Chapter III

Days past as Snape brooded about his lab. He hadn't left for three straight, sustaining himself on only cheep wine and high price vodka. The thought of concocting a potion to ease his pain was nothing more than a thought. Every memory that filled his mind was of her, her flaming red hair, her piercing green eyes, her clear smile. Snape slammed a fist onto his desk causing the multiple vials to twitch and clang.

"Damn it," he sighed.

He let his eyes close as his thoughts engulfed him; again Lily Evans graced every snapshot of time. A low rumble and an echoing of clatter brought the Potions Master back to life. Another rumble sent his stomach into convulsions. The shaking continued, however, until an empty vodka bottle crashed to the floor and a potion vial attempted to shatter; he caught it just in time. The tremors were blinded by pure pain that shot up Severus' arm. He held the wretched tattoo against his stomach in hopes of dulling the deathly sensation. His attempts were futile as the pain only grew until he could do nothing but scream.

He fell to his knees and clutched the poisoned arm closer, tears emitting from his pinched eyes. In one final peak, the pain dulled to nothing more than a tingle. Snape let out a long held breath and collapsed. Short raspy breaths slowly transformed back into full inhalations. His mind was falling blank once again until…

Two deep knocks claimed Snape's attention. A fear crept deep into his stomach, one he had only felt once in his life. A third knock caused his hand to retreat to his robes, his wand appearing in it. As he moved closer to the blockade between the knocker and himself, Snape felt his fear strengthen; his stomach tightening. His hand shook as it fell to the doorknob.

Another knock echoed in the dead silence, it's sound scared Severus even deeper. Despite all signs pointing away from the door, Snape turned the handle and pulled. His eyes slowly wandered up the man standing in front of him, every inch of robe revealed brought one more reason to close the door. He never reached the man's face before he spoke.

"Good evening, Severus."

He sneered at the man standing before him, he didn't know why he did, Dumbledore had never done anything but help him. Right now, however, was not a great time to see Mr. Compromise.

"If you're here to make sure I'm still alive, I'm pleased to tell you I am," Snape spat. "However, I'll have to ask you to leave as my humble lab is not up for entertaining guests."

"Severus," Dumbledore retorted. "I know how much you want to stay here, cooped up forever."

Snape looked away from the white elder.

"But you cannot hide from your fears," he continued.

"I don't want your pity, old man," he said, turning his back to the senior.

"Never turn your back on your enemy, Severus."

Snape's breath caught in his throat and his heart jolted to a halt as the hiss of a killer swept over his ears. Forcing himself to breathe, he gripped his wand tighter as he faced his greatest fear.

There standing before him, in the one place he believed He could never penetrate, in the only place he knew he was safe, was Lord Voldemort. The safety of Dumbledore was no where to be found.

"W-Wh-"

"Where is he?" Voldemort finished for the shaking servant.

A sneer passed over his lips before he continued.

"The only one I ever feared…is dead."

Snape's throat began to constrict as if an invisible hand was slowly grasping it. He backed away from the devil, the evil of the world, grasping his contracting air supply. Voldemort laughed as Severus began to cough and choke on the idea of his leader's death. That laughter echoed deep in Snape's mind, he gripped his ears desperately trying to wake up from this nightmare.

"I'm not leaving until every last inch of you," Voldemort hissed. "Is broken."

Snape diverted his eyes away from the vile creature that stood before him, his back finally reached a wall.

"Now I truly have to ask," Voldemort said, stepping over the threshold. "What do you have to live for now?"

A darkness filled the room, it suffocated Severus, it blinded all light, all hope, it left all life empty. Voldemort's snake-like face contorted into gruesome rage, his wand outstretched before him.

"Tell me, slave!" His voice echoed. "What, now, do you have to live for!"

Snape realized he was going to die, shrivelled in the corner, hoping for a lifeline, hoping for Dumbledore. He couldn't die like that.

"I am living, so that you can not rule," he stated, clear and proud.

"You believe that your existence is the reason I am not Supreme Lord?" Voldemort laughed. "My, my, what has little Dumbledore has placed into your head?"

"Strength and power."

"And stupidity!"

"He will always be stronger than you, always have more power than you!"

"But he is dead, Severus!"

"He will never die!"

Voldemort's face twisted into hatred beyond any human emotion as his wand appeared in front of him. Severus looked straight at his assassin and smiled