L (thinking)

Severus Snape fanfiction

L (thinking)

Story time!

Well, it's been November since I started this story, and I'm CLOSER to being done ^^;

this is the official link post, I'll update it so from here you can go to any chapter

This is basically my first fanfiction and it's a boy-on-boy story, so you were warned! My style changes drastically from the first chapter to the current one and I hope that's in a good way.... :)

links below! (btw it's a Naruto story sans Naruto)

Pairing: the scarecrow and the dolphin
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Beta: kokiden 
Rating: PG-15 at the most.....
Summary: War rages in the Land of the Fire. Refugees pour into Konoha, forcing some residents to relocate. The effect this has on the citizens is completely unprecedented, especially for Kakashi, Iruka, Neji, and even Kankuro....

[Ichi] [Ni] [San] [Shi] [Go] [Roku] [Shichi] [Hachi] [Kyuu] [Juu] [Juu-ichi] [Juu-ni] [Juu-san] [Juu-yon] [Juu-go] [Juu-roku] [Juu-nana] [Juu-hachi] [Juu-kyuu] [Ni-Juu] [Ni-Juu-ichi] [Ni-Juu-ni] [Nii-Juu-san] [Nii-Juu-yon] [Nii-Juu-go] [Nii-juu-roku] [Nii-Juu-nana] [Nii-juu-hachi] [Nii-juu-kyuu] [San-yuu] [San-juu-ichi]


Support the original artist by going to alika's deviantart page and favouriting this!

New blog entry

Is it a coincidence most of my blog entries coincide with exam time? No it's not, because I am the Queen of Procrastination. Maybe I should keep using this site for it's intended purpose and keep a journal here. Or maybe those are my 4:30am thoughts. Either way, I am fucked for this exam.
One thing I've definitely learned from reading my old blog entries: Jesus Christ I have not changed in the past 7 years. Time for a mental makeover methinks
yay (baloon)

Hold and Release Chapter VI: The Way it Happened

The alcohol burned pleasantly as it went down his throat, though the strength of it made him wince. He looked at his glass and saw he was not even halfway finished. That shouldn’t be surprising, since he only took one sip at a time and after each sip he had to pause so he could get the stuff down.

Severus never had hard alcohol before, and he wasn’t sure he was getting the effect he wanted. He still felt angry and hostile.

“You were always very childish.” The cold voice send a chill down his spine. He turned around, his wand raised.

“Oh, you’re going to attack me now? Because that would be really original.”

A million curses offensive spells and curses passed through his head, but he stayed petrified, breathing hard.

“Give me back my mother’s ring.” Severus tried to add some authority to his voice, but it felt like it was not his own.

The older man ignored him; he was surveying the damage done to his living room with angry eyes.

“I want my mother’s ring,” Severus repeated. His entire body was tense.

His father then turned his burning black eyes on him and Severus felt the powerful urge to step back.

“I don’t have it,” the older man replied in a calculating way.

“You had no business selling it. It was mine by right!” This time Severus was able to make his voice hard.

Tobias Snape smiled at him in a very nasty way.

“Who says I sold the ring?”

Unlike Severus, who was nearly yelling, the middle-aged man kept his voice calm and even. Even though there was no one else in the room, Severus hated the fact that his father was trying to make him look immature and childish. He hated it. He hated it so much.

He took a swig of his Daisyroot Draught, nearly draining his glass this time. His head swam.

“You’re lying.” Severus lowered his voice, trying to match his father’s cold whispers.

Tobias did not answer. He took a step towards his son, stepping on some of the glass shards from the now-defunct colour television.

Severus wanted to scream at him to stay back, but his voice was suddenly gone. At least he was not completely helpless. He could see Tobias eyeing his wand with distrust and knew his father did not like having it pointed at his chest. Good.

“Do you know who I saw today?” On the surface, Tobias’ voice was conversational, but Severus could detect the malice underneath.

“Your mother’s family. Your grandfather to be exact. I bumped into them.”

“What?” Severus flustered. “How? That’s impossible! They don’t--they don’t associate with Mu- non-magical people! You-- you’re lying! You did not see them by accident!

Severus could only remember seeing his maternal grandparents once in his life, and it was during his mother’s funeral.

