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Snape's Journal

May 23rd, 1968:

Life was good for us for awhile, with Mum working steadily and able to put a bit aside for my Hogwarts tuition and for a rainy day. For the first time since Dad lost his job, I went to bed with a full stomach, and did not have to forgo sweets because we needed to make ends meet. It was quite a change, and then there was my dog to think about as well. Gabriel was growing nearly as fast as I was now that he was getting a balanced meal twice a day, instead of scraps, and Mum had bought me a real collar with a name tag she'd spelled with my name, his name, and our address and phone number. She also bought me a brush and comb and some stuff to make his coat free of tangles.

His coat was also growing in, and it was no longer the color of peach fuzz, but a deep reddish gold on his head and back and most of his tail, which had a black spot halfway down it. The tips of his ears and part of his forehead were darkening to a brown color, but he was not dark like Lassie. He was a color called red-gold sable, according to the collie manual I borrowed from the library. He had a snowy ruff and four white feet and a white tail tip. I can see him so clearly in my mind, that I sometimes think if I were but to turn my head . . .there he would be, lying sprawled on the floor. My photographic memory is both blessing and curse.

I miss him with an ache that will not abate, a deep throbbing pain deep beneath my breastbone. He lived a long long life, longer than an ordinary dog, and that due to my interference, but more of that later. Right now I wish to remember the early times, when I was innocent, and my best friend was a harum scarum puppy who seemed to enjoy running away all over the neighborhood unless I had him on a leash. Should I look away for an instant, or forget to latch the screen door, he would push it open and be off down the street.

It was a daily occurrence , and soon all my neighbors recognized my dog on sight. Most times when he ran away I would follow, calling him to come home. But occasionally he escaped without my knowledge, and then some neighbor or other would return him to me. "Severus, here's your dog. Found him digging in my rose bushes . . .or playing with my terrier . . .he was playing ball with my kids . . .and then I would thank whoever it was and drag my misbehaving puppy inside and scold him for running off again.

"Why can't you ever just stay in the yard? You could get run over by a car! Silly mutt!" I would stand there frowning at him, and he would crouch at my feet, head adroop, the picture of canine repentance. "You know, Gaby, if my dad were here, he'd tell you to go and play in the street. How come you like going over other people's houses so much?"

Maybe he missed other dogs, but I knew it was no use begging Mum to get another dog, it was too expensive. So I decided to take him for long walks down by the play park, so he could see other dogs and people. I also started obedience training him. By the time he was a year old, he had grown tremendously, his shoulders were broad and powerful andMum asked me again if I was sure he was the runt of the litter. "He's so big, Sev! I never saw a collie that big!"

He was almost to my shoulder now and I had grown an inch or two over the summer, though I was still skinny as a stick. "Yes, Mum, I'm sure. Mr. Tyms said he was too small to make a decent show dog and he was going to destroy him."

"Humph! Guess he was wrong."

"Was he ever!" Sometimes I was tempted to go back and show Tyms what he'd given away for sixpence, but then I was afraid he might take the collie back, because he'd been proven wrong. I had no bill of sale, after all, and I was just a kid and he was a rich dog breeder, he could have said I'd stolen Gabe. So I made sure to stay away from the Tyms' place. Thank goodness Gabriel never ran away over in that direction.

I had taught him to walk quietly on leash, so when we went to the park, he paced alongside me, and didn't drag me all over. People always complimented me on what a beautiful dog I had and how well-mannered he was. That made me feel good. One day, in early July, I came across two sisters playing on the swings near the duck pond, actually Gabriel introduced me to them . . .

I was standing behind a large bush of some kind, observing the two newcomers to determine if they might be friendly. I had a distrust of newcomers, mostly because I had been teased and bullied by all too many of them. I didn't have any real friends, because I 'd had a few accidental magic episodes and scared people. They all thought I was a freak and too smart for my own good, since I always got top marks in my subjects. I could read at a very advanced level, I had learned when I was three, and books had always been my friends. While the other children were still sounding out sentences like 'the fat cat sat on the big mat' I was reading C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and Aesop's Fables. Gabriel wagged his tail and tugged at his lead. All he wanted to do was go and meet them.

