Title: Apprentice: Chapter 2 (03/?)
Pairing: None yet, previous Snape/OC
Warnings: Violence, child abuse, manipulative but not evil Dumbledore, OOC-ness
Disclaimer: Nope, doesn’t belong to me. I only play with them a bit.
Summary: The war had been over for several years, and Harry’s life did not turn out the way he expected it. He ended leaving England and travelling the world. That’s where death found him, but he was the Master of the Hollows and second chances were a given. He would not waste them.
THIS IS AN AU STORY (AUAlternate Universe), even though I try to follow the original novels as close as I can.
Not a native English speaker writing.
Characters might be Out Of Character (OOC)
There might be spoilers for all books.
Author Note: When I started writing this story, book five was not yet out.
I have decided to include some details from the fifth book, not may and not yet, but there will be certain aspects of the book included.
Severus left Albus office fuming and went straight outside the school grounds to apparate to his flat in muggle London. He had never had a chance to refuse taking Harry Potter as his apprentice. Damn that old man and his meddling ways; He always managed to get people to do what he wanted. Severus apparated into the study room of his apartment, the only place in the flat where it was possible, then went straight to his bedroom to change into muggle clothes.
He really did not want to go to Potter’s house the wizard way. The muggles might notice something strange, it was still early; or someone might actually be spying on the house and the use of magic would alert them of his presence. Even if most Death Eaters would not think it possible that he, Severus Snape, dressed in muggle clothes, the fact was someone could still recognize him.
From what he managed to learn before he became useless as a spy, the Dark Lord had yet to discover where they kept the boy, and what kind of protection surrounded the place. Still, he saw no reason to take unnecessary risks, better go the muggle way. It was also a good way to get the time to explain everything to the brat. He was sure Potter would be more than curious about him living in muggle London, and he also needed time to think what he was going to do with the boy. Albus did not really give him time to prepare, to begin planning on the brat’s education, or even think about what kind of disruptions his life was going to suffer with the troublesome Potter constant presence.
As he finished his ‘conversation’ with the headmaster, Severus decided that since he had to be in London, he might as well take care of some pending business. He informed Dumbledore that they would not be returning to Hogwarts right away, and explained his reasons. The older wizard told him not to hurry and take as much time as he needed, with the necessary precautions of course. He was sure the Death Eaters were looking for him, but he believed none were smart enough to locate him in muggle London. Also with that maddening twinkle in his eyes, Albus had the nerve of suggesting he take the time to get to know the Potter brat, as if Severus ever intended to do it.
Severus’ income, did not depend sorely of his teaching wages, nor was it based in a non existent Snape family fortune, as most people believed was the case with him being the only Snape left alive. The fortune disappeared when he was still a child at his parents and aunt’s hands. No, he never had an inheritance, like some pureblooded pompous fools, namely the Malfoys. Everything he had at the moment, and it was quite a large sum, he had earned it by himself.
Teaching at Hogwarts paid enough to survive decently, especially with the bonus for being head of house. However, no self respecting Slytherin would be satisfied with just that. He had actually other means of obtaining his funds, all quite legal unlike Lucius and some other ex-Death Eaters. However, because of the TriWizard Tournament and Voldemort’s rise, he had not had the chance to oversee his businesses during the Christmas holydays and the summer break.
The Potions Master did not have his flat connected to the floo system for security reasons, and Albus knew it, so he was aware they might not get in touch with him while Severus was in London. There was of course the option of connecting the fireplace in the study in case of an emergency. He had worked hard on placing wards and protection charms on it, so it was really hard to trace on it. Still, Snape preferred to go to the Leaky Cauldron and request a room with a private fireplace for communication, anything of vital importance was of course, always discussed in person. If there was any need to contact the Headmaster, he would do just that while disguised using polyjuice, Albus and he had agreed on a disguise a long time ago for when he was doing undercover work for the order, or in case he was discovered as a spy. There was enough polyjuice potion left of that disguise to last him at least ten more years. In addition, if the headmaster needed to contact him, he could always send Fawkes; the Phoenix knew the location of the flat, even when some of the wards would prevent most owls from finding it.
