Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
“He’s coming,” Severus said, closing the door to the muggle-baiting room, in which Caladrius was still tied to a stake on the central platform, drooping forlornly, like a thirsty plant. He didn’t look up as Severus entered the room, but there was a low growl from his general direction:

“I’ll bite my tongue out before I tell him anything,” he said.    

Snape shrugged. “That’s up to you, isn’t it?”

“You know, the day your enemy dies is going to be the worst day of your life,” Caladrius spat.

“I’ll live,” Severus replied, smiling unpleasantly, “which is kind of the point, isn’t it?”  

He chose a seat in the tiers of stone benches that surrounded the central platform, and put his feet up on the bench in front. He was still shaking from his encounter with Voldemort – his knees were weak, and there was a throbbing ache in his temple from the Dark Lord’s attempts to read his thoughts – but he wouldn’t show it in front of Caladrius. Potter was going to die, that was the important thing. It didn’t matter what Voldemort demanded from him in return. He couldn’t live in the same world as James Potter anymore.    

The Barman of the Hanged Man entered the room, carrying another shaking tray, on which was arrayed a glass of water and a dripping, under-cooked chunk of meat. Severus looked at him with distracted amusement.

“I don’t think we need to feed him just yet,” he said.

The Barman shook his head and motioned towards the door at the back of the room, which led to the cells where the muggles were kept. The Hanged Man was a labyrinth of secret rooms, passages, dungeons and galleries, which had been enlarged or added to throughout the place’s shady history. When the muggle-baiting theatre was built, (centuries ago, according to Lucius) the cells had been added, to keep the muggles ‘safe’ while they waited to fight.

Rosier was particularly fastidious in the care of his favourite weapon, the muggle called Bruiser. He had insisted that Bruiser was fed meat instead of bread, and given plenty of room to exercise. Since Bruiser spent every minute he wasn’t fighting blinking with bewilderment, Severus didn’t really understand this anxiety. Bruiser’s mind had been so damaged by the memory charms that Rosier used to subdue him that he didn’t even remember who he was anymore.  

But Severus didn’t want to make an enemy of Evan Rosier – he was creepy.     

“OK,” he said, shrugging, “go in, but make sure you’re out of the way before the Dark Lord gets here.”

When the Barman walked past Caladrius, the balding Divination teacher let out a cry and tried to wrestle free from his ropes, squirming and muttering incoherent words. Snape heard his own name amongst them.  

Caladrius must have been having a vision about the barman’s death. But why would he say Severus’ name? Snape glanced at the door, and then approached Caladrius, his black eyes shining with curiosity. He had never been allowed to practise mind magic at school, because Dumbledore despised it: he thought of it as psychic burglary. He had once expelled a student for practising Legilimency on a House Elf.

But here was somebody who couldn’t fight back, somebody who was completely at his mercy. It was an intoxicating feeling.

And there were no teachers to hold him back, no Lily to look disapproving or disappointed.

She was miles away, worlds away, and, for the first time in his life, he was glad of it.  

Severus aproached Caladrius, who was muttering and sweating, trying to twist free of his bindings. He didn’t even seem to notice that Snape was there, except that he had said his name, and Snape wanted to know why.

He raised his wand and hissed: “Legilimens!”   

Severus’ mind was suddenly thronged with images, vivid little details that seared themselves across the inside of his eye-lids.   

A spider crawling over a mirror, a chipped basin, graying-white – the water that poured from the taps was flecked with rust – the sound of a storm outside, rattling the windows.

Severus saw his own face reflected in the mirror – a little more lined perhaps – there were deep-ploughed furrows in his brow, but he couldn’t have been more than a few years older. He was thinner, though: the bones of his ribcage were showing through his skin.

There was a rustling, as of tinder-dry pages, and then Severus suddenly found new thoughts and memories and feelings pressing in on him – things that were at once familiar and chillingly remote.  

And then he lost himself in the vision completely. He no longer knew that he was really inside the muggle-baiting theatre at the Hanged Man, prying into Caladrius' visions. He only knew that he was staring at his reflection over the chipped grey basin, and that he was angry.  

He splashed water over his unshaven face, and watched the spider crawling over his reflection. It had a slow, sticky motion, as though the air was resisting the creature as it dragged its lumbering body forwards. He was silent for a moment, trying to think what this reminded him of.

