my art collab with @ichigo-kitten!! they did the incredibly neat and detailed lines and i coloured it~ sorry it took me forever but i really wanted to do your lineart justice!! look at that smirk hahahshdsj ive never rendered so much armour and drapes in my life LOL
Summary: It’s like every single Alpha on the planet won’t rest until they’ve confessed their eternal wish for you to mother their children, and it’s getting old. Luckily, that’s a problem Bucky might be able to fix.
When you were in the army, you decided that you would never, ever chose an Alpha as a mate. You were surrounded by the worst kind day in day out - and, sure, when you moved companies nobody knew you were an omega thanks to the suppressants, but that just meant they felt like they could say all their shitty opinions about omegas in front of you as if you wouldn’t be offended.
In your opinion, 99% of Alphas were pigs and had zero respect for you no matter how successful you were, or how many suppressants you took. The past few weeks, however, have made you seriously reconsider that percentile.
En sa beauté gît ma mort et ma vie. [In her beauty rests (both) my death and my life] Tom Marvolo Riddle never fancied anyone - to be fair, he did not think he could. Though, an encounter on his first train to Hogwarts had left a deep impression that he very much could love someone, though if that someone could love him with all of his secrets was a different question, one that he was eager to find out yet was awfully curious of. You always intrigued him. From the very first day the two of you met, to the very last…
A light breeze caressed the back of your neck as your fingers dug into the hard red cushion of the seat; your form leaned forward to stare at the blurring scenery behind the window. Outside the compartment children were eagerly chatting, some singing muggle songs and noisily poking in their heads to see who was doing what. The far away rooftops moved like passengers and in the swaying autumn flowers, the last notes of summer were already fading, you saw the delicate arch of your mothers hand as she waved you goodbye. The memory was still fresh and very much conflicted, both sparking fear and excitement in your heart. Finally, London houses blew by and nothing by plains of green greeted the window. You pulled away and shifted, hitting the back of the seat and feeling the whole train pleasantly rubble down your spine. Besides you, there were three more eleven year-olds seated – two in front and one by your left. The lonesome boy by your side was reserved, only briefly glancing around and outlining the forms of the two seated in his close view.
Some headcanons or a story about how Lily ISN'T Snape's happy memory when he casts a patronus.
Great prompt, thank you.
This grew, and grew, and grew - not least because I started thinking about Snape’s assertion to Harry that a patronus wasn’t necessarily the best way to deal with dementors… I hope you enjoy it.
Apologies for language. There’s quite a bit of effing and jeffing. Snape is a stressed young man…and well, Tobias is Tobias.
“I can’t fucking do this anymore!”
Dumbledore eyed the pacing man curiously. “Can’t do what, exactly, Severus?”
“This!” he yelled, flinging his arms out. “This!
Meeting like this in fuck knows where, with fuck knows who watching-”
“You believe we are being watched?”
“EVERYONE IS BEING WATCHED!” Snape’s black eyes blazed with
fury. “Every fucking one of us is at his
beck and call,” he said, angrily dragging up his sleeve and brandishing his
reddened Dark Mark in Dumbledore’s face.
“At his fucking mercy.”
Dumbledore inclined his head. “But surely you knew this when you accepted
his sign into your skin?” he enquired, mildly.
Snape rolled down his sleeve and glowered.
“…yes,” Snape finally admitted, his nostrils flared. “But back then I didn’t think I was going to
rat him out to Albus fucking Dumbledore, did I?!”
“Are you telling me that you’ve had second thoughts?”
“Of course not!” he snapped.
Seeing Dumbledore’s unimpressed expression, Snape took a deep breath,
and composed himself. “…I just don’t
think it’s wise that we correspond like this.”
Snape stared intently at Dumbledore, daring him to argue. “Sending an owl to my workplace with a location
and time? You surely can’t think this is
“And I’m no fucking use to you dead, am I?”
Dumbledore tried to hide his smile. “No.
No, you most certainly aren’t.”
He thought for a long moment and then he nodded. “Very well, Severus. I believe you are familiar with Manchester?”
Snape gave a short nod.
“I shall meet you by the entrance to Oxford Road Station,
next Friday, at noon. If you cannot
attend, please send me a howler about excessive Divination homework, and we
shall postpone until a week next Tuesday.”
