Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairings: James Potter/Septima Snape, Charlus Potter/Dorea Black Potter, and mentions of Tobias Snape/Eileen Prince Snape
Warnings: alternate universe; female!Severus Snape (Septima); het; soulmates; soulmate identifying mark; mentions of child abuse and domestic abuse; mentions of alcohol abuse and alcoholism; possible bashing of Lily Evans; child abandonment; pure-blood culture; pure-blood society; pure-blood traditions; and out of characterness (Severus Snape compared to Septima Snape)
Prompt: (AU) Soulmates – First words are tattooed on skin.
Summary: The Words on her arm promised a loving future. Those words got Septima Snape through her childhood, and led her to James Potter. James/Septima.
Waiting For You
Septima Snape was a lonely child. She grew up in Spinner's End, a poor suburb of Cokeworth. At home, Septima was often ignored by her parents. Her mother had nothing but hateful glances and mean words while her father would hit her when he was drunk. When Tobias was sober, which wasn't often, he would pay attention to his daughter before Eileen tried to vie for his attention.
Tobias and Eileen had a horrible marriage. Eileen didn't inform Tobias she was a witch until after they were married, which Tobias resented her for. On some level, Eileen didn't trust Tobias, and her lies were proof of that. Those were keys reason why Tobias drunk. He couldn't get through the day without out alcohol.
The only worthwhile thing from their relationship was Septima. Tobias adored his daughter, but he hated the fact that she took after her mother. Eileen despised her daughter because Tobias paid more attention to her.
The Snape family lived in poverty. Tobias spent most of his money on alcohol, and he tried to save some money for Septima, but the money usually ended up being spent on groceries or more alcohol.
When she was younger Septima tried to make friends at school, but no one wanted to be friends with the dirty girl. Septima's dark hair was usually greasy and oily looking, and she wore hand-me-downs from her parents and clothing from the second hand store.
At school, Septima longed to have friends. She wanted connect with someone else. If she could have any friend in the world, Septima wanted to befriend Lily Evans. Evans was popular, pretty, and nice. Everyone wanted to be friends with Evans – but Evans wasn't friends with everyone.
The few times Septima tried to befriend Evans, it hadn't worked out. Septima finished a few class assignments for Evans, like sewing and embroidering. Evans took the completed assignments with a smile. Later Evans would giggle with her friends about Septima.
Septima changed her mind about befriending Evans when she stole Septima's embroidery project. Evans hadn't bothered to do her own, and she hadn't asked someone else to do her. For some reason, Evans hated sewing, embroidering, cooking, and the other domestic skills. With the stole embroidery, Evans had the best project in the class and the teacher wasn't willing to believe that prefect Lily Evans would steal a project from another.
The words on her arm reminded Septima that she had hope for a nice future. Everyone was born with a soulmark – the words their soulmate would first say to them. Whenever she was down or her life was hopeless, Septima would turn her attention to her Words.
Wait don't get up, you might be injured. Just wait and let my mum check you, please.
When Septima turned eleven, she awoke to her Hogwarts letter and rather disappointing day. No one wished her a happy birthday, and there wasn't any money for presents. The disappointment increased when Septima realized she would have to use her mother's old supplies because there wasn't money to buy new ones and her mother refused the scholarship money.
Tobias managed to save enough money so Septima could purchase her own wand.
On a sunny day in July, Septima was wondered Diagon Alley. Tobias dropped her off that morning, and he would be back to pick her up sometime that evening. With a little money, Septima wondered off towards The Leaky Caldron where she waited to follow others into the alley.
Septima had been to Diagon Alley a few times with Eileen, but those were short and quick visits. This was her first time to really explore the alley. As she walked around the alley, Septima stopped to look in windows and gaze around.
When she was done looking around, Septima headed to Gringotts. She needed to exchange her Muggle money into Galleons, Sickles and Knuts. With a sigh, Septima got into a line behind several other people. Thirty minutes later, Septima was leaving the bank with a small sack full of Galleons, Sickles and Knuts. As she was walking down the steps, someone bumped into Septima, which sent her tumbling down. She ended falling head first onto the ground.
