Warnings: (non-sexual) child abuse, domestic violence, torture & minor character death. All neither implied nor explicit.
Chapter beta: Livy
Chapter translator: Aivy
My mother, Eileen Prince, was a pure-blooded witch from an ancient family who had been exceptionally gifted and talented.
She was the only daughter of Richard Prince and Honoria, a Malfoy by birth. My grandfather Richard had already been very old and aged when he married Honoria to produce an heir with her. Unfortunately, in their time together, she had only born Eileen alive, who became the absolute darling of her father Richard.
Honoria was a typical snobbish, arrogant and self-indulgent Malfoy through and through. The need to act as a surrogate mother for her brother Abraxas, who was ten years younger than her, as their mother had died in childbirth, had ensured that she grew up early and became a young lady who had very harsh and strict views of the world in general and of the Wizarding World in particular.
In short, a textbook example of a Malfoy.
She had not liked her daughter Eileen at all, because the girl had developed a mind of her own at an early age. Unfortunately, Honoria's husband had liked his daughter all the more and so he had supported her in her headstrong existence, which resulted in a constant fight against her overbearing mother.
My grandfather Richard had been kind enough not to betroth his only daughter immediately and marry her off right after school, as had been the case, for example, with Honoria, who was married immediately after finishing school at seventeen, or with Narcissa, whose marriage took place a year after Hogwarts at the age of eighteen.
Eileen had been intelligent, a master in brewing potions, but also stubborn and determined and had married at the age of twenty-five, quite late, her great and only love!
To my own dismay, too, my mother Eileen had suffered a permanent and enduring lapse of taste when she fell in love with the Muggle Tobias Snape. It had to be a Muggle to definitely offend her mother and permanently get her snubbed and exposed in the pureblood society.
With this decision she had irreversibly put her decrepit father in his grave and thus achieved that she was cast out of the Prince family.
Honoria had not exchanged a single word with her husband Richard until he died, as she blamed him for Eileen's crime. She had also neither seen nor spoken to her daughter until my mother's death. Mother and daughter had only communicated through a few letters concerning me, the CHILD, because Honoria had been a lady of consequence and if she had sworn never to exchange a word with her daughter again, then she would keep to it.
When I had the unspeakable luck to be born and saw the light of this unfortunate world in January 1960, that was the beginning of the tragic end of this drama, because my father showed what he thought about wizards and magic, namely nothing good!
My mother, since she knew Tobias Snape, had renounced magic and turned her back on the magical world. But then I had come and I had always been very magical.
Perhaps my father's fresh blood had helped me to be more powerful than other children my age, so that new energy could come into the old, viscous Prince blood?
Anyway, just a few months after my birth, I had had an unfortunate magical accident that had driven my father into a fit of rage. According to my mother's tale, it had ended with her severely abused and helplessly exposed to his violent temper. Desperate, she had sought contact with her mother and begged her, implored her, by letter, to accept me, Severus, her son, into Prince House.
All this because her husband had become seriously angry and upset that she had deliberately, willfully and knowingly deceived and tricked him before the wedding and had not been completely honest and open about her past and about her being a witch. This led to his 'love' for my mother turning to anger, aversion and hatred.
When he realized this, he had beaten her unconscious for the first time.
One consequence of the discovery that he had married a 'real' witch was that he had dragged her to a doctor who sterilised Eileen so that she could no longer give birth to any more abnormalities like me, as my father used to call me contemptuously and disgustedly.
This had been a heavy blow for my pure-blooded mother, in whose world it had been elementary to bear children, especially as so many pure-blooded women gave their lives in childbirth, for whatever reason!
After that my mother had been a broken woman. She had sunk into severe and deep depression because she realised that she had made a big mistake by luring Tobias Snape into marriage without being open and honest with him.
However, my father did not want to give her up either, because he had found pleasure in torturing her and he learned to love living out his frustration with her, a person who did not resist and who tacitly accepted her fate.
When Eileen had admitted to herself that her fussy and bossy mother had been right, something in her had shattered for good and she had hardly spoken a word when I had seen her during my hated visits to Spinner's End.
I despised my mother Eileen very much for her weakness, that she had let her magical talent, her bright intelligence and her brilliance in brewing potions go to waste and that she had let herself be bullied and terrorized by my Muggle father without any resistance. For what had she been a powerful witch?
Magic had been available to her against my father's attacks, but she had not defended herself. Instead, she endured everything that this bitter and violent man had devised for her in terms of meanness and malice, weeping and resigned to her fate.
