***~~~*** "Wingardium Leviosa! Win-gardium Levi-osa! Win-gar-di-um Lev-i-o-sa!" Saraiah Snape waved her wand impatiently. She was trying to make her brother's book levitate, but Child's First Potions seemed to be stubborn. No matter how many times she uttered the spell, it still would not rise! "I thought you couldn't do spells outside school anymore! I thought that was the new rule at Hogwarts!" Saraiah heard a young male voice say. She looked up to see her nine year old cousin, Lucius, watching her. The Malfoy's weren't her relatives, really, but their fathers grew up together, as did their grandfathers, and their grandfathers, and so on, thus Sarraiah had called Lucius' parents Uncle Folter and Aunt Dése all of her life. "Lucius! Where did you go! Look what I made!" Severus ran into the dining room where his sister and cousin were standing, but being he was looking up at them, the seven year old did not notice the book on the floor. He tripped over it and the vile in his hand went flying. "Auughhh!!!" screamed Sarraiah when the pinkish-purple potion made contact with her pale face and shoulder length ravenesque hair. "It burns! It burns! Make it stop! Mummy! Father!" She fell to the ground and rolled around, covering her face with her hands. "No, Saraiah! Shut it! He's home, stupid! He's—" The back door flew open. Their father stood in the doorway. He appeared even more ominous than usual, as the lightning outside flashed just as he stepped into the room, like a scene in a old horror movie. He was soaking wet from the downpour outside and looking quite menacing in his black and navy wizard's robes. "What is going on in here?" He demanded to know in an eerily calm voice. The children were silent. Stalinus cleared his throat. "I said, what is going on in here? Saraiah? Lucius? Severus?" No one moved. "I will ask but once more," he informed them coldly. "And this time, I expect an answer, or all three of you will—" "It was an accident, sir!" Severus replied, trying to remain calm. "Saraiah was doing her magic and I came in and I tripped over that book—" He glaced down. "Hey! That's where my potions book went!" "Continue, Severus." Demanded Stalinus. "Yes, Father. I tripped, and my potion went all over Saraiah, but it's just a cooling potion to aid burn victims, it shouldn't have hurt her, sir. It certainly should not burn! You see, I had the idea when Mum burned herself on the cauldron just before supper last weekend, and recall how she--" "Severus," said Stalinus warningly. "Yes sir, well, II was just trying to find a way to make it work faster, to make burn aids works faster, because they take so long...I was reading, nearly four hours to cure a third degree burn from a dragon, and I thought maybe I could..." "Maybe you could better a potion that has been used by healers for centuries. Maybe you, a second grade student at a muggle private school in London could make a better one?" The way he said "muggle," he spit it out as if it were a foul, dirty word, which, to him, a pureblood wizard, it rather was. Severus quirmed under his father's gaze. "I just thought I might--" Stalinus cut him off. "Improve it?" "Sir?" said Saraiah, who was still sitting on the floor, glanced up at her brother. "He was trying to help, sir." She caught Lucius' eye and they exchanged a Look. Her father almost sounded...amused. Maybe they wouldn't be in trouble after all! Still, Saraiah wished she hadn't overreacted in such a way. It had only tingled after all, it did not burn. 'Why am I always so overdramatic?' she thought angrily. "What have I told you children time and again? From three o'clock to five o'clock, you study. I said that Lucius could spend afternoons here, provided he follow the schedule as well. Tell me, Lucius, do they teach potions at that private school your father and I spend fortunes to send you two to?" Lucius sighed. They would be in trouble after all. "No, sir." "What is it they teach, Lucius?" "Writing, arithmatic, geography, science...But sir, that school is full of muggles, like you said!" "That, Lucius, is why tutors visit this house at five o'clock every night to teach you for an hour before dinner, and why you spend Saturday's in class." "Yes, sir." "Severus, have you finished your muggle homework?" Severus paused a moment before answering. If he said no, which was the truth, his father would hit him for sure. But if he said yes... "Yes, sir." "Liar!" His father's hand connected full force withthe small boy's face. The power of the blow nearly knocked the child over, but he did all he could to remain standing. His father hated weakness, and Severus certainly wasn't going to appear weak at all, not if he could help it. "I will ask you again, boy." "It is finished, father." 'He sees right through me,' thought Severus. 'How?' "You lie to me, stupid boy? You dare to lie to your father? You insufferable, rotten, no-good...Sarraiah, you and Lucius get out of here. I need a word with my son. Severus did not see the tutor that evening. He was ordered to skip dinner and remain in his room, which suited him fine, as it was the only place he felt he wanted to be. His cheek throbbed where his father had slapped him, and his lip was swollen from the second hit. His eyes were red and puffy from crying; when his father backhanded him across the other side of his face, he thought he would explode. That was when his mother burst in. Ebony pulled her husband away from her young son and pushed him against the wall. "Don't you touch him!" She screamed, pinning him back. "Leave him be! He's just a little boy!" His father freed his right hand and brought in up, back...It came down hard across Ebony's face. Severus could not hold back his tears any longer. "Mummy! Mummy, no!" Severus cried. He watched, eyes wide and full of fear, as his father twisted his mother's arm behind her back. "Do. Not. Order. Me. Around. Understand?" Ebony winced in pain. His gripped tightened. "Understand?" "I understand." "Severus," said his father, hatred in his eyes and his voice, "Go to your room and stay there the night. No dinner. Go!" Though he wished more than anything that he could help his Mum, protect her, he knew his place. He went to his room. That was hours ago, and there lay seven-year-old severus, staring at the ceilling, no dinner in his belly. Saraiah had snuck up to see him for a few minutes. She assured him that their mother was going to be fine, and their father had calmed down. "Lucius went home, and Aunt Dése stayed with Mum for awhile. Uncle Folter was here too...He's a bit creepy, that one is. And I'd better get back downstairs. The tutor is here, and she'll be wondering why I'm taking so long in the loo." Severus was upset and angry, angry at his Father, his Mum, Saraiah, and mostly, at himself. "Not only did I get my face beat in, I got Mummy in trouble," He muttered out loud. "And worst off," he continued, "My potion is ruined. All my work, all for that stupid pinkish-purple healing potion, a potion that's supposed to help people. Lot of help it did me! It's not fair. Life's not bloody fair." The hours wore on, and night settled in around the Snape home. Severus noted that there were no stars tonight. Even the weather seemed upset; angry. Two hours later, the clock in the hall struck midnight. It was still pitch dark outside, and the wind was howling. The occasional flash of lightning preceeded the sporadic clap of thunder. Severus was nearly asleep when he heard the door to his room open. "Saraiah?" He whispered softly. "It's Mummy, love. Are you alright?" In the dark he couldn't see just how bruised his mother's face was, but when he sat up in bed and hugged her tight he could feel her wince from the pain. "Sorry, Mummy. I'm sorry." It's not your fault, love. Go back to sleep, mein tapferer kleiner Junge. Schläft ein." "Good night, Mummy." Severus was nearly asleep already. "Süße Träume." "What's 'Süße Träume,' Mum?" The little boy murmered, eyes closed peacefully. Ebony smiled down at her little boy. "Sweet dreams." ***~~~*** A/N: A slighly shorter chapter. It's all PG so far, but I'm working on it. Please review! btw, mein tapferer kleiner junge is "My brave little boy."
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