He had spent most of the service glaring angrily at his father for looking disinterested and wishing Lily would stop trying to comfort him. He was sad that his mother was dead, but he didn’t feel the grief his best friend seemed to think he was suffering. He felt guilty that his sorrow did not match Lily’s. She cried openly when he didn’t.

He barely noticed the tall man in dark purple robes and the tall woman with a stuffed bat on her hat until they were next to him. When he became aware of them he immediately knew they were a witch and a wizard and guessed they were part of his mother’s family, since no other magical people had shown up.

The man seemed to be the younger of the two, his hair mostly black save for the two lines of white on his temples and his heavy white eyebrows. Severus could not see the colour of the woman’s hair under the hat and veil. Even though she was quietly crying into her handkerchief, the woman seemed to be frowning at Severus. In fact they were both frowning at him.

He looked back at them, unsure of what to do. For a fleeting second he thought they had come to take him away: to live with them in a magical household instead of spending the rest of his youth with his Muggle father.

“You look nothing like her.” The man’s voice was deep and authoritative. He seemed like a man who was not ignored.

“A child like this is hardly any consolation.” The woman’s voice was clear, even though she had been crying.

With that, they simply turned around and left, leaving their grandson perturbed.

Shaking his head he brought the glass to his lips, but realised it was empty. He emptied the rest of the Draught bottle in it, ignoring the bartender’s disapproving looks.

He spilled a bit of the liquid on his shirt on the trajectory from the table to his mouth, but most of it made it to the target. He was beginning to have a bit of trouble sitting upright.

“I told them that you were due to finish that magician school of yours pretty soon.”

“That’s a lie!” His father had never taken any interest in his schooling, or even his life.

“Tut, Severus, you don’t believe your own father?” Tobias took another step closer.

“N-no!” He was too close for comfort.

“And do you know what they said? What they told me about you?”

Severus was too focused in keeping from visibly shaking to answer.

“They said you’re not welcome to their house. They never wanted you in the family and that’s not going to change because you finished school. It seems like all you ever do is burden everyone with your unwanted presence. The fact that you exist has made everyone unhappy.”

Severus imagined several violent ways to stop his father from talking, but his wand remained inert.

“Don’t you think the world would be better off without you? I certainly think so. Your grandparents agree.”

Disapparate. Just leave. Don’t listen to him.

“Do you not realize how superfluous your existence is? My, you really are stupid. I’ll use small words so you can understand.” The middle-aged man took another step forward. Severus could smell the cigarettes on him.

You-” Tobias poked his son in the chest with an accusatory finger. “-are not needed.

The tip of Severus’ wand exploded.


By now, Severus’ mind was too muddled with alcohol to recall the exact details of what happened after that. It helped that he was actively trying not to remember. He looked at his nearly-empty glass and the scolding glare of the bartender and decided it would be a good idea to pay soon.

And maybe leave. Though he had nowhere to go. Especially not his father’s apartment, which he might have set on fire. Maybe. He didn’t want to remember.

He dug his hand into his pocket and was surprised to find something hard and metallic. He took the object out and gazed at the metal alarm clock with unfocused eyes. It was a traditional wind-up, spring-driven alarm clock with a black face and green numbers that glowed in the dark. As he held it closer, he noticed it was ticking. The clock was still going. This clock had not stopped working in at least twenty years.

Even with the alcohol clouding his brain, he remembered why it was in his pocket. It was the only thing he had seen his father ever attached to, person or object. Tobias used to be fond of saying that this clock was the only thing in the entire house that worked. That this clock was more reliable than Severus would ever be.

He had wanted to destroy it in front of his father’s face, but he didn’t have to the chance to in the struggle. He looked at it, knowing that damaging it right now would not have the same impact. As he was considering just dropping it off in the garbage on his way out, it slipped between his fingers. It loudly fell and broke, scattering cog pieces and glass shards over the floor.

“I think you’ve had enough.” The bartender, a balding surly man with a dark blue apron, walked over and removed the glass and the bottle from his client. He then took out a short, thick black wand and flicked it expertly. The clock became whole once again and flew neatly in front of Severus, coming to a rest where the glass had been.

Severus stared dumbly at the hated clock that had now been rescued twice from his wrath. Maybe this was some kind of sign, though he could not tell if it meant he should keep the clock or try harder to obliterate it. Thinking was making his head hurt and he suddenly had the urge to leave the pub, though he had nowhere else to go.

