Disclaimer: Not compensated for this fic and not going to take credit for the great characters.

Title: The Price of Service

Rating Pg-13

Summary: Companion to Slow Death. This fic is in Snape's POV and was written to kill my own boredom. I wrote this directly after I had finished Slow Death, but for some reason I hid it from everyone. Hopefully you all will enjoy seeing things from a new POV.

Thanks again to my Beta, Molly!!

There have been many times when I have regretted my actions under the Dark Lord's service, but a servant is unwise to question his master if he places any amount of value upon his life. There are many things which I did for Lord Voldemort which I am not proud of. In fact, of all the horrible commands I ever followed one stands out as sharply in my mind as the day when I received the orders.

My fate was to be entwined that of a mere boy. Granted the child did manage to survive the killing curse, but this was none of his doing. As far as I am concerned his survival was purely accidental. I had been ordered to finish the task or render the boy incapable of causing my Master any further trouble.

A faithful Death Eater I am, but a child killer I am not. This task was to prove itself to be most difficult. I had stalled for as long as I could. When at last the Dark Lord's patience wore thin I knew that I must do it now; it was either act or be killed.

I pushed my reluctance away and replaced it with nothingness. I traveled to the boy's home in secrecy. Dumbledore was unaware of my intentions; I had meant to explain everything to him before I had acted, but the right way to explain the torture of a child never did come to me. I decided that I would explain my actions once my task was completed. I do not fear my own death, but a spy becomes useless once he crosses over. Potter would pay a high price to allow me to continue my service as a spy for Dumbledore.

It was late in the night when I entered Potter's muggle home. I illuminated my wand at once and set to making my way through the home. I sneered at the many muggle photographs of a portly boy that must have somehow been a relation to Potter. It was not important to my task, but I found it to be odd that not a single representation of Potter was present throughout the entire house.

The stairs groaned in response to my weight as I continued my search for the boy's room. I passed by a room with a strange string of locks on both the wall and the door. Strange muggle creatures to put so many locks on a door. Certainly this was a hiding place for something valuable; with this in mind I skipped the room and went on.

A little further down the hall I managed to discover the portly boy's den, as well as the bedroom of his equally disturbing parents. Irritatingly enough I hadn't seen any sign of Potter, so I returned to the door with the many locks.

It seemed quite odd to me that anyone would keep a wizard locked away. Perhaps he was being punished, or perhaps he was disliked, maybe they feared him. With muggles it was difficult to tell.

The muggle locks on the door were more of an irritation than anything else. Once I had dealt with all of the locks I gently pushed open the door. The boy contained within the small bedroom responded by casting a disarming spell, which missed me completely. I was almost startled to find the young man up at such a late hour, but then I reminded myself that this was Potter and he never was one that I had considered to be a normal child.

"Now, now Potter. That's not very wise, all things considered," I stated in my dark tone of voice.

Potter recognized my voice almost immediately, and for a brief moment he seemed to calm down. "You?" he stammered as he attempted to discern my intent.

I advanced on him a bit with my wand drawn and he barked at me to keep back. The boy raised his own wand to face me. Harry Potter was going to try and fight…me. I could not help but smile; Potter was very amusing when he wasn't being loathsome.

"You'll have to put your wand away, Potter. I'm afraid that you must accompany me. My Master wishes it."

Potter's face twisted in a brief fit of befuddlement. He steeled his features and cast another spell, which I had been expecting, and I casually dodged the charm. The young man gaped at me, unsure whether or not to try once more. I never allowed him the time; I adjusted my aim and cast a spell of my own.

There was a grunt of dismay from Potter as he dropped roughly in a heap at my feet and then there was a moment of complete silence. One of the muggles had woken up and started to curse rather loudly for Potter to shut it. Well, he couldn't be much quieter than he was now. Grimly I stooped and picked the wizard youth up off of the floor and carried him away from what he thought was torture.

The boy knew nothing of torture yet.

The cell I kept him in was dark, cold and damp. The young man shivered in his poorly fitted muggle clothing as he lay on the chilly stone floor. He groaned and attempted to wake up. He opened his eyes and looked around. He took a moment to straighten the glasses on his nose and a small startled noise escaped his throat.

He was confused, that much was painfully clear. He looked up at me with a questioning glance. He seemed to hope that I would offer some reassurance or a small amount of comfort. Nothing of the kind could be offered, even if I had wanted to.

It was time to take things into hand; there was no time to appear soft. I cursed him with the all too familiar Cruciatus Curse. He screamed openly in pain, but I could not relent. I could not release him until I was certain that he had no doubt that he was doomed.

When his voice broke I released him from the merciless grip of my curse. He didn't try to move or even to talk, but he simply lay on the floor quivering in torment.

'There is no choice,' I reassured myself. 'You either obey and remain a spy, or disobey and die. With death Dumbledore's efforts will be for naught.' I shook my head and turned to leave.

When I returned to Potter hours later he seemed to have recovered from my earlier show of cruelty. He was on his feet and alert as I swished into the dungeon. Not knowing what to expect from me he stepped back. I allowed him only seconds to contemplate his fate before I bound him to a slimy dungeon wall with a spell.

He struggled with my magic for a moment and stilled when I closed the space between us.

"Good evening, Potter," I glanced about the dark chamber, which was dismally illuminated by a single wall torch near the door. "Or should I say good morning?"

