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He had to start small. Baby steps. The path was slippery, the wind was fierce, and there were dark shapes hovering overhead, waiting to snatch him out of the air. They couldn’t see him, but they could hear his heart-beat, taste his feelings, so he had to keep both under rigid control. Occlumency could fool a Dementor. It was only those flashy Gryffindors who needed to chase them away with gleaming animal spirits.

A Slytherin wouldn’t rush along a path like this, anyway. Potter would probably take it at a run, waving a drawn sword above his head and shouting things like ‘Let go of her, you bastard’, but then he would fall to his death, and probably land on the sword. Snape took some time imagining this scene, because it made him feel better. It was pure, dark, grisly joy, to think of Potter’s over-inflated head being smashed against the rocks below.

And then he inched onwards, step by patient step. He was on a ledge half-way up a black cliff face, and the wind was battering him, making his school-robes swirl around his ankles. He must have looked a lot like a Dementor himself.

The whole cliff face was infested with them. They must have built nests up here. And the smell of them! He had never noticed it before, not even on Azkaban – although, come to think of it, there had been Foe Fire and Fwooper-droppings competing for his attention then – but the Dementors reeked. They had a smell of damp cellars and decay.   

The only good thing about this place was that it looked like his Occlumency state – it was cold and dark, and had a complicated symphony of echoes. He put his hand to the dripping stone that bordered the path on one side, and drew its coldness into his fingers. It was rough flint – almost sharp enough to cut him – but he could already feel himself drinking up its toughness. He could summon the rock into his flesh, until he was completely invulnerable and invisible – just another part of the scenery.

No use in lighting candles, huddling up, clinging onto happy memories. You had to become your enemy if you wanted to get anywhere. The only difficulty was in coming back.   

He had made a friend of the cold and the darkness, anyway – although perhaps ‘friend’ wasn’t quite the right word. The cold meant that he was alone, and the darkness meant that he was ignored. Of course, he had been alone and ignored for most of his life but it was better, infinitely better, than those moments when he had been in a bright, hostile little circle of colours and light, being laughed at. The darkness wasn’t comfortable, exactly, but it had never dangled him upside-down in front of a howling crowd of children, one of whom happened to be…

No. He couldn’t think about that. The Dementors would sense it. They were already pausing in their circling motions, and raising their hooded heads to sniff the air.

Someday you’ll fix it, but not yet. Concentrate on your feet. Baby steps.

After a few moments, he felt them resume their circling. One of their tattered black cloaks skimmed over his head, ruffling his hair.

It helped to look at the stone. He could imagine earthing all his emotions in it. Nothing could hurt ragged flint. If you battered flint, you only made it sharper. Or made it spark. Either way, you would go down in blood or flames and the flint would remain exactly the same, unmoved and unmolested.

Lily was nearby, and that was another challenge. She was frightened. He could hear her drawing sharp, ragged breaths, and imagined her shivering in the dark. She was the only thing in the cave – including Severus – who seemed to be alive, and it made her horribly conspicuous. He couldn’t see her, but he knew she must be close, because her Patronus was guarding the end of the pathway. It was glowing feebly, like a very low-wattage bulb – or like light shining through two inches of grimy glass. It would be gone soon. It was already hanging its head, as though it had been fatally wounded. If it had a voice, it would have been whining. Dementors were clustering around it, like vultures waiting on a feast.

So the second assault on his Occlumency stronghold was made by fear. Lily was practically an extension of his flesh, and she was horribly exposed. It made him shudder to the roots of his being. It set his teeth on edge – to think of those scabbed, grey hands on her shivering body.

This feeling would be familiar to him in later years. Something his life depended on was far away, being hunted by every dark wizard in the country, and he couldn’t keep her safe. She didn’t want him to keep her safe. And she wouldn’t stop drawing attention to herself. She wouldn’t stop speaking her mind or defying the Dark Lord. He could fight everyone else – well, almost everyone else – but he couldn’t fight Lily. She was doomed from the start, not just for being what she was, but for being who she was.  

And how was he supposed to concentrate on his feet, when Dementors were slavering over the other part of his soul?

Well, it doesn’t matter how, he thought irritably. Just do it. Feel the fear, and do it anyway. She’s dying, and you’re still two hundred yards away. Do you want Potter to come hurtling in, with a drawn sword, and ruin this for everybody?