With hands clutching her head, Septima tried to blink back the tears. Her head hurt, and she was laying in front of the stairs. Behind her, she could hear people laughing. As she tried to force herself up, someone placed a hand on her back.
"Wait, don't get up," a boy said, "you might be injured. Just wait and let my mum check you over, please."
Septima felt the air escape her lungs as she tried to form a reply, but she couldn't find the words.
"Careful there, dearie," a woman said, she knelt down next to Septima. She ran her fingertips over Septima heads as she muttered something to herself. "According to my scan, you have a concussion."
"What's that?" Septima asked.
"It's a brain injure," the woman replied. "Yours was caused by your fall."
Septima said nothing. It just felt like she had a really bad headache.
"Do you know where you are?" the woman asked.
"In front of Gringotts," Spetima replied.
"What's the date?"
"The tenth of July."
"Good, good," the woman said. "What's your name, dearie?"
"This is excellent, Septima," the woman said. "Now, I'm going to help you move into the sitting position. If you feel dizzy or nauseated, let me know."
With help from the woman, Septima slowly pushed herself up. As she tried to shifted onto her butt, a wave of dizziness overtook her. She closed her eyes, wanting the world stop spinning.
"It's okay, dearie," the woman said, rubbing Septima's back. "Just take your time. You're doing well."
When everything stopped spinning, Septima slowly stood up with help from the kind woman. Once she was standing, Septima took the opportunity to stare at the woman. She was tall with tan skin, dark hair, blue eyes, and a kind smile.
"Come on," the woman said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as she glided her towards a small teashop. "My son and husband are waiting for us."
"Wait," Septima said as she froze. Frantically looked around, trying to find the boy. Tears entered her eyes as she started to feel nauseated.
"What's wrong, dearie?" the woman asked, staring at her with large blue eyes.
"I can't find him," Septima said, tears streaming down her face.
"Who?" the woman asked with a frown.
"My soulmate," cried Septima. She yanked up the sleeve on her left arm to show the woman her Words. "He was right that, and now he's gone!"
As she started to sob, the woman pulled her close as a knowing look settled in her blue eyes.
"It's okay, dearie," the woman said, rubbing the girl's back. "You can always have the Anima test done."
Eventually, Septima stopped crying. She allowed the woman, a complete stranger, to lead her to the teashop where they were met by her husband – a tall man with dark hair and glasses. The man led them a table where a boy was seated. The boy was nearly the spinning image of his father – he appeared to be tall for an eleven year old with dark hair and glasses.
The woman had Septima sit down next to her son before she took a seat on the other side of the girl. In the middle of the table was a teapot, four cups, sugar, cream, and lemon.
"I'm Dorea," the woman said. "This is my husband, Charlus, and our son James."
Septima offered a small smile to Charlus and James. "I'm Septima," she said. "Pleased to meet you."
James' hazel eyes widened while Charlus turned to look at his wife with a raised eyebrow. Dorea smiled and nodded.
"Septima," James said with a smile. He was tugging on his right sleeve. When he had the girl's attention, he pulled his sleeve up to reveal his Words.
With wide eyes, Septima read James' Words a few times. "Were you telling me not to get up?"
James nodded, his eyes brighting. "Can I?" he asked, motioning to Septima's arms.
Reaching out, Septima pulled the sleeve up on her left arm.
The four enjoyed a pot of tea as they conversed. Septima was quiet and she was careful about what she shared with the Potters. Both Dorea and Charlus knew she was withholding information about herself, but they didn't push the girl.
"Where are your parents, dearie?" Dorea asked as they were finishing their tea.
Septima frowned. "At work," she replied.
Dorea and Charlus shared a frown. Septima was too young to be wondering around Diagon Alley on her own.
"What time do you have to leave?" James asked.
"I don't know," answered Septima with a shrug. "My father said he would be back to pick me up later."
James smiled while his parents shared another look.
