As You Wish
by Darth Stitch

STANDARD DISCLAIMERS APPLY

In Which We Find Out Why One Should Not Put One's Trust in Princes

Chapter 17

The King of Pain

Harry Potter woke up in a most uncomfortable position.

Well, one would be uncomfortable strapped to an ominous contraption made of all sorts of wheels and gears and Harry knew one didn't need to be a genius to figure out that the thing was most definitely designed for inflicting pain.

A lot of pain.

It must be admitted that Harry had the uncanny ability to get himself in and out of the most dangerous situations, either by skill and talent or, as his godfather himself had once put it, "sheer dumb luck." And this was even before he'd started sailing the Seven Seas as the Dread Pirate Roberts. It wasn't as if he blundered into trouble; trouble seemed just to have this unfailing ability to find him. It really wasn't his fault.

At this, Papa snorted and gave Daddy an eloquent look.

Honest!

And as most heroes knew, one did need a combination of skill, talent and sheer dumb luck to get through every adventure. It was, in fact, a Standard Requirement. So he was fairly sure that he would be able to extract himself from this particular situation.

He only wished that Severus had enough faith in him to be able to do that in the first place.

And that hurt most of all, even worse than what Harry had originally foreseen that Severus was likely to do. That Harry would not be forgiven for those lost years, for the deception that was inadvertently foisted on him and that he thought he needed to continue. And even while the practical, sensible part of Harry thought about the possibility of Severus having changed for the worse, that he was now lost in Voldemort's service – he still knew that he could do nothing but go after his true love, hoping, having faith that things would turn out all right in the end.

Yet, even after everything that had passed between them, it seemed that Severus still had no faith in Harry.

Harry had always known that Severus would be forever protective of him and yet, he'd trusted that Severus would eventually see Harry as an equal, a partner. Someone Severus could protect but also someone Severus could trust to protect him in turn. And was that not the real reason why Severus had sent him away in the first place? For Harry to grow up, to make his own decisions, to stand on his own two feet – to return to Severus as a man who knew his own mind and heart and not as a lovestruck, infatuated boy?

The smooth voice of Count Lucius Malfoy intruded into Harry's thoughts. "And are we comfortable, Master Rogers?"

Harry made a show of thinking about it. "Well, if you'd be a good fellow and get me a pillow and maybe a blanket, I think I'll be all set, thanks ever so. And it's Captain Rogers, if you please."

The Count's lips stretched into what was probably a thin smile, if it could called that. "Brave words, 'Captain' Rogers. Especially since I bid you welcome to the Fifth Level of the Zoo of Death! Abandon all hope and despair!"

He paused dramatically.

Harry cringed. "That was an absolutely terrible performance, you know. That Jason Isaacs fellow could have done it ever so much better…"

-sshpss-

Severus Snape was definitely in a most uncomfortable position.

Prince Voldemort had invited him to what looked like a very intimate dinner. Well, at least as intimate a dinner as it could be, what with Death Eaters guarding the doors and Nagini coiled up next to the Prince in her own special place at the table. Other than that, they were alone and that set off every warning bell in Snape's head.

He was aware that the Prince enjoyed… oh gods; the only word for it was flirting with him. Not that Severus ever took that seriously, often escaping into the cool, dignified formality that was required by protocol. He was aware, however, that it only served to increase the Prince's attentions towards him and well, he wasn't above using that to get his own way and survive the endless machinations and intrigues at Court.

Right now, despite how handsome the Prince was, Severus just wanted to tell him to bugger off.

"Is there something wrong with your dinner, Severus?" the Prince asked solicitously. "I shall have the cook executed at dawn if he's not done his best for us tonight."

"No, my lord," Severus said hastily, "Please forgive me, it's just that I haven't much of an appetite after Portkeying."

"Ah," the Prince answered. "Or perhaps you have another reason for your loss of appetite?"

Severus tried not to choke on the wine, which had been pronounced as a "most excellent vintage" by the Prince. "I beg your pardon, my lord? I'm not sure as to what exactly are you referring to."

The Prince's expression was definitely predatory. "You have a clever tongue in you, my dear Severus but we are not pleased when you decide to use that to our disadvantage."

"Have I displeased you in any way, my lord?"

Severus gasped as the Prince suddenly appeared right in front of him, one bejeweled hand grasping his throat, the jewels cutting like claws into his skin.

"Did you think that I would not know that you lied to me?"

-sshpss-

Count Malfoy went around throwing up levers and flipping switches and the machine roared into life. "I do hope you'll continue to maintain that wonderfully droll sense of humor, Captain. Although I have found that most men lose all capacity for speech by the time my wonderful machine has gotten through with them."

"You seem very proud of this toy of yours," Harry replied. "Build it yourself, eh?"

"I have long made a careful study of pain, Captain," said the Count, turning back to face Harry. "I've delved into its very heart, catalogued it in all its glorious, exquisite varieties. This invention of mine represents the very apex of all my research."

"How fascinating, you must be a hit at all the dinner parties," Harry mock-observed, quietly gathering his magic. He didn't have his wand on him but Harry had since learned that he did have a talent for wandless magic.

"Don't bother, Captain Roberts," sneered the Count. "You won't be able to use any magic in this place. The Prince and I have made sure of that." He leaned close to Harry and breathed in his ear. "I wonder how you will sound like when I make you scream."

