A/N: Yes, this is the same chapter that was put here yesterday. Instead of replacing the chapter, I deleted it. Sigh. Here's the edited version, nonetheless.
Betrayed With a Kiss
Chapter Five: Abduction in the First Degree
Your apologies will never sooth the sting;
Just keep scratching our eyes out.
You should have known,
You should have known,
You should have known.
Run, you can run. You can run,
We'll find you.
-Matchbook Romance "You Can Run, But We'll Find You"
When he was alone again, Severus Snape finally admitted to himself that he was worried. He was supposed to be one of Voldemort's most trusted followers. And he had not been told about this plan to recruit the werewolves.
Severus sighed. He knew he was being ridiculous. Of course Voldemort didn't want him in on this mission. The Dark Lord knew better than anyone of the Potions Master's irrational fear of those particular creatures. But who did the wizard trust to deliver the letters? And how much did it matter anyways?
He just wanted this game to be over. He was sick of feeling like he was running on a knife's edge, where either side would lead to an endless fall and stopping would leave him sliced in half.
A sharp pain shot through his dark mark. He chuckled ironically, then prepared himself for the Dark Lord's presence.
"Severus," the Dark Lord greeted him upon his arrival. It was then that he noticed that he and the dark wizard were alone.
"Milord." Severus bowed to him and kissed the hem of his robes. "It has been too long."
Voldemort seemed quite pleased with this greeting and something that may have been a smile passed over his features. He lifted the still kneeling man's chin with his fingers. "What have you heard from the Order?"
"Lupin says that you've contacted him." He let his concern over not being made aware of that step enter the forefront of his mind as his eyes met the red ones of the Dark Lord.
The dark wizard pulled him to his feet. "Severus," he admonished softly. "You know that there were others more fit for the task." He then grabbed Snape roughly. "Tell me what else transpired."
"Lupin doesn't seem to be interested in joining us, lord."
"I see," the Dark Lord answered evenly.
Severus went on, "And Dumbledore is concerned about the werewolf's wards. He means to strengthen them."
"That is of no matter, Severus. We won't need to enter his room again."
"You're just going to let the wolf disrespect you like that, milord?"
Voldemort glared at him. "Don't be daft!" he snapped, backhanding the dark haired man across the face. "We're going to capture him."
"Sorry, Lord," Severus responded softly, his face smarting with the unearned rebuke. "How did the others respond?"
"Lupin is the only one that doesn't wish to join us." The reptilian man grinned.
"That's wonderful, Milord."
The Dark Lord looked at him for a moment, before dismissing him. "Lupin will be informed of the stupidity of his decision, Severus, and perhaps you'll finally get a little bit of the revenge you've been wanting for so long," were the last words Severus heard before he disapparated.
His meeting with Dumbledore didn't last long as he had little to report. The older wizard didn't mention the burgeoning bruise on the side of the younger's face. Snape smirked to himself when he was alone again. Of course the Headmaster would ignore the bruise. He always did when Severus was a child, what would make today so different?
He still felt that pang of disappointment that the other wizard regarded him so little.
That next morning's classes went horrendously. Two different first years had exploded cauldrons, one's potion hitting him almost full on as he scourgified the other's. So it was only his second class of the day and he was in the hospital wing.
"You have a few major burns, here, Severus," Poppy was saying, as she rummaged through her stores for burn creme. "If the explosion hadn't rendered the child's potion useless, we'd be having another conversation entirely, though."
He snorted. "Because second degree burns aren't bad enough as it is."
"You really need to learn to appreciate the little things," Pomfrey was sighing as she rubbed the creme on his arms. "Merlin only knows how much time we have left on this Earth. You'd be happier-"
"If I ran away with the next Hippogriff that Hagrid forces upon our students?" he put in sarcastically. Once she finished her ministrations, he moved as if to leave.
She caught his arm. "Who hit you, Severus?"
He frowned at her and shook his arm out of her grasp. "The Dark Lord was quite displeased last night, Poppy," he answered in little more than a whisper.
There was relief on her face. She had thought that it was Albus, her thoughts explained to him. He grinned without any of the mirth that usually accompanied such an expression. "I think the Headmaster is more in the habit of using others to cause me harm than to expell any effort himself," he told her as he left the room.
Snape didn't have to stay to see the stricken expression her face had taken on. He moved through the halls with haste even though he knew he was running too far behind to make it to his class on time.