“And what if you receive an actual howler about excessive
Dumbledore peered at Snape over his glasses. “Really, Severus?”
Snape gave another short nod, taking Dumbledore’s
point. “Just don’t open your post at
breakfast,” he grumbled. “I’m not sure I
can disguise my voice suffici-”
“All howlers are delivered to my office,” Dumbledore
interrupted. “It doesn’t do for the
students to see the Headmaster being publicly rebuked by disgruntled parents.” He checked his pocket watch. “Remind me, Severus, who was your sixth year
Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?
We go through so many.”
“Professor Crickswain,” Snape replied, quickly. “She was good.”
“And I would be right in thinking that you covered dementors
during that year?”
“I suggest you re-read your old textbook before next
Snape gave a short, insincere laugh. “Handing me over to Crouch, are you?”
Dumbledore returned his insincere smile. “Not unless you give me reason.”
Snape hated side-along Apparation. He
hated not knowing where he was going; hated being at the mercy of someone else’s
magic. He stumbled as he and Dumbledore
landed, and he immediately crouched down, trying not to throw up.
“A little too rough for you?”
Snape straightened, embarrassed and shook his head. “I skipped breakfast, that’s all.” He glanced around. “Where are we?”
“Off the coast,” Dumbledore said, simply.
Snape caught sight of the building in the distance and
froze. “Off the coast? Off the fucking coast?” His voice raised an octave. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“I assume you did the reading,” Dumbledore said, striding
“I’m not going in there!” Snape yelled.
“You’re not,” Dumbledore replied. “But one of the guards is coming out.”
“Is this a test?”
Snape looked frantic as he saw the dark figure floating from the
prison. “I’m on your side! I’ve told you everything, I swear!”
“I want you,” Dumbledore said, his wand firmly in his hand
as he watched the dementor approach, “to utilise the techniques taught to you
by Professor Crickswain.”
“Because I’m going to need them when I’m thrown in there?”
Snape said, pointing his wand at the Azkaban building.
The dementor swarmed over, and Snape took a deep breath as
the dementor latched on to his face.
Dumbledore watched in amazement as the dementor fumbled, and
then attempted to drain Snape’s happy memories from him – but each time, it
came away with nothing. Snape was stood,
stock still, his face blank, his eyes deadened.
The dementor swirled around, and then swooped again – but still, it failed.
Agitated, it turned its attentions to Dumbledore, but before
it could descend, Dumbledore pointed his wand and loudly cast, “EXPECTO
Snape jolted out of his self-imposed trance as he saw a
brilliant white phoenix shoot from the end of Dumbledore’s wand and successfully
repel the dementor. “A Patronus?”
The dementor retreated, and Dumbledore swiped his wand
through the air, causing the Patronus to cease.
He shrugged at his robes. “Yes. And what spell were you using, Severus?
“It’s a subsidiary of Occlumency. It blocks access to your mind, so the dementors
cannot feed on your thoughts.”
“You block your entire mind?”
“I put a wall around happy memories, and I push negative
thoughts towards the front,” he said, quietly.
“You impersonate the effect that the dementor causes,”
Dumbledore said, softly. “Only, you do
not allow the dementor access to feed on your happy thoughts. Either your wall is exceptionally strong, or….”
Snape sniffed loudly.
Sensing his discomfort, Dumbledore swiftly changed the
subject. “I was rather hoping you’d use
Snape barked a laugh.
“I’ve heard about Raczidian, thanks.”
“And you place yourself on the same scale as Raczidian, do
“…we both know that I have not been a good man.”
“I wish for you to try.”
Snape paled. “I do
not wish to be devoured by maggots.”
“Tell me,” Dumbledore said, “did Professor Crickswain set
the work of Professor Catullus-”
“Spangle,” Snape finished, nodding his head. “Yes.”
“And what do you recall of Professor Spangle’s work?”
Snape screwed up his eyes tightly, as if he was imagining
the words forming on parchment. “The
Patronus is the awakened secret self that lies dormant until needed,” he
Dumbledore smiled kindly.
“A pertinent passage for you to quote.”
He passed his wand between one hand and the other. “A Patronus is the physical manifestation of
“-and a true and confident belief in the righteousness of
one’s actions can be enough to carry through a successful casting of the
spell.” Dumbledore looked intently at
Snape. “You do believe in your present actions,
do you not?”