I watched for a few minutes more, noting that they seemed to be sisters, they had similar facial features and though one's hair was blond and the other was a redhead. The elder girl appeared to be about three years older than her sister, who looked to be eight, my age. They were wearing knee length dresses, the blond in sky blue and the red-haired girl in green, which matched her eyes.

"Watch me, Tuney, watch me!" the younger girl sang, pumping her little feet faster and faster.

Her sister gave her an annoyed look. "Lily, why can't you call me Petunia now, instead of that stupid baby name? It was fine when you were learning to talk, but now it makes you sound stupid."

She flashed her sister a hurt look. "I thought you didn't mind it. You said you liked having a nickname."

"Yeah, back when I was seven. I'm eleven now and it's embarrassing. Don't you know anything, Lily?"

"Yes!" she replied, stung. "I can do things you can only dream of, Tuney!"

"Like what?"

"This." Then she jumped off the swing when it was its highest point.

I gasped, sure she was going to end up face first on the ground with her nose or arm broken.

Instead she soared through the air light as thistledown and landed gracefully on the grass, just like a deer.

My eyes widened, not because I'd seen her do the impossible, but because she was like me, a fledgling witch. She was the first child I'd ever met that had the Gift of sorcery within her. I could hardly stop myself from grinning. Finally, here was another such as myself.

Petunia was staring at her little sister, dismay and horror written all over her narrow face. "Lily! What if someone saw? You know you're not supposed to do . . .things like that! You promised Mummy!"

Lily hung her head, looking miserable. "But Tuney, I couldn't help it. It just happened!"

"You're a liar! You wanted that to happen, and you didn't care if anybody saw either!" Petunia stormed. "You don't care if you have a reputation as a freaky kid, but I do! I don't want to be known as a freak's sister, like we were in Manchester! I thought you were going to quit doing all that creepy stuff and act normally!"

Lily began to cry and I wanted to smack Petunia for being so nasty. What Lily had done was normal—for a young witch just learning about her power.

"I-I am trying! But sometimes it slips away from me, Tuney, and I just can't help it."

"You're pathetic! I'm going to pretend we're not related!" she declared and then she got off the swing and walked away with her nose in the air.

Good riddance! Who needs you, you prissy mare face? I thought, curling my lip. I wouldn't be your brother if you paid me.

Lily started to cry harder, but she didn't make any move to follow her sister, who soon disappeared down one of the bike trails to the other side of the park.

It was then that Gabriel decided to take matters into his own paws.

He jerked the lead from my fingers and ran over to Lily and started to lick her face, whining softly. He hated it when children cried. Lily gasped upon finding my collie earnestly licking her. "Oh! What a beauty! Where did you come from, girl? Are you lost?"

"No, he's mine. His name is Gabriel." I said, revealing myself. I snapped my fingers at my dog. "Gabe, quit that. You'll get her all mucky."

The collie immediately sat down, wagging his tail and grinning his signature collie smile of welcome.

Lily wiped her eyes and looked up. "I don't mind. I like dogs. He looks—"

"—like Lassie," I finished. I heard that all the time, people just naturally assumed my collie was a girl, thanks to the famous TV show star. "Do you live around here?" I had never seen her here before this.

"I just moved here. My name's Lily Evans." She held out a hand for me to shake.

"Severus Snape," I replied and took hers gently. "But you can call me Sev," I said. I don't know why I said that, because normally only Mum called me Sev.

Just then her sister—don't call me Tuney anymore—reappeared and saw us. "Lily!" she screamed, like Lily was being attacked or something. "Get away from that mangy mutt, it could have fleas or diseases!" she called bossily. "You don't know where it's been."

My eyes flashed. How dare she call my dog mangy? Or say he had fleas! He was perfectly clean, he had a flea collar and I had just brushed him last night. I whirled to face her, my chin thrust out. "My dog's not a mutt, he's a pedigreed collie, and he doesn't have fleas or mange, he's probably cleaner than you are!"