As he counted the Sickles and the Knuts from his pocket, he realised the reason he had so little money was because he had paid for the bottle up front. No wonder the bartender had not complained about him nursing his drinks for so long.

He wondered again where we would spend the night. He could check into a Muggle motel and avoid paying by Disapparating out of there in the morning. Great, on his first night as an adult, he would become a Muggle criminal. Just like I always wanted, he thought bitterly.

He slipped the clock into his pocket and grabbed his bag from underneath his chair. It was a warm night, but he was hoping the fresh air outside would clear his head enough to think of a place to stay, though not enough to think of what he did this afternoon.

He exited the magical pub. Looking up, he wondered if it was a clear enough night to see the stars. Had it been a starry night yesterday? He found it really hard to believe that less than a day had passed since he spent the night with Lily. She seemed so far away now.

Frowning at the heavyset cloudy sky, wondering why he didn’t notice it earlier, he ran into someone.

Severus staggered, trying to keep balance. The man he bumped into was a tall and thin, with a crown of bushy grey hair and a long sharp nose. He was dressed in completely black robes with golden buttons and a clasp holding his cape in place. The man dusted off his impeccable robe with gloved hands and looked down his thin nose at Severus as if here were a stray dog he wanted to kick.

“Watch, where you’re going, boy.” A gruff voice came from the left and Severus realised the thin man was not alone.

His companion looked abnormally short, though this was probably because the thin man was so tall in comparison. The short man was stockier in build, he had a square jaw and thick eyebrows. He was also dressed in black robes, though instead of golden buttons his cuffs were decorated with fine-thread patterns.

Wizards. Rich wizards. Severus glared at them. People who did not have to worry about money irritated him.

The thin man returned his look with the greatest contempt.

“Aren’t you going to apologize?” He spoke to Severus with a tone that clearly indicated that doing so was beneath him.

“No. Why should I? I’m not the one walking around like he own the whole street.”

“Watch your mouth!” The shorter man bristled.

“Let’s teach him a lesson, Travers!”

Travers produced a wand unlike any Severus had seen before: it was twisted and it had a carved handle. He did not take his eyes off Snape.

“I think I agree, Goyle.”

Before either of the two could do anything else, Severus whipped out his wand and screamed:


Goyle was thrown backwards, not even getting the chance to withdraw his own wand. Travers had been more alert and jumped out of the way, not bothering to check what happened to his companion. He whipped his wand and a stream of purple light shot at Severus. Snape conjured a Shield Charm and did his best to come up with a plan in his muddled brain.

These two clowns had nothing on James Potter and Sirius Black. Severus had long learned to strike first whenever anyone started talking about “teaching him a lesson” or the like. He watched the way Travers moved his wand. A circular motion and a flick of the wrist. The Ghostly Head Curse. So predictable. He cast the counter-curse under his breath and leapt aside.

He noticed that Travers was with his sleeve, pulling it back, but he didn’t care to find out why. It was an opening and he was going to use it. He pointed his wand at the man’s legs and performed the Sponge-Knees Curse.

Immediately Travers fell to the ground, nearly losing his wand. He glared furiously at Severus, but he stopped attacking him. Goyle too, did not attack, even though he had finally gotten to his feet. What were they doing?

Suddenly, Severus felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and wanted to leave that street. Something was off. He picked up his bag from where he had dropped it but before he could take another step, he saw the outline of a man in his peripheral vision. This silhouette raised his wand and produced an explosion of silver light tailed with black ribbons of smoke. Severus barely had the time to put up a strong Shield Charm. The curse hit his shield and disappeared with a howl.

Severus’ insides went cold when he realised it had been the Lycacomia Curse. Someone had just tried to transform him into a werewolf. He whipped around, pointing his wand at the figure who had cast the curse. Though this figure was dressed in a black cotton robe much plainer and less decorated than either Travers or Goyle, he looked much more impressive and regal. As he stepped closer, Severus realised it was a man, but unlike any man he had ever seen. There was something...not quite human about him. He had no hair, his skin was deathly pale and his cheekbones stuck out unnaturally, as if he had lost a lot of weight in a very short time. Severus guessed he was very thin under that robe. And yet this man did not move like someone weak or sickly. In fact, he moved much faster than Severus had.

