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Spinner's End

Spinner's End

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Spinner's End
Severus used his time. He was brilliant, and his parents' lives were beneath him - sordid and mired in the filth of their resentments with one another. He was caught between them - muggle to his wizard mother, wizard to his muggle father. Often he heard them arguing over him.

"That son of yours!"

"That son of yours!"

Had he tried to please one, he would have angered the other. But he had long since lost interest in either of them. They were not stupid, though he often shouted it at them in his head. But brilliance was nothing when sifting through a charity basket was an event and there was rarely anything better produced to eat than tea and toast with tinned beans, or cold beans and bread if Eileen was feeling especially disinclined. Tobias worked hard, when he worked, but he was just a day-labourer and never aspired to be more. Severus could never be modest enough to mollify harsh Tobias, nor fey enough to impress stolid jaded Eileen.

He could have turned her dirty sheets to softly draping silks and her cracked mugs to crystal and her eyes would neither have softened nor hardened, and it all would have been twisted to ruin within a day.

None of it was good enough for a quicksilver young man, run through with the insight and intelligence Eileen had given up and the diligence and patience Tobias put towards nothing.

So Severus used his time, nothing wasted. He wanted everything. He wanted to be recognised, to have fine things he deserved. He wanted to be able to know and to do, to wrest as much as possible from the world. He watched everyone, learning them, learning how to be, learning what they felt, until the small gestures became revelatory. He listened to a transistor muggle radio his father had given him to hide secret from his mother - a rare shared smile between them - and practiced speaking with it until he lost the slurred tones and words of his sad muggle town. He seized small words and phrases in the few books of Eileen's she still had - her old school books - until he understood how words became more than themselves, powerful as iceberg-points of symbols, forms. And even before he had entered Hogwarts, he worked at learning, moving through the books, memorising, practicing, experimenting, recording, until he was soaring beyond them, building, improving, inventing.

When that happened, his eyes lit unguarded, when he was alone and he could almost taste success. Somehow, if he could be good enough, he knew he could become more. He could have respect, decent clothes. He could change the world when he had found someone to see what he could do. And he strove to become ever better, to have more to show and give.

The muggle children were nothing. His parents were nothing, telling him when his eyes shone that his secrets were dross and he thought himself above his station. He endured, strove and learned to hide. He would be a Prince.
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