He stared at the flint on either side of his feet and tried to push down the panic. It rose with every breath she took, but he could control it, if he concentrated. Mostly, he controlled it by thinking of all the people in the magical world who tried his patience. He could lull himself into his Occlumency state by counting them like sheep. As each one passed before his eyes – being vain or stupid or down-right sadistic – he drew back a little.

He let the disdain fill him up. This world is full of idiots – messy, flailing, loud, annoying idiots – they’re too real – too close – they’re sickening. He thought of the too-sweet odour of Narcissa’s perfume, and the mad tangle of Bella’s hair – he thought of Potter’s smug, gerbil-like grin, and the barking laugh of Sirius Black – and he was lifted out of the fear on a wave of disgust. He saw them all shrink beneath him like ants -  

And stepped onwards.

She was close now. And there was no Potter to rush in and save the day – snatching the credit away from him, like he snatched away everything else.

He was just coming up to the silver doe when she flickered and went out. Now there was a darkness so thick it almost wouldn’t fit into his lungs.

Lily’s breathing quickened. Clearly, she was too scared – or too injured – to form words, but she was there. The Dementors would be rushing in on her. There was a time for sneaking up and a time for charging in, and clearly this was the latter.

But his feet had taken root in the stone. He could feel his heart trying to speed up in sympathy with her frantic breathing, but it seemed to be wrapped in cotton-wool; it was a dull, steady clunk, like clockwork. For a moment, he got a vision of cogs and gears grinding within his chest. They wouldn’t slow down or speed up for a frightened girl who couldn’t even hold off a pack of Dementors. What was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she just become invisible to them, like he had done? Why did she have to be so frightened? That was the most useless – the most muggle-like – of emotions.

And then there was one last gasp. It took a while to reach him. In fact, everything was taking a while to reach him. No, that wasn’t right – his mind was racing; he was aware of everything; every noise in the darkness – every slap of the wind against his face – every flick of the Dementor’s cloaks; he felt intensely alert and quick-witted – he just didn’t seem to want anything anymore.

He’d forgotten why he was doing this. He’d forgotten what he was searching for. Something had been so important it had made him tiptoe unseen across a ledge full of circling Dementors, but what? The little girl in the corner? Why couldn’t she use magic on them? What was she, a muggle? Why couldn’t she control herself?

There were other things to think about, now that he was here. A thousand possibilities were opening up before him. He was invisible to the Dementors. This was better than an invisibility cloak. Potter would beg for a talent like this. He could fade into the background – dump his emotions in a wall of rock – block any mental intrusion. He could look down on the petty squabbles of the world around him as though it was just some vaguely amusing television programme, and he was going to give it ten seconds to get interesting before he changed the channel. This was like being a god.

A light flared in the darkness. Something luminous was being sucked out of the red-head’s mouth. For a moment he could see her face. Closed eyelids – so dark they looked almost bruised – in a white face. Severus tilted his head to look at it.

Yes, there was something there, stirring under the coldness, spreading like roots underground. There was something about that face that exercised an unreasonable power over him. Thank heavens she was dying. It might have held him back.   

Then the light went out and, at the same time, on the floor of Dumbledore’s office, the lights came on.

Severus surfaced. There were beads of sweat prickling on his forehead. He’d gone from cool stone to clammy skin in the space of a second. And his heart definitely did not feel like clockwork anymore – it was pounding and thumping as though someone was beating him up from the inside.

He lay on the floor for a moment, battling with the nausea. Being sick was a tempting option, but he had to keep a hold of himself, because he wasn’t alone this time.

Dumbledore’s face appeared above him. It looked uncharacteristically grave. “Not good,” he said.

Severus sat up, his head swimming with nausea.

“Did you mean to set fire to my wall?” the Headmaster asked conversationally.

Severus peered through the mists of confusion at the wall of the office. There were fiery letters burning on the stone. They spelled the words: ‘Help me’.  

“Not an easy spell at the best of times,” said Dumbledore. “Lots of wizards can shoot fire out of their wands whilst they are unconscious, but not many go to the trouble of spelling out messages. And spelling them impeccably, I might add.”

“I was probably aiming for you,” Snape muttered darkly.

