. Book-spines never made his eyes blur in and out of focus quite literally ad nauseam.

He put a charm of Perpetual Ineptitude on the street-lights outside the house. It meant they would remain broken, and any muggle who planned on fixing them would remember the futility of life and have an instant urge to hurl himself off the nearest tawdry-looking office-block.

Then he could have the shadows, and there would be no bars of streetlight striping the carpet on the landing. It was a small, cosmetic improvement, but it made Severus feel better – especially when he got to cast the charm of Perpetual Ineptitude.

There was probably no getting rid of the smell of whisky, but the smell of aconite, heart's-ease, hellebore and mandrake could be remarkably tenacious, so he was planning to build a laboratory in the kitchen. Bundles of dried herbs and curtains of shimmering potion fumes could improve any situation. If there was no relief, there could at least be distractions.  

It was not perfect, but it was off the radar of the snootier type of Death Eater, Auror, and Dark Wizard. Besides, something kept him from abandoning the place. The same something that had kept him visiting every year on his mother's birthday. He would not be one of those sickening hypocrites who forgot where they came from. It was more important to know yourself than like yourself.
A continuation to Northern Comfort [link]

Again, not connected to the main story in my gallery. And, again, sorry for the gloomy tone! :hug:
Add a Comment:
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012
Wonderful. I love your style of writing. I love the banter between Moody and Scrimgeour--a little "good cop/bad cop" which really worked (I happen to like those two characters from the books). Very absorbing and enjoyable story--you've really gotten into Severus' mind! :heart:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012
Thank you! :hug: :heart: I love Moody and Scrimgeour too; I always think they must have respected each other as colleagues but also driven each other crazy with their different approaches to the job! I'd like to write some more about them!
JustBecause62 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Narcissa took Eileen's hand and showed her the medieval tapestries hanging on the wall above the marble fire-place. Severus couldn't understand this bizarrely friendly behaviour, until he remembered that Narcissa's mother was bewildered, submissive and vacant-eyed too.

:blush: Guess my comment on Part One of this was a tad redundant, then.

"That is a very serious accusation," said Lucius, folding his arms.

Hey, that was McGonagall's line! :-o

Moody isn't very nice, is he? :)
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Not at all redundant - you were anticipating narrative comments one chapter in advance - that's the mark of a very perceptive reader! :nod: :)

No, Moody isn't very nice. But, I guess, from his perspective, a muggle has just been killed (he wasn't to know that the muggle in question was an evil bastard! ;))
allysonwlu Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2010
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010
Thank you! :hug: :) I'm so glad you liked it. I love writing about these characters!
HapticMimesis Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2010  Student Digital Artist
Whoah. I love how vividly you picture this! Your characterizations for all of these characters are wonderful! I particularly love the Malfoys' relationship with Snape. It's so very...Slytherin. :) :) Insta-fave!
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2010
Thank you! :hug: :dance: I'm really happy you liked it! I've always loved writing about the Slytherins! You'd think that would make me a Slytherin too, but in a recent test, I was sorted into Hufflepuff! :doh: ;) Ah, well, at least I can still write about the Slytherins and their dastardly ways...
HapticMimesis Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2010  Student Digital Artist
No shame. I'm pretty sure that I would end up in Hufflepuff. I'm simply not ambitious enough for Slytherin. One never knows, however. AND, I think that the hat would allow for the desire of one's heart to dictate, as it did for Harry. Whichever your sorting, it certainly hasn't diminished your grasp of Slytherin ideals and motivations! Keep writing, because you do so very well at it!
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2010
:hug: Thank you, you're very kind! I will keep writing about the Slytherins, even if I can't be one! :) (the dastardly characters are so much fun!)
joeyv7 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010
This is *fascinating*, Lucy :heart:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010
:hug: Thank you so much! I'm really happy you liked it! :dance:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sorry it took me so long to get this read. Loved this:

"he had given himself the task of making Spinner's End endurable. It would probably take him the rest of his life. "

Truer words were never spoken. Well, except maybe for these:

"It was more important to know yourself than like yourself."