Petunia came up to me and looked me up and down with a haughty expression. "Oh, right. Well, he's certainly cleaner than you. Where do you get your clothes—the ragpickers?"

"Tuney!"

I rolled my eyes. "These are play clothes, so I don't get my good ones dirty. Don't you know anything?"

Sure they had a few holes and my sneakers had the laces chewed because Gabriel had gotten to them before I could stop him back when he chewed everything, but they weren't ready for the ragshop yet, and I ought to know, having worn stuff from there back in the days when Dad was still at home. But Petunia was a nose-in-the-air stuck up piece and God forbid something had a tear in it. I hated girls like that, and longed to knock her in the dirt just to see if it would stick to her and scrub her hair with mud. I settled for glaring at her instead.

She sniffed audibly, as if there was a bad smell about me. "Lily, you shouldn't talk to strangers."

"He's not a stranger, we've been introduced."

"By whom?" Petunia asked arrogantly.

"The dog," Lily answered, her eyes sparkling with impudence. "His name's Sev Snape and the collie's Gabriel."

At the sound of his name, Gabe's ears pricked and he barked softly. I gave him a signal and he lifted a paw for Lily to shake.

"Oh!" She grinned and took his paw. "So pleased to meet you, sir! How clever! What else can he do?"

"Shed and drool and eat you out of house and home!" said Petunia spitefully.

I wanted so badly to knock her on her superior arse—if she had been a boy I would have—but only cowards hit girls, Mum said. And I was no coward. Gabe came to my rescue. He sidled up to Petunia and rubbed against her dress, getting dog hair all over it.

She squealed and tried to push him away, and he turned his head and licked her entire face in one big slurp. I swear he did it on purpose.

"Aww! How cute!" Lily cooed.

"Eeeww!" Petunia screeched. "Dog slobber! I've been kissed by a dog! Yuck!"

"Get hot water! Get some iodine! I've got dog germs!" I mocked, making my voice go high and squeaky, like Lucy's from the Peanuts movies. Lily giggled. "A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's."

Petunia spat on the ground. "That's a lie! Dogs eat dirt and they lick themselves you-know-where! Filthy beasts!" She was frantically scrubbing her face.

"People do a lot worse with their mouths."

"You're disgusting, Snape!"

"And you're a drama queen!" I shot back.

"Lily, let's go home," Petunia ordered. "You don't need to hang around this little creep and his mutt!"

Lily shook her head. "No. I want to play with Sev and Gabriel. You can go if you want."

"You have to come home, Lily, I say so!"

"You're not the boss of me, Tuney!"

"Stop calling me that!" she grabbed hold of Lily's arm and tried to drag her away.

Lily glared at her hotly and Petunia's shoe laces suddenly tied themselves together and she tripped, falling on her pinched face into the dirt. "Oops! Don't you know how to tie your shoes yet?"

Petunia sat up, sniveling. "You did that on purpose, you little freak. Just wait! I'm telling Mum you used your weird power again and then you'll really be in for it." She struggled to unknot the laces and finally she succeeded. Then she ran off, yelling that she was going to tell.

"You always do," Lily muttered, rolling her eyes. Then she looked back at me worriedly, as if afraid of what I might say or do. "Umm . . .I can explain . . ."

I laughed. "Neat trick. What else can you do?"

"You're not afraid? Or think I'm weird?"

"You're not weird, Lily. You're a witch."

"I am?"

"Uh huh. I know, because my mom's a witch and I'm a wizard."

"There's no such thing! Only in stories. You're having me on."

"Watch," I picked up a small rock and concentrated hard. When I opened my hand, there was a butterfly sitting on my palm. I let it fly away. "See?"

"You really are a wizard!"

"Yes. We can do magic just like you."

"And is he a magic collie?"

I laughed. "No, he's just a dog."

"Have you always been able to do magic? Are we the only ones who can?"

I shook my head. "No, there are lots of us, but we're hidden all over the world. Muggles, like your sister, wouldn't recognize us, because we hide in plain sight most times." I told her all about Hogwarts and she listened closely.