“Yes.” Snape stared
back fiercely. “I’ve risked everything
for this. For you. For her.”
“Then, I do not think you have anything to fear. I take it you remember the appropriate
“Then I shall recall the dementor.”
“And if I fail?”
“I shall intervene.”
Snape gripped his wand tightly as the dementor floated over,
and he fought the urge to fling up his well practised wall. He drew in a breath as the dementor latched
on, and he was almost overwhelmed as negative thoughts swarmed his brain.
It was so different to his experiences with his wall, where
he was in total control of which thought lay where. Now, every bad experience was flashing before
his eyes, replaying in vivid technicolour; Sirius Black, his father, James
Potter, his mother, the blasted werewolf, the OWL exam, Lily, Lily, Lily…
He shook his head, trying to shake the thoughts and in the
corner of his eye, he could see Dumbledore’s anxious expression, his wand
pointing towards him. He knew he had to
focus and he forced the usually hidden memory to the fore:
He lay on the grass,
his feet bare, his oversized coat bundled up and placed beneath both their
heads. “But it’s ok - you can swap money
at the special bank,” he said, knowledgeably.
“It’s run by goblins.”
“Tell me about
school. Do we do normal subjects?
“Like History, and
Maths, and Science?”
He grinned. “Sort of, but magical versions. So we do History of Magic, and Arithmancy,
and Potions, which is sort of like Chemistry.”
“You know so much,”
Lily said. “Which do you think will be
“Potions,” he said,
confidently. “When Da’s out, Mam
sometimes puts a cauldron on. She lets
me slice and stir sometimes.”
upright. “Really? Can I come and see?”
“You want to come to
my house?” he said, flushing, and twisting his hands awkwardly.
“I’ll ask,” he said,
quietly. His heart hammered a little
faster in his small chest as Lily slid her hand into his.
“You’re the best,
Sev.” She smiled at him, and then
suddenly, the scene spun. The playground
was replaced by castle walls, and her face shifted, and her features matured. Her grin was replaced by a look of
revulsion. “You’ve chosen your way, I’ve
“No – listen – I
A blast of brilliant light caused him to recoil, and when he
came to, he realised that Dumbledore had stepped in.
“Do you not remember the lesson?” he asked, gently, passing
Snape some chocolate.
“Yes,” Snape said, shakily.
“A single happy memory.”
“Then I must advise you,” Dumbledore said, seriously, “that
your memory was not nearly happy enough.”
He hurtled down the
empty corridor as fast as his short legs could carry him, the four Gryffindors
in hot pursuit. He dived through a
doorway, and was astonished to discover that he’d entered the Trophy Room. He spotted Lucius Malfoy in the corner peering
through one of the glass cabinets, but before he could speak, Snape held a
finger to his lips, and sprinted into the adjoining Armoury.
He weaved between the
suits of armour, and nestled behind one furthest from the door, just making it
into his hiding spot before James, Sirius, Remus and Peter burst through behind
“He’s got to be in
“I thought I saw
someone in the Trophy Room.”
“Snivellus wasn’t in
the Trophy Room, Remus,” James argued, hotly.
“We all saw him pile through the door.”
“Yes, come out, come
out, Snivvy,” Sirius taunted, his wand drawn.
Snape’s foot shifted
against a suit of armour, and the four boys whirled around at the noise.
started to shout, but then was wide-eyed as he couldn’t finish his casting.
James frowned, and
tried to take over. “Petrific-” He
turned back to Sirius, and clawed at his mouth.
“Run!” shouted Peter,
grabbing Remus’ arm and hurtling towards the door – but blocking the doorway was
the taller, broader, and very much older, Lucius Malfoy, with his prefect badge
gleaming on his robes.
“Well well well,”
Lucius drawled. “Four young Gryffindors
roaming the corridors after curfew. What
do you have to say for yourselves?
Sirius shook his head,
James glowered, his
cheeks burning red.
“Back to your common
room,” Lucius said, decisively. “All
four of you. Now!” Remus opened his mouth to argue, but Lucius
sneered. “And do not think of taking a
detour. I shall be visiting Gryffindor
Tower in five minutes for a discussion with Professor McGonagall. Could you imagine her reaction if it was
discovered that you were absent?”
The four boys
miserably traipsed out of the Armoury.
