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Severus and Voldemort II

Severus and Voldemort II

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sherlock.  not good?
In response to 00sevvie's response to my Severus and Voldemort post.
00sevvie is a brilliant name, by the way. I am all admiration.

I hope I've answered some of your questions. Again - its really too long for comments. And again, I ramble on and on and on... I love to talk about Snape.

Severus and Voldemort. Here I am going to clarify decisions I have already made, many in discussions with friends, and many I made considering additional possibilities. I am used to writing history, and here there is a little more leeway to decide what is likely because the possible is a little less diverse, and creation is more nebulous than life lived. I disregard most of book 7, for several reasons into which I will not go here.

I can only speak of the Severus I write, because I have made certain decisions. I thought Deathly Hallows unnecessarily romantic, so I have conveniently left a great deal of it out of my Severus' makeup. I also have no interest in Harry and his friends or exploits, excepting Draco, because his affairs involve Severus, as well as Lucius and Voldemort. I take my Severus from the end of The Halfblood Prince, and though I use some of the seventh book, I certainly do not use everything. I have also added things and made certain decisions. Naturally others may make other decisions.

I believe that to consider Severus' position in relation to Voldemort, one must look at his circumstances and how they were regarded by various people and factions.

Severus is a half-blood. But so is Voldemort, and though there are condemnations of those consorting with muggles, their children who are clearly wizards do not seem at a social disadvantage. Severus, in dilapidated state, was welcomes by Lucius clearly and without reservation. He was Slytherin, and there is no suggestion that Severus was less for being half-blooded. The only mention of it is his own.

This is a clue in itself. He himself felt less than others and was inclined to seize small facts and magnify them.

Severus was brilliant, and I do not have a problem with Sirius' statement that he knew more dark magic than many seventh years when he started Hogwarts. His mother told him and taught him, with bitter resentment, I expect, for his father. He hesitates over the word muggle and mudblood for Lily long before he came to school or came under the influence of anyone else. His potion book shows his invention and diligence, and it is clear he was practising controlled wandless magic for Lily, for he explained they were not allowed wands, yet he showed her small spells purposely. Her laughing flight from the swing is much more naive. (It is a choice to have Lily teaching Severus and him passing on this information to Voldemort alone. I do not make this choice.)

Of course the Deatheaters would want such a one - cleverness a Slytherin trait. He could create spells for them. He had already done so. He was a wonderful occlumens, and he was passionate about his potions and obviously accomplished as witnessed by his notes, which show knowledge based on research and experimentation which were advanced beyond any in the class, even Hermione, in Harry's time.

I do not believe that Voldemort's revolution was presented as terrorism, for the most part, and it was not to them as such that Severus was loyal. It would have started as pride, a new wizarding society, an overthrow of the order which did not value them enough. It would have started as a promise and search for immortality. Deatheaters. The idea ends surely in horcruxes where the eating of death grants immortality through the power drawn from murder, though not at first. It would have been power, possibility, and then Severus and his young friends would move deeper and deeper into darkness, trained to torture, to kill, to inure themselves, even to revel in it - a Dionysian ritual. They would have been trained to lose themselves in it, maintained by horror at themselves and their fellows. Regulus broke free, allbeit to death.

It is dispassion rather than passion that drives (my) Severus. He is not a true believer like Bellatrix, like even Lucius would have been in the early days. There is no question of belief. There is no question of gain. There is no question of affection exchanged. Such things are beyond his thought. Almost. Because they bleed through, not to his demeanour, but to his consciousness, despite his best efforts not to feel.

He does not hate muggle-borns, at least not more than he hates anyone else. The only exceptions to his misanthropy are his Slytherins, his old friends, his young charges, and perhaps some suspicious loyalty and gratitude to Dumbledore for the latter, grown into some small degree of affection. This last because after Voldemort died, so had everyone who had meant anything to him, save Lucius. Or they were, like Rabastan, Rodolphus, Dolohov, et al. imprisoned and lost to more horror than if they had died.