He entered his fifth year Gryffindor-Slytherin class a full five minutes late. "Open your books to page eighty," he snapped as he made his way to the front of the class. Most of them scrambled to follow his order, but a few simply stared at him. "Now!" he growled, whipping around to face them.
His eyes alighted on the Golden Trio and he noted that Potter was looking at him quite strangely. "Is there something that you would like to share with the class Mr. Potter?"
The dark haired boy shook his head with a "no, sir." Apparently even he knew better than to be impertinent when his teacher looked so angry.
"Then open your book," he hissed. Needless to say, the rest of the lesson went rather quietly, but that did little to assuage Severus's bad mood.
After his classes were over, he returned to his quarters for the rest of the evening. There was nothing in this world that could coerce him out of his bad mood, and he preferred to brood alone. Besides, the elves were always quite pleased when he requested dinner in his rooms. More work for them.
"Remus." The Headmaster greeted him, waving him into the seat beside him which was normally reserved for Snape. "How are you?"
"Where's Severus?" he found himself answering before sitting, "Harry told me that there's something wrong with him. He apparently looks quite ill and his face is bruised."
Dumbledore smiled politely. "Severus's first years had a couple of mishaps today," he replied. "I tried to convince him to come down for dinner, but he's in such a mood… And I do hate to eat alone."
Lupin sat down and frowned at him. "He's not sick?"
"Severus is fine," the older wizard said sternly. "Now stop worrying and eat."
The brunette nodded and piled his plate with food. "Sorry," he said after a moment, "sometimes I forget my manners. I'm doing well, and you?"
Albus's grin told him all he needed to know, but the man spoke anyhow. "Great. Why just today I…"
Remus found his attentions wandering as the Headmaster continued his narrative. Sure, Potions accidents could explain the mood and even the fact that Severus looked ill, but the bruise? One that was so bad that salve took some time to heal?
Harry said that it looked as if someone had hit the Potions Master.
This last thought was the reason he excused himself from dinner not too much later. "That's good to hear," he had said of Dumbledore's story, "Now, if you'd excuse me. I'm feeling pretty tired…" The Headmaster smiled and bid him a good night and he made his way to Snape's rooms.
"Severus, what happened to your face?" he asked as the wizard opened his door.
Snape offered a terse "get in!" and closed the door behind him. "I spoke to the Dark Lord last night," he told Remus. "He's angry that you've snubbed him. He doesn't always curse us, Lupin, contrary to popular belief."
He rolled his eyes. "So he hits you instead. Much better, that. Why someone would ever want to join the bastard is beyond me…"
"Don't speak of things you could never understand," the dark haired wizard growled. "He can be quite convincing when you have few other allies."
Remus instantly felt guilty. "I'm sorry. I wish we had known better then."
"Do you really think my decision was based only upon your treatment of me?" Severus sneered. "You were hardly that important to me."
"But we could have helped you, Severus…"
"Funny how little that matters now, isn't it?"
Lupin was roughly shown to the door. He couldn't help but wonder if he had lost all the progress he had made with the other man with that one conversation alone.
When Severus asked for his help with obtaining some potions ingredient or other a few days later he jumped at the chance, glad to know that the man still trusted him to some degree.
Severus was still going on about the various uses he could the rare weed for, when Remus realized that something was up. Snape never talked that much. And why was the man asking for his help to gather ingredients, when he normally preferred to be alone?
"Severus, why did you ask me out here?" Lupin asked him warily.
The dark haired wizard stopped abruptly. "I already told you," he snapped. "Need I repeat myself?"
Okay, so that definitely sounded like Snape. "Sorry, it's just you usually do these things by yourself, and so I thought…"
"You see, that's your problem Lupin," he replied coldly.
"You always start to think much too late."
Remus started at the other man's answer. Then he saw the dark figures entering the clearing around them.
A/N: Cookies to: murielmodel, eepy and ShadowCub, who got the reference to The Last Supper. Severus keeps that picture because Judas reminds him of himself. Judas was the one who betrayed Jesus. He did it basically because he was the one that God chose to do it. Similarly, Severus betrays the Dark Lord because he was the one that Dumbledore chose to do it.
Next time: Those at Hogwarts learn of Remus's disappearance as he meets with the Dark Lord.