I, on the other hand, had fared relatively well in spite of these short visits forced on me by my father in this dreary, desolate and hopeless house, for Honoria did what her daughter had asked and pleaded for and had graciously welcomed me, her impure, unworthy and half-blooded grandson, into her home!
For I was the heir, the last of the Prince, and although she had not liked or been fond of anyone except perhaps her brother Abraxas, Honoria had been a good but strict grandmother to me, who had taught me relatively lovelessly what she thought of me as Halfblood, but also what she expected of me. In the end, she had been just in her strictness, which could not be said of my dangerous Muggle father.
Except for brief interruptions, I had been raised like a Pureblood. However, Honoria never forgot to show me that I could be as good as I wanted to be, in her eyes I always remained an inferior Halfblood, but unfortunately the best she could expect!
So I had learned early on that it was better to take things as they came and bury myself in my books, as I was never enough myself. I had developed an unconventional sense of humour and a lot of sarcasm and had secretly amused myself about Honia's helplessness in the face of the situation, that she would never get anything better than a Halfblood as a grandson and heir to the highborn Prince family!
For this Malfoy woman, it was a failure in every sense of the word that left a mark on her life. Malfoys were not good losers!
Thanks to Honoria, I had also met my number one pain in the ass. He was six years older than me and he probably saw me as his beloved doll to play with.
Lucius had been a similarly gifted, intelligent and mature child, magically strong, smart and tough. Despite the age difference, we had got along excellently from the very beginning, as we could certainly compete with each other intellectually and had a similar ironic humour. We had given each other support in the midst of the demands placed upon us and had been a mutual support to each other in a way we would not have otherwise received.
Among all the adults who surrounded us, we were very lonely and left alone a lot. Apart from me, Lucius had never seen a child of the same age and neither had I!
Lucius had deeply despised his mother, the French witch Aenòr, because she had driven her husband Abraxas out of her bed and had not wanted any more children, and her husband did not care as long as he had an heir.
This had angered Lucius enormously at the time. Not that Lucius was really fond of children, he was not, but he had always been so bored so quickly and he had thought it would be a nice pastime to have a sibling who could entertain him - or had to entertain him, whatever - and then I had come and surely he could not believe his luck, this old tyrant.
So I had to do and he got his fun. Yes, I know I was to be pitied and do not worry, I did pity myself!
He was the Malfoy heir and I was the Prince heir and they expected a lot from us!
I had led a hard but relatively good, if not carefree or even happy, life until I was eight years old and Honoria died suddenly and unexpectedly, being the victim of an insidious robbery and murder in 1968 in the middle of Diagon Alley. I had to return to my hated parental home, and this time for good!
My painful fate was sealed!
A whole two and a half infinitely long years until I had been allowed to come to Hogwarts had been enough to let everything Honoria and Lucius had taught me in terms of self-confidence, self-esteem and self-respect fizzle out under the care of my father, who hated me fervently, and my intimidated and frightened mother.
Nevertheless, I had stubbornly and doggedly not allowed HIM, Tobias, to break me completely. Still, I had been only a shadow of my former self when Hogwarts had finally begun. This man, who called himself my father, had become more and more brutal, vicious and rough with me.
His drinking had reached alarming proportions. When I noticed this, he had followed me with venomous glares. He had taken out all his frustration on my poor, deluded mother. Even today, I despised him for the fact that he could beat a woman, especially one who did not fight back.
I, too, had come into his focus from time to time and had often been knocked around, until every time my mother had thrown herself protectively in between and had taken my beating.
Father had certainly not been picky about who he hit, as long as he could let off steam.
I rarely dared to admit it to myself, but I had been glad when my mother left us in my fourth year of school. She had fallen down some stairs in our house in Spinner's End and had broken her neck. Whether she had fallen or had been pushed, it did not matter, for she was dead and her misery was over, at just forty-one.
In the summer holidays of the fourth year, after the death of my mother, HE had beaten me half to death and I had fled to the Manor, covered in blood and badly bruised, with the intention never to return, and I did not have to, to my infinite happiness.
So it came about that three years later, at seventeen, I left school and was awaited by a beaming Lucius, blessed with one of his rare, genuine smiles, at the gates of Prince House.
This estate had belonged to me since I was eight years old and now I was here to officially claim my inheritance and become the lord of Prince House.