He would certainly not kidnap, torture, kill on his own, and he is sickened, which he hides as such is generally regarded as softness and weakness. He endures, and he continues much as did the scientists who developed the atomic bomb, as did officials of totalitarian regimes kill and torture parents while adopting their children. Much as soldiers do, for Severus is a soldier. There was no reason for him to decide between wrong or right. It didn't enter into the picture.

Severus had a life before Hogwarts, touched on only briefly but tellingly. He was an abused child. I (unlike many, I realise) lay this responsibility upon both of his parents, giving them both hate for the heritage of the other, both bitterly resentful and violent towards the child that could have been theirs but bears traits of the other. No one is brutal all the time, as... someone... had pointed out, and there are brief parental overtures I have placed in stories here and there.

So he would have learned furtiveness and, yes, occlumency, technique for simple necessity. He was used to fear and hiding, to disappearing to himself, to closing himself off from others. It was a natural environment. He is an expert at compartmentalisation. He has kept his heart separated from what his parents said and did to him from early childhood. He kept his heart separated from what he did for Voldemort, for Dumbledore. His concern for his soul is similarly compartmentalised. He does not want to kill Dumbledore. Yet there is no mention of any reaction to the death of Charity Burbage, even as she is pleading with him. He makes no attempt at mercy.

He possesses prejudices and a genuine belief that some people are worth more than others, though not necessarily because of blood-status. He has no fellow-feeling for Neville, for instance. He is worried for his soul when he sees himself as harming someone he believes is simply worthy. He has always valued Dumbledore. He values Draco. He sees what Voldemort is doing with him, but I believe his motivation is to save the boy what darkness he can, in addition to fulfilling Dumbledore's request.

Severus does care for his Slytherins. They had won the cup for years in a row. Witness his reaction to Draco, his care for him. There is the speech during his first potions class, his absolute horror and rage when Harry had really hurt him with dark magic. That anger was not just at his stolen spell, but because it was Draco, the only one to carry on his generation of friends. My Severus sees these as his family. He sorts all humanity into Houses. Here he is capable of allowing himself consider giving affection, accepting some degree of belonging and affection in turn. The Lestrange brothers, Dolohov, who invented spells as Severus did, the Malfoys (and I include Abraxas,) Evan Rossier, Mulciber, apparently, Avery. That was very close to love, that memory of the short time between school and the time they were all lost. That is treasured as well for my Severus. If he is unfeeling, even brutal, this inspires the exceptions.

There is something else. I place Severus firmly in his place and time. My Severus has a secret, and though it seems trivial it extends to his very core. I have him venturing into the muggle world which surrounded him, out of curiosity for the other side of his heritage. The sixties had also devolved into betrayal and in Britain, in America young men were turning to punk and oi. The cold war was being waged in many forms. Supremacist groups and terrorist groups of all ethnic groups were still active and recruiting, throwing fear. Naaao Future. Naaao Future. Naaoooo Future, for Yooooou. My Severus is thoroughly aware that this would have been his status and position if he had not been a wizard, if his father's heritage had rung true. He knows politics. He has read the underground books and knows the theory of urban guerillas. He sneaks out to the punk gigs and life is cheap. The milieu made life cheap and enforced and mirrored the Deatheaters' violence. Please remember Victor Jara, in the Santiago stadium. Irish bombs in London. The Bader Meinhof. The Munich Olympics. Kent State.

There is the description of Severus' clothing and general aura of neglect in the playground scene and again on the train. Severus started at Hogwarts when he was eleven years old. This meant he would have had to endure years of muggle education and if he was bullied at Hogwarts he would have been bullied before he ever arrived - dressed strangely, brilliant, with his alien wizard background. It was no chance or error that when he arrived he knew more dark magic than most seventh year students. It makes sense and though it is stated by Sirius I take it at face value.