And then he had it. The spider on Lily’s ledger had moved just the same way. With a rush of bitterness that made him so dizzy he had to lean over the sink, he remembered his feelings – his pathetically optimistic feelings – as she’d shut her eyes for him. Another rush of the nauseous, pounding hatred shuddered through him as he remembered Bella’s harsh laughter and the ringing sound of the cauldron hitting Lily’s head.

Gripping the edge of the sink, he battled with the rising hatred. Don’t think about it, he told himself. Soon they’ll all be sorry for what they did to you. Until then, keep your head down and your mind blank. Be patient. Don’t betray your feelings. They betrayed you, but that doesn’t matter. You’re over this. Over and above it.

He couldn’t stop wanting her, that was what tortured him. Hope might have been dead, but desire was alive and kicking. In the absence of anything else to nourish it, it was feeding on hope’s corpse.   

He looked up at the spider again, focusing on this little detail to try and keep himself from succumbing to the bitter memories. They possessed him sometimes, like howling demons. He watched the creature’s labored progress across the mirror with determined concentration, looking at the bones of his rib-cage showing stark-white through his pale, unhealthy-looking skin. The contours of his body were so shaded in the fading light that he looked like a skeleton. His eyes were lost in the dark shadows underneath them, until they appeared to be hollow sockets and nothing more.

How long this horrific vision lasted, he couldn’t say, but he never quite lost the impression that he was a walking cadaver – dead already, in some important way. He conjured a fire in the hearth, to banish the shadows, but he liked what he saw even less in the glare of the fire-light: his sallow, prematurely-lined face, his thin lips curling with suppressed rage.

And now he had killed somebody. No, it wasn’t as simple as that. Causality was no simple matter, blame was not so easy to apportion as the self-righteous would have you believe.

Other people had had a hand in this – they had driven him to it. Potter and Black, Pettigrew and Lupin, Bella and Narcissa, even Lily.

Sickness rose in him again, and he tipped his head over the sink, alternately gagging and gasping.   

Severus forced himself to think, even though he could barely hear his thoughts over the rushing nausea. If you traced the causes of every action back blame spread like a plague. It branched and broadened out, until it no longer mattered whose hand had gripped the wand that cast the curse – so many hands had guided his tonight – there had been eighteen years of mistreatment behind that one curse.

The world owed him. He had just taken something back, that was all.

But he was beginning to realize, though his mind struggled feverishly against the idea, that he had not just killed the bar-tender of the Hanged Man. He had killed his hope.

It sickened him to think it, but he had still nourished a wild, unreasonable, traitorous hope until tonight, that Lily would realize she loved him, would leave that Potter (and now no epithets were necessary, Potter’s name was hateful enough) and knock on his door. On lonely nights, he had visualized it. She would be so sorry – and he would let her be sorry for a while, let her cry and beg – because he hated, hated, hated her – but the fantasy always ended in him forgiving her, wrapping her up in his arms, quieting her sobs.    

And this wasn’t like all his other fantasies of revenge. He didn’t want revenge. When he imagined her tears, they were always painful and satisfying at the same time. He didn’t want to triumph over her. He wanted her to come to him of her own free will.   

But now he had killed someone, he knew that he was divided from Lily forever. She couldn’t love him now, no matter how powerful he became. She might fear him – and that idea was slightly appealing – but she could never love him, not now he had killed someone. It didn’t matter how many hands had guided his, she would only ask him why he hadn’t fought against them. Perhaps he should have fought against them. But then, what would he be? Some pathetic member of Dumbledore’s Order, hanging onto the hem of Lily’s robes while she snuggled up to her despicable husband? Never. Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.

He had the world at his finger-tips, now. Everything he wanted, besides Lily, could be his. And he would think of something he wanted, besides Lily. He would make a life for himself, even if he was a walking cadaver, forever exiled from his hope. He would carve happiness out of exile, just as he had carved power and influence out of his dreary, muggle childhood. He would make something out of his anger – if there was one thing he had learned, it was that there was nothing his anger couldn’t do. Except get Lily.   

Severus rocked back on his heels, clutching his head. The gulf between that moment and this was reasserting itself. Memories were being torn out of him, but he held on to the feeling of nausea. He didn’t think he could have let it go if he’d tried.

He peered through his fingers at the muggle-baiting theatre in the Hanged Man, with its rising tiers of stone benches and its dripping stone walls. Caladrius was still tied to the stake, chalk-white and staring at him, and the bar-tender… Severus looked around frantically for the face of the man he was going to kill someday.