He kept his wand up in a defensive stance, but he did not attack the newcomer; he knew he was out of his league. The pale man looked from Severus to Travers and Goyle and then back to Severus. He waved his hand dismissively at the grown men, who scrambled to leave his line of sight. Soon it was just the pale man and Severus staring at each other.

Severus could feel the presence of other people around them, but he did not dare to break eye contact with the pale man. Something had him rooted to the spot. And as much as he wanted to break away, he knew it was not an option.

So he stood there, trying to look as inoffensive as possible to this powerful wizard while keeping eye contract with his intense red eyes. Suddenly visions began to swim before his eyes. His fight with his father. His mother’s funeral. His last day at Hogwarts. His first day at Hogwarts. Meeting Professor Slughorn for the first time. Playing with Lily. Hiding from his parents.

What’s happening? These were all his memories, things that belonged to him, but somehow he felt deeply violated. I want this to stop. He forced himself to return to the present. He tried to focus, but the memory of his father’s hot cigarette ash against his skin was too painful. He instinctively grabbed the spot on his arm were the scar still was. His sudden movement caused a distraction, and suddenly he was no longer in Spinner’s End but standing on the street with the pale man in front of him.

Severus was panting, still clutching his arm. What the bloody hell was that? It took him a few moments to realise they were surrounded by people, nearly all of them in pitch-black robes.

“Lucius.” The pale man spoke with a raspy voice, almost whispering.

One of the figures in the black robes stepped forward and withdrew his hood, revealing a ponytail of pale blond hair. He bowed to the pale man.

“Yes, my Lord?”

“I believe you’re already acquainted with this young man...” His voice was a purr.

“Uh...” Lucius glanced nervously at Severus, who was suddenly fighting the urge to vomit. Drinking a whole bottle was finally beginning to have an effect.

After a moment’s hesitation, Lucius nodded.

“Yes, my Lord. This is Severus Snape, a fellow Slytherin. He...he just graduated from Hogwarts the day before yesterday,” he added almost apologetically.

“Well, it appears that your friend here unfortunately drank more than he could handle, don’t you think?”

Lucius opened his mouth to respond, but the pale man interrupted him before he began.

“Why don’t you help him?”

Bowing to his lord again, Lucius stepped forward and pointed his wand at Severus’ face.

Ennervate,” he whispered.

Immediately the effects of the drought faded, and Severus felt more clear-headed than he had in the entire day.

As he straightened up, Lucius put his arm around his shoulder and pulled him close. He looked like he was about to tell him something in a conspirational whisper, but the pale man spoke again.

“Severus Snape, do you know who I am?”

Lucius shot a him worried glance, but did not say anything. He let go of Severus and rejoined the ranks behind the pale man.

Feeling much better, but still rather disturbed, Severus decided to look at the man’s simple cotton robes rather than to meet those red eyes again.


He never would have guessed that their first meeting would have been like this. He had been hoping to make a much better impression, to appear mature and competent. He wished he had a Time-Turner.

“You’re Lord Voldemort.” He answered plainly.

How much was his life going to change in 24 hours? First Lily, then his father and now he was meeting the Dark Lord everyone was talking about. Even without the alcohol, he felt his head spin.

Voldemort smiled when he heard his name, though it was far from a kind smile. It reminded Severus of a snake, a very venomous one, just before it struck. Several of the people assembled had quietly gasped at hearing that name and many were murmuring in disapproval.

“It’s been a while since I’ve heard someone has say that name directly.” Voldemort purred.

“Most people call me the Dark Lord.” His tone made it clear that he expected Severus to do the same.

Had he been feeling stronger and less tired, Severus would have questioned why Voldemort had a name no one could call him by. He had already made a bad impression by drunkenly fighting with his colleagues, so adding more nails to his own coffin seemed irrelevant. But the way Lucius kept glancing at him and arching his eyebrows really high told him the situation was still salvageable. Lucius was notorious for abandoning ship before the situation got hopeless.

“Why were you fighting, Severus Snape?” If Voldemort had noticed Severus and Lucius looking at each other, he didn’t seem to care.

Why are you using my full name all the time? It’s weird.

“I...well, because I...” Was drunk and angry and wanted to take it out on someone? What was it about Tarvers and Goyle that bothered him so much?

“Because I cannot suffer fools, sir.”

