By Daphne Dunham
A/N: This story is
based on/inspired by Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby.” Also, be advised that any
references to the Snape family take place within the confines of an alternate “Snapeverse” than my other writings. Last, but far from
least, special thanks to Ozma for her
* * * * *
Squibs ran in families. It was a simple fact in the wizarding world. Rare as they were, where one Squib could
be found in a given bloodline, another inevitably followed. Sometimes it
skipped a generation; sometimes it didn’t, and sometimes there were false
It was for precisely this reason that when seven-year-old
Argus Filch still hadn’t showed signs of magical abilities, gossip began to
circulate amongst the servants.
“That child has Squib blood in him; I can tell. I can always
tell,” the maid whispered authoritatively to the cook one afternoon. As she was
a Squib herself, she felt quite certain that she was an expert in such matters
and, thus, had no qualms about levying such a judgment.
“Can you imagine a Squib in such a family?” the cook said.
“Master Filch must be beside himself.”
The maid nodded enthusiastically. “Just last night I saw him
hand his own wand over to the boy and try to teach him how to wave it,” she
said. “Not a bloody thing happened, no matter how he swished and flicked and
said the incantations. Heartbreaking, it was, to see the Master’s
The two women stood, peering around the corner into the
library, where Enid Snape Filch sat with her son, trying desperately to get him
to do something – anything – magical. She had tried scaring him, angering him –
anything to evoke a powerful emotional reaction. For the past hour, she had
even been trying to coax him into Levitating a piece
of parchment from her husband’s desk with her wand, but it was no use: the
paper remained unmoved and tears welled in Argus’ eyes. Frustrated, he tossed
his mother’s wand angrily to the floor.
“It’s all right, dearest,” Enid
soothed, wrapping her arm around the boy. “You’re simply not ready yet. The day
will come when you’re every bit as powerful a wizard as your father.”
Hopefulness glimmered in Argus’ eyes, and Enid
smiled. As she stooped to pick her wand up from the floor, though, she couldn’t
help but notice the maid and the cook standing in the doorway. They scurried
away at Enid’s glance, but she
still heard their whispers echoing through the corridor.
“A Squib, he is,” they were saying. “A
* * *
Troubled by these rumours
circulating amongst the help, Enid Filch spoke with her husband that evening.
“The servants are gossiping, Claudius,” she told him, her
voice scarcely louder than the crackling of the flames in the fireplace.
“I know,” he replied curtly over the edge of the book he was
reading. He was a serious man, a cold man, and even though his wife’s lips
trembled as she spoke, he could not be moved to comfort her. “I’ve heard them
myself. They say that our son is a Squib.”
sadly. “You must stop them from saying such horrible things.”
Placing the book aside, Claudius surveyed her stonily.
“Perhaps what they’re saying is true,” he snapped.
Enid withdrew at
his harshness but did not reproach him. Her mild, Hufflepuff nature dictated to her that she love Claudius
all the more for his harshness. His mother had, after all, died in his
infancy, leaving him little experience in the delicacy required when dealing
with the opposite sex. For this, she could not fault him. She could only try to
love him enough to make up for the affection he’d been denied.
Their marriage had been a good match, one that had advanced
the precarious position of the Snape family. Despite being purebloods, the Snapes were not especially respected, and when Claudius
Filch, the last in a rather distinguished line of an ancient wizarding family, had taken an interest in Enid, her family
had encouraged his advances. Claudius had wooed her with promises and little
gifts of perfume and jewelry; he had lavished affection on her. It had seemed
that they would be happy.
And they had been happy. In time, Claudius had even used his
name and cunning to rise through the ranks at the Ministry of Magic. He ruled
his home with the same precision and exactness that he exercised at work,
requiring perfection of his servants, his wife, his child. Indeed, the years of
enduring the humiliation of Argus’ magical shortcomings had been too much for
so proud a man to bear. Now, as he was forced to confront the reality that his
son was a Squib, his brow was creased in a frown, his jaw bent in a stern
square, and his temper short.
“Squibs run in families, you know,” Claudius reminded her
testily. Eyes piercing, he added, “I know my bloodline is clean.”
There was an accusatory air to his tone, and it would have
been difficult for Enid not to
comprehend her husband’s cruel implications, for her to not to understand that
he meant to say that their son’s condition was the result of an impurity among
her Snape ancestors. Faltering, she brought a delicate hand to clutch at her
chest from the shock of his allegation.
“Surely you’re not suggesting… You don’t mean to say…” she
stammered in disbelief. The continued iciness in Claudius’ glare, however, told
her that she wasn’t mistaken in deciphering his insinuation. “But I’m a Snape!”
she gasped in protest. “We’ve been pureblooded for generations!”
Claudius rose and placed his hands authoritatively on his
hips. His stare continued to beat down on Enid
She cowered beneath him, trembling and struggling to hold
back tears. “Claudius, you know me!
You know this to be true,” she pleaded with him. “You’ve seen the genealogies
“I know the name Snape is one associated with Dark Arts and
Azkaban and other questionable activities,” he growled, eyes glinting
viciously. “I can only imagine what other indiscretions exist amongst your
Enid choked on a
sob. “Claudius, please – Argus is your son, your flesh and blood – you must
love him –”
He was already storming from the room, though, his robes
billowing in the breeze of hostility he left in his wake.
“Get out of my home and take that worthless boy with you,”
he seethed before slamming the door closed behind him.
It was the last time Claudius Filch would ever rest his eyes
on either his wife or his son.
* * *
Claudius could scarcely wait three days before ordering the
servants to delouse the residence of anything that looked remotely as though it
had once belonged to Enid Filch or the filthy Squib she had borne him. Out went
the clothing, the photographs, the journals. Out went
the toy trunk, the books, the jewelry. Claudius
surveyed the servants’ progress with great interest, anxious to divest himself
of anything that reminded him he had ever mingled with tainted blood, and as he
watched the mound grow, he smiled with dark satisfaction.
It was a peculiar, leather-bound volume that caught his eye.
Claudius stumbled forward, curious, and took it in hand. It was a diary – a
woman’s, by the look of the floral pattern embossed on the leather and the
lacy, looping letters that crossed the pages therein. He could scarcely recall
ever having seen Enid toting the
book around, and as he thumbed through the pages, he gathered that he was
correct: the diary didn’t belong to his wife; it had belonged to his mother.
As much as it pains me
to know that I shall not live to see my beloved Claudius grow into a man,
his mother had written on her deathbed,
at least I can take comfort in the knowledge that my husband has agreed to my
final wish – that our son will never know that his mother, despite being of
pure blood, was born without the capability of producing magic herself.
Claudius will never know that in his veins, he carries the blood of a Squib.
Reading the entry, Claudius faltered. A low, dull moan
escaped his lips. Moments later, his voice was hoarse, and his hand quaked as
he raised his wand to his mother’s diary and uttered the incantation that would
preserve his future and save his name.
* * * * *