Servitude ch. 7

Severus spent the first days of November like in a dream. He was taking care of little Lupin, that he did, but his thoughts were wandering somewhere far away. Sometimes he believed the year to be 1980, sometimes he thought he is back in the cell, and at yet other times he believed himself still a child.
It was from such a state that a quiet crying, nearly impossible to hear, coming from the other bedroom awakened him. In the first moment he suspected little master Teddy, but he quickly recognized his owner’s voice.
‚No! I’ll be a good boy! Uncle! No! I promise!’ terryfiyingly childish cries of master Potter quickly morphed into tears ‚But I did everything! I was good! I didn’t tell her anything!’
Snape heard mistress Potter trying to calm her husband down.
‚It’s not your problem! No one ever cared! I managed by myself!’ Potter reacted aggresively.
‚It should have never happened’ Ginny Potter’s voice was thick with fury ‚Never!’ master Potter was silent ‚Why did you never tell Dumbledore or McGonagall?’
‚There was nothing to tell’
‚If you think so, then you’re touched in the head! Just look at your back!’
‚My back?’ Severus noticed through the half-open door that master Potter stiffened.
‚You’ve got scars on your back. Old scars. I’ve got no idea how come no one noticed…’
The slave almost suffocated. Who had dared to hit Potter? Lily’s son? The younger wizard turned to face the wall.
‚Dumbledore placed me there! I tried to tell him, but he said I have to stay there because of my mother’s sacrifice!’ silence reigned for a while ‚At least my uncle didn’t hit me anymore’ he said bitterly.
Snape choked on air. He remembered several Slytherins whose behavior revealed domestic abuse. Master Potter behaved now in the same way. Why did he never see it at school? Was the boy so good at hiding the truth? He remembered he could notice the signs of abuse as a teacher, but he did not know why he was so good at finding them. He had a feeling he shouldn’t look for the cause overmuch…
‚What did you do for the cursed muggle to beat you?’
Potter laughed bitterly. Severus saw him show his wife one of the scars, then a second… and a third. His voice was neutral.
‚I was three… and I’ve shown for the first time what a crazy freak I was. Accidental magic…’ a moment of pause ‚I was seven… one of the teachers saw how Dudley hit me and called me names and how I wore his hand-me-downs, how skinny I was. I told her the truth. She went to the Dursleys… they told her, obviously, what a filthy little liar I was… and then uncle Vernon beat me…’
‚Oh, Harry…’ mistress Potter’s voice quivered.
‚You know what was the worst? I never saw Miss Lily again. They sacked her the next day – for being naive and believing impossible stories of a child with a hyperactive imagination.’ Potter barely held back a sob ‚Well, the Dursleys had many contacts…’
‚How often…?’ Ginny Potter did not manage to finish the sentence.
‚Only then. Only those two times. Uncle Vernon had to be really furious to hit me’
Snape pressed his lips together – he had an irrational urge to find this Vernon and his family and punish them for his daring to hit master Potter. Maybe only twice… but two times too many.
‚Do Ron and Hermione know?’ Potter shook his head. ‚Well, you never liked to talk about your childhood. Now I know why…’ mistress Potter summed it up bitterly.
‚Don’t worry, it wasn’t so bad’ Severus heard his owner’s voice.
‚”It wasn’t so bad”? That’s what you call being treated like a house elf, being starved, living in a damned cupboard for ten years, growing up not knowing your parents’ names or what they looked like?’ mistress Potter raised her voice, she was practically shouting.
‚Uh… Ginny… it wasn’t so bad, I’m here right now…’
‚That woman was your mother’s sister! You are her own nephew! How could she treat you so?’
Lily’s sister? Lily had a sister? They probably weren’t much alike, if master Potter had not known what his mother looked like… Snape tried in vain to remember something more than a feeling that he did not like Lily’s sister… and neither did she.
‚Aunt Petunia never talked about Li- mum…’
‚That’s why you always call them by their names? Because you didn’t even know this for so many years?’ mistress Potter whispered as though to herself.
Petunia Evans… the name was familiar to Severus. He heard his owner’s quiet crying – it crossed his mind that he must have had a horrid childhood if he had learned to cry nearly soundlessly, against nature… Despite his best efforts, the slave could not recall anything more. Was it possible that his memory was somehow connected to the other miss Evans… master Potter’s mother?
Snape sighed and walked downstairs to fetch breakfast. That time no one answered his knocking. He used the half-open door and walked into the master bedroom – just in time to see mistress Potter rummaging through the drawers in search of a Draught of Peace.
‚That’s the last one’ she said with a sigh, passing the vial to her husband.
She turned around and she saw Severus, who was staring at the scars on his owner’s back with his face pinched.
‚Master Potter needs dittany… or a balm…’ he said thoughtfully.
‚Nothing will help with these scars. They’re too old’ Ginny Potter said, and her husband stiffened.
‚A balm from St. Mungo can make them smaller, mistress Potter’
‚How do you know it?’ master Potter asked in a hoarse voice.
Severus thought for a long while… he could not answer such a question though. Ginny saved him from having to answer.
‚P – Severus is a Potions Master, Harry, and they have to know at least the basics of Healing.’
‚Another thing that’s obvious for you, but not for me’ Potter said, getting slowly out of bed.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 8


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