"Where do you want to go first?" Charlus asked, changing the subject.
"Robes," Dorea answered before her son opened his mouth.
James pouted while Septima looked down at her hands.
Together, the group of four, left the teashop and they headed back into the alley, headed for Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. Inside the robe store, James and Septima were quickly taken to be fitted.
As she was being fitted, Septima was a little nervous because she didn't know how she was going to pay for this. There was no way she would have enough for money for both robes and a wand. Before she knew it, the robes were completed and Septima was walking back towards the Potters.
"–delivered to the Manor," Dorea said as she handed over a stack of Galleons.
"Of course, Lady Potter," the woman behind the counter said. "Will there be anything else, today?"
"No," Dorea replied as she turned away from the counter. She offered Septima a smile when she spotted the girl.
"How much?" Septima asked, nervously as she jiggled her bag of coins.
"Don't worry about it, dearie," Dorea answered with a smile. "It's all covered."
Septima nodded, turning away. Taking charity from others always left a sour taste in her mouth.
Dorea sighed, watching the girl's reaction. It would take awhile to break through to that girl's walls. Knowing her son, James would do it. His stubbornness came from his father – and the Potter family. Charlus pushed aside all house rivalries in his attempts to woo her.
From Madam Malkin's, Dorea and Charlus led James and Septima around the alley to collect their school supplies. At each shop, the Potters paid the bill. While Septima was happy to have brand new things for Hogwarts, she was uncomfortable with the Potters paying for everything.
When they reached Ollivander's, Septima watched as James tried out various wands. In the end, he had an eleven wand made of mahogany with a dragon heartstring core. When it was Septima's turn, she tried several wands – more than James tried – until she found the right wand.
"Eleven inches, alder, and unicorn hair," Ollivander said. "Excellent for non-verbal spells and healing."
Septima acted quickly to pay for her wand before the Potters could collect the bill. Dorea smiled at the girl's eagerness.
When they were done at Ollivander's, Charlus led the group to Flourish and Blott. James sighed as he entered the bookstore. He wasn't much of a book learner. He preferred to listen to others and learn by doing things because reading books was boring.
Septima eagerly started exploring the bookstore. She wanted information on non-verbal spells and healing – since it was suited for her wand. Every so often, Septima would stop and pick up a book, read a little before putting it back.
James followed behind, collecting several of the books Septima showed an interested in. Purchasing the books would be easy, but he didn't know how to give them to Septima. He noticed she didn't like it when his parents bought things for her, though she didn't complain. Instead she thanked them.
Hopefully his father or his mother would have an idea for him.
While James and Septima were wondering around, Charlus and Dorea collected the textbooks for the pair.
"We should give these to Septima on the first," Dorea told her husband as she picked up The Standard Book of Spells, Volume One.
Charlus glanced at her, silently asking for an explanation.
"You've noticed her frowns," Dorea stated. "She doesn't seem use to people buying her things. I want to hold off giving these to her until the first."
"We need to convince her that she's a member of the family," Dorea said. "Even if she and James aren't romantically linked, Septima is a Member of our House."
Once they were done at the bookstore, Dorea and Charlus led the children to a high class restaurant.
Dorea and Charlus waited with Septima late into the evening. They weren't willing to let her wait by herself for her father to pick her up. As midnight approached, Dorea decided it was time to return to Potter Manor. Both James and Septima appeared to asleep on their feet.
The next morning, Dorea and Septima floo'd to The Leaky Caldron. From there, Dorea took Septima into London where they caught a cab. Septima shared her address, and the cab drive took off, headed towards Cokeworth.
The drive took two hours. Dorea passed the time by getting to know Septima, though the girl was a little guarded.
When they arrived to the Snape residence, Dorea frowned at house. It was old, rundown, and abandoned looking. If she didn't know any better, Dorea would assume no lived there. As Dorea paid the driver, Septima walked up to the porch and she knocked on the door.
A moment later, Dorea joined Septima on the porch after paying the driver. The pair waited for a few minutes. Septima frowned while Dorea looked around. The property looked abandoned. There wasn't a car in the driveway and there wasn't anything on the porch.