Once they’d left,
Lucius turned back to the suits of armour.
“Impressive, Severus. We are not
usually taught nonverbal casting until at least fifth year, and only then if
you have a competent Dark Arts teacher.”
He hoisted the young boy from behind the suit of armour by his skinny
arm. “I did not recognise the spell you
used at all.”
“It’s a sticking
spell,” Snape said, breaking free of Malfoy’s grip, and brushing his robes
down. “They can’t cast nonverbally, so
if I stick their tongues to the roof of their mouths, it stops them from using
any spells against me at all.” He looked
up, shyly. “And I cast it nonverbally so
they can’t use it back.”
“My, you are a clever
little thing, aren’t you?” Malfoy smiled, widely. “Sit with me in the common room tonight. I would like to discuss your inventive spells
a little more.”
Snape smiled to
himself as he followed the prefect out of the Armoury, out of the Trophy Room
and down the corridor, a feeling of elation growing in his chest at the older
But then, the memory
shifted, and this time, he found himself cornered. Four sneering teenagers had him pressed
against the cold corridor wall, their wands pointed at his face. “It’s a pity Malfoy left,” Sirius
jeered. “He always was your knight in
shining armour, wasn’t he?”
“Riding in on his
stead to save you, like the worthless princess you are,” James laughed,
stabbing his wand under Snape’s chin.
“But now you’re
alone,” Sirius smiled, and he pointed his wand at Snape’s face, and then a spurt
of bright light filled his vision…
“Not even close to happy enough,” Dumbledore said, passing
him another piece of chocolate.
Snape closed his eyes.
“I don’t exactly have a wealth of memories to choose from.”
“You must have something, Severus,” Dumbledore said. “Rest for five minutes, and think carefully.”
It was impossible. Everything
His happiest memories contained Lily, but the dementor
seemed to be aware of this. It seemed to
be revelling in his darker memories, gleefully drawing them to the surface and
forcing Snape to re-live every second of his ex-best friend’s hatred,
destroying the happy moments he was trying to focus on.
helplessly, as she turned her back in the corridor, scowled at him across the
Great Hall, and ignored him in Potions.
He grimaced as he saw her throwing her arms around James Potter as they
were announced Head Boy and Girl to rapturous applause, and then that stupid
slur screamed around his brain, over and over and over and over and over and
over and over…
“I can’t,” Snape groaned.
“You can, and you will.”
He closed his eyes, and put Lily from his mind.
The first Quidditch
match he saw Slytherin win. When Slytherin
won the house cup in 1975. That time
Regulus Black grabbed the snitch just as it was flying into James Potter’s
outstretched hand…and Sirius broke his own broomstick out of frustration.
“Are you focusing on memories you personally experienced, or
memories where you were a bystander?”
“Does it matter?”
“You should focus on your own successes.”
When he earned his
first house points. When he brewed his
first perfect batch of Draught of Living Death.
His first ‘O’ in Defence Against the Dark Arts. The handwritten note from Slughorn, tucked
into his NEWT results, which told him that despite stern competition, he’d
scored the highest in the year in Potions.
He opened his eyes, and saw Dumbledore standing over
him. His expression was stern. “The memories you are using are not powerful
“…I don’t have anything else.”
“You must. Think
Snape pulled himself upright, and stood before the older man. “What do you use?”
Dumbledore gave a small smile. “You will not find inspiration for your own
happiest memory merely by peering at mine.”
“I just want a hint.
A clue. An idea of the sort of
thing I am looking for.”
“What have you used already?”
“School stuff,” Snape muttered.
“Were you especially happy at school?”
There was a long pause.
“I wasn’t especially happy at home either,” Snape grumbled.
“In such circumstances, it is common for witches and wizards
to feel particularly elated when they received their Hogwarts letter.”
Snape shrugged. “But
I always knew I was going to Hogwarts.”
Dumbledore looked thoughtful. “And what about other groups that you may
have gained admission to?”
Snape looked horrified.
“Severus, the memory only has to evoke feelings of happiness. There will be no judgement,” Dumbledore
continued, his voice low. “Did he make
you feel happy, Severus? When you laid
your forearm bare before him, and invited him to brand you? To own you?”
Snape stared at Dumbledore, dumbstruck. His mouth opened and closed, but he didn’t
make a sound.