"Really? I always thought I was weird. Petunia used to say I was switched at birth with an alien from Venus."

"That's dumb. You're not a freak, you have a special gift. I'll bet she's just jealous, because you've got magic and she doesn't."

"Of what? All I can do is move things through the air."

"When you're older and get a wand you'll be able to do more." I spent the rest of the afternoon explaining all about the magical world to her. She was fascinated. By both my world and my dog. She wanted to see him perform new tricks.

I never minded showing off my dog and so I put him through his paces.

Gabriel could do all kinds of tricks, I'd taught him all the basics—like "shake", "roll over" and "speak", but his best trick was herding. Collies are herders and they are happiest working for their masters. It didn't take me long to teach him that trick on command.

By chance there was a duck pond in the park and some ducklings had been born recently. I waved my hand at them. "Bring them in, Gabriel!" I ordered.

My collie sprang away and raced about the pond, gently and quickly corralling the baby ducks. He herded them all towards us, while mama duck honked and screeched.

Peep! Peep! Peep!

"Oh, they're darling!" Lily exclaimed.

Even I had to admit they were kind of cute all fuzzy yellow down.

Gabriel herded them expertly, nudging them right to us. Lily knelt and petted one.

"Good dog!" I called and tossed a biscuit in the air.

He caught it easily. Then I told him to bring the ducklings back to their mum, who was going crazy, flapping her wings and quacking hysterically.

Gabe trotted away, pushing the ducklings back to mama. Mama duck pushed all her babies into the pond and swam out into the center where they were safe from huge furry dogs.

"What a wonderful dog!" Lily said and she hugged him to her.

"You want to give him a treat?" I handed her one. "Make him sit first."

She did, and the dog took the treat gently.

By then it was getting close to supper and I knew Mum would be searching for me if I didn't go home soon. "Where do you live? I'll walk you home."

"25 Spinner's End."

"Spinner's End? Me too. I live at number seven, just down the row."

"That means we're neighbors! Oh, that's great!"

We started walking back towards home. I let Lily hold Gaby's leash. She was full of questions about my parents.

"If your mum runs an apothecary—is that like a chemist?"

"Yes. But she brews potions instead of pills."

"Neat! What does your dad do?"

I bit my lip. "He used to work in the cotton mill over there," I pointed to it. "But he left us awhile ago, and I don't know where he is or what he's doing." Probably getting drunk, I thought bitterly. It pained me to speak of Tobias, because I both loved and hated him for what he had done. A part of me wanted him to come home so I'd have a dad again, but the other part knew we were better off without him and if he had been home a year ago, I'd never be able to keep my dog. But sometimes I missed the old days, before the mill shut down, when I used to run and sit on his lap and he'd read to me from the comics section of the paper and share his tea with me.

I changed the subject. "What's your mum and dad do?"

"Dad's a mechanic, he runs Evans' Garage in town. Mum used to be a schoolteacher, but she quit after she had us girls." Lily told me frankly.

We had almost reached our street and I paused. "Will you get in trouble for what you did to your tattletale sister?"

"Probably not. Mum knows I can't help it, that sometimes things just happen around me."

"It's called accidental magic and it'll happen until you get your wand and learn how to focus really good. Least that's what my mother says."

"That's good! I hate when bad things happen around me." Lily said in relief. I gave her a worried look. "Don't worry, Tuney's always telling on me, once my dad threatened to tape her mouth shut if she didn't quit it. I wish he had."

Finally we reached her house and she waved from the porch. "Bye, Sev! Come and see me tomorrow!"

Snape's Journal:

"Bye, Sev! Come and see me tomorrow!" How often Lily had spoken those words to me growing up. She was the only child my age on the street and we were inseparable—me, Lily, and Gabriel. We went everywhere together, to the park, to the ice cream shoppe, to the cinema.

Once, we snuck Gabe in through the back door of the movie theater and hid him under our seats. It nearly worked too, until some busybody spotted his tail sticking out and started yelling about wild animals. Idiot! A collie doesn't even look wild, and we don't have any kind of wild dogs or wolves in Yorkshire.