Dumbledore chuckled. He waved his wand absent-mindedly, and the flaming letters hissed and went out. The smoky outline of the words still lingered, and Severus tried his hardest not to look at them, because they made the nausea rise in his throat again.

“You must practice more, Severus,” the old man murmured.

“I got to the end of the path, didn’t I?” he asked irritably.  

“Yes,” said Dumbledore evenly. “Well done. My concern is that you forgot why you were supposed to be there. You need to be able to come out of your Occlumency state, Severus, as well as go into it.”

Severus tried to get up. It was the last thing in the world he felt like doing, but he had the impression that Dumbledore would take him more seriously if he was on his feet. After the rushing nausea had died down, he said: “I was invisible to the Dementors. That’s what you wanted. And, by the way,” he added, emphasizing every word, “using my friend as the bait in this exercise was kind of cruel, don’t you think?”

“It was the only thing I knew for sure you would respond to. The fact that you ceased to respond to her is rather worrying.”

“Yes, it bloody is!” Snape yelled. “Why did you make me do it?”

There was a silence. Severus rubbed his hand across his temples and Dumbledore – with what he considered to be tactless insensitivity – opened a bag of lemon drops. The fact that he offered one to Severus did little to soften his mood. He contemplated picking one up and throwing it at the wrinkled old lunatic.

“Alright,” he said at last, when he’d controlled himself. “We don’t want that to happen again. How do I stop it?”

“I think only you can answer that question.”

Severus blinked. “That’s brilliant, Dumbledore. Tell me, what do you actually understand by the word ‘teaching’?”

Dumbledore chuckled again. He always laughed when he was being insulted. It made Snape furious. He was used to people who ignored criticism – the Slytherin common-room was full of them. Arrogant pure-bloods and spoilt princesses, smiling sycophants and morbid psychopaths who always felt completely justified in whatever they did. But people who enjoyed criticism – who laughed appreciatively, and then ignored you – as though you were the one missing the point – they were so much worse.

“I could make some suggestions, of course,” Dumbledore murmured thoughtfully. “But I doubt you would appreciate them.”

“Does that mean I wouldn’t value them or I wouldn’t like them?” Snape asked cautiously.

“Both, I imagine.”

Severus folded his arms and glared at him. “I would appreciate anything which would stop that scene we just witnessed from happening in real life,” he said, with brittle patience. “And we already know that I can put up with you saying things I don’t like. If I couldn’t, I would spend every one of these lessons with my fingers in my ears.”

“I think,” said Dumbledore, his eyes sparkling with enjoyment, “that James Potter is the key to this.”

Snape grimaced. “James Potter is not the key to anything.”

“I respectfully disagree,” said Dumbledore, in the least respectful tone Severus could imagine. “He is the key to your anger. You see, in order to come out of your Occlumency state, you need to find an emotional response that you are not accustomed to concealing. An emotional response which you are not ashamed of. One that doesn’t make you vulnerable. I humbly suggest your naked animosity towards James Potter. That is an emotion which seems to you as logical as it is strong. If you could embed some kind of image in your mind – a memory, perhaps, or a symbol – which would serve to summon up your abject loathing for James Potter, it would act as a kind of emergency exit. An instant way out of your Occlumency state, should you require it. How does that sound?”

“Interesting,” said Snape slowly.

An image that summoned up his abject loathing for James Potter… well, there were so many.

He rejected one or two  – the gerbil-faced grin, the sight of him holding up the Quidditch cup while being carried aloft on his team-mates’ shoulders and applauded by the entire school – before he decided that his first thought had been the strongest. There was only one image that he couldn’t get out of his mind when he thought about Potter. It wasn’t a memory. It wasn’t even a dream. It was something from the deepest, darkest depths of his imagination.

It was the image of Lily with Potter’s filthy hand-prints smeared all over her body. That was enough to bring him out of any trance. It was the visual equivalent of smelling salts, or an adrenaline shot straight to the heart. And he had imagined Lily’s naked body frequently enough to make the addition of a few grubby hand-prints the work of one dark, paranoid moment.

Mostly, what he saw in those suffocating fits of jealousy was two black handprints on her shoulders, as though Potter had been standing behind her and gripping her shoulders like some kind of creepy, over-bearing parent.

