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Professor Caladrius opened his eyes, to find that he was tied to a stake in the centre of a dark, stone-walled room. Stone benches rose in tiers around him, and, for a moment, he was reminded of the Divination classroom, but this room had no windows; Caladrius always began to feel uncomfortable in rooms with no windows. He avoided the Hogwarts dungeons like the plague.  

He’d been woken by the sound of the door opening and, as his vision cleared, he began to make out the figure watching him from the doorway: thin, sallow-skinned and hook-nosed, with greasy black hair and hard black eyes.    

Caladrius stared at him, white-faced. For a few moments, he was incapable of speech. He wasn’t used to seeing deaths this horrible.

He could see the circumstances, and even sense a little of the feelings, of the people whose deaths he was witnessing. Snape died frightened - but it was the same textured fear that he had experienced with Lily - it was real fear, but it was masking some deeper anxiety - a fear of failure, a desperation, even a feeling of deep-seated tenderness. They were both ingeniously pretending at the moment of their deaths. They were both mortally afraid of something other than the terrible figure standing before them.

Still, it was a while before these sensations made themselves clear through the blood and anguish that immediately greeted Caladrius’ eyes.

He had to remind himself that this was the murderer of Professor Dumbledore, and therefore not worthy to be compared with Lily Evans.  

“Severus Snape?” he asked pointlessly.

Snape felt as though he really had died, and he was watching the horrified face of the only witness. He felt as though, if he looked down, he would see a dark, spreading stain of blood on his shirt, or an arrow sticking out of his chest. For a moment, all thoughts of anger, vengeance and ambition disappeared, as he stared into the eyes of the man who was seeing him die. He was frightened of the horror in that face - more frightened than he had ever been of anything.   

But Snape had a clinical attitude toward horror. After all, he had disembowelled horned toads in Potions and had front row seats for the Muggle-baiting at the Hanged Man. He knew what was inside of people, and seeing it on the outside was not such a very big step. Snape tried to imagine his heart, fluttering in his chest, as it really was: sticky, tear-ably soft and fragile. That was all he was, he told himself; a collection of organs and vessels threaded artfully together. But horror was different when it applied to you, when it was your insides spilling out of you; nothing could prepare you for that.  

Snape gritted his teeth and twisted his mouth into a smile. He let hatred fill him up again; hatred knew no fear. He didn’t care how bad his death was, as long as it post-dated James Potter’s.

“That bad, huh?” he asked lightly. “Well, don’t worry; I haven’t come here to ask you about it. There’s only one person’s death you’ll be asked to foretell while you’re here and, if you don’t do it, I’ll be able to foretell yours.”

Caladrius was still white and shaking, but he looked at Snape with an expression of pure venom; hatred was the only thing keeping him on his feet as well. “I’ve seen my death, you idiot,” he replied. “It doesn’t happen here and it doesn’t happen now. And I’ve seen yours. You’ve taken your first step towards it tonight.”

“Every step is a step towards it,” Snape replied coldly. “I’m not afraid of death.”

“How spectacularly stupid of you,” said Caladrius. “Your master is afraid of it; are you saying you’re braver than him?”

Snape sighed. “As interesting as this conversation is, sir,” he laid a sardonic stress on the word, “I have work to do.”

“You’ll die alone,” Caladrius spat, “terrified…”

“Tell me,” Snape said, moving close to the Divination Professor, so that their faces were level. His black eyes were glittering with malice. “Do I die after James Potter?”

Caladrius hesitated, but the answer came before he’d had time to think about it: “Yes.”

“Do I cause his death?” Snape asked.

Caladrius struggled against the motion of his lips, but still the word spilled out: “yes.”

“Does he suffer?” Snape was whispering now, his voice trembling with triumphant happiness.  

Caladrius bit his tongue to keep from speaking, but his lips were forming the answer without the intervention of his brain. Desperately, and almost incoherently, he blurted out the words: “You’re not asking the right questions - ,”

“Excuse me?”

“Yes!” Caladrius roared, unable to stop himself.

Snape smiled broadly. “That’s all I want,” he whispered. “Let my death be as lonely, as frightening, as you’ve described; it doesn’t matter as long as my enemies die - and die horribly - before me.” He moved to the door and then turned back, his expression cruelly casual. “Oh, and by the way, the answer to the question you should have asked: ‘have I given you Veritaserum?’ is ‘yes’.”

