Tobias Snape held his son up and peered at the small, sleeping bundle.
“Isn’t he awfully quiet?” his rich baritone voice asked, his long thin nose wrinkled in distaste.
“He’s been on a long journey,” a quiet, tired voice said in a lightly Romanian accent. “He needs some rest. I promise you the peace will be broken soon enough.”
“The peace was over when I met you,” Tobias remarked to his wife as he quirked an eyebrow at her.
Eileen just sighed at her husband. He was hopeless.
2 Years Later
“The cup just flew across the room!” Tobias roared. “I am telling you, Isabella, something is wrong with that child!”
A tiny Severus sat in his highchair with a small cup of milk in his hand. He drank happily as his father raged.
“I think you are raving,” Eileen insisted, stepping between her child and his father. Her face betrayed her.
“What is going on!” Tobias thundered.
“I think we need to talk,” Eileen said, looking very nervous. “You may want to sit down.”
3 Years Later
“Out!” Tobias barked.
“You don’t mean it,” Eileen protested. “He didn’t know.”
A small black haired boy peered out from behind his mother’s skirts. They had been enjoying a quiet afternoon in the parlor when Severus had another accident. He was shaking now, but no tears fell down his cheeks.
“You’re both possessed,” his father said evenly, gauging his wife’s expression.
“You’re mad,” his mother said flatly.
“Don’t think I haven’t seen you,” his father hissed. His mother paled.
“Severus,” his mother said, her voice shaking. “Go to your room.”
Severus said nothing, but looked up to her face. She wouldn’t look at him. Her back was to him, but he noticed she kept her eyes on his father.
“I said go to your room,” she said sharply.
He felt his chest tighten as the thought came to him, no one was on his side. Severus avoided his fathers glare by becoming instantly interested in his shoes. He forced his limbs to work and started to back away.
He looked up quickly to see his mother straighten her spine from his father’s slap.
Severus felt his back hit the wall instead of going through the door. He slid along until he met the corner of the room. He felt tears roll down his cheeks. He brushed them away, embarrassed.
He hadn’t meant to break his father’s radio. He despised football and wanted to stop the droning from the small box. All he had done was gave the radio a dirty look and it had exploded.
“I have had just about enough,” his mother said, her voice shaking. Tears of rage and frustration started winding their way down her face.
“I should go to the Father,” his father warned.
Severus looked from his mother to his father. He hoped they had forgotten about him. What did Father Kelly have to do with this?
The old priest gave a sermon every week in the village church. He wasn’t very agreeable, Severus had decided. Father Kelly always seemed unhappy and was always telling them about things they weren’t allowed to do. Things Severus would never have thought of. What was the point of telling you about things like gluttony, using an example of Mrs. Cross’ bakery, if it made you instantly want to go out for buns after church?
“Don’t even think of giving him to that fool!” his mother said. “He won’t know what to do except beat him into submission.”
“Maybe that’s what he needs,” Theodore said. “Maybe it’s what you need as well. Get some of that unnatural madness out of you.”
“Madness?” Severus saw his mother clench and unclench her hands. “You’re the one who’s acting mad! He’s your son, Tobias!”
“Don’t tell me that,” his father sneered at his mother. “For all I know he’s a changeling!”
Severus saw his mother cross her arms and tap one toe at his father.
“As if he could get a beak like yours anywhere else,” his mother said, annoyed.
“We could have him exorcised,” his father said, ignoring his wife’s comment.
Severus’ eyes widened as his mother reached a hand into her sleeve and pulled out a thin piece of wood. She pointed it at his father and he backed up a step.
“You will not have crazed fools traumatize my son,” she had said, the tears drying on her face.
“Witch!” his father accused.
“Don’t you forget it,” she hissed. “Crucio!”
Severus screamed as his father arched his back, his face contorted in pain, his mouth open in a silent cry. His father slumped to the floor and was silent.
His mother turned her head quickly.
“Severus!” his mother said firmly. “You were told to go to your room!”
Severus tried to move but his limbs wouldn’t cooperate. He tried to speak, but his mouth seemed too dry.
His mother turned towards him. Severus’ eyes were drawn to the thin piece of wood in his mother’s hand. It was now pointed at him. He felt warmth spread over his lap and down his legs.