Loved this as usual. I always enjoy when you write Severus, and especially his interactions with the Malfoys. This was the first chapter where I really felt what his relationship would be like with them as he grew into adulthood. It almost seemed like a defining moment, when their relationship shifted from mentorship and/or patronage to one of friendship.
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
Yay, thank you! :hug: I liked writing Sev's interactions with the Malfoys, because I've always wanted to understand how they could be friends. Obviously, he suspects that they're helping him for self-interested motives (and that's probably part of it) but it's still nice to see Sev with some allies (he often seems completely alone in my main story! :()
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, the Malfoys really grew on me. They are some of my favorite characters in the series now. At first they just seemed like these one-dimensional baddies but the Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows came along and they became these real, living, breathing people with feelings, pain, loyalties. Rowling really did do some amazing things with some of her darker characters in the later books of the series.

By the way, you can give me more (or more detailed) prompts than that if you want. I love your prompts! Look at me begging... :giggle: How pathetic. :faint:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
:giggle: Truly, I would just keep prompting you to write Sev and Lily making out! You don't want to hear that all the time! ;)

I felt exactly the same about the Malfoys! They were boring but glamorous bad guys to begin with, but The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows really made them flesh-and-blood people for me!
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Melorik Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2010
Hey Lucy,

You are a genius!

Now that that blatantly obvious flattery is out of the way, I absolutely loved this little story. Interestingly enough, you didn't write it in such a way that it can't fit in with your main story at some point. I would assume that by that point Snape would have had to reconcile with Narcissa and Lucius, but it could still work.

I would have loved it if Snape himself had killed Tobias, but this makes a heck of a lot more sense. I would have liked Sev to go off on Eileen a bit more though. He has years and years of pent up resentment, broken childhood dreams, and neglect to throw in her face. But then, I suppose it wouldn't be much like Severus to just go off on people. Do it too often, and it loses significance I suppose.

Favorite like: "One day, they might get good. And, on that day, they would discover that they were still not good enough."

Truer words have never been spoken. In keeping with that sentiment, I do hope you might have a scene where Bellatrix tries it on him :D. I would -almost- feel sorry for her.

Keep it up!


ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
Hi Sam! :hug: :) Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed this story! I would have liked Sev to be able to shout at Eileen more too - but I think he knows from experience that it wouldn't do any good. She lives in her head, and never really listens to him. Besides, she was so fragile here - I think he couldn't have brought himself to shout at her.

I definitely want to write a scene now where Bellatrix tries Legilimency on Sev! She would be sooooooo bad at it. That kind of magic requires subtlety. Severus would probably reverse her spell and send her into her own mind to re-live her worst - and most embarrassing - childhood memories! :giggle:
Melorik Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
I am barely restraining my jubilation at the thought of such a scene.

You realize now that you absolutely -have- to write this don't you? It would be the height of cruelty to suggest such a delicious scene and then never follow up on it ;).

Is there more parts to this mini-fic?, and are you planning to return to your main story at some point. I only ask because it would be a crying shame if you stopped with it :).


ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010
Oh no, I'm definitely going back to the main story. This was just a Challenge entry for :iconspinners--end: (like Days of Dunder) that unfortunately got too long for just one chapter! But it was complicated, because only the first chapter was set in Spinner's End (which was the theme of the challenge), so I decided to only submit the first part to the challenge, but I still wanted to finish the story, so I posted the second part in my gallery here (if that all makes sense! :faint:)

Anyway, I don't think there will be any more parts to this mini-fic. I'm going straight back to the hopelessly tangled plot of the main story next! ;)

(And will definitely write a scene in which Sev teaches Bellatrix a thing or two about Legilimency! :w00t:)
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
There was nobody left to impress. But he would make the best of it, because he'd been squashing down his feelings for years – he had been patient and clever and disciplined for his entire life – and it had to have been for something.
I like this line a lot, because I've often wondered what it must have been like for Snape to go on after Lily's death (I know she's still alive here, but in most ways that matter, she's gone to him). Everything led up to ... nothing, and he's left standing around for another 18 years with nothing to really hope for - at least not for a while. So he just goes on the way he's been going on forever up until that point.

Narcissa's particular magical expertise usually seems more frivolous to me than anything, but I'm really starting to appreciate her skill. The first time I saw a make up artist -wearing an apron with scores of different brushes- I began to realize how much serious technical skill goes into the things I don't normally give a thought to. The idea of Narcissa inventing new or altering existing fast application spells makes me consider her the same way as a talented makeup artist.