Dorea pulled out her wand. Casting a non-verbal Alohomora, the door unlocked and Dorea pushed it open. She entered the house with Septima half a step behind her. There was hardly anything in the living room, only a worn-out armchair and broken television stand.
Septima frowned as she looked around the living room. Almost everything was gone. She ran from the living room into the kitchen and the dining room before dashing upstairs. Every room in the house was a repeat of the living room – almost everything was gone from each room. After Septima left the living room, Dorea followed behind the girl.
An hour later, Dorea was shrinking and packing the few belongings Septima wanted to keep. After searching the house, Septima sat down on her bed. She pulled her knees up to her chest and she wrapped her arms around her legs. Resting her chin on her knees, she stared at the wall, lost in thought.
Dorea frowned before she joined Septima on the bed. It looked like Septima would become a Member of House Potter sooner than expected. The pair sat on the bed for awhile, in silence. Dorea composed a list of things she and her husband needed to do – file the paperwork with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement for custody of Septima Eileen Snape; file paperwork with Gringotts to declared Septima Eileen Snape a Member of House Potter, in addition to set up a trust vault for her; and they would need to prepare a room for Septima at Potter Manor.
"How could they leave me?" Septima whispered as tears began to form in her eyes.
Not knowing what to say, Dorea frowned and she started rubbing the girl's back. Under her touch, Septima began to cry.
Septima cried for a little before wiped her tears and she turned to look at Dorea. Her eyes were narrowed. "What's gonna happen to me, now?" she asked, her voice small.
"You're coming home with me," Dorea answered, "and we're never going to leave you."
Septima nodded, her eyes hardening, as she stood up from the bed. She started gathering a few things.
After gathering the items Septima wanted to keep, Dorea side-long apparated Septima back to Potter Manor. She sent Septima off to get something to eat before summoning a few house-elves to prepare a room for the girl. Since Septima could be staying with them for the foreseeable future, she needed a real room, not the guest room she used the night before.
When Dorea entered the informal dining room, she found Septima nibbling on a plate of fruit with Charlus hiding behind The Daily Prophet. The couple shared a look that promised an explanation later – when Septima wasn't around.
Septima enjoyed the time she spent with the Potters. After Dorea promised they wouldn't let her go, she forced herself to embrace her new family. This was the family she dreamed about when she read her Words.
The Potters quickly and easily acquired custody of Septima. Her maternal relatives, the Princes, had no interest in the half-blood girl with muggle blood. The Princes went as far as to disinherit Septima from their family line, making it impossible for them to ever claim Septima as a Member of their House.
James and Septima spent the remaining summer months preparing for Hogwarts. Septima read her textbooks backwards and forwards while James leafed through a book. After Septima read each book, he begged his soulmate to tell him about what she read. Septima caved after James explained that he had difficulty learning from books.
As Septima read and took notes, James eagerly listened to what she said and he forced himself to read her notes – at least the notes were simpler to understand than the textbooks. When Septima finished with their textbooks, James showed her the library.
When the pair wasn't getting ready for school, they could be found outside. James was teaching Septima how to fly, which she was slowly getting better. Septima had never flown before and she was nervous about balancing on a broom several feet above the ground.
Eventually the first of September arrived. James and Septima were excited – so much so that they could hardly sleep the night before. On the morning of the first, Septima checked over everything in her trunk before she headed down to the informal dining room for breakfast.
When she arrived, she found both Charlus and Dorea were seated in their usual places – Charlus at the head of the table and Dorea on his right. Septima took her usual seat next to Dorea. Charlus was reading The Daily Prophet while he ate his food and Dorea was reading a read as she sipped her earl grey tea.
As soon as Septima was seated, Nelly appeared with a plate of food. The house-elf placed the food down in front of Septima before dismissing herself. Eagerly, Septima started eating her omelet. A little later, James joined his parents and Septima at the table, taking the next on his father's left.