He looked at Dumbledore, who smiled politely, and pretended he had not been following Snape’s train of thought the whole time.

“Shall we say the same time tomorrow, then, Severus?” the Headmaster asked. “I can hardly over-emphasize the importance of this. You must control your Occlumency state. However tempting it may seem, you must never allow it to control you.”

Severus walked down the marble staircase and slipped gratefully into the shadows of the dungeons. It was cool and dark down here – but the comparison between those dripping stone walls and the ragged wall of the cliff face made him agitated. He wanted to see Lily, but she would already be asleep. Unless she was camping out under the stars in her beloved roof-top garden. He felt a wrench of bitterness, followed by a hotter, more complex feeling, when he thought about the last time he’d found her up there.

She’d wanted him. Somebody had actually wanted him, and all he could think about at the time was showing off his flying skills. Stupid, stupid, stupid! And how long would she want him for? Because it was bound to dawn on her sooner or later that she was so far out of his league she was practically playing a different sport.  

The news of their relationship had been greeted with derision. Nobody actually said it, as such. They assumed it didn’t need to be said. The word ‘Slytherin’ got repeated a lot. There were objections along the lines of ‘he’s weird’ – ‘dodgy company’ – ‘hangs around with creeps like Avery and Mulciber’. But nobody actually said: ‘But he’s ugly. And you’re beautiful. That’s not supposed to happen. Outside of Fairytales – and, even in the Fairytales, I might add, the ugliness is only a temporary measure – that doesn’t work.”

And how could Lily be unaware of it? Was she being nice to him? God forbid. He couldn’t stand that. He’d rather be dead than be pitied – and he’d rather die from a hundred Crotch-kicking Curses than be pitied by Lily Evans.  

Was it true what she said, that looks didn’t matter so much to girls? Well, it mattered to the girls who were telling her she was crazy for dating a ‘slimy-haired oddball’.

So, it did matter. And she wasn’t stupid. It might have passed over her head to begin with – she’d had a lot to worry about, after all – prophecies of doom, exams, and Quidditch-playing stalkers amongst them – but it must have sunk in by now. She was beautiful and he wasn’t. The whole school knew it. The whole school thought she was insane – except for the tiny  minority who thought that Severus was insane, for dating a mudblood. No, even they could understand. Nobody had questioned it. Malfoy had wrinkled his nose, but there was no incredulity. She was beautiful. Even the Death Eaters could see that. Prejudice didn’t literally blind you.  

And it was having an effect. Little by little, Lily was being ostracized.  There were signs everywhere – maybe too small for Lily, who always thought the best of people, to have picked up on by now – but Severus was used to watching other people’s reactions to her. The kind of sycophantic idiots who’d always been so keen to bustle up to her in the corridors, asking her about her potions assignment or her plans for the next Hogsmeade weekend – were not bothering anymore. The crowds that usually surrounded her were thinning. It was as though ugliness was catching.

But this, he had to admit, might have been due to something else. There were legends springing up around Lily Evans, based on her adventures in the Viceberg last term. Everyone seemed to know that she had been kissed by a Dementor. This had led the Slytherins – and several jealous members of Potter’s fan-club – to start calling her the Soulless Redhead or the Dementor’s Bride. Severus suspected that she liked the nicknames – and she loved the feelings of superstitious terror that her presence now seemed to stir. He understood that, at least. When you were used to being sneered at, it was exhilarating to suddenly be feared.  

People said that she didn’t have a reflection. There were rumours that she could detach her shadow and send it roaming round the castle to spy on you. Some people said she could command birds and wild beasts. And others fiercely maintained that, if you kissed her, she would suck out your soul.

Severus had hoped this would discourage people from asking her out, but teenage boys were relentless – and many would have happily swapped their souls for a kiss from Lily Evans. In fact, if anything, the rumours seemed to make her more alluring – as though they thought she was some kind of voluptuous vampire or scarlet-haired siren.

He’d asked her early on – rather pointedly – if it bothered her, but she’d said it was no different. “I’ve always seemed unnatural to them,” she explained. “At least now I’m unnatural in a cool way.”

And the sight of her walking through the castle corridors late last night in blood-stained muggle clothes – looking like some kind of vengeful ghost – hadn’t helped matters.