The Potions Master’s flat was a nice and ample penthouse with a big terrace, located deep in muggle London. The decoration was homey and the whole place gave an air of rest and relaxation, most people would not have believed he lived in a place so full of light, the complete opposite of a Dungeon. But then, he had not been the one who decorated it. Yet he loved the place, to him it was home. This was his hideout, where he could forget about the wizarding world, his problems, and responsibilities for a while.
Severus could pretend, while he was there, that he was just one normal wizard or even a muggle, and just be without the masks he wore for almost ten months every year. Snape was also sure that no one would guess a pureblood from an ancient line, and known Death Eater would willingly live among muggles and their machines and actually enjoy it. This flat, along with a couple more places strategically chosen around the world, was one of the safest places for him, besides Hogwarts that is.
His muggle identity had been what helped him keep his sanity after the war was over, almost fourteen years ago. Three of his brothers died in the war. Luca, the youngest and his favorite, at the hands of the Dark Lord; it was his death that convinced him to definitely take the risk of switching sides. He had never shared his parents and aunt’s views. They practiced the Dark Arts, as all Snapes did, but were not particularly evil. It had been their extreme ambition and pride that led them to join Voldemort. They were bankrupt, wanted to keep appearances and recover the fortune they irresponsibly spent. The Dark Lord promised them that and much more in exchange for their loyalty. Too bad his bastard parents also promised their five children to the Dark Lord’s service.
Pietro, Giovanni and his aunt Millicent, died during the war at the hands of Aurors doing their jobs on a Death Eaters attack. His idiot siblings bought Voldemort’s views and ideas, so he really could not blame the Aurors even if he was extremely prejudiced against them; they had not been ‘fair’ to him to put it mildly during his trial. His parents and remaining brother, Leonard the eldest, received the sentence to a Dementor’s kiss in Azkaban after members of the Order captured them in yet another raid. They got the kiss about three months after being in prison. Of what he considered family, only Nan, his and his brothers’ nurse was still alive. There were a lot of family members on her mother’s side of the family, being Italian counted for large families, but they had never been in close contact with them.
Severus too, like his family and so many others, ended imprisoned in Azkaban after the war. He had been in that hellhole for six months while he awaited the resolution of his trial. I was not until Albus finally convinced those imbeciles at the Ministry of Magic of his spying job for the Order of the Phoenix, that he regained his freedom. However, by the time they released Snape, he was a real nut case. In fact, he often wondered how the mutt, Black, managed to hang to his sanity for twelve years. Although the accursed dog really did not have as many horrible experiences as a once reluctant Death Eater had. Severus was so sick, tired, and disillusioned of the magic world that did not want anything to do with it, ever. He willingly renounced magic. He fled to muggle London and in the space of four years he created a ‘normal’ life for himself there.
With some subtle forgery and not so subtle tricks, he managed to enter a University and got a masters degree in Biochemistry. He worked freelance in the beginning. Actually, he tried several kinds of muggle jobs while he acclimated to the differences in lifestyle and the fact that he was not going to use magic, or at least not as often as he was used to while growing up.
He sold the manor and most of the family heirlooms to pay all the debts his parents and aunt had incurred throughout the years. He was lucky there was something left, not much, but enough to get him started. Severus used that money get himself a place to live, pay his muggle education and to establish his own company, ‘Biochemical Development, Inc.’*.
The business started operations about seven months after he began living and studying as a muggle. What had become his initial speech for every first year potions class about being able to brew fame, success and even put a stopper to death was not a lie at all. He was living proof that he could use potions to create success for his commercial ventures. He was ambitious and cunning, and not at all against taking full advantage of his magical knowledge to obtain what he wanted. Success was only a potion away, and he brewed it, his fledging business went off with a wonderful start. It worked perfectly even if he was not a yet Potions Master and it still kept on going even after 13 years.
Most of his students, past and present, would probably have a collective conniption if they knew the first product he released, and his first success, was the formula for a hair shampoo guaranteed to control excess grease. He really thought that ironic. The way he looked normally at school made it quite difficult to believe, but that look was only part of the role he had to play, and a way to keep people at a distance, to help him keep the act after so many years. The Severus Snape most people saw was not all that he really was, a great portion of him went into his role, or else he would not have been able to keep the act for so long. Still, there was more to him than the snarky, Potions Master who seemed not to care about personal hygiene.