Caladrius closed his eyes, as though he were in terrible pain, but Snape only smirked at him. The heady, swooping thrill of having power over someone was making him dizzy. “I’ll be back with your interrogator,” he said, trying to keep his voice steady, and left before Caladrius could speak again.

Alone in the flag-stoned corridor, Severus pressed his forehead to the cool, damp stone and tried to regain control. He felt as though he was possessed; hatred was coursing through his veins, animating his limbs, eating him from the inside out - hatred that was directed at Potter, but somehow it didn’t matter who received the effects of it. He felt like he was torturing Potter by torturing Caladrius. His hatred was so intense, it could feed off anything.

He had achieved what his mother could only dream about, he thought suddenly. He had made his hatred mobile, malleable. It gave him strength and purpose - but he could take it where he liked, use it against whoever he liked. He would always be stuck hating Potter, but he could make the rest of the world suffer for it.

Briefly, he wondered whether he could direct this hatred against Lily. A surge of bitterness hit him as he thought about her; it almost made him throw up. His stomach burned at the memory of that arrogant creep draped and drooling all over her, and Lily tolerating it, Lily liking it.   

Snape shook his head quickly: don’t think about it, he told himself; that way madness lies.

He took a deep breath and set off up the corridor towards the library, where the Dark Lord waited.

Voldemort was standing at the back of the room, trailing his long, white fingers over the spines of the books in front of him. Severus was reminded of Lily’s tenderness for her favourite books - and the comparison was both painful and bizarre. He stood in the doorway, trying to master himself, trying to wade into his Occlumency state. Voldemort was a skilled Legilimens. Any thoughts of Lily would be immediately obvious to him - as harsh and discordant as a snapping twig in a silent forest.

Malfoy was standing to one side, wearing a white mask that did nothing to disguise his distinctive, ice-blonde hair. Snape wondered why he bothered. Regulus was kneeling in front of Voldemort, looking at him with a drooling, manic enthusiasm that was very reminiscent of Bella.

Voldemort turned, and Severus was confronted with a nightmare-vision. A chalk-white face, flattened and long, with serpentine eyes and slit-like nostrils.

“Well, Severus?” the face asked, in a high-pitched hiss that made Snape think of finger-nails on blackboards.

Snape tried to speak, and couldn’t. The monstrous figure in front of him was radiating an air of authority that was almost palpable. He had never been so sure that this was a person to be afraid of.

Lucius came to his rescue. “We have given the prisoner Veritaserum, my lord. He will be unable to conceal the content of his visions from you.”

“Who brewed the Veritaserum?”

Again, the creature’s red eyes were directed at Severus, and again, he was unable to speak. He could feel the man riffling through his mind as though it were a very boring book, in which he was trying to find an interesting part.

“Severus, my lord,” said Lucius. “He is extremely skilled at brewing potions.”

“Is this true, boy?” came the soft, amused hiss.

Severus screwed up every fibre of his being against the mental intrusion that Voldemort was performing. He looked the creature in its narrow, blood-red eyes, and nodded.   

“And what do you want in return for this highly useful gift?” Voldemort asked lazily.  

“Nothing, my lord,” Lucius answered quickly.

“All we ask is the honour of serving you,” Regulus added enthusiastically.

There was a pause. “I believe Severus here has a price in mind,” Voldemort said lightly.

Snape, ignoring the way that Lucius was shaking his head rapidly, said: “I need you to get rid of someone for me.” His voice was remarkably steady considering the  fear that was making his knees quake.

“And what, precisely, do you mean by ‘getting rid’ of this person?” Voldemort asked, his voice as soft as that harsh, high-pitched hissing could possibly be. Snape got the impression that he was pleased with his audacity.

“I don’t care,” Severus answered. “I don’t care whether you kill him or imprison him or send him to Siberia. I just want him gone.”

Another silence. Lucius and Regulus backed away from Snape slightly, as though to clear the way for Voldemort to curse him. And, for a moment, the Dark Lord seemed tempted. He toyed with his wand, staring at the fierce, unhappy teenager in front of him with vague amusement.  