It was impossible for him to know how long he'd really been inside the cell. He glared at me for reminding him that he had no control over anything while he was here. Not even the knowledge of whether it was night or day was his unless I allowed him to have it.

I strengthened the bindings and only allowed him the freedom to blink. I questioned him endlessly about Dumbledore's Army. I asked him about anything and everything. I didn't need to allow him the power of speech because I knew he would not answer me. When I did loosen the binding and allow him to speak he defied me as I had predicted he would.

I was bored with hearing myself speak and moments later I released him from the wall. He was barely able to hit the floor before I mercilessly cursed him. I stopped before he passed out.

The boy had resisted me for weeks in this manner. I had wanted to end this quickly and perhaps minimize the amount of irreconcilable damage, but Potter had forced me to draw things out. I had had enough of it. It was going to end soon, one way or another.

The young man did not even bother to get up when I entered the disgusting cell. I secured his unresisting body to the wall and approached him with a way out of this. I took a small vial of red liquid from my robes and showed it to him. By the look on his face he'd never seen the potion before.

"Doesn't look like much does it, Potter?"

In a smoldering tone I explained that food was a weakness that could be conquered. This potion that I offered would relieve him of the burden of the need to eat, and if he wasn't treated properly the poison would take his life.

He clenched his jaw sharply as I unstopped the vial. It took a terrible effort to resist the charm I placed upon his jaw, but within a few moments my magic had outlasted his jaw muscles. He opened his mouth even as his jaw flexed and trembled to resist. I quickly poured my poison into his mouth and clamped his jaw shut before he could have the chance to spit.

Potter refused to swallow. I waited, and waited. When at last I had waited long enough I took away his ability to draw in air with another charm. He struggled in vain, but still refused to submit and accept the potion.

"Potter, if you would simply swallow the potion I will allow you to breathe once more."

The young wizard looked ready to burst, because he desired to breathe so badly. His eyes rolled for a second, and I knew that he would black out if I did not release him very soon. I forced him to wait for a few more agonizing seconds.

"Very well, Potter. It does me no good to allow you to die at the moment," I said coldly as I released all of my spells on him.

The boy fell to the floor and choked. I wasn't sure if it was to make myself or him feel a little bit better, but I allowed him to catch his breath before I cursed him. When I left him he was a pitiful twitching ball of wizard flesh and blood.

When I returned to the cell many hours later I had no intention of relenting this time. He would have to swallow the potion this time. I put him in his familiar place against the prison wall.

I had managed to convince Lord Voldemort to allow Potter to die with his muggle relatives. He knew as well as I that muggle medicine would do nothing to stop the potion I intended for Potter, and from what I knew of these muggles they would not willingly enlist any other wizard's assistance.

Even as weak as he was, this boy that I had kept as a prisoner for what had been four weeks was not easily coerced. I wasn't certain if it was courage or fear that had kept him from submitting to my wishes; I've never bothered to question him about it.

His eyes grew wide when he saw that I had brought more poison for him. I allowed no more than a moment to stew things over before I pried his jaws apart with a simple spell and poured the bitter liquid onto his tongue. Once his jaw was clenched shut I waited for him to swallow.

"Potter, swallow and end this," I felt my tone quiver from inside, but he didn't seem to catch it, and he simply stared ahead trying to focus on nothingness.

"It is not wise to test me," I forced my voice to harden. Potter focused his green eyes on me and gave me a contemptuous glare. It seemed that I no longer could intimidate him with threats of pain.

With a gentle flick of my wand I cut off his ability to breathe. The boy narrowed his eyes, and proceeded to continue to defy me.

When the boy's eyes began to water I allowed him to have a few mercy breaths. Before he had comfortably caught his breath I took it away once more. "Suffocation is not a pleasant way to die, Potter."

I knew that he had no more desire to die than any other person, but his own death would not cinch anything for either of us. His need for self-preservation was not his weakness.

"Potter, your friends may suffer unpleasant things if the Dark Lord is not pacified. If you do not wish to see them suffer because of your selfishness, I suggest you submit."

That settled things for him. His friends were more important to him than his own welfare. Once he'd given in and accepted the poison I had given him, I let him breathe immediately. He let out a grunt as he fell roughly from the wall once I had set him free from my spell.

He could already sense the stuff churning in his system like fiery motion sickness. I reached down and roughly pulled him up from the floor and dragged him out of the prison. At last he would return home.

Once I had arrived with the boy in front of his muggle home I took a vial of milky liquid from my robes. He might have fought me had it been a few days earlier, but now he had no will to resist anymore. All of his resistance had been sapped in trying to keep from drinking the previous potion. I held him by the tattered muggle shirt collar and poured the stuff down his throat.

Within a few moments his eyes had glazed over and fluttered closed. Gently this time I scooped him into my arms and took him to his small, unpleasant bedroom. All of the muggles were asleep as they had been the first time I'd invaded their home.

I wanted to apologize to the boy, but all I could manage was a less severe glare. Even if he would have been awake it wouldn't have helped him. I sighed and turned to leave. Dumbledore needed to know what was going on before Potter's head cleared from the potion I'd just given him, and before the boy's time ran out completely.

No matter how many times I went over the reasoning in my head it never seemed quite adequate. I could only hope that Dumbledore would understand, and perhaps in time so would Potter.

Well, that's it. Hope that you liked it.