He often wondered how blind and stupid most people were. Less than a handful in more than a decade had ever noticed the blatant contradictions in his persona. All those errors happened when he was beginning to create his character. Albus of course knew about it, but then, the old wizard knew him better than he knew himself most of the times.
Many people did notice how meticulous and extremely organized he was with everything regarding his potions or teaching job, even while he was brewing and researching, he kept everything in place and categorized. Severus did not tolerate sloth, or sloppiness. No Slytherin was ever allowed that kind of behavior, on their person or their property. Yet with those facts blatantly screaming in their faces, people failed to notice that he applied the same kind of tolerance to himself. His clothes were always clean and pressed to perfection. He kept them meticulously in excellent condition, and spelled to repel stains. He never smelled of his potions or the sweat that brewing for hours could produce, or even had bad breath even with his disgusting yellow teeth.
Severus often wondered if the world was full of unobservant imbeciles, but in the end, that lack of observation skills had worked in his favor. Being as fastidious as he was about hygiene and order it was hard to believe he would allow his hair to cling in greasy tangles, his hands to remain potion stained or his teeth to remain yellowed. He was a Potions Master for Merlin’s sake! one of the best around, and no one ever thought he could brew a simple hair de-greasing potion? He taught it to the first years, it was only logical that he knew how to brew it. But then, most people barely saw behind his act, or wanted to for that matter. While he was recuperating in the infirmary, he began thinking of what would happen if he finally presented himself as he was. After all, there was no reason for him to keep pretending, and the idea was very tempting. He did enjoy shocking not just the students, but also his colleagues as well. Still he had not reached a decision yet.
Severus sold the patent of his shampoo to a major transnational company specialized in everything from hair care to cleaning products. They wanted to hire him for their new products research department but he refused. In the end, they agreed to subcontract the services of Snape’s newly created company. Later on, after one of his new employees suggested that he try his hand at cosmetic formulas, they discovered the market was quite profitable. That employee’s suggestion opened even more doors and the company grew and progressed at an almost ‘magical’ rate. Her name was Sara Benson, and she was a young and very bright marketing mayor. After working closely with her, he ended falling in love and getting married with her not a year later.
His potion knowledge was an immense benefit, as he found new ways to use magical ingredients to create non-magical products and still obtain the benefits of the magic in them. He had even devised a few methods of separating the magical properties of several magical plants and creatures, just like muggles separated the components of most chemical and biological ingredients. Another piece of knowledge that became invaluable he discovered while still at Hogwarts. He stumbled upon a muggle basic chemistry textbook while he sneaked into the restricted section, and became fascinated by it and took the decision of learning more. With Nan’s help, he bought as many books as he could and even managed to get his hands on specialized periodicals every once in a while. Some of what he learnt from that first book, and subsequent books he bought, helped him improve at potion making. He could really understand the reasons why and how ingredients reacted in a potion, something only attained after years of study and observation. This actually helped him to earn his potions mastery.
It was his combined knowledge in Potions, Herbology and muggle chemistry that allowed him to create the formulas that made his company so profitable throughout the years and him one of the best Potions Masters not just of Great Britain but the entire world. At thirty-five, he had already been a Potions Master for 11 years, the youngest one in all recorded history, while most wizards or witches started to take their mastery exams at that age.
Severus changed into a comfortable pair of stone washed jeans, a blue shirt and boots. There was no need to dress in stuffy clothes in the middle of one of the worst draughts England had in years. He was also in great physical shape, and muggle clothes only served to emphasize it. He rarely indulged himself in the little vanity of showing off, hiding underneath his stuffy clothes and robes, but whenever he was in the muggle world he was free to do and wear what he pleased, and he did. His body was strong without being bulky, with the complexion of a martial artist, and the added advantage of the longer reach his 6Â´4″ height and long powerful legs gave him.
He observed his reflection in the mirror atop his cupboard, he then took the potion always kept there, and waved his wand before his face to remove the illusions on himself. After a moment and a slight shimmering of the air around him, his hair was its normal silky appearance. It was thick, heavy, and not greasy at all. It grew quite a bit during the school year and what had transcured of the summer so he tied it with a leader cord into a low ponytail to keep it out of the way.