He must have gone into the cells at the back of the room, ignoring the cries of Caladrius. He didn’t know what was odd behavior and what wasn’t. He had served the Death Eaters for twenty years. There was probably no shocking him – in spite of his constant trembling.

Severus’ eyes found Caladrius’, and, for a few moments, they were united in horror. Snape tried to force speech through his own lips, but they were numb and uncooperative. Straining every nerve in his body, he managed to utter the words:

“Can you change this?”

Caladrius looked as though he was struggling with speech too, but he couldn’t resist the Veritaserum that was coursing through his veins, no matter how shocked he might have been. Severus, sick as he felt, was still able to register vague surprise that Caladrius could still be shocked by this kind of thing.    

“I’ve been trying to,” he blurted out, half-incoherently, but Severus got the gist.

“How?” he asked desperately. “How?”

“You have to let me go,” Caladrius said.

Severus ran his hands through his hair. “I can’t let you go, you idiot,” he groaned. “He’ll kill me.”

“It’s be killed or kill,” Caladrius replied.

But they didn’t have time to exchange any more words, because the door opened and the Dark Lord walked in, trailing the thick darkness of the corridor behind him.     
   
A continuation to A Taste of Things to Come [link] . Alternative titles: Another Taste of Things to Come (which wouldn't fit) or Five O'Clock Shadow. I'm bad at titles, so it's just typical that I'd have three titles I like for one chapter, and nothing I like for the previous thirty-eight!
'Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven' is from Milton's Paradise Lost. Severus kind of reminds me of Milton's Satan - proud and vengeful, taking his anger out on someone who isn't really to blame, very attracted to somebody else's wife. But then, pretty much everything reminds me of Severus.
Add a Comment:
 
:icon28dragons:
28dragons Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013
“You know, the day your enemy dies is going to be the worst day of your life,” Caladrius spat.  Oh god, so blinded by hate and triumph that Sev doesn't even bother to think about what Caladrius says, and it's the truth because he's under Veritaserum! Urgh...
Reply
:iconevyheartway:
evyheartway Featured By Owner May 18, 2010
wao!! this chapter is fantastic!!!! awesome brilliant! my hat off :bow:
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 18, 2010
:dance: :w00t: :heart: Thank you so much, Evy! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it! It was mostly written as an excuse to get Snape's shirt off... :giggle:
Reply
:iconevyheartway:
evyheartway Featured By Owner May 19, 2010
ahah :rofl: :thumbsup: and you did well!! you've given us to enjoy a wonderful text and a wonderful painting!! :dance: :iconcheerplz: :hug:
Reply
:iconexpell-hun:
Expell-HUN Featured By Owner May 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello my dear, I have chosen this breathtaking work to illustrate, I am busy working on it :-) I love the story, you are so talented!!!!!!
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 16, 2010
:dance: I've just seen it! It's incredible! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story - believe me, you have captured its essence completely! :heart: Thank you so much, my dear :hug:
Reply
:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner May 10, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
“I’ll live,” Severus replied, smiling unpleasantly, “which is kind of the point, isn’t it?”
Now he's veering toward Voldemort's view of things. Severus, come back!

She was miles away, worlds away, and, for the first time in his life, he was glad of it.
I'm seriously getting excited over these chapters, and not in a happy way. I feel like crying "No! Anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side!" Oi.