I was really looking forward to that, because if only those idiots like Potter, Black and Co. had known who I was... They were so stupid to be blinded by my name, Snape, they never realised I was a Prince. But then again, not everyone could be blessed with brains, wits, or even intelligence.
I could not forgive myself for taking years to shake off my father to the point where I had fought back against my nemesis. Since sixth year, no one dared to even look at me sideways and that included the Marauders.
"Your home, Severus…” Lucius reached out with his arms in a gesture that should embrace the entirety of my property. “Are you happy?" He looked at me expectantly. It really made you wonder who was happier, Lucius or me?
"Yes, Lucius very much," I whispered softly, eager to claim my property.
"Your Muggle heritage awaits you, too," he offered with a sneer. I scoffed angrily, for he brilliantly knew how to destroy the most beautiful moments, this time by reminding me of Spinner's End. I would also take possession of that; I would not give up anything that belonged to me!
Here I was a Slytherin through and through, and very possessive. What belonged to me had to belong to me forever!
"Do not look at me like that, Severus, and follow me to the office. Your grandfather had something very valuable there... I will offer it to you only once and either you accept or refuse! But then you shall never know," he said exuberantly, grinning dangerously diabolically. I had a sense of foreboding. If a Malfoy looked like that, it could only end badly.
When we then entered the property, which had been cared for and maintained for years through the work of the house elves, and hurried to the office on the first floor, I was curious what Lucius wanted to show me.
I loved the spaciousness of the house. Even though its size could not compete with Malfoy Manor, it was a magnificent mansion, a large impressive villa.
Arriving at the office, Lucius walked confidently and knowingly to a wide sideboard that took up the whole of one wall and opened it with verve. He beckoned me over and I immediately recognized the stone artifact for what it was:
Those things were bloody rare. Not even the Malfoys had them.
It was a flat stone bowl adorned with runes. I knew from books that memories and experiences kept there remained alive and always in motion. The thoughts in it looked like a silvery shining liquid or a dense, silvery shining surface of glass from which a mysterious glow emanated.
According to the book, these memories could be retrieved by bringing the silver threads back into your head with a magic wand, or by stirring them with the wand, thereby bringing them to the surface - they would then appear as misty figures from the bowl - or by touching the liquid inside the bowl. Then the past scene would play out and whoever dove into it experienced it as an invisible observer.
I frowned in confusion. What did Lucius want to offer me to see?
"You have no idea, do you, Severus? You try to hide it behind your expressionless face, but give up; I know you!" it came incredibly arrogant from him, but that was how I knew him and so I just blinked at him in annoyance. "Keep your hair on! ... So, my offer: Your Muggle father's last moments, now or never!"
Flinching away from the stone basin, I looked at him in horror, for I had never expected this offer.
I remembered again the summer holidays in my fifth year, when I had gone on holiday as elated and blissful as never before, arriving at the Manor as an orphan. Lucius had greeted me with the fateful words of whether he had promised too much and whether he had not taken good care of everything. He had meant my contemptible father, who I hated!
But I had never asked, NEVER, not even during the following years. I was not interested, I had assured myself repeatedly!
That was when I remembered the weekend after Potter and Co. had picked on me at school and embarrassed me, which had led to me insulting Lily, and also the fateful meeting with Lucius in Hogsmeade that followed.
The all-decisive meeting in Hogsmeade, which had led to me becoming the young man who was standing here right now.
Yes, that meeting had changed everything, because at that one he had suggested I should meet the Dark Lord. I had then referred to my father, who had put me in hospital during the summer holidays before, whereupon I had already fled to the Manor, and had remarked that I did not even know where I would be in the summer. Lucius had just laughed out loud and said succinctly:
"Little brother, do not worry about it, because I will take care of it. Do not let it trouble you."
Shortly afterwards, he took care of it, leaving me an orphan and a ward of the Malfoy family!
Now Lucius generously offered that I could see how he had paid my father back, and I dared a wicked grin. I myself had not been a blank slate for a long time, as the youngest Death Eater ever.
This Christmas I had successfully murdered for the first time and it had been satisfying, while I had remained surprisingly cold and indifferent. I had never been a great philanthropist and would never become one either.
I might be many things but I was not a coward and so I stared at Lucius challengingly.
"Then I hope for your sake, Lucius, that you do not disappoint me and that you were creative in the methods you used to kill that old scumbag!" I replied coldly. At that, Lucius threw his head back and laughed out loud.