“It is a brave request,” he said eventually. “And I shall consider it. Who is it that you wish me to dispose of?”

“Someone who would have been a danger to you anyway,” Severus said.

He knew at once that he’d said the wrong thing. The Dark Lord drew a harsh, ragged breath, and spat: “A danger to me? Who can you possibly imagine would be a danger to the Dark Lord, Severus Snape?”

“I mean an enemy to you - ,” Snape corrected himself swiftly. His composure was slipping. “An insignificant enemy, of course, my lord, but an enemy - an important wizard in the magical community - ,”

“Who?” Voldemort asked coldly.

“James Potter,” said Snape, and his hatred gave him the courage he needed to look Voldemort in the eyes again.

“The Gryffindor treasure-seeker’s son?” Voldemort asked, with interest.

“Yes, my lord.”

“Why do you want him out of the way?”

Severus had been preparing for this question. He couldn’t lie to Voldemort, because of the charm placed on trainee Death Eaters, but he didn‘t need to. He could lie with the truth, that was the wonderful part.  

“I hate him,” he said simply.

Voldemort stared at him. He seemed to have finally found an interesting part in the mind he’d been flicking through. Severus didn’t avoid his gaze - he just relaxed himself into his Occlumency State. That was the key, he realized. Don’t strain, don’t struggle, just fall back into indifference. He was not trying to shut the Dark Lord out, so much as show him the irrelevant parts of his mind, as though that was all there was.

Eventually, and to Snape’s endless horror, the Dark Lord laughed. It was a chilling, screeching sound, and he never forgot it. Regulus sycophantically joined in.

But when the laugh died down, the Dark Lord was smiling at him. “Such single-minded hatred is very admirable, boy,” he murmured. “But never let it interfere with your loyalty to me.”

“Never, my lord,” Snape blurted out, almost crying with relief.

“I will dispose of the treasure-seeker’s son,” Voldemort purred. “But I shall require something more substantial from you.”

"Anything, my lord," Snape murmured, and was surprised to find that he meant it. Sunk deep in his Occlumency state, everything was suddenly wonderfully simple. He would do anything to be rid of James Potter, and that was all there was to it. He couldn’t imagine anything that would be as horrible as Potter's slimy hands on Lily.     
A belated continuation to Furious Calm. A very painful chapter to write, but Lily's wholesome influence is not gone from the series yet. Things don't end this way!
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28dragons Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013
Snape is getting so evil now, it's breathtaking to read ;-;
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner May 10, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Oh my gosh, I canít believe Severusí nerve! (I can, actually, it seems quite in-character, but just so daring Iím amazed.) This chapter was so exciting. Iím more hooked now than I ever, and thatís saying something.
ls269 Featured By Owner May 11, 2010
:w00t: Yay! I'm so glad you're enjoying these chapters. I loved writing Sev's dark, daring side! :)
MalfoyFanatic Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
OMG, snape's cruel! Quelle surprise.. And are you really going to change Lily's death?
Had been to England, so I missed a lot of stuff here. I'm going to read it now. :D
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2008
I hope you liked England :) I have a soft spot for it, obviously! Yes, Snape is really cruel in this chapter - it was hard to write, because he's my favourite character, and I don't want anything bad to happen to him, even though I know it obviously will! I might change Lily's death, but I don't want to give anything away ;) Thanks so much for reading! :hug:
MalfoyFanatic Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
It was a pleasure! I'm a canon fan, but if it would advance the story (and I'm sure any of your ideas would, which makes me a bit jealous^^), I would really like to read it.
And yes, I loved England. I was a little bit sad, that there wasn't so much rain, but it was still great! :heart:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2008
Thank you! :hug: I still haven't decided whether I'm canon or not. I am kind of leaving it a bit late, aren't I? ;) But something is definitely going to happen with Lily's death...
MalfoyFanatic Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
And I'm really looking forward for it! :D
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad that things don't end this way. It is so painful for me to read things about Snape in his death eater days. He went down such a dark, dark, path.
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2008
I know, it was painful for me too! My way out is that, if Caladrius succeds in changing things for Lily, then Snape's death will change also!
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
;-) sounds good to me!!!!
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