On another note, I've been meaning to say that I really like your titles. This is probably mean praise from me, since I'm pathetic when it comes to titling my writing (so much so that I usually just have someone else think up titles for me), but still, I like them.
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 11, 2010
Oh, I have a terrible relationship with titles! Most of the time, I'll have absolutely no idea what to call a chapter and then, once in a blue moon, I'll have five different ideas for the same chapter title. It's like waiting hours for a bus and then seeing three of them coming along at once! I've wished more than once that I could just call these things 'Chapter One' and 'Chapter Two' but since I don't have an over-arching name for my story as a whole, I guess that wouldn't be much better! It's strange, but it has never occurred to me to think about what this story should be called.
Reply
:iconmalfoyfanatic:
MalfoyFanatic Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
I always had the feeling, that killing, especially the first murder, wouldn't be too easy, even for a death eater. You showed his horror and conflict really good. I would love to give him a hug and accompany him personal out of the Hanged Man!
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2008
Sigh. Me too! Poor Severus, he does have a tough time in these stories! :(
Reply
:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
absolutely fantastic, and I agree about 17-21 year old Severus being alot like Milton's Satan. This chapter was bone chilling and heart wrenching and perfect. You are so unbelieveably talented. Your writing is always of such consistent quality, and that quality is very high. I don't really fav alot of literature on DeviantArt, because it isn't what I come here for, but there are chapters of yours that I just have to favorite, because they are such utter perfection.
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2008
Yay! Thank you, I'm so glad you like it. :hug: I feel a lot of sympathy for Milton's Satan, and I think Milton did too, he just didn't realize it! I was going to make this just a scene from later in Severus' life, but I realized that I didn't want to commit myself to that future just yet, I needed an out, so I made it a vision. But then, how could it come true now that he's seen it? If it happened now, it would have to happen by accident. Am very confused about the direction I'm going in!
Reply
:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lol. That's alright. I had the whole plot and ending of "The Alchemist" planned out when I started it, and then the characters started taking over and taking control of their own destinies, making their own decisions, and now I have no idea where it will end, so you are not alone in that. Severus in particular seems to be a particularly strong, determined and even stubborn character at times!
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2008
Exactly! I don't want to down-play the darkness in Sev's character, but I see so much hope and idealism in him too! It's very difficult to consign him to a future of Death Eaterdom, even if there is redemption at the end of it. Oh, well, it's a relief to know that other writers suffer from rebellious characters and plot uncertainty too! :)
Reply
:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think it happens to all good writers, especially those who are willing to listen to their characters and are considerite of their wants, thoughts and needs.
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2008
Yes, I remember reading that J.K. Rowling was planning to kill Arthur Weasley in the fifth book, but just couldn't bring heself to do it. She has good taste - he's a wonderful character, but I do wish similar scruples had held her back from killing a couple of other characters!
Reply
:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Actually the character death that seemed the most unnecessary to me in the last book was actually Hedwig, and then that was followed closely by Lupin and Tonks. As painful as it was, I actually thought that Severus' death was quite necessary to the narrative.
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2008
Yes, me too. Before the last book came out, I always said to myself; whether Snape is good or bad, he's going to die, so prepare yourself for it. (Obviously, I thought he was good, because I just couldn't believe that Dumbledore could be wrong about someone - I trusted Dumbledore implicitly before the last book came out - and, afterwards, not so much!) It was probably better for Severus to die there, anyway, to be near Lily, it was just a shame he had to die thinking that he'd failed to protect her son.
I agree that Tonks, Lupin and Hedwig seemed like unnecessary deaths. I hate all those off-camera deaths, that felt as though they were thrown in to up the horror count: mad-eye, Colin Creevey (oh, I still well up at the thought of Colin Creevey dying!) And I wish there had been more celebrating at the end. Voldemort dies and then, within about three pages, the narrative finishes (not counting the Epilogue), as though Voldemort is the main character, rather than Harry!
Having said all that, I did love the seventh book. For all its horror, it was incredibly exciting and moving. :)(there is no emoticon for brave smile, either, so smile it is!)
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconchaobaby7:
Chaobaby7 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2008
Thats amazing. I love this.
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2008
Thank you, I'm so glad you like it. :)
Reply
:iconchaobaby7:
Chaobaby7 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2008
I love the way you write about Severus and Lord knows I need stories about him now the books are complete. Hey maybe a Doctor Who type scenario will happen where Sev isn't actually dead. I like thinking about paralel universes for him which is what fan fic is I guess.
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2008
That would be good! He could turn up in a muggle primary school, calling them all 'dunderheads'! I would have paid such a lot of attention at school if I'd had a teacher like Severus! ;)
Reply
:iconchaobaby7:
Chaobaby7 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2008
Me too, I'd have been sacred of him but awe struck and madly in love, I'd have loved detentions with him. He is needed in school today to sort the little buggers out, don't mess with severus.
Reply
:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2008
Yes, he could give them Veritaserum if they wouldn't behave! ;)
Reply
:iconchaobaby7:
Chaobaby7 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2008
tee hee! yes, get severus to sort out the local youth!
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconls269: More from ls269


Featured in Collections

Fan Fics and Writing by Ampata

Sympathetic Magic by AmyLandlier

"Sympathetic Magic" by DreadPersephone


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
July 5, 2008
File Size
12.8 KB
Thumb

Stats

Views
1,672
Favourites
9 (who?)
Comments
27
×