As someone who tends to run away, and would probably not be caught dead fighting for a lost cause, I continuously marvel at how Snape stays in Spinner's End. This was a superb look at his, dare I say, need to remake his childhood home. He's someone who thrives when obsessing, brooding, and waiting, so it really only makes sense that he'd somehow want to retain the festering old place.
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
Oh, yes, I've often wondered about Sev's motivations after Lily's death too - he doesn't have any hope at all, just a kind of wretched stubbornness! The good guys are all really irritating - and the one he's sacrificing everything for looks exactly like his worst enemy - but he still somehow manages to cling on to Lily's memory and do what he thinks she would have wanted. I know I've said this a lot, but he's such an incredible character!

And I'm glad you like Narcissa's skilful, scientific approach to vanity! :dance: I've always been awed by people who were skilled with make-up too, because I could never get the hang of it - it's like they're working on a human canvas. (Narcissa has quite an attractive canvas to start with, though, which is an advantage not all of us have! ;) :giggle:) I can just imagine her wearing an apron with lots of different brushes sticking out of the pockets!

And I am just like Sev about the running away - I could never run away, because I'm too neurotic to escape the bad memories - they always follow me. Unfortunately, Sev is a lot more scientific than I am and has decided that, if he has to live surrounded by his worst memories, he might as well make the best of it!

Anyway, this comment is getting extremely long - I'd better shut up now. As you can see, your comment has given me loads to think about!
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010
Lucius and Narcissa, my One True Pair! :) How happy I am to see them in their natural habitat. You described their home in such beautiful detail--and I was so pleased to see the peacocks and terraces, especially! Your point about the house's affinity for nighttime made me realize that every one of my stories where they are at home takes place at night. It is uncanny!

I love their interactions as a couple. This phrase:
Lucius and Narcissa shared a long look in the doorway
says so much in just a few words--that they respect each other, that they are like- minded, that they confer on everything. It reminded me of the part in Deathly Hallows when Voldemort demands Lucius' wand, and he looks at Narcissa and only hands it over after she touches his hand under the table.

Draco is on the way! I love the depiction of Narcissa's elegant, seemingly effortless pregnancy, and the pride Lucius takes in her. You know he had to have been mightily pleased with the news!

I enjoyed their placid and seamless lying, teamwork style, when the Aurors came. I can definitely imagine that L & N would get a thrill out of it. And later on when he's talking to Severus, this line is just classic Lucius:

Lucius smiled. It was the briefest of things, but it seemed to be genuine. He promptly hid it behind his Daily Prophet and, when his voice came back, it was smooth and business-like again

Great characterization!

I also loved Sev's exorcism of the house, with the transformation from the suffocating prison of his childhood to his decaying and dreary (but at least private) adult haunt. "Fatalistic imagination" is right--and I think it has a lot to do with why he cannot let the place go. Excellent chapter!
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2010
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it! :hug: :) :dance: It was getting a bit long, and I thought about cutting some of the descriptions of Narcissa and Lucius, but then I thought of you, and how seldom you get to see these characters in my story, and I decided to leave them in. I love describing them anyway - they're such visually appealing characters - and if you can't run over-long on a description of sumptuous Malfoy finery then what is the world coming to? ;)

And I agree - I get the feeling they got a thrill out of lying to the Aurors too - (that's perhaps why Lucius is in quite a good mood in the morning! :giggle:)

I was thinking of your stories too, when I said that it was hard to imagine Malfoy Manor in the daylight. You helped me build up such a strong night-time picture of the place - and I think we only see it at night in The Deathly Hallows - so I couldn't really imagine it in the day. Sunlight seems much too vulgar for the Malfoys, somehow! ;)
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2010
Oh, I'm so glad you left the chapter intact--I enjoyed it immensely!
I've been thinking about what the manor would be like during the day...I can well imagine that they would enjoy the view and the grounds, for one. Lucius almost certainly taught Draco how to play Quidditch, because he is already advanced when he arrives at Hogwarts. I think that Narcissa would go up to one of the upper-story terraces to watch them practice at eye-level.:) They have so much space and limitless resources, I think Lucius and Narcissa would have a great deal of fun in their massive playground! (despite the stern facade they present to the world).
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2010
Oh, yes, I can totally see her watching them play Quidditch from one of the upper windows (or maybe from a balcony, while sipping a cup of tea, as the casual lady of leisure she undoubtedly is! ;)) And it would be weeirrrd to see Lucius playing Quidditch, because he's usually so sedate and dignified. I can't imagine him actually breaking a sweat!