“It didn’t feel good to be accepted by those you so admired?”
“…you want me to use the moment I was marked as the basis
for my happiest memory?”
“Is it your happiest memory?”
Dumbledore smiled. “Then,
by all means, use something else.”
He watched anxiously as the dementor descended, and he
screwed up his eyes.
He traced the printed words
with his tiny fingertip, and held the large wand in his small hand. He could feel the magic emanating from the
wood; it didn’t feel quite right – as if it desperately wanted to play, but
knew the boy holding it wasn’t its rightful master.
He flicked the wand, experimentally,
surprised at how springy the light wood was – and then, with his tongue stuck
into his cheek, he traced the words again.
He could do this.
“Lum-ohs,” he said,
seriously, but the wand didn’t respond.
He paused, and peered at it, and then back at the book. “Lum-ohs!” he repeated.
He frowned, and traced
his fingers back over the words. “Lum
like lump,” he whispered. “Os like
logos. Lum-ohs. Lum-ohs!”
It didn’t work, so he
placed the wand back down and flicked through one of the other books – and then
he saw it, and his lips sounded the word out under his breath. “Chaos.
ChaOS. Os like chaos, not os like
logos. Lum like lump, os like
chaos. Lum-os. Lum-os!”
He picked the wand
back up and swished it excitedly. “Lum-os!”
But still, the wand
did not light. Sensing he was close to
his goal, Snape grabbed another book and flicked through it furiously. “The moon cycles are called lunar…” He trailed off. “Not lu like lump,” he realised. “Lu like lunar. Looonar.
He grabbed the wand
and pointed it upwards. “LOOOMOS!”
The tip of the wand
lit, and Snape excitedly jumped to his feet.
He swished the wand, casting the light around the dark attic, and then
he crouched down and referred back to the page.
“To ex-tin-gui-sh,” he read, slowly, “your wand, the in-can-tat-ion is
Nox.” He grinned; that would be easy. “Nox!”
And all fell dark.
He swished again. “Looomos!
Nox! Looomos! Nox!
Looomos! Nox!” He spun around the attic, casting into dark
corners, and then rapidly dousing the light.
“Looomos! Nox! Looomos!
But then his vision
swirled, and the light grew stronger, and no matter how much he shouted, “Nox!”
the room wouldn’t darken again. “Nox,
nox, nox, nox, nox!” he yelled, louder and louder, not caring if his parents would
hear and discover his forbidden antics.
And then he realised that he was flat on the ground, sweat
streaming down his face, still screaming the incantation. Dumbledore was holding the dementor off above
“But it still wasn’t good enough.” Snape groaned and covered his face with his
hands, still brandishing his wand.
“Far closer. You
almost sent out a non-corporeal form. What
precisely were you thinking of?”
Snape eyed Dumbledore curiously, as he accepted a piece of
chocolate from him. “The first time I cast
a spell. When I was little. I took my mother’s wand.”
Dumbledore nodded. “A
good choice. Success is a powerful
“…as we discussed, being accepted is perhaps even more potent.”
“No. No. I can’t use when I was marked,” Snape said,
quietly. “I might have been happy at the
time…but not now…”
Dumbledore settled himself on the grass. “Then rest, and think,” he said, indicating
that Severus should sit next to him. “Success
and acceptance, Severus. Success and acceptance.”
“For fuck’s sake!” Tobias slat his
newspaper across the room. “Just fuck
off outside, will yer!”
“I ain’t done owt!”
Severus yelled back, banging the fridge door loudly.
“Last three minutes of
the fuckin’ match, and you come down ‘ere and send the radio funny with yer
fuckin’ doo dah wotsit!”
admonished, sharply. “Leave the lad
alone. He can’t help it.”
“You don’t do it with
your fuckin’ magic powers! Three fuckin’
minutes,” he complained, retrieving his paper from the floor, and scooping it
back together. “That’s all I wanted.”
“Dunno what yer
mitherin’ at,” Severus retorted, sulkily.
“Won, dint they?”
“How’m I sposed to
fuckin’ know, soft lad! Fuckin’ radio’s
knackered, thanks to you!”
“Severus, go back upstairs,”
Eileen said, firmly. “Tobias, you well
know that the radio will be fine.”
