Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to the goddess, JKR. A missing scene from Order of the Phoenix.

When Fury is Spent, There Remains Only Emptiness

This Firewhiskey is nothing but swill; its only use that of cleaning the cauldrons of my hapless fifth year Hufflepuffs.

I should be drinking brandy but Firewhiskey dulls the senses at a more acceptable pace. After the evening I have been forced to endure…

Potter.

Damn that boy. He is a living occupational hazard.

What the hell has he been wasting his time with?

He isn't playing Quidditch so I can't blame his lack of effort on that.

Frankly, it irritates the hell out of me that he can show such great potential and yet fail extravagantly at something that may very well save his life and all of us in the bargain.

I suppose Occlumency does not have the cachet of, for example, learning the Patronus Charm. But doesn't the little whelp understand why I am teaching this?

Why me indeed.

Merlin's tastebuds, this Firewhiskey is really terrible stuff but it leaves a mind numb, and that is exactly what I need.

The Headmaster should be the one teaching him. I do not understand this sudden distancing…this sudden detachment. I know he cares for the boy…why am I doing his work?

And now that I have virtually guaranteed Potter will not be returning to me anytime soon, what will happen?

I can't say that I care that much right now. The Headmaster could fire me and I don't think I'd mind greatly.

As long as that old hag, Umbridge, gets sacked first.

Blast! Why did Potter have to be so curious?

Oh, I suppose it's partially my fault…I should have put the Pensieve away. But that nuisance of a Malfoy distracted me.

I can only hope that he does not go blabbing to his nuisance of a father.

But, damn it all, Potter should have respected my privacy. Was it really an unreasonable thing to expect? Isn't he a Gryffindor, all honour-bound and all that?

I did not want him to see that. It's bad enough that the memories are in my head…the images plaguing me in dreams as I sleep.

James. Sirius. Remus. Peter.

One dead. One a traitor and better off dead. One a royal pain in the arse and the other, mostly harmless… well, when he is not in his transformed state.

Bastards, all of them. Made my life a living hell while I was a student here. I hated them. I still hate them.

It would appear that the Firewhiskey has lost its vile aftertaste. Thank Merlin for small blessings.

The Headmaster speaks of forgiveness. I cannot forgive.

When I see Potter, I see his father, and I act out against him the way I never could against James.

It is wrong, even an overgrown bat like myself can see that, but I cannot seem to control myself around the boy. It's as if his mere presence unleashes the very Furies in my soul and I become somehow less rational.

A rational Death Eater? What an oxymoron.

I suppose throwing things at him as he was fleeing was, perhaps, not the brightest thing I ever did but the vials of bubotuber pus did smash in an oddly therapeutic manner. I rather calmly asked Filch to clean everything up…blaming it on a burst of Potter's latent wandless magic. I promised the old caretaker that I would assign the boy a particularly nasty detention and that seemed to cheer his spirits.

Truth be told, I'll be happier if I never see the boy again.

The Firewhiskey is starting to taste better. I suppose I am on my way to drinking myself into a complete stupor.

Idiot boy. I was trying to protect him from the Dark Lord, after all. What was to be gained in pilfering my memories? Did he not think I had placed them there for a reason?

Curiosity killed the Gryffindor lion.

That was a most pitiful attempt at humour.

I am pitiful…to hold a grudge against the son of someone who has been dead many years. Is it not the custom to never speak ill of the dead…for they cannot defend themselves?

I should have tried to be more patient. Perhaps he understands why I became as bitter as I did. Perhaps seeing how his father treated me will put me in a slightly different light.

I was not an evil person…I did not become a Death Eater to torture and rape and murder people.

I wanted to belong somewhere. Anywhere.

But no one wanted me.

No one except Voldemort. That doesn't exactly instill a person with any degree of confidence.

Ah, the Firewhiskey is really getting good now. I should do this more often. It's fortunate that I do not have to teach tomorrow.

I am tired of all this. Tired of the war. Tired of being the spy.

I'm tired of my own petty hatred and desire for revenge.

I'm tired of everything…even those damned lemon drops the Headmaster keeps in his office.

And it's a shame that I destroyed all those potions ingredients. They will not be cheap to replace.

Such a bloody shame.

Yes, this was definitely a formidable year for Firewhiskey distilling. Excellent stuff, really.

It does an admirable job of hiding the emptiness inside me.