'Bullying' was not much of a concept in 1971, far less was it an issue. There was no counselling and it was largely condoned and regarded generally as the students sorting themselves and naturally quelling in one another disagreeable characteristics or differences from the norm. Bullying in extreme forms is not between children, it is a school against one child, singled out, beaten, made the scapegoat for the internal and sometimes external failings of all the others. The world view that results in that child is that all the world is irredeemable animals. Yet Severus had Lily and he had hope. He was a wizard.

What Lily's defection meant to (my) Severus was not trivial. He loved her, missed her, wept for her, dreamt about her. But he did not live for her, far less James' son, and he would not seek sympathy nor solace from his Slytherin friends. He grew up, though some of that continued, at once a beautiful desire, and a reminder of the way that life had cheated him. He still dreams, still weeps, still regrets.

Imagine a brilliant boy suffering abuse at home and at school, learning to defend himself as he could, keeping that secret along with his heart, hoping and dreaming of a promised idyll of a new school where he would belong and be treasured for his skill and intelligence, where he could live and learn, free in essence, dressed like the others, where he would find collaboration, where he would shine.

Imagine this boy confronted with James and co. and confronted with still more condoned bullying to the point where what he regarded as attempted murder was quieted by the person he most admired as the guardian of his salvation from Spinner's End. Then imagine James, symbol of everything he hated, who had tried to kill him, taking from him the only friend and brightness of those eleven patient painful years. Lily's betrayal, and Dumbledore's, affected him deeply, created him, created the Deatheater, severed him from faith in humanity or his chances for success. Severus had nothing but betrayed trust, even after daring to hope for more.

No, Severus did not have nothing. He had a Slytherin family and a Dark Lord. If out of nihilism and sheer emptiness he turned to him to be useful, to scrabble a finger-hold of life from the horror and squalor of his childhood, that is no surprise. If he should feel only cold at their acts, should bring himself to act with them in kind, that should be no surprise either. There was no especial disregard of muggles. All the world had shown him they were irredeemable animals, his brethren in darkness excepted. He is not a masochist, gaining pleasure from any of Voldemort's punishments. He is numb, cold, departed. Any thought of Voldemort's affection is so far from his reality it is not something to be contemplated.

Severus doesn't want affection or acceptance, or more accurately: he does not let himself want them. He wants to be useful, a goal that is attainable and one without which he becomes his parents, his father, his mother. This is a valid fear. Voldemort offers usefulness, Dumbledore offers usefulness. Severus does not, after the first war, seek glory, far less pride. It is not the promised delusion of being 'special' that lures him, but the promise of being useful.

Both his masters know of his loyalty to the other, both need him. His status as a double-agent is assigned. It is no mystery, and each knows he also works for the other. Dumbledore states aloud that he will not put all his faith in a basket dangling from the arm of Voldemort. Naturally paranoid and protective, Voldemort could only conclude the same. Yet he is needed. His position between the two men is needed by both. He hides the small betrayals, parts of betrayals, loyalties, parts of loyalties he chooses himself. Naturally there are secrets he holds of the plans of each of his masters. Severus has yet a great deal to hide, and he is still an accomplished occlumens.

He is the perfect adjutant - capable, with nothing to lose and nothing to gain. To want - anything - is to be cheated, to lose. From Voldemort's point of view, love can turn to hate, belief can turn to a feeling of betrayal. Severus is useful. Usefulness does not fail. Usefulness is what he gains from Dumbledore, why he serves him as well, and there are the years of use teaching and perhaps spying on his young charges during the time in which Voldemort was vanquished. Usefulness is what he gains from Voldemort. That is why he is valued by Voldemort, because it is pure and it is hunger, even terror that he will fall into nothingness.

What joy, you ask? Memory. And the things he always loved. Spells, potions, Slytherin House, learning, understanding from wizards. The hope for a fleeting, momentary look or hand of approval, praise, trust. A striving for redemption through service, penance through work.

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Your Friendly and Helpful Advice Is: You are really messed up. Yes, it's true that everybody is messed up to a certain extent. But you are a lot more messed up than other people
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