But it was enough to nearly start a panic and it brought the manager of the theater on the run. He grabbed us both by the ears and threw all of us out, including my confused dog, and threatened to have us arrested for disturbing the peace. I couldn't keep my mouth shut then and I said, "That lady inside there disturbed the peace more than my dog. All he was doing was lying on the floor all quiet."

"None of your cheek, boy!" scolded the manager, and he cuffed me across the back of the head.

"Don't you hit him!" Lily cried, then she kicked him in the shin.

He yelled and Gabriel started barking and growling. He never would have bitten the stupid guy, but the big jackass started screaming, "Mad dog!" and next thing you know the police were there.

I was terrified and angry that they would try and take Gabriel away, maybe put him in the pound or something, and I was all set to do something that would have gotten me grounded for life, like blow up the police car. Luckily, one of the officers there was another neighbor of mine, Officer Danvers, and he and Gabe went way back. Gabriel used to play with his police dog, Hunter, when he was a little puppy and ran away.

"What's the problem here?"

"Officer, this dog here almost bit me and these two hooligans snuck him into the theater and nearly caused a riot. He ought to be put down, he's a dangerous animal."

Now I wanted to kick him in the other shin. "No, he's not! He didn't do nothin' to you, you big git! He was only barking 'cause you smacked me."

Gabriel growled low in his throat as the manager started to raise his hand again.

"Sir! You have no call to hit that child!" Officer Danvers said, and grabbed the manager's arm.

"He's a cheeky brat who deserves a lesson in manners."

"Not from you he doesn't." Officer Danvers stated. He looked at me and at my dog. "Severus Snape, did you really sneak your dog into the theater?"

I dropped my eyes. "Yessir."

"Why would you do such a thing, son? You know dogs aren't allowed there."

"It was hot and I didn't want Gabriel to stay all that time in the heat, and if we brought him home, we would have missed the movie. I didn't think it was such a big deal. He was just lying quietly under our seats. Until some crazy idiot starts screaming about wild animals and getting people all upset."

"You cost me a day's sales probably, you little brat!" the manager shook his fist at me. People were streaming out of the theater.

"It was a lousy movie anyway," I shot back.

"Severus! What would your mum say if she heard you talk like that?" reproved the police officer.

"Sorry," I muttered, though I wasn't sorry at all.

"Somebody ought to take you over their knee, boy!"

I backed up into Officer Danvers. I was furious, but also afraid a little.

"Settle down, Mr. Gleason. Before I arrest you for attempted assault of a minor."

"How 'bout bringing that mutt to the pound and putting a bullet in its brain? I swear it's rabid."

"Mr. Gleason, I know this dog and he's no more a mad dog than my own German shepherd. He didn't bite you, did he?"

"Err . . .no."

"Then you're lucky. My Hunter would have taken you out if you had struck me."

The manager sputtered. "And this little spitfire here kicked me!" He pointed to Lily.

"You hit Sev!" she glared right back at him. "You don't have any right to hit him!"

"The girl's right. Although you shouldn't go around kicking people either, young lady." Danvers reprimanded. "Apologize."

Lily did.

"That's not good enough! What about my sales? I demand compensation!"

I gulped. I knew what that word meant, it meant money. Mum was going to kill me.

Danvers told the other police officer to go in and find out who had left and demanded a refund. It turned out that five people had done that, and then he told the fat prig that he would take both of us home and speak to our parents and we could each pay half the money back.

Gleason agreed and we got to ride in the police cruiser with Gabriel inbetween us. It would have been cool, except I knew Mum was going to kill me.

We dropped Lily off first, and I thought her mum, Sara, was going to pass out. She kept babbling apologies and then she took some notes out of her purse and paid Officer Danvers. Then she dragged Lily into the house by her ear, scolding her loudly. I felt sorry for her.

Then it was my turn. Mum ran out on the porch when she saw the police car. "Oh, God! Where's my baby? Where's Severus, Austin?"