“Yeah, when he’s
fucked off it will be!” Toby glared at
his son, brandishing the now rolled up newspaper. “Go on wi’ yer! Fuck off!”
Severus looked up from
his homework at the sharp knock on the door.
“What d’yer want?” he called.
Tobias pushed the door
of his son’s room open. “Speak t’yer.”
Severus capped his
ink, and put his parchment on the floor.
He moved over on the unmade bed, silently indicating that his father
could sit next to him.
said, leaning against the doorframe. “Yer
mother says yer can’t help it. That
fuzzy stuff.” He peered at his son. “Yer never used to do that. Just since yer been at that fancy school.”
“It’s one of the
lessons,” Severus said, an impish grin creeping up his face. “How to piss yer Muggle da off.”
“Yer a cheeky fucker.” Tobias swung the door back and forth with his
foot. “Grow out of it?”
“School goin’ good?”
Severus nodded, and
reached for his parchment. “That it?”
“D’yer like it?”
Severus put the
parchment back down. “Better than round ‘ere. Still school though, innerit?”
“Aye.” Tobias gave a short smile. “Not much fun, eh lad?”
There was a moment of
silence, and Severus thought his father was about to leave, but then, he spoke
again. “D’yer all wear them funny
“Yer mam don’t wear ‘em.”
“Not round you. She’s got ‘em though. In the attic.
I seen ‘em.”
“Bit girly on a lad. What’re them girls down the street gonna
think if they see yer like that?”
“Not as bad as yer
fuckin’ shorts,” Severus retorted.
Tobias looked down at
his shorts. “Georgie Best’s, these were!”
“Best before 1971.”
“Cheeky shite,” Tobias
said, reaching forward to clip his son lightly around the ear. “Bet yer don’t even know who he is.”
“I’m a wizard, not an
Tobias paused. “D’yer ‘ave wizard footy, then?”
Severus shook his
head. “There’s a game. On broomsticks. But it’s nothin’ like.”
“Yer prefer yer wizard
said, quietly. A brief flash of hurt
covered Tobias’ features, but he quickly masked it.
“Right. Let yer get back to it,” Tobias said, pulling
the door shut. A moment later, it swung
back open, and Severus looked up, startled.
“We’re playin’ on Saturday afternoon.
In the cup.”
“Can yer try ‘an get ‘andle
on yer witchy thing? …don’t want to miss
“It’s a shame,” Tobias
said, running a piece of bread around his plate, mopping up the juices. “He used to like ‘is footy.”
“He isn’t going to
dare come downstairs at all today after how you behaved on Tuesday night,”
Eileen snapped, taking his plate from him and pushing it into the washing up
Eileen gave him a hard
stare. “Did you actually say you were
“More or less.”
Eileen huffed, and put
the salt and vinegar back into the cupboard.
“More or less. He’s only here for
a couple more weeks.”
uncomfortable. “Can’t yer stop that
witchy thing he does? Then he could
listen to the match.”
“It’s emotional,” she
explained, wiping down the table. “If he’s
hungry. If he’s tired. If he’s upset. If he’s worried. If the team scores. If they don’t. If his father’s going to pitch a fit and
scream at him for daring to exist.”
Eileen shrugged. “He’ll grow out of it.”
“But not by kick off,”
Tobias muttered. He grabbed his keys,
and his loose change. “I’m going down
“That’s it,” Tobias announced the next morning, putting the phone down. “Murphy’s lad can’t play, so we’re short. Gonna ‘ave to call off.” He peered at Severus, who was rummaging in a
“Leave the lad be,
Toby,” Eileen said, not looking up from her ironing.
“Yer used to be good.”
“Used to be.” Severus opened the fridge door and stared
into it. “I ain’t played in years.”
“Get yer ‘ead out of
the fuckin’ fridge. Ain’t nowt in there
“Yer tellin’ me,”
Severus said, letting the door shut. “I’m
reiterated. “I eat way more at school.”
“Fine. Play, and I’ll buy yer some chips.”
“What?” Tobias turned
to his wife. “I’m just offerin’.”
“It’s called bribery,”
she said, sliding a neatly pressed shirt onto a hanger. She stared at her son. “Play if you want, but don’t let him guilt
you into it.”
“What if we lose?”
“Still get chips?”
“Still get chips.”
“What if I play shit?” His eyes narrowed. “Still get chips?”