Voldemort smiled again. There was some genuine amusement behind this smile, even though it was still unpleasant. Severus heard a hiss coming out from the ranks of wizardfolk behind Voldemort and knew Travers at least had heard him. He didn’t care. He could take him on any day.

“You’re a good duelist, are you not?”

“I suppose I am. I can hold my own.”

“Have you ever invented a spell by yourself?” Voldemort’s eyes lit up, as if he were about to eat something sweet. Or rather like a snake about to swallow a rat whole.

“Or a curse perhaps?”

How does he know? “One or two, yes.”

Voldemort stepped closer, looking more snake-like than ever.

“Has Lucius told you about my little group of friends? The Death Eaters?”

Severus nodded, not knowing how much he was supposed to know.

“Do you know what we do?”

Severus bit his tongue, since all the things he was thinking of were either illegal or morally wrong. He shook his head.

“We try to make the world of magic a better place, Severus Snape. For too long has the Ministry allowed weak-blooded Mudbloods to be among us. Magic is no longer in its pure form and every day it gets worse thanks to those who are inferior and yet treated as equal.”

There was a murmur of assent rippling through the Death Eaters.

“We’re going to right this situation. We’re going to make the magical world pure and strong again. And I want you to join us.”

It suddenly struck him that not only was he surrounded by people who were potentially enemies, but no one knew where he was nor whom he was with. Voldemort could easily take offense to something he said and permanently turn him into an ant or kill him and no one would be the wiser. Severus would just be erased off the world, probably without even a tombstone.

He wondered which was more dangerous: accepting this offer or rejecting it.

“Lord...do you have plan for this? How will you prevent Muggles from giving birth to children with magical affinities? Surely...surely you’re not planning on systematically killing them all off?” Severus tried to word his question in a way that did not seem like the was challenging the Dark Wizard’s plans.

“Why not?” A female voice startled him. A beautiful woman with long black hair and heavy-lided eyes had spoken.

“Mudbloods are nothing but vermin! Vermin is eliminated.”

Severus scowled. He could not contain himself.

Do not underestimate them,” he growled.

“They have built a whole civilization without the use of magic and they outnumber us greatly. The fact that the majority of them don’t know about our existence is our only advantage.”

There was a very pregnant pause in which the weight of his words sank in. Severus wondered if he was going to die soon. And then Voldemort laughed. Severus was not the only one who jumped at the sound.

“I like you, Severus Snape.” Voldemort’s predatory smile faded, but it wasn’t completely gone.

‘You see things in a different way, and a fresh perspective is very valuable in battle.”

The smile completely faded and he locked eyes with Severus again.

“Mudbloods are inferior magical beings, if they can be called magical at all.”

The same violating feeling crept up in Severus’ insides again and he knew that Voldemort was trying to do whatever he had done earlier. He had a guess of its purpose by now and forced all thoughts of Lily from his head and focused on how much he hated his father instead. Given what had gone down that afternoon, it was not too hard. Thinking about Tobias made it easy to hate Muggles.

Eventually the Dark Lord seemed to be satisfied and withdrew his gaze.

“Become a Knight of Walpurgis. Join the Death Eaters.” It did not sound like a request at all.

Trying not to look flustered by the invasion to his brain, Severus shook his head lightly.

“I don’t know what use I would be to you, sir. I don’t have a means of supporting myself or even a place to live.”

Voldermort waved his arm dismissively. “You can live with Lucius Malfoy. He has a huge mansion just for himself and his wife.”


“And don’t you worry about money either. I will provide whatever you need while you’re working for me and my cause. Be it robes or food or...potions ingredients.”

Again, Severus felt a shiver at hearing Voldemort know something about himself he had not mentioned.

“You said you hate to suffer fools, didn’t you? Well, with me, foolishness is punished. Those who are the most smart, the most ambitious, they will be the ones with the greatest rewards. I treat my most loyal followers well.” His eyes flashed dangerously, and Snape knew disloyalty was punished severely. And that he was out of time to stall his answer.

“I’ll do it.”

yay (baloon)

Tough love, no love

Eileen woke up to to sounds of her husband moving around and dressing. She hated the way he always got up ridiculously early and that he never did so quietly. It bothered her that the man made no distinction between weekdays and weekends: he always got up at the same time, on the dot.

Annoyed, she pulled the covers over her face and tried to go back sleep. For a moment she considered getting up and making a proper breakfast for once. Did they still have that can of Spam? She could fry some eggs and serve them with spam, maybe some beans on the side too. It was Severus’ favourite.