"Right here, Eileen," Officer Danvers opened the back of the cruiser and Gabriel and I climbed out. "He's fine. But there was a bit of an incident down at the theater."

Mum grabbed me and hugged me hard. Then she let me go and asked, "What incident? Please, come in and we can discuss this sitting down."

"All right."

Danvers told her everything. I just sat there, waiting for her to tell me that we were getting rid of my dog or that she was going to tell me never to play with Lily again. I couldn't believe how one little prank had gone so wrong.

When he was finished, she told me to fetch her purse, said that she was deeply sorry I had caused such a commotion and that she would deal with me herself.

"Don't be too hard on the lad, Eileen. No real harm was done," Danvers said, I got the odd feeling he was more amused than angry. Pity my mother wasn't.

"Thank you, Austin. Have a pleasant day."

He left and then she turned to me and said, "Severus Tobias Snape, what on earth were you thinking? Taking a dog into a movie theater?"

"That I didn't want Gabe to get heat stroke," I answered. "It was really hot out there, Mum."

"Why didn't you just bring him home?"

"There wasn't time. We would've missed the show."

"So instead you cause a major disturbance. I'm so ashamed of you, young man! This isn't how I taught you to behave!"

Now I felt horrible. I hated disappointing her. I apologized.

"Go to your room. I'll come up later and discuss your punishment."

I slunk away like a beaten cur. At the top of the stairs, I said, "Please don't send Gabriel away, Mum. It wasn't his fault. Please. I'd rather be beaten than have you give him away!" I sniffled, for I was on the verge of tears.

"Severus, I would never send that dog away for a mistake you caused. Now, go to your room, and put your nose in the corner. Now, young man!"

I obeyed.

"Gabriel, stay," she ordered when he would have followed me.

He obeyed too. He wasn't dumb enough to cross Mum in a temper.

She made me wait for ten minutes before coming up and lecturing me into the next century. My punishment was to write a letter to Mr. Gleason apologizing for my prank and then I was grounded for two weeks, no friends, no potion-making, no library, nothing but chores and an early bedtime. Early meaning seven o'clock, when it was still light out. I also got a single smack on my bottom for my cheeky mouth. Even Gabriel was confined to the house, except for when I walked him. That was the only good thing about my punishment, that I had the dog to share it. I found out later that Lily was punished the same as me, except she had Petunia to sneer at her all through her grounding. Though she got Tuney back by turning her hair green with another spate of accidental magic. It took a week to wear off and she had to wear a kerchief over her head.

Mum also sent a letter to Mr. Gleason, I learned weeks later, telling him off for hitting me and threatening to sue his arse or worse if he ever lifted a finger to me again. The owner heard about it and was furious and broke him back down to a ticket taker for his poor customer service skills and put another manager in his place. Needless to say, he blamed me and Lily for his demotion, and when we were finally allowed to go to the cinema again, we made sure we never bought tickets from him, afraid he might cheat us or something. There was even a piece in the local paper, but the reporter presented it as a kind of spoof, so it wasn't too bad.

Even so, that was the last time I ever played a dumb prank like that. I had been lucky that Officer Danvers had been there instead of another police officer that afternoon, or else it might have meant the end for my dog. Nothing was worth that.

I set down my quill and realized it was now five o'clock in the morning. Merlin, but I hadn't thought about that incident in years. Funny, what your mind remembers when its sleep deprived. Of course, nothing could match the candle-making incident when I was nine . . .I yawned. I'd write that one down later, right now my eyes were closing.

I crawled into bed and the last coherent thought I had before drifting off to sleep was that my feet were cold because Gabriel wasn't there to warm them.

The real Gabriel, like the fictional one, learned all kinds of hand signals, ran away continuously as a puppy and a year old dog, and herded kittens, though he would have herded ducks too if there had been any in my sister's backyard to herd. He was a very smart dog and very protective towards his family. Most collies are great with kids and other animals, the only problem with them is they shed very badly and require lots and lots of grooming.

Who can't wait to find out what mischief Sev and Lily got into next chapter?
 

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