Tobias gave a half
smile. “Yer yer mother’s son,
aintcha? Yeah, yer still get yer chips.”
He wasn’t lying. He hadn’t played
football in years – not since he left the Muggle school and got on the train to
Hogwarts. His dad hadn’t been lying
either. He wasn’t half bad. If he’d really put his mind to it, maybe he
could’ve excelled at it – but then, he’d always known he was a wizard; he wasn’t
interested in excelling at anything Muggle, because he knew he was going to
drop it like a stone as soon as he reached eleven.
He stood on the rec,
and juggled a ball between his feet, feeling awkward in his dad’s old shorts
and baggy t-shirt. He lost concentration
as the team came past him, and the ball flicked a little far away. He quickly cast a nonverbal Accio, and he
almost laughed out loud when the ball curled back to his feet. He’d never thought of using magic whilst
playing before; he certainly didn’t have the power or the skill when he was
But what made him
laugh inside was the fact that he did it so naturally. He really was a wizard. No wand. No verbal incantation. He’d just reacted. Severus kept on juggling the ball, a grin
across his face.
“Yer playin’ keepy up?” An older teenager, nineteen or so, crossed
the field. Severus vaguely recognised
him. Robbie’s lad.
“What’s the point if
yer ain’t countin’?”
“Not played for ages,”
Severus said, letting the ball drop.
“Ah, I remember yer. Toby’s lad, innerit? Yer be right.”
“Bloody hell.” The captain of the
opposing team moved through the bar to shake Tobias’ hand. “This is yer lad, right?”
“Where’ve yer bin
hidin’ ‘im? United’s youth team?” The captain shook his head. “Yer’d be top of the league if he played
Tobias’ chest almost
burst with pride as he clapped Severus on the back. “Not bad is he, eh? For a scrawny ‘un.”
“Bugger me, he could
give old Georgie a run for ‘is money.”
The captain took a long drink. “Yer
wanna get him signed up. See a few
“Nah,” Tobias said,
smiling ruefully. He ruffled Severus’
hair, as the lad sipped his ale. “He’s
all brains, y’see. Takes after ‘is
mother. Goes some posh school up in
Scotland. Won a scholarship.”
“Some kids got it all,
eh?” the captain said, raising his glass.
“Well, good luck to yer lad. And
Toby, yer should be proper proud.”
“I am right that. I am that.”
The captain moved away, and Tobias turned to Severus. “I ain’t like yer mam, lad. Ain’t that much good wi’ words. But I am right proud, even when I’m shoutin’
and carryin’ on.” He drained his pint. “Now, let’s get gone, and get them chips I
Dumbledore smiled as the creature danced out of the end of
Snape’s wand, forcing the dementor backwards until it fled to Azkaban. “Fantastic,” he said, clapping the younger
man on the shoulders. “I knew you could
Snape sat back on the ground, panting heavily. The last few hours had taken its toll.
“Now watch this!”
Dumbledore cast his Patronus, and the phoenix flew before Severus. It paused, and then opened its mouth: “Meet me in Diagon Alley at 7.30pm.”
“Merlin’s beard,” Snape breathed. He laughed loudly, relief flooding him as he
realised what the afternoon had been about.
“Do not shy away from light magic, Severus,” Dumbledore
said, quietly. “It is your Dark Lord’s
greatest failing. He fears it.” He placed his hand beneath Snape’s chin. “This exercise today has proven what I
Snape took a sharp intake of a breath.
“You can walk the line.”
“Between Dark and Light.”
His eyes twinkled. “Perhaps
between magic and Muggle?”
Snape bristled. “…did
“With me, Severus,” Dumbledore said, extending his arm – and
then he Disapparated with a muffled pop.
her programming come back online in its own time, we can’t force it. Do you
want her defensive programming to activate again?”
You people are too gentle with her. She’s a construct,
not the original – even if my original brain waves had been aware of what she
was he’d still know that—“
What was that for, you—“
are in a lesser state than she is, Serges. You
are a copy, she is not. Don’t
make me dent your head in to get the point across.”
Energy Level: 100 percent.
Motor functions: activating.
Optical senses: activating.
pair of eyes opened, bright blue eyes flickering into view. The only thing they
saw was the roof of something that might have been a warehouse, once, but was
now covered in cables hanging from the ceiling. Feeling came back to her after
a moment: a cold table, muffled some by the feeling of clothes on her back.