This is probably a silly question, but have you seen Makani's fanart 100 here: [link] ? It's got loads of sweet little every-day Malfoy scenes. :heart:
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2010
Oh yes--Makani is the one who pushed my Malfoy craze over the edge into an obsession! I especially love "Blue," "Lovers," "Death," "Lightning," "Touch," and "When," and the commissioned work called "Recollections." Thanks for the heads up though--you guessed correctly that I would love this stuff! :)
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2010
I thought you must have seen it already! :) I agree, 'When' is amazing - I've hardly ever seen a painting (let alone a sketch!) with so much passion and desperation, and 'Lightening' inspired a whole chapter from me back when I was first writing fanfiction [link] (lol, I'm sorry, I'm so self-promoting, and you might have already seen this, but, if you haven't and if you have time to read, the whole set of Rosura chapters contains a lot of Lucius/Narcissa interaction that I think you might enjoy). Anyway, I'll shut up now. :blushes:
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2010
Oh yes, I have read and loved Rosura! I went back and faved the chapter from the link. I actually have collected several of the Malfoy chapters already--I noticed "Full Fathom Five" when I was in my favorites gallery just now, and it reminded me that I want to go back and read it again. I think that's the one where Lucius uses Polyjuice to impersonate Severus in order to sneak in to see Narcissa in the dormitories. The insults between Sev and Lucius are so funny, and it's such an outrageous scenario with Lucius so infatuated with her, but in somebody else's body! :D
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010
:hug: :) Thank you, I'm glad you liked the old Lucius/Narcissa chapters! Their relationship didn't exactly start off as perfect in this story, but there was always something there! I'd nearly forgotten about Full Fathom Five - that's right, Lucius was in Sev's body, being all bashful and sweet (Severus would have been horrified! ;)).
Vizen Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010
Oh dear, I'm so behind the chapters again ! A shame.
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2010
You're not behind with the chapters, my dear! This is only the second part of Northern Comfort. And I know you've had enough on your mind recently. :hug: I thought I'd better not submit this for the challenge, because it mostly takes place in Malfoy Manor (which is much nicer than Spinner's End, although still somehow manages to be depressing for our Severus! ;))
shyfoxling Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010
sorry for the gloomy tone!

Sorry for what's only appropriate when you've invoked Spinner's End?

"They can't use Legilimency without a warrant.

hmph! You have more faith in wizarding justice than I do. Remember this is about the time Crouch authorized Aurors to kill rather than capture and to use Unforgivable Curses...

Not that they would have discovered it. Their spells couldn't have been more ineffective if their wands had been replaced with dead fish, but it was the principle of the thing. One day, they might get good. And, on that day, they would discover that they were still not good enough.

:giggle: go Sev!

Aurors get bored easily, and I have it on good authority that they hate house-work."


"rustled expensively" - "tense luxury" - I like these phrases a lot. I wish I could come up with stuff like that.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he assigned you to spy on Dumbledore."

Snape raised his eyebrows. "Are you finished?"


"What are you going to do with the house?" she said at last.

"I am going to exorcize it."

Ha, nice!
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010
:hug: Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it! You know, I don't normally have a lot of faith in the justice of the wizarding world (I wrote one chapter where a wizard had discovered a magical cure for cancer and they refused to share it with the muggles! :faint:) but I guess I was imagining in this chapter that they were just on the cusp of that slippery slope where Crouch starts ordering Aurors to kill and use Unforgivable Curses. Lucius says it will happen soon, with the fear and panic growing. It's an interesting time to write about really. I bet the Aurors could be just as cruel as the Death Eaters!
shyfoxling Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010
I bet the Aurors could be just as cruel as the Death Eaters!

Certainly, in Sirius's estimation anyway:

"Crouch[...] rose quickly through the Ministry, and he started ordering very harsh measures against Voldemort’s supporters. The Aurors were given new powers – powers to kill rather than capture, for instance. And I wasn’t the only one who was handed straight to the Dementors without trial. Crouch fought violence with violence, and authorised the use of the Unforgivable Curses against suspects. I would say he became as ruthless and cruel as many on the Dark side."
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010
And for Sirius to think you're cruel, you've got to be really cruel! ;) :giggle:
shyfoxling Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010
That's giving Sirius more credit for self-examination than I think he has. I don't think he thinks of himself as cruel; he's just obviously right in the way he treats certain other people. Harumph. (I have a kind of love-hate relationship with Sirius...)
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2010
:giggle: My relationship with Sirius is hate-hate-hate-hate... unless he is being outsmarted by a sarcastic Severus! ;) That's the only time I feel he's in exactly the right place!
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