There was also a slight change to his features, though his skin color was still pale, it was no longer the unhealthy tone he usually had, nor did he look older than his real age. The nose of course remained the same; it had always been big and hooked a Snape trademark. In addition, his teeth were not as yellow, although they were not perfect. He was not by any means handsome, never had been, and never would be. Still once the bitter lines and the harsh angles disappeared, he looked ten years younger and rather ‘interesting’, instead of completely ‘ugly’. The way he moved added to the interesting bit and it had never failed to draw attention to him in the muggle world, and then he had his voice, his best tool and he knew how to use it. That drama seminar he took while studying at the Muggle University had certainly paid off. He already had exceptional acting experience, the life and death kind while he was a spy, but he benefited from learning how to take advantage of the power his deep, rich and expressive voice had.
The biggest changes after his hair were his eyes. They had never been really black, but a very dark shade of sapphire blue. Something that had exasperated his father beyond words, the man had the crazy notion that all pure blooded Snapes should have black eyes. The notion was of course confirmed when all of his children, except him of course, were born with black eyes. Severus being the ‘black sheep’ of the family, according to his father, had inherited his pureblooded Italian mother’s eyes.
It was ironic in a way that his late father had tried so hard to make his eyes permanently black, and he, as a youth, had spent many hours trying to find ways of counteract his father’s attempts and keep their original color, only to decide that indeed black eyes would fit better with his new role. Everyone had seen him with that eye color while he was a student, and again never noticed when he reverted them back to blue. It was only after the Order of the Phoenix got together again that Mad Eye Moody asked him about his disguises, his only response had been, that they were acting aids. They kept appearances without him having to work too much on them. Even after the changes, he still looked very much like he used to at Hogwarts from a distance, but up close it would make people wonder about the changes. They had all been part of his role as evil ‘greasy git’, ‘overgrown bat’, and overall terror of students.
Once changed he put a special potion he devised on his arm to hide the dark mark. Snape did not use it often, as it could not remove it. It only created the appearance of vague birthmark slightly darker than his skin tone. It worked whenever he had to show his arms, but would not stand a magical examination.
A quick look at himself in the mirror to check that indeed, he looked like a muggle, and then he started searching for his muggle wallet and his SUV’s* keys. The last time he visited, at the beginning of the summer, he had to leave in a hurry and was not sure where he had left his stuff. That time it would not have done to be present before the Dark Lord looking like a common muggle. While he rummaged among the drawers, he hoped Nan had not forgotten to start the truck every once in a while, or he would have to use magic to get the SUV going. As a rule, he avoided using magic when he stayed at the flat, not wanting to the Ministry to detect it despite the wards and it being supposedly un-plottable.
“Sev, is that you?” A woman asked from just outside the room.
“Yes Nan, come in,” he said distractedly while rummaging in a drawer. “Where did I leave the keys?” he muttered distractedly. It was not like him to forget where he left things.
“You left them on the bed along with everything else, I put them in the basket on the entrance table where they belong. I see you’ve already found the wallet. I wasn’t expecting you today, Sev.” An older woman of around sixty entered the room and leaned against the dresser.
“Thanks, sorry for not flooing in advance. But I really had no idea I was coming until this morning. It’s been one deranged summer… shouldn’t you be at the office at this hour?” He asked her as he pocketed his wallet and his wand in his jeans.
“Yes my boy, but I have to check some reports and I was just getting interrupted at the office. So I told everyone I needed some peace and quiet. Mildred knows where to find me if I’m needed.”
“Best secretary you’ve had so far and it’s good she’s also a witch so she can deal with everything. By the way, we’ll be having a guest…”
“Oh good, you haven’t brought any pretty…” she interrupted him sounding quite pleased. Nan had been trying to convince Severus of getting himself if not a wife at least a girlfriend, but he still refused. Ten years and he still was not over Sara, his wife, and Pat’s, his little daughter, deaths.
“Nan,” he said warningly. That witch was the limit sometimes. She still insisted that he could find another woman; but he really did not want to look for one. He was just fine as he was. “Can you tell one of the house elves to get one of the spare bedrooms ready? And it’s not a girl…”
“Oh, you switched sides? At least you will have someone…” she began teasing him. She was after all the only one, besides Albus Dumbledore, who could get away with it.