“Oh, Severus,” his mother sighed, her face softening. “Scourgefy.”
Severus felt the warmth go away. He looked down and his pants were dry. If there had been anything left in him, he would have soiled them again. He burst into tears.
His mother tucked the small piece of wood into her sleeve and went to her son.
“Do not be frightened,” she soothed, taking him into her arms. He looked over his shoulder and saw his father stirring. So he wasn’t dead after all. “Your ridiculous father isn’t going to do anything to you.”
Severus hiccupped and looked into his mothers face. Why didn’t she know he was afraid of her? That here, in the arms he went to for comfort, the small, cold, feeling of fear crept over him with the realization of what he just saw.
“You’re going to eat me!” Severus wailed, pushing himself away from his mother.
“I beg your pardon?” his mother frowned, holding him firmly . “Why would I eat you? Are you particularly tasty today?”
“In grandmama’s book! Witches lure people into the forest and eat them up!” Severus was quickly becoming hysterical.
His mother looked at him quizzically. “Hansel and Gretel?”
“That’s them!” Severus’ eyes got round. “Did you know them?”
“Dear me, no,” his mother said, grasping the real problem. “That is just a story my love. Witches and wizards do not gobble up young children.”
“Are you sure?” Severus asked, wiping his eyes.
“Completely,” his mother said firmly. “At least not my sort.”
She smiled at him and he felt himself relax.
“Bitch,” Severus heard his father pant from his place on the floor.
“Do not make me hurt you again, Tobias,” his mother said without looking at him.
“Is father going to die?” Severus whispered.
“No,” his mother said. “See, he does not even have a mark on him. He will be fine.”
Severus looked over at his father. He seemed winded and looked furious, but it was true. He didn’t have a mark on him. Mother, however had a swelled eye and a red mark on her cheek.
“Now,” his mother said, steadying her son on his feet. “Go to your room. I will answer all of your questions after I talk to your father about his temper.”
Severus straightened himself bravely. He threw his still crumpled father a look as he left the room. Only fools hit women. Grandpapa said so. Perhaps this was why.
He walked slowly to the door of the parlor, but his feet pounded the floor in a run as soon as he had gotten into the hallway. He ran down the hallway, up the stairs to the second floor, through his parents bedroom, and up the ladder to his attic bedroom.
His room was actually quite large if one wasn’t too tall. He liked the sloping ceiling and the absence of sunlight burning his eyes in the morning. A single small window was near the peak of the roof, lighting the room dimly. He crawled into his bed, curling up with his favorite bear.
His mother was a witch!
What did this mean? Did she ride a broomstick? Did she turn people into toads? Did she keep secret jars of things like ‘eye of newt’ and ‘blood of bat?’
He had always suspected some of the pickled items in the back of the pantry were kind of dodgy, but he never suspected anything like this!
He watched as the dim outline of his small window crept across his ceiling. He felt his eyes get scratchy and he felt like closing them. He hardly ever cried and when he did it always seemed to exhaust him.
He heard a creak from the ladder to his room and his eyes flew open. He hadn’t realized he had closed them.
“Come down for dinner, Severus,” his mother said, calling from her bedroom.
“Dinner already?” Severus commented to his bear.
Severus climbed downstairs slowly. He hated it when he slept during the day. Soon it would be time for him to go back to bed.
To his surprise, his father was already seated at the table instead of puttering around the parlor like he usually did before dinner.
“I’m sorry I frightened you, Severus,” his father said in a clipped voice. “That is not the type of family we are.”
Severus didn’t know what to say, so he just slid into his chair.
“Yes, father,” Severus said.
“And we won’t have any more of that nonsense, will we?” Eileen said as she put a pot of onion soup on the table.
“Of course not dear,” Tobias said in the same clipped tone. “It was wrong to bring violence into our home.”
“Let us give thanks,” Eileen said, folding her hands. Severus noticed she fingered the piece of wood up her sleeve.
His father took a gasp of air, as if something had been released from around him. He went white and looked at his wife. She seemed to shoot him a look of warning.
He shakily folded his hands in front of him and began the nightly prayer.
Just because his mother and he could do magic didn’t make them any less of a family. Everything was going to be just fine.