Everyone feared what they didn’t understand, and few things at Hogwarts were understood as poorly as muggles. Severus had spoken to several pure-bloods who thought that muggles still made fire by rubbing sticks together. And now they thought the savages had elected some kind of supernatural champion. Every muggle who’d been tortured or killed by You-Know-Who in these dark days would seek their revenge through her.

Narcissa, who was used to being the castle’s resident femme fatale, had started calling her Dementor-breath.

Of course, her close friends were still hanging around – you couldn’t get rid of Meg Valance or Mary MacDonald with horror stories. In fact, they seemed to have got closer to Lily. They were almost guarding her as she walked down the corridors these days. With Meg Valance glaring at the superstitious gossips, and Mary MacDonald laughing at them, there was a good chance that this mass stupidity wouldn’t get through to Lily at all.    

But he was worried about her. She hadn’t forgotten her Boggart. Nor, for that matter, had Severus. That gorgeous, smoky-voiced redhead haunted Snape’s dreams as much as she haunted Lily’s nightmares.

But the idea that everyone in the school thought she was a monster would bring back all Lily’s worst memories of the Boggart. And the more she hated the idea of the Boggart, the more she would start to like the idea of being Potter’s martyred wife, giving up her life to save her baby.

With all these thoughts buzzing around his head, he decided not to check the roof-top garden for her. He needed to be in control when he was talking to Lily, and he had already used up his last reserves of control tonight.
Another chapter, continuing from Sympathetic Magic [link]
but catching up with the dark recesses of Sev's head this time! Hope you enjoy! :)
Add a Comment:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner May 19, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Wow :wow: What a gripping opening!

Love your descriptions of Dumbledore, by the way. I have such mixed feelings about him, and you bring them out whenever he makes an appearance. Probably because it's usually from Snape's point of view. I imagine Snape acknowledges Dumbldore's brilliance (as do I), but sees his Slytherin side as well, which can be annoying because so many people seem oblivious to it.

Poor Snape; he obsesses too much. I can sympathize. :(
ls269 Featured By Owner May 20, 2010
:giggle: I can sympathize too - I always find it easier to write Severus when he's obsessing about something (which I guess is pretty much all the time! ;) Poor dear.)

I have no idea what suddenly made me leap into the story with a beginning like this - it's not something I usually do. In fact, the beginning of a chapter is usually the last thing I write - and I find it really hard to do, because I keep imagining those little boxes of preview text you receive in your inbox on this site, and thinking: well, if that's all they see, they're not even going to want to open it.

This was one of the only chapters where I wrote the beginning first. I guess it was because I was worried that the last chapter was boring, so I was trying very hard to write something exciting and action-packed. It doesn't come naturally to me, because I get horribly tangled up trying to write action sequences.
Vizen Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2009
“That’s brilliant, Dumbledore. Tell me, what do you actually understand by the word ‘teaching’?”

:rofl: - oh, really, that's so something that adult Professor-I-despise-my-idiotic-students-and-I-throw-a-jar-of-dead-bugs-to-Potter's-bloody-head-Snape would say :rofl: ! And :thumbsup: for the use of the last name of Dumbledore. I adored this detail in the Prince's tale. That's so Severus - calling him 'Dumbledore' and only that...

But I won't start discussing about Severus and Albus relationship - because it's a fascinating and very deep subject to my eyes. They are so complementary, opposite and similar at the same time, it amazed me in canon. The whole DH and Prince's tale let me completely in awe of what was written and suggested between the lines about them. The white Albus, defending light but paradoxically using Severus and his dark spells for the dirty job, all for the great ending...The black Severus who will be paradoxically also saved by the same Albus who forced him to drink the chalice entirely...Both Janus, both grey and nevertheless both looking at and for the Light. Well. I said I won't start speaking about them... :p

Brilliant chapter again, I especially adore the first part. mmmh... the 'Dementor's bride'... Wih Severus as the Dementor, you know, I would enjoy being kissed more than once. :D No, no, I'm not Idris Mulligan here - but I can't help but understanding and Severus and Lily...