"Did you think," Prince Voldemort hissed, "that I would not know that the 'boy' you were with, that 'simple sailor' as you called him, was in fact the Dread Pirate Roberts?"

"His name is Harry Potter," Severus choked out, truthfully in fact. "He was my apprentice, he was lost at sea and it was the Dread Pirate Roberts who took him from me!"

Voldemort paused and he removed his hand from its painfully crushing grip on Severus' throat. "You're telling me the truth."

"Of course," Severus rasped. "I've no reason to lie to you, my lord."

"You're not lying… but you are not telling me the entire truth either. Very clever, Severus," the Prince replied. "You love that young man; I can see it in your eyes… I don't even have to cast a Legilimens spell to read it in your mind."

Severus' eyes narrowed and Voldemort laughed. "Oh, Severus, the look on your face! I am well aware that you are a skilled Occlumens but you didn't really think you could hide anything from me, did you?"

"It was worth a try," Severus snapped, knowing that the game was well and truly up but not yet willing to go down without a fight. "Where is Harry?"

Voldemort trailed one finger down Severus' cheek in a hideous parody of Harry's own gesture of affection and the latter couldn't help but shudder. "He's had a good headstart, I should think. Unlike you, I do keep my word."

Put not your trust in Princes, Severus belatedly remembered and wished that he could kick himself for ever forgetting that.

"Of course, all I need to do is speak and my Death Eaters will be after him. I will scour all the lands and all the seas for him and I will not stop until I bring him back, in chains, to be executed in the slowest and most painful manner possible," Voldemort smiled. "And I shall be sure to make that beautiful, perfect face a bloody ruin before I'm through. No one is fairer or more handsome than me! No one!"

Bloody, buggering hell! Severus was already slowly drawing his wand out from its place in his sleeve. He knew that it would mean his death but he had every intention of going down into hell and taking Voldemort with him. But before he could do so, his wand flew out of his sleeve and into Voldemort's hands.

"Oh, Severus, who knew you could be so disgustingly noble and self-sacrificing?"

Voldemort mourned. "There is a way you can make it up to me, though."

"I hope it includes me telling you to sod off and be buggered up the wall by your bloody snake," Severus snarled.

In reply, Voldemort spoke a single word: "Imperio!"

Severus shuddered all over as he felt the insidious power of that Unforgivable Curse sweep over him, robbing him of his own will.

"Marry me, Severus Snape," Voldemort purred. "I will make this puny kingdom into an empire and I shall lay it all at your feet. You will keep me young and beautiful forever and be at my side for all time. Say yes, my dearest one."

Despite all his efforts to fight the spell, to stop the Prince from imposing his will on him, Severus found himself answering "Yes."

-sshpss-

Harry was in unspeakable pain.

Count Malfoy had cranked the machine up bit by bit, slowly introducing Harry to the "various levels of pain," as he put it. The Count said he wanted to hear Harry scream but Harry held it back for as long as possible, not wanting to give the bastard the satisfaction. He groaned and whimpered and bit his lip until he drew blood.

But he did not scream.

"It's a perfect waste of a good voice," the Count remonstrated with him. "Screaming does help with the pain, you realize."

Harry tried to cast his mind away from his body, to distance himself from the pain. He tried to think of Severus instead, of the way his hands moved deftly and gracefully as he prepared his potions, of the sound of his voice when he read to Harry, of his kiss and the warmth of his breath against Harry's skin…

"It's a pity, isn't it, that your lover gave up at the very first opportunity," the Count observed, seeming to see into Harry's very thoughts. "I'm not fool enough to think that Severus wasn't trying to save your skin when he did that. But still, all your tales of derring-do have failed to impress your beloved." Once more, he bent to whisper in Harry's ear. "He doesn't trust you. He doesn't believe in you. He never has."

And oh gods, that hurt worse than Malfoy's thrice-damned torture machine. Harry felt the tears trickling down his cheeks. If only Severus had a little more faith in him!

But he still did not scream.

The Count frowned as he cranked up the machine one level before the very highest. "Such an unusual capacity for pain. You are unique, Captain Roberts. It's almost a pity to finish you…"

"Sod. Off," Harry ground out through gritted teeth.

"Are you trying to live for true love and all that rot, Captain?" Malfoy inquired pleasantly. He made a show of caressing Harry's cheek and then his hair, before digging painfully into the black strands with his fingers. "There is nothing left to live for, you know. Severus Snape is not a man who will be content with a headstrong, lovestruck boy. One that he forever needs to save…"

Harry tried to spit at him but he found that he didn't have the strength. He thought of Severus again, remembered the bright flash of that spell and the amused, laughing faces of the Prince and the Count just before he'd lost unconsciousness…

You don't have to keep saving me all the time, Severus.

"Scream for me, Master Roberts. I want to hear it. Now."

"Never," Harry rasped.

The Count snarled and cranked the machine up to the very highest level.

Harry screamed. Once. But it wasn't from the physical pain.

Why didn't you trust me, Severus?

"One scream? That's all I get!" The Count protested. He rushed to Harry. "Again! Do it again!"

"Did you know," the tormented man whispered, "that you've got six fingers on your right hand?"

And then, Harry Potter died.

-tbc-

Author's Notes: MUWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHA! Man, it's fun being an evil alien Sith Lord.