A/N: I do not own etc, etc. Please don't sue me!

This fic is not based on an REM album; it just has a cheesy/copyright infringing title! Meant to be a one-shot, I probably won't write more. Your reviews are ALWAYS appreciated so if you like this, please leave one!


He was leaving again. He had been called twice already and the Mark had burned brighter than he had ever known it the second time, signalling the Dark Lord's impatience and anger. He knew better than to resist it a third time and yet he still lingered in the darkness of his dungeon, unwilling and unable to leave until he saw her face one last time. He suspected that the very nature of his calling meant that he would not return. He did not know how to tell her and yet he knew that he must.

He did not know how or why or when she had become such an important part of his life but now he no longer questioned it either. She had been coming to him in the bleakest hours of the night for months now, never asking questions, barely speaking at all. She would tend to his wounds, both emotional and physical and then she would hold him in the darkness when it seemed as if all hope had gone until the rising of the sun sent her away. She would not ask him what he had done to receive his injuries and he knew that she would prefer not to know. Their relationship, as it might be called, was built on the most fragile of foundations and yet he had come to depend on her more than she would ever know. He had grown to love her gentle hands on his bleeding and bruised body, the tears that filled her brown eyes for him that she would not shed. His was a solitary existence that invited no love and no sympathy and yet she had offered him both and asked nothing in return. At first he had tried to discourage her visits by speaking to her in harsh tones of anger, anger that had finally given way to vicious threats when she did not desist. Her visits became almost nightly occurrences and he eventually gave up chastising her completely, finding himself grateful for her soft touches and tears that she desperately tried not to cry for him.

It had not taken very many weeks for her comfort to give way to something more. He could remember the first time she had kissed him as he lay drifting in and out of consciousness on his bed. It had been a tentative act at first; she had merely pressed her lips against his for a second before pulling away, but when he did not respond unfavourably she had repeated it this time with a little more pressure and little less shyness and he had surprised them both by returning the kiss. He discovered that while kissing her he could forget the misery and pain of his existence, replacing it with bittersweet tenderness that brushed against his soul and made him want more. She had offered herself to him with the same selflessness that kept her coming back to him night after night and in doing so had touched him in a way that no other person ever had. He had made love to her with a tenderness that he did not know he possessed, and when it was all over she had cried next to him in the dark, refusing to explain why. He had discovered later that she was in love with him. She would not deny it, even though he had explained to her that he could never feel the same. He had been lying, of course, but in a world where the struggle between dark and light was nearing its conclusion what room was there for love?

He was absorbed in his reverie of her when she finally stepped into the room several minutes later. She came straight to him without hesitation, letting him wrap her in his arms, pressing her face into his chest and holding him tightly. He found that he could draw so much strength from their embrace; it gave him the courage to go on, to say the words that he knew he must say.

"I must leave." His voice was slightly hoarse and it echoed back to him in the deep silence of the dungeons. He closed his eyes briefly and when he opened them she had lifted her head. Her face was streaked with tears and he struggled to recall being conscious of her crying them. Her expression was pained.

"Please, no." All at once her voice broke and her face crumpled as she gave way to several frightened sobs. She knew what this meant. She would do anything to prevent it. He cradled her in his arms for a short time, smoothing her hair back from her face and offering her small words of comfort even though he knew it was too late.

"I must." His voice was harsh and raspy as his eyes met hers, he could think of no way to make her understand.

"When will you be back?" She raised herself onto her tiptoes in order to look right into his face, her arms around his neck. He gave into his need to kiss her, having never denied it before, and tasted the salt from her tears on his lips. He felt the old passion spark between them and wished bitterly that he had more time. He wanted to love her so badly, to let her know that he would never forget what she had given to him all these months but if he stayed to do that they were all as good as dead. At least this way there was a glimmer of hope, however small. He pulled away. There were tears in both their eyes now.

"I can't answer that," he whispered. "He is very angry." She nodded her head jerkily, and looked away. He could see that she was beginning to understand. This would be hard for her. His heart ached for her but he forced himself not to think about it, instead to concentrate on what he must do.

"I will wait for you." Her voice held resolve as her fingers traced his face.

"Don't." He made himself turn away. "Don't waste your life on me." It would be better this way, but why did it have to hurt so much?

"I don't want anybody else." He felt the tightening in her young body. She was determined.

"But you can't have me!" He surprised himself by raising his voice, feeling his heart twist when her expression became stricken. He tried to make it right by reaching out to her, but this time it was she who turned away.

"You are for me." She smiled bitterly and he heard the conviction in her low voice.

"This has been wrong from the start." He caught her by the shoulders, made her look at him. Her face was ashen, but she seemed to have no more tears left to cry. "I should never have let you . . .we should never have . . ." he struggled for the right words, knowing that they would never come while he continued to deal in lies.

"I am in love with you." She leaned in to kiss him once, gently. "I will wait."

"Wait for what? You may never see me again!" He was beside himself in a display that was totally out of character. The Mark itched suddenly, making him grasp his forearm involuntarily. He was out of time. He looked at her, looking down at his arm, and felt a sudden wrenching loss, mingled with pain. He wished he could stay with her but knew the price for that would be worse than death. The Dark Lord was not known for his patience or his leniency, and if he stayed he might as well sign her death warrant himself. He knew that it was better this way, that by keeping her hidden and safe at Hogwarts nothing could touch her, but at the same time he could not bear the thought of never seeing her again. He stared at her, committing every bit of her pretty, youthful face to his memory, reaching out to touch a curl of her hair, uncurling it and letting it go, watching as it sprang back into shape.

"I have no more time," his smile was sad. Hers matched it.

"I know." She reached up at hugged him briefly, pulling away after a few seconds and successfully resisting the urge to cling to his robes. Her eyes were solemn. She kissed his cheek, shaking her head 'no' when he turned his head to try to kiss her properly. "Go now . . . before I find a way of making you stay."

He stared at her wordlessly for a moment, but her words were the catalyst he needed. He sighed, dropped a tender kiss on her forehead as she closed her eyes and whispered her name once, twice. She whispered his name in return and was greeted only by silence.

When she opened her eyes it was only to find a deserted dungeon. He had gone. She was all alone.