Note: This is the first of three or four vignettes about Snape.
likely won’t be interconnected. They’re semi-inspired by T.S.
“Preludes” and other bits from Prufrock and Other
if that’s any help. ::grin:: Much thanks and a friendly assortment
virtual cookies go to Zsenya.
Disclaimer: Just borrowing, despite what T.S. Eliot may have to say
that subject – “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” I filch
from Canto XXXIV of the Inferno here, and Sherrinford
got his first name from Sherlock Holmes’s eldest brother –
Mycroft – and his last name from the protagonist of Flannery
“The Life You Save May Be Your Own”.
Despite what anyone else might have thought, he positively
Severus wound his way down the dank, filthy street, wishing he
look up and see the stars. An image that had always stuck with him
the bits of Muggle literature that he had read was Dante and Virgil
from the Inferno to see the stars. Dante had freed himself from the
led by his mentor.
A bit too analogous for his liking.
But the sense of wonder he got from his mental image of Dante,
and looking at the stars as though they were a breath of fresh air,
a feeling that he never lost. Sometimes he’d even go back and
the entire canto on the bad nights when he couldn’t sleep, and then
would go up to the Astronomy Tower and sit and try to think about
Tonight, the buildings were too close together, and they leaned
the street. To add insult to injury, it was cloudy.
Severus turned the corner and came face-to-face with a hag. She
in his face; a foul reek of decay rudely invaded his nostrils. He
his way past her and continued.
He heard her throwing curses at his back. Let her, he
She wouldn’t dare try anything. If she did, then it would be a sore
on her part. He was not in the mood to be trifled with.
Dumbledore had asked him to run some papers down to Sherrinford
at the Lethifold’s Lair so Shiftlet could verify the intelligence
listed there. Lucius Malfoy again, up to his old tricks. Severus
himself a brief sneer. The papers, among other things, contained an
of certain Dark Arts materials held by Lucius at Malfoy Manor.
having been a denizen of Knockturn Alley for years, could confirm or
many things on the inventory. The old curmudgeon probably sold
those things to Malfoy himself, thought Severus irritably.
This minor errand was a detestable task, but not nearly so bad as
things that Dumbledore had had him do before the war ended.
And so Severus found himself in Knockturn Alley without – audible –
He stormed down the dark cobblestones, cloak billowing behind him.
then suddenly, the feeling that one always had of surreptitious eyes
one in Knockturn Alley was gone – it was as though he was alone in
world, blessedly alone. The moon had come out; the stench of rot and
was gone as it was for a few fleeting moments after a rain shower.
Severus took a deep breath, savoring the clear, cool air. His mind
He turned to his left and was faced with the dilapidated façade of
He stretched one hand forward, planting his palm on the smooth,
wood of the door. The door swung open on silent hinges; he
His eyes adjusted to the greater darkness quickly. He saw Shiftlet
gaunt as ever, behind his counter, eyes glittering.
“Mr. Shiftlet,” Severus said softly.
“Professor Snape,” Shiftlet returned in gravelly, gruff tones. He
into a square of moonlight that fought hardily to enter the shop
a rather dirty window. “You have something for me, I believe?”
Severus withdrew an envelope from an inner pocket of his robes and
it to him wordlessly.
Shiftlet broke the seal on the envelope and scanned its contents
“Tell him I’ll get back to him within the week.”
He nodded and turned to go. Shiftlet’s voice stopped him.
Snape.” Severus turned and saw an odd little half-smile cross
craggy face. “You might want to look up when you get outside.”
Severus looked at him mistrustfully for a moment. Seeing nothing
on the other man’s face, he left.
Once he was free of the shop, he stopped in the middle of the
Shiftlet worked for Dumbledore; he would not leave one of
couriers a trap – even if that courier was an ex-Death Eater.
Severus looked up.
And he saw the stars.
The old, decaying buildings had somehow been pulled away from the
and the clouds had dissipated, leaving a clear, magnificent night
Severus looked at his old friends among the stars – the Old Bear,
standing firm and strong, Cassiopeia in her chair, the Twins smiling
at him. A warm feeling spread from his chest all the way out to the
of his fingers and toes. His friends, the stars.
He turned back to look at the Lethifold’s Lair. Sherrinford
was standing at the window holding a candle and giving him that same
Shiftlet raised a hand in salute and blew out the candle.
Severus raised his own hand in return, suddenly feeling more
than he had in a long time.
Placing his hands in his pockets, he left Knockturn Alley, fighting
smile the entire way.