That's interesting that you insist on the problem of the too big contrast between her beauty and his ugliness. It's a very important criterium, for teens and for adults too. Though, I'd add that in their case, Severus and Lily are in appearance very far from the perfect couple not only because of his appearance, but also because he's deeply unpleasant, unpopular, with a bad reputation, and seems to use her, to swallow her, to draw her down - what Petunia would say, knowing that her sister goes out with such a dirty boy who had no future - not a good future to come at any rate. She's in contrast the Princess, the bright Head Girl who can do everything in her life. He's not just ugly - he's above all disturbing and disguting because he's ugly and greasy-haired and poor and Slytherin and devoid of good family backgrounds and relations and good frequentations and good social hability, manners and moral. All what parents would reject, all what you don't want as potential fiance. But I agree that many people would stop to the beauty/ugliness criterium. Ugly people with beautiful girls are disguting. If you see them, it looks like they use or buy them or something. :)
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2009
:giggle: Snape's exasperation with Dumbledore is a lot of fun to write, because he knows that Dumbledore is intelligent - it just appears to be an intelligence so hopelessly mixed-up with happy stupidity that it drives him mad! I loved the scenes that they shared in the books - especially the scene which produced one of my favourite Snape lines, on being told that he has to kill Dumbledore: "Would you like me to do it now? Or would you like a few moments to compose an epitaph first?" :rofl: Loved that!
Yes, you're right that it isn't just Snape's lack of beauty which makes their relationship so strange. He's also solitary and kind of creepy - with his twitchy, spider-like movements and his interest in dark magic. And I love the idea that he appears to swallow her and drag her down! Definitely not good husband material! And yet, somehow, he seems to complement her quite well. It's as though they're so different that, when they pool their resources together, they become unbeatable. I'm not sure that makes sense, but I think they would make a wonderful team if they could only stop fighting!
Melorik Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2009

First lemme say that you are a very talented and gifted writer. You made me stay up till 4:30 am last night trying to read the entire story and I still couldn't manage it :p.

I love how you get deep into Sev's head and can make us understand exactly why he's so ..well.. messed up.

Maybe I've missed something, but you seem to be doing a good job of keeping us in suspense about whether or not this story is actually AU. You've already had things happen differently than they do in Canon, and you've thrown in just enough hope that Lily/Sev may get a happy ending. On the other hand, I can see how you could make it all go horribly wrong and have Lily end up with Potter, thus creating the Canon scenario so many of us know and loathe.

I hope you don't, because if it plays out like that it would be even more tragic than what originally happened. An exquisite sort of cruelty that would make Voldemort blush I think :P.

In any case, here's me throwing my praises and support behind all your other reviewers. Keep it up. I'll be waiting with a sort of nervous anticipation for your next chapter :D.

ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2009
Thank you so much, that's so kind of you! :hug: I'm really glad you're enjoying the story - and I reacted with a mixture of guilt and happiness to the news that I'd made you stay up until 4:30 trying to finish it! Thank you and sorry for that!
You're completely right that I haven't revealed whether the story will be canon or not - in fact, I haven't even decided whether the story will be canon or not! Sometimes, (mostly when I'm feeling gloomy), I consider canon endings, and sometimes I think that it would be so wonderful to have the story end happily for Sev and Lily! At the moment, I'm just enjoying writing it way too much to consider endings, but I know they're both getting older and I'm running out of time!
Anyway, thank you so much for your comment - I was really cheered up by it, and I hope you continue to enjoy the chapters! :)
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner May 19, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
The really clever thing is that the changes you've written make it seem that it is--somewhat--AU, but that it might still end the same way! I can't think that all of this happened in the canon, and yet you've still set everything up so that it could work out with Lily dying for baby Harry and Severus being Dumbledore's spy until his death. It's like the idea that what is fated will happen no matter what - that all we do to try and avoid a prophecy only leads to it being fulfilled.
Still, I hope that it has a happy ending. Although I'm sure you'd handle a tragic one very well also.
ls269 Featured By Owner May 20, 2010
Lol, I'm still just as confused about the ending of the story as I was when I wrote that comment! To begin with, I intended for it to link up with the canon story. Sometimes, I think it would be disrespectful to JK Rowling's beautiful writing not to link up with the canon story, but it seems to get further out of reach with every chapter I write! Sev and Lily just seem to have evolved into different people. :faint: I'll figure it out one day...
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner May 22, 2009
Whew! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I LOVED it! To at last understand the reasons/motives behind his genius with Occlumency,and the mental tactics he uses to force his mind in the necessary direction, are delectable treats. Well done!
ls269 Featured By Owner May 23, 2009
:dance: Thank you so much, that's so kind of you! Sev's ambition and his talent with Occlumency have always fascinated (and disturbed) me, so it was fun to write about!
northangel27 Featured By Owner May 22, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The description of Potter as having a gerbil-faced grin just made me laugh out loud because it is so descriptive, and I can totally see it in my mind.