“I am telling you, you don’t know what
you are saying – the only way for a human to become a mechanical being is to
have their brainwaves scanned!”
am telling you that she has a spark
signature. The only way for that to
be true is if she has a soul.”
“Pah! I’ll give you a soul you—“
She opened her mouth. “Wily. Shut up.”
The argument stopped short. The sound of
large, heavy footfalls hit her ears, and a familiar metal face with
green-tinted, blue optics appeared over her face. The concerned expression
faded in an instant.
“About time,” Ratchet huffed. He raised
an arm, and a green light flashed down over the teenage-looking girl’s form.
“Well, everything seems to be
operational, despite the changes. Anything feel off?”
“My balance sensors need to be
recalibrated.” She paused. “What changes?”
“Well, it seems your mechanical form
decided to take some matters into its own hands and reworked some of the parts
that we used in order to put you back in working order.” Ratchet moved his hand
out of her line of sight, and the table she was lying on shifted into a
She slid off the table and held her
hands out to her sides as she wavered for a moment, then settled on an upright
position. As she did, she noticed she was wearing white tennis shoes with red
stripes, and jeans.
And it felt like she was wearing them, which she hadn’t thought possible.
She took a few cautious steps forward,
letting her arms slowly drop. As they did, she noticed she was wearing an
orange jacket, and she could feel the red, short-sleeve shirt clinging to her
Her footing stumbled, and she reached
out instinctively for something to get her balance back.
Something flashed, and an instant later
she was pulling herself upright again, holding onto a red, wooden staff, with a
phoenix carved into the top.
Her grip tightened on the staff as three
hushed voices gasped at once.
Her brow furrowed. Now what did that mean?
“I’ve recovered some of my old
weaponry.” She pulled herself upright and looked at the three figures who were
there with her: Ratchet, an old man – clearly human – and a robot that looked
like an old man with metal constructs that looked like wings sticking out on
either side of his head. “Something that would only have occurred if I had my soul.”
The robot that looked like an old man
looked away, grumbling something under his breath.
The other stepped forward. “But
everything is in working order, correct? I’d been worried when your core
reacted of its own accord to our repairs.”
She tightened her grip on her staff.
“Everything is as it should be, Dr. Cain, although it may take some time for my
balance sensors to calibrate properly. Having support will assist in that.”
The man – Dr. Cain – blinked in
surprise. “So, you do know about me. I had wondered, when Zero had said—“
“I was aware of your existence, yes.”
She looked over at the robot. “Just as I am aware that Wily is presently going
by Serges in order to avoid X and Zero knowing who he truly is.”
The robot – Serges – shuffled away from
her, but she grabbed him by one of the metal wings on his head and pull him
closer. The head of her staff was brought down to his face.
“And if I find that you placed a sleeper
program in me, you are going to sorely pay for it before the Dark Arms pay for
what is coming to them,” she said coldly.
Serges raised his hands. “I just handed
them parts – they can attest to that!”
“He is right,” Ratchet confirmed as she
looked up at him. “I made sure that Cain and I were the only ones running
diagnostics and ensuring that you were not damaged mentally. I only ran
diagnostics to check for viruses, nothing more.”
She paused, then let Serges go and
stepped back, leaning on her staff a little again. “Good.”
“I-I’ll go let them know she’s up.”
Serges slipped out through a door, slamming it shut behind him.
“I understand that you don’t trust him,
but right now we have no choice in the matter,” Ratchet said bitterly. “There
are very few of us left, and at the rate people disappear on possible rescue
missions, we won’t have anyone left
by the time they find this place.”
“I doubt they are going to have as easy
a time as they think,” she replied. “It will not take me long to get back on my
feet. They will not take anyone else from here.”
Ratchet and Cain exchanged looks.
“That’s the hope,” Cain said softly.
“That’s the hope.”
Goliath finally flared! Of course he did it after swimming into his cave, sticking his head out and then directing said flare at me, and I missed the picture before he was back to swimming back and forth and watching me suspiciously. But hey, he can flare! I was wondering about my cowardly little guy.
And his fins have grown out and his hint of pink seems to be deepening. Or maybe that’s just the contrast with his darkening yellow color.