Wayfaring Stranger

A Snivellus/Marauders Story

and Sequel to "Wizard's Oath"

Written and Illustrated by Atana

Snape and other HP characters belong to J. Rowling and not to me. Original characters, however, certainly do. To see the illustrations for this story, go to my Profile picture and click on the hyperlink. No slash, no sex. PG-13. Angst alert!

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"I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger

A-traveling through this world of woe.

And there's no sickness, toil or danger

In this bright world to which I go."

- Traditional American folk song

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It was full darkness, and nobody had lit the lanterns in his Slytherin Tower bedroom because his roommates had not yet returned from vacation. It was just the way young Severus Snape liked it.

If it were dark, no one could look at you.

If it were dark, no one would laugh at you.

If it were dark, no one would see what you were up to until it was too late.

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Lily Evans raced sobbing down the staircase from Slytherin Tower, one shoe untied. She needed to get to the Gryffindor common room as fast as she could.

She tripped on one of the steps leading up to the Fat Lady's portrait, hitting her kneecap in that exquisitely sensitive place where the pain alone could make you want to vomit. She grabbed her knee, moaning and curling up on her side.

"Lily!" Remus Lupin had cried. He had been on his way out, and now stooped down to help her. Her tearstained and swollen face frightened him.

"Lily! What -- "

"Help me up, Moony! Quick!"

He had laced an arm under hers and pulled her up. She snuffled and reached down to touch the thin rivulet of blood making its way down her shin. She pulled her hand back with a little cry; it really hurt.

"Lily! What on Earth is wrong? Tell me!"

Lily looked into the boy's careworn face. "Snips Snape is in terrible trouble. I need to talk to an adult right away! Is Professor McGonagall about?"

"No, she isn't. Tell me what happened!"

"Help me, then! I need to find the Headmaster."

"Shall I get James?"

"No time! Let's go!"

The two Gryffindor students hobbled back down the moving staircase.

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Severus had awakened from his brief nap sick to his stomach over his cruelty to Lily Evans.

The pragmatist in him soon shrugged it off. You can't be friends with Lily without being friends with James. Snape knew that they would become a couple; it was obvious to anyone with half a brain who watched them together. It was just a matter of time.

He groaned in heartbroken misery as warm tears coursed down his thin face. The Potters had been so kind to him. He had been so happy there. James Potter's mother had even taken pictures of them being friends and having fun. Who would have believed such a thing was possible for nasty skinny ugly Snivellus, the Dark arts brat who summoned demons when he was frightened instead of using his fists like a real man -- ?

It was only fitting that James had tricked him, and then betrayed him. How easily the lies had poured from his lips! Of course the Marauders were meant to humiliate and hurt him, like they always had.

James Potter should never have let a Dark creature into the House of Light in the first place. It had been an abomination, and now it had been purged. Cast out.

Even Lily had believed James and Severus were friends. Poor deluded Lily, who had left Slytherin Tower in tears --!! Severus had been undeserving of such kindness, such goodness. The girls with beautiful souls and kind smiles would have nothing to do with greasy gits like him.

There wouldn't be a beautiful and kind girl for him, of course. The only one Severus had ever been blessed with had transferred to Beauxbatons. It hadn't been her idea, of course, and she hadn't wanted him left alone once again. But a year had come and gone and he hadn't received any messages from her. Not a single one.

Martis --!

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Unable to get up, Severus now lay curled up on a jumbled mess of bedcovers. He hadn't eaten anything in a while; perhaps that was the reason for his lethargy. He couldn't stop crying and shivering beneath the worn-out robe that had once been his father's.

The bastard. May he burn in Avernus after the Dementors had sucked the soul out of him!

Severus thought about something he'd once read. After the end of the Muggle World War II, there had been a group of Nazis who had refused to surrender. And just as the Allies thought they'd closed in on them and caught them, they had bitten into little capsules hidden on their persons and died. All their enemies would end up with was a bunch of nasty corpses instead of live captives who could be tortured.

Cyanide, though, had been a bit too savage for Severus. Being Professor Sartoris' best student had its uses. He had learned that there were other combinations that were just as deadly but were more -- well, civilized.

Wiping his eyes and rolling on his back, Sev remembered his last visit home and sighed deeply, hot tears pooling around his ears.

His father had beaten him badly his first evening home over something he'd said, or hadn't said, or whatever. It hadn't mattered. Finding excuses for beating up your son didn't matter, either. It wasn't as if anyone was going to question Confutatis Maledictis Snape about his motives, anyway!

A family is only as sick as its secrets --

The Snape family had its fair share, too. His stupid mother had spent the entire next day working over him with her stupid poultices and her stupid spells, trying to fix Sevie all up so no one would ever know that she allowed her husband to torture her own son.

There's nothing wrong here, but don't tell anyone --

There was surely nothing wrong in having a secret stash of Dark arts paraphernalia in Snape Manor. It had been well hidden from outsiders, to keep those Ministry of Magic fools off balance. Severus knew about them. He had always worked with them, of course, in keeping with his father's desire for his son to follow in his footsteps as an acolyte of the Dark one. His father had not, however, shown Severus where such items were stored.

But Sev had found out. If you crept around silently so that your father didn't hear you, you could find out all sorts of things.

The evening of the day after that particular beating, Sev had half-walked, half-crawled down the stairs over to a trunk covered with chased leather and intricate brass hardware. He whispered the proper incantation, and then opened it.

Smiling, he had drawn out a small silver bottle stoppered with a carved onyx top. He had slipped it into his pocket and had dragged himself back upstairs. By the time he'd found his way back to bed, several of his bandages were soaked with blood.

The poor child had lain there bleeding as he had held the bottle in his hands, letting the moonlight play over its metallic surface. The moonlight had been beautiful, but had been as cold as his heart had felt that night.

Severus hadn't summoned up enough courage to actually drink its contents that evening. Instead, he had tucked the small bottle into the pocket of his only pair of leggings and had carefully hidden it away once he had reached Slytherin Tower.

Realizing that his roommates wouldn't be back for a few hours at least, Severus had finally sat up and now sat on the edge of his bed, bare legs dangling.

He smiled a secret smile for he knew the bottle was right there, right there in its secret spot, just waiting for him.