And though, I did not think it possible, I think that you have managed to make me loathe Dumbledore more than I already did. The fact that he is encouraging Severus' hatred of Potter, and then later will most likely condemn him for the same, just makes me sick.

You are such a fantastic writer. :-)
ls269 Featured By Owner May 23, 2009
Thank you! :hug: :heart: I can see the gerbil-faced grin too! :giggle:
Poor Sev can't win with Dumbledore - he's already decided that Severus can't suffer as much as a normal person, because he's an angry Slytherin. It's almost as though Dumbledore thinks his innocence - what little there is left of it - isn't worth protecting. But I still think he cares for Severus, in a strange way. He just manipulates him an awful lot more than he would anyone else!
northangel27 Featured By Owner May 23, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I completely agree with you. Albus' love for Severus was unhealthy to the extreme, but then Albus himself is such a damaged person, I don't think he really knew how to love, especially with the people his heart was drawn to the most.
ls269 Featured By Owner May 23, 2009
Yes, poor Dumbledore! I guess after everything that happened with Gellert Grindelwald, he wouldn't allow himself to love again. Clearly, he makes a point of being extra mean to anyone that he's drawn to!
northangel27 Featured By Owner May 23, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep ;-). It was also my personal theory when I was writing "The Alchemist" that the only way Albus thought that he could motivate someone he cared to not leave him was through manipulation and control (hence his manipulation and control of Severus). He lost Gellert to the darkness, and so he would be damned if he would let Severus walk down the same road. If Albus could manipulate Severus into doing what he thought was right, then he wouldn't lose him to the same path that Gellert chose. I imagine that the Albus/Severus relationship was horribly complicated and fraught with subtle drama.
ls269 Featured By Owner May 24, 2009
You make me feel quite sorry for Dumbledore, which I never thought would happen! Yes, I think you're right about the similarities that he sees between Severus and Gellert Grindelwald - both of them being brilliant young men drawn to dark magic.
I also think that Dumbledore is a big fan of the idea that people who have already been damaged should get their hands dirty to protect the innocent. He gives Severus jobs that he would never give to anyone else, because he seems to think Severus is already damaged beyond repair. Burdening jaded people like Severus doesn't seem to Dumbledore to be as bad as destroying the innocence of people who've never been disillusioned.
You're right, it's a very fraught relationship - I think that's why I always found their interactions so fascinating. There's nothing funnier than strained patience and, in that relationship, the patience is severely strained on both sides!
northangel27 Featured By Owner May 24, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You've got that right ;-)
Melorik Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2009
I shudder to think sometimes what's going on in the mind of that old geezer :P

I'm eerily reminded of the Alchemist, when Sev found out that DD conspired to keep him and Lily apart, and the fallout from that.

Taking down dark wizards is fine, but it seems when DD plays matchmaker, it invariably leads to disaster :p.
thysilverdoe Featured By Owner May 22, 2009  Professional Writer
You never cease to amaze me. Beautiful, as always.
ls269 Featured By Owner May 22, 2009
Thank you so much! :) :hug: It really means a lot to me to know that you liked it. I love writing about the weird interior of Sev's mind! ;)
thysilverdoe Featured By Owner May 22, 2009  Professional Writer
You're quite welcome. :D :hug: As do I. I used to roleplay him quite a bit, I might get back into that.
ls269 Featured By Owner May 23, 2009
Oh, yes, he'd be great to role-play - you'd get to be sarcastic all the time! I'd love that! :) I really don't understand the Gryffindors at all; I think I must be a Slytherin at heart.
thysilverdoe Featured By Owner May 23, 2009  Professional Writer
Yes, being snarky is fun. :XD: Ha ha. Don't worry. You're not the only one. I get them, but I don't like them or understand why anyone would want to be one. Anything Gryffindors can do, Slytherins can do better!
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