"Severus, you are hilarious... Alas, you know my tastes! I hope I will meet your high standards and explicit wishes," he said, brandishing his wand and holding it to his temple. He pulled a silvery, twisting, shining thread of thought from his head and released it into the dark grey stone bowl.
We both plunged face first into the memory!
It was amazing to be captured in a living memory, really unique, because nobody saw or noticed us, but everything happened in front of us like in a movie.
What could I say, it was exhilarating to see what malice Lucius' sick mind had devised. The memory began when he arrived in the street of Spinner's End.
It was a poor, dreary industrial area with brick buildings close to the river, towering factory chimneys in the background, and I could see Lucius scornfully wrinkling his elegant nose and walking purposefully towards my parents' house with his cloak blowing wide.
I recognized that he was wearing his black leather gloves. They showed that he was ready and willing to personally get his hands dirty. When he lifted his cane and hammered at the door with its silver snake head, his aristocratic face again showed nothing.
My father shouted something foul with his malicious, dull voice and ripped open the door. Then he looked at the strangely dressed, elegant man in astonishment until the realization flitted over his bloated, pasty face and he turned his contemptible expression into an ugly, angry grimace.
"You're one of those FREAKS too! What are you doing here? Get out of here! I don't want to have anything more to do with this disgusting pack," he grunted and was about to slam the door when Lucius resolutely put his foot in the door.
"Oh, Mr. Snape, do not worry, you are mistaken! I am not here because I want to have anything to do with you," Lucius breathed silkily and very distinguishedly, while he measured my father from cold steel-grey eyes. "I know of nothing that might cause you to make this rather far-fetched statement."
A curved white-blond eyebrow rose in disbelief at this absurd suggestion, and when my father was about to burst into a fury, Lucius raised his snake-cane in feigned affectation.
"Please, I am sad and horrified that you consider us, the clearly superior, magical race, inferior to you, and this imbalance in your thinking I absolutely must correct. Therefore, good sir, step back and let me in," purred Lucius softly, with a demonic grin.
As he spoke so trivially to my father, the man stared at him as if Lucius had lost his mind. The speech must have seemed mildly insane to the Muggle.
Just as my father was about to start screaming, Lucius pulled the head of the snake out of the cane, revealing the wand within, and, all of a sudden, pushed my father back with a blast of magic. He flew away from the door and crashed brutally into the back wall at the end of the corridor with a loud crack.
Lucius entered slowly, without rushing, closed the door in his back calmly, and then lowered his eyes to the almost unconscious man whose eyes were rolling in their sockets.
"Oh, rejoice, Mr. Snape. I have taken a lot of time out of my schedule especially for you, because we will spend interesting and long hours together! I think you will realize that you would not have had a chance against a witch if my cousin Eileen had not been too good-natured to raise her wand against you. I am going to teach you so much! Humility, remorse, respect, and fear! No one, especially no Muggle, lays hands on magic people with impunity. Do you understand? And in the end, you will wish for and beg me to kill you. You will learn that today as well."
With a flick of his wand, Lucius then lifted my father into the air and went into the living room, which he cleared out again with a swish, only to start his quite creative work and, oh Merlin, he went wild!
He knew how to make the suffering of a doomed man extremely prolonged. Since the summer, when I had escaped to the Manor, he seemed to have developed a furious rage against Tobias, because he also beat him personally and did not just magically work on him.
At the end, all that remained was a bloody clump of flesh that almost did not resemble a human being anymore and Tobias Snape had really begged and pleaded for death at the end.
"Just so you understand, you conceited Muggle: you owe it all to Severus, my second cousin! This is my revenge for him, for what you did to him and his mother over the years. You understand, I hope, that the just punishment can only be death for you?!" it dripped sweetly from Lucius tongue. The wizard was sprinkled all over with blood and that was the last thing he said to him.
My father swallowed in disbelief as Lucius did something so horrible to him that he could only croak, as his voice had long since been screamed hoarse from all the painful torment he had endured.
When the last shrill sound had died away and Tobias Snape gave his last breath, Lucius laughed viciously. At that moment, the memory ended and threw us back into reality.
I could not help the pleased and satisfied smile adorning my otherwise motionless features as I recalled with relish that my father had met the just and deserved end that was due to him.
"Lucius, I congratulate you; you have excelled yourself! Thank you," I spoke in a controlled and monotonous manner, for I seldom did anything as profane as thanking you, but I knew that Lucius had done this only for me and that this vain man ever did something for others was extremely rare!
As a result, a more than diabolical, contented grin graced the blonde's features, and that only made him look more conceited.