At nine o'clock, James and Septima brought their trunks downstairs where they met Charlus and Dorea at the entryway. Charlus side-long apparated with James while Dorea took Septima directly to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, bypassing the muggles.
"Behave you two," Charlus said with a knowing smirk. He knew James would be in trouble within the first week, probably for pranking someone else or ignoring the assigned reading, while Septima would try to stop him, leave him to his own devices, or join in. It was hard to tell with his son's soulmate.
"Of course, dad," James promised.
James exchanged farewells with his parents while Septima there unsure of what to do.
"Septima, dearie," Dorea said, lifting her arms.
Happily, Septima gave the woman a hug.
"I'll miss you, dearie," Dorea whispered. "Be sure to write – and make James write me, too."
Septima pulled back. She nodded with a smile. "I will, mum," she said before dashing off with James to find a compartment, leaving behind a stunned Dorea Potter.
Next to his wife, Charlus was smirking. It took a lot to stun his wife into speechlessness. "That girl's definitely a Potter," he declared.
At her husband's comment, Dorea managed to pulled herself out of her daze. "That she is," she agreed, "that she is."
James and Septima settled into a compartment in the middle of the train. Working together, they managed to load the two trunks in the overhead storage before settling down across from one another on the benches.
Once she was seated, Septima reached into her bag and she pulled out her Potions textbook. She knew from her mother's stories that Professor Slughorn was a strict and fair professor. He collected promising students to join his exclusive Slug Club.
As she read the textbook over, Septima started marking notes in the margin of her book. Eileen was skilled in potions, and she taught her daughter several tricks over the years. With that knowledge, Septima marked her textbook accordingly. Knowing James, they would end up sharing or switching books.
"What house do you think we'll be in?" James asked, sounding nervous.
Septima glanced up from her book. When she saw James' expression, she put her textbook down. "You'll be a Gryffindor," she declared. "After all, Potters have been Gryffindors for centuries."
James shrugged. "Maybe," he admitted. "What about you?"
She frowned. A few months ago, Septima was determined to be Slytherin, like Eileen. But, now, she wasn't so sure. "Maybe Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw," she said. Septima knew she was loyal and she was hardworking, which fit Hufflepuff, and she was smart, which fit Ravenclaw.
"You could be a Gryffindor," James suggested, a hopeful look on his face.
Her eyes widened when Septima kept onto James' unasked questions. "No matter what," she said, "we'll still be friends."
Nodding, James didn't look so convinced.
Leaning over, Septima placed her hand on his Words. "You won't get rid of me that easy," she promised.
James stared at her with something in his hazel eyes. He leaned forward, pressing his lips to Septima's.
Momentarily frozen in shock, Septima returned the kiss.
"I love you, Sept," James whispered as he pulled back.
Septima's heart stopped at his words. A blush covered her cheeks as her heartbeat increased. "I-I-I'm not going anywhere," she declared, unable to say 'I love you' and be sure she meant it. Only her father had ever said he loved her.
James nodded, accepting her answer. He knew from his father that Potters fell in love, once, and it was hard and fast. Potters were famous for marrying their soulmates. While he was hurt Septima didn't return his declaration, he was confident she would in time.
Acting on instinct, Septima threw herself onto James' side of the compartment. She rest her head on her shoulder as she curled into his side. James leaned his head against hers.
This was written in response to the following: (1) Soulmate!AU Category Challenge and (2) Ultimate Writer Challenge from Harry Potter Fanfiction Challenges Forum.
(1) Soulmate!AU Category – Prompt: The first words your soulmate says to you are on your skin as a tattoo.
(2) Ultimate Writer Challenge – Assignment: Write three AU stories of your choice.
This fanfiction story is a part of Calligraphy of the Soul Collection, which is a collection of unrelated oneshots and multi-chaptered fanfiction stories based around the common theme of soulmates and written words being the form of identification.
Calligraphy of the Soul Collection
One: Nevermore (James/Lily/Sirius, and Narcissa/Marlene)
Two: Waiting for You (James/Septima)