Today, Snape was going to get a nice, thorough bath. Normally, the thought of someone seeing him nude (regardless of his current canine form) made his lip curl at the idea of them seeing his thin body, protruding ribs and jutting hipbones that carved a sharp v that led to his pelvis, the sinewy muscles of his legs and dark hair packed thick and tight of his arms and thighs and belly; surely, he was completely and utterly unattractive, far too pale, too hairy, too thin, too mean and greasy-haired, but today he found he didn't have the energy to even remotely be mortified about Hermione fucking Granger bathing him.
"Okay, let's see how your back is," she cooed, carefully maneuvering her scissors between the bandages and his fur, snipping them away. She looked happier than he'd ever seen her, especially during the last few years at Hogwarts. While she ran around trying to save the world with Harry and trying to show her feelings to the idiot Weasley (whose emotional range rivaled a teaspoon), he'd never really seen her happy.
First year was full of anxiety as she tried to prove herself as worthy of being there as the Purebloods; second year was full of panic and fear as the Basilisk attacked students; third was a race to keep Harry from killing Black (although he should've been looking elsewhere, perhaps towards the goddamn rat?); fourth year was full of lies of love triangles and excitement as the Triwizard Tournament took place and Voldemort returned; fifth year was full of secrets as the kids learned of the Order of the Phoenix; sixth year the Death Eaters took over the school as Voldemort's hold tightened and the trio left; and then, what would have been their seventh year, bloodbaths and death and the smell of electric magic burning the air, Hermione scarred for the rest of her life, people hurt horribly, and him, nearly dying, Hermione leaning over him as he cried and handed Harry Potter the vial, filled with memories of Lily and horror and his Mark.
I don't want to, Snape thought sulkily, watching her. Her cheeks were pink and she was biting her lip, eyebrows knitted above soft brown eyes, curls escaping her thick sweatband.
"And in we go," she told him as she scooped him up against her chest and carried him into the bathtub that was too high for him to jump into. Embarrassment flooded him as he was dropped in slowly; water sloshed around his knees, clinging to his fur.
The heat felt wonderful on his aching bones so he sank down until his belly was flush against the bottom of the tub, head just above water level. The heat was surrounding him, washing away the dirt that had accumulated over the weeks of being stuck in her apartment and not bathing prior.
In such a lull, he didn't notice Hermione leaning over him, dressed in a sports bra and sweats, holding a bottle of dog shampoo. It was warm, having been rubbed into her hands, and burned at the tender skin but he bit his lip the best he could and let her scrub away the sweat and dirt, thick, brown foam dripping from his fur.
"There," she whispered, her face too close to his. For a short minute, he thought she'd kiss him but she was only turning on the shower-head to a soft mist, letting it soak him and wash away the foam.
He closed his eyes and let memories wash over him.
He hated it when his father smoked, the thick fog burning his sensitive lungs and sending him into attacks of horrible wheezing, tears prickling his eyes as he struggled to breathe. His mother would cry; his father would scream at her to shut up and then he'd light another one. The floor would be littered with beer bottles, vodka, tequila, liquor; anything his father could get his hands on.
Being only a blue collar worker didn't exactly pay for his addictions of booze and smokes. He never saw his father angry, sure, irritated or peeved but never, ever angry. As he got older, things got worse. His father started drinking even more, smoking more, his teeth stained coffee-filter brown and his eyes bloodshot and ringed with bags from sleepless nights staring at the television that played only one channel all night.
His mother was wasting away, her face growing more and more hollow every time he saw her, the bags under her eyes getting darker, her once pretty raven hair growing thinner and thinner, the bruised holes that served as her eye sockets reminding Snape of a skeleton, only this one sang to him softly when his father passed out and gave him chunks of bread to eat; she'd comb his hair with her pretty, bone comb from somewhere called Hogsmeade and sing a pretty song about magic from her world.
One night, when he was thirteen, he was making his way to his room from school when he tripped and broke several bottles lying on the floor, the shards of glass cutting through his jeans and piercing the pale, milky skin underneath. His hands throbbed and he started to hyperventilate when he saw the blood on his palms, thick and hot and relentlessly pooling. The blue denim turned black with blood, the pain blurred out by the screaming upstairs; his father was bellowing and his mother was crying, broken sobs that made his chest tighten and stomach drop down to his toes.
Ignoring the pain in his hands, he picked the pieces from his legs and palms and headed down the main hallway. Their bedroom door was wide open, a broken vase lying on its side, a thin, tapered brown wand lying broken on the floor. He scooted closer. Every nerve ending was on fire and burning with cold ice as his father loomed over his mother, her face bloody and her nose gushing down her lips, her eye swollen. Her skin was grey and her unswollen eye was bloodshot from burst blood vessels.
Bruises littered her thin, skeletal arms. She was crying, hysterically, her voice hoarse and raspy and Snape saw the bruises on her throat from his father's hand. The boy didn't realize he was crying until his father turned to the door; saw him and those familiar raven eyes narrowed, jaw tight.
Then, very slowly and deliberately, dropped his mother onto the bed, walked to the door and quietly said, "Go to your room, Severus." He hated the way Tobias said his name. He opened his mouth to object and saw his mother shake her head, mouthing, please. Icy tendrils crawling up his spine, he turned away--he was a bloody fucking coward-- and took a few steps.
Their bedroom door clicked shut as he scooped up her broken wand and shut himself inside his tiny, crowded room and listened to her screaming and crying and the thumping of the bed, the headboard hitting the wall, the bed squeaking.
He fell asleep with her wand under his pillow that night as the fighting and screaming and crying raged on like a war.
Snape blinked and turned to Hermione, who was fast asleep, a book lying on her face. He looked around, scanning for danger before pressing himself into her side and laying his head down.
The war of his parents' marriage raged on for a millennium in his brain.