“Nan! Can’t you just drop it? You know I’m getting too old for that. We’ve been through this enough times already, and for your information I’m still straight.” Irritation was clear in his voice and he looked annoyed, although he really could never snap at her as he did with everyone else; might be the fact that she had practically raised him or something of the sort.
“Nonsense my boy! You’re only thirty-five, still young and powerful, you’ll probably reach one hundred and fifty like Dumbledore or more. Besides, I’ve more years in me than you and I still consider myself quite young. Even after having taken care of you and your brothers since you were born,” the woman said. She had been the Snape family nurse; and began working with them shortly before Severus was born. After all died, she had remained the closest thing to family and a mother that Severus had. Nan was the one that reminded him, when times were hard, that he was still fundamentally good and human underneath his cold faÃ§ade. “So who’s our visitor?”
“A student, his name is Harry Potter.” He walked out of the room and to the elevator’s door, Nan following him.
“THE Harry Potter?” She was really surprised, and her ex-charge made a disgusted face at her question. Severus of course had mentioned the boy, on more than one occasion, but it was clear that he could not tolerate him. In a way she did not blame him, James Potter and the marauders had made his life quite difficult while he studied at Hogwarts, and even after they all graduated.
“Yes, the insufferable ‘boy-who-lived’. Dumbledore saddled me with the spoiled brat,” the anger was clearly evident in his voice as he picked his keys.
“Saddled you with the boy? Why?”
“He decided I needed an apprentice, that the brat needed a bodyguard and special training he can’t receive at Hogwarts, and that only ‘I’ can provide. Especially since the imbeciles at the Ministry doesn’t approve of the brat getting it,” he explained at her puzzled expression. “And to make things worse, I get to become ‘Gryffindor’s-Golden-Boy’ legal guardian, since Potter’s underage. ‘Oh the joy of it all!'” He sneered, sarcasm evident on the last phrase. “I swear Albus is plain crazy or getting senile.”
“Well, it can’t be as bad as you make it sound Sev,” she commented thoughtfully. “I… actually think it might do you good.”
“Not you too Nan! Albus said something of the sort, and I really can’t see anything good coming from having to train that spoiled brat.”
“Well you really won’t know until you start with the training. You make him sound like a little menace. And I get the feeling he really isn’t. You always make it sound as if the boy is a clone of his father, and believe me Sev that’s not possible.”
“Believe me, he is. Just wait until you meet the little menace.”
“Hmpgh,” she snorted knowing that it was hard for him to see past the boy’s father image. Those marauders really did not have a clue how much they had hurt Severus. “Just remember he isn’t his father, just as you aren’t yours, Anyway how long will you be staying in London?”
“How long are we staying…? I’m not sure yet. Since I’m already here, I better take the time to check on the business. It’ll depend on how the companies are doing, but a good guess would probably be three or four days at the most. Right now, I’m off to pick Potter, he lives with his muggle relatives in Surrey with his relatives.”
“Yes,” he said with a sigh. “The house is so heavily warded that you can’t apparate or portkey in at least a five block radius from it. Besides it’s better if I don’t draw too much attention to myself, some of the Dark Lord’s lesser followers might be watching.”
“Well if that’s it, good luck with the traffic, and we can talk more about the businesses during dinner, I’ll bring you up to date,” she told him and he just nodded in agreement.
With that, he gave the old woman a peck on the cheek like he had always done since he could remember and left. Had anyone who knew him from Hogwarts or from his spying Death Eater times been present, they would have probably died of a heart attack at so un-Snape-ish behavior. But he loved Nan more than he had loved his own mother and she had also become a close friend. He saw no harm in showing her affection. Besides the older witch would tan his hide or use him for potion ingredients if he did not.
* Corny name I know, but I’m really terrible for this kind of things.
* SUV = Sports Utility Vehicle for those that didn’t know what it meant. Examples are ford’s Explorer, Jeep’s Liberty or Grand Cherokee, Land Rovers, and the like. I know Severus Snape is not an outdoor kind of guy, but he does have to get outdoors to harvest some of his special ingredients for potions, hence the vehicle. Believe me using a sports car (old Ford Mustang) in wooded areas with no roads is hell. I should know it; I did something as crazy as that once… or twice.