That child only seemed happy when she was in the kitchen. As if that was her only role or something. I’m definitely not getting up. She frowned as she decided. Besides, I don’t feel well, I think my chest is starting to hurt. It wasn’t until a few years later that Eileen learned that her seemingly random bouts of fatigue and pain were caused by multiple sclerosis.

Just as she was beginning to drift back to sleep, someone else quietly entered the room and gently put a hand on her frayed duvet cover.


She tried to ignore him, trying to recapture that relaxed feeling she was feeling moments earlier. Thinking she hadn’t heard him, Severus pressed his hand down a little harder.

“Mum, I’m hungry.”

She yanked the covers off herself angrily, making him jump back.

“For crying out loud, there’s a can of soup in the pantry! You’re bloody smart enough to fetch it and open it by yourself!”

She glared at him until he scampered out of the room. She sighed and lay down again, but she did not pull the covers over herself again. Her sleep was definitely interrupted now, so she might as well dress and do something today.

She couldn’t decide which annoyed her more, her husband or her son. At least Severus did everything she told him to, even though his constant questions about the magical world were exhausting to say the least. He was such an odd child. He would rather watch her make potions on their Muggle gas stove than go out and play. It was unnerving the way he observed her do magic, almost without blinking.

It was obvious he was dying to do some magic of his own, though it could also be that he was dying to go to Hogwarts and stop living in the same house as Tobias. She wouldn’t blame him. She began coughing and took out a ragged grey handkerchief to cover her mouth. Looking out her bedroom window at the dreary weather outside, she wondered for the hundredth time whether Severus was selected a Slytherin and became a proper wizard, would her parents acknowledge him? A bitter taste rose to her mouth as conflicting feelings plagued her mind once more. The Prince family had disowned her after she married Tobias and her stubborn sense of pride combined with her unhappy marriage made her hate them for pointing out if had been a bad decision.

Of all the things magical she told Severus, she made sure never to mention them. They had abandoned her, so she might as well reciprocate. Still, she wanted Severus to succeed. She wanted him to succeed and show the world she was capable to making something that was not a failure. To show them they had made a mistake.

Eileen was disturbed out her reverie by an odd sound. It sounded like someone was repeatedly hitting something and whimpering. Suddenly wide awake, she ran into the living room to witness a scene she had never seen before. Tobias was sitting on the grey loveseat looking furious, his leather belt on his right hand, their son face down on his lap, crying. As Tobias brought back his belt to spank Severus again, Eileen stepped forward.

“Why are you hitting him?” She demanded. Tobias rarely, if ever, took an interest in his son’s upbringing.

“I do not have to explain myself for making sure the rules I set, are followed in my own house!” His tone made it clear that he was going to hit her next if she questioned his motives.

Eileen hesitated, but after hearing that infernal belt come down one more time, she whipped out her wand from her pocket.

“What did he do?” She insisted, pointing the wand right at his face, knowing there would be retributions for doing this later.

He froze, staring at her wand with a mixture of fear and hatred and then slowly looked up to her face.

“He did something...unnatural.” He spat.


“He used his... powers.” His eyes flickered toward her wand again.

It took a moment for Eileen to understand what her husband was saying. She then grabbed Severus’ arm and roughly pulled him away from his father. She knew that Tobias would have held on to his arm tighter if her wand was not between them.

Severus was still crying, but he just quietly clung to her skirt.

“Now you listen to me,” her voice was dangerously low. Even Tobias knew to listen when she got to that octave.

“When he was born we agreed that I would be the one taking care of all the magical stuff and you would not interfere. That means that if he steps out of line using magic, I’d the the one correcting him. So if he ever does any more magic again, you are going to tell me, and I’ll beat his ass myself if it’s needed. But you’re not going to touch him again, understood? You’re not going to touch my son!”

Tobias did not argue back. He simply glared at her for a long minute, before getting up and leaving the house, slamming the door quite loudly.  Once he was out of the house Severus’ crying became less restrained, though he was beginning to calm down.

“I’m...I’m sorry, Mum. I just, I just wanted to heat up the soup.” He wiped his face with his sleeve. “And...and he would not let me use the stove...and...”

For the first time in a long while, Eileen patted her son’s head comfortingly.