Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue…
How will you act when you're put into a bad situation? What do you think? What do you do? Do you even know? Do you want to know? Staring listless hours, knowing that possibly those footsteps so far away, yet oh so close will be your Grim Reaper—or maybe not even that. Maybe something even worse.
Do you know how you'll act? What you'll do?
They always told you that the pain would diminish with time; that it would become numb, and slowly you'd recover. You longed to believe them, even after everything happened, but of course, you knew they wrong. You knew they were lying. That's what people do best, they lie.
Lie to themselves, lie to others, they even lie in bed and dream dreams that lie even more then their souls.
You'll survive though…that wasn't a lie. You wish it were. Some lies are better as lies, and though surviving seems whimsical, a well duh sort of lie, you wish it weren't so. Maybe you don't want to survive. Did they ever consider that?
No, of course not, people don't consider your wants. Not anymore, anyway. Yet, you hold a lot of secrets, don't you? Bad ones, good ones—silent ones, loud ones. No one knows them though, that's because they're secrets.
They're secrets though. Real deadly.
So deadly, so ever deadly.
So if you find yourself in a bad situation, one of your worst case scenarios, how will those deadly secrets affect you? What will you do?
Why it's simple, really…
"Ensnare the senses…ensnare the senses…ensnare the sense…" It's a rhythm, a melody almost, you chant it all day, all night, you hum it in your restless sleep, and you cling to it longingly when you're awake.
Your lovely roommate hums along sometimes, but he hates it mostly. He complains to the splotches on the ceiling about your chant, but you do not care. It has become your motto, your life. You've uttered no other saying for the past month of your life in containment.
Sometimes you feel guilty, for to some degree you drove your roommate mad with it, but then you don't care. He was already a lost cause when the "The Dark Lord" threw him into the cell with you. Yes, you're right, you know you're right, Voldemort is "The Dark Lord."
It's obvious that he's "The Dark Lord" because really he's just a pale, disfigured man with a bad eye color and no nose. The ugly ones always try to take over the world, you have now reasoned out. And the only reason he was doing such a lovely job of destroying and almost ruling was because he was just so ugly.
He didn't appreciate that when you told him so, though. That's how you ended up in the cell, right?
'Someone with such a cheeky mouth doesn't deserve death,' he drawled away, lounged lazily across his throne, twirling his wand between his fingers.
'Someone sooo ugly doesn't deserve the title Dark Lord without quotations marks, because that's obviously the reason you're trying to take over.' You declared back, your voice sing-song and mocking. A lot of Death Eaters move about around you, ticked but not sure what to do.
You belonged to "The Dark Lord" and they don't touch you. You're the effing Boy-Who-Lived, or so people say. Personally you just think you're the Boy-Who-Stalled-The-Effing-Inevitable-Because-Of-A-Loving-Mother. Yes, you liked that much better. You belonged to "The Dark Lord" though, and despite their anger at your statement, they cannot touch you.
Not to worry, "The Dark Lord" does that well-enough for them. Yet, he deemed you no longer a threat later, a very good torture and example 'whipping boy' instead. Yes, so you still live, in the nice, cozy, cold cell in the dungeons, with the oh-so-lovely roommate. Or would cell-mate be better?
No, roommate, it's more homely sounding.
You have to survive though, fuck the prophecy, you just have to live to show that you'll not die by "The Dark Lords" hands and means, but by your own fucking ones. But how do you survive when you're in one of the worst situations imaginable?
Simple, pick a saying, anything you hear, and chant it over and over again until the very words are etched out in your eyes, and when your scar bleeds for "The Dark Lord's" amusement, let the blood flow in the form of those words.
What saying do you pick up though? "Ugly lord with butt-faced eaters" doesn't carry the right tune to it, plus, if you say it long enough, when you die, maybe it'll be carved on your tombstone. That's not flattering enough.
"Tommy's a pansy," was tempting but almost too predictable. You mean, doesn't he already know that?
You lay for hours, ignoring the mutters of your roommate, thinking of one. For a while you harbored a hope that you'd be saved, then a week passed and you realized that wasn't happening. Accept what you can, do what you can—survival rule number one.
Then your favorite professor stops by, briefly and dangerously, for if he's seen, things could go horribly array. He's not a spy, like you thought, for now that you think about it, Voldemort was in Quriell's head, how do you play that off, eh?
"Oh no, 'milord' I was just trying to stay in Dumbledore's graces by threatening another staff member." Doesn't play over so well, reasonably. So, when he stops by, you realize, he's snuck in, and he's here to give you a message.
Simple, brief, blunt.
"Survive Potter, they'll be here…" he turned to leave because he can't do anything for you at the moment. He's not prepared and the cell is warded. So you just nod away, not begging for answer, just harboring a hope. "Eventually." He suddenly voiced, quietly, but you catch it. And you know.
Survive, Potter, he had meant. Survive as long as you fucking can. Which could be weeks, months, years, centuries, millenniums.
You don't accept that well, how could you? But what do you do? Bite a few Death Eaters, kick a few groins, insult "The Dark Lord", and possibly, just maybe, you can accept it. You're not really sure—all you do is repeat now.
Then you find your saying, for you see, why not take the very words of the man who's disliked you forever but snuck into "The Dark Lord's" lair to give a particularly useless message to you? The first words you ever heard him say…or close to the first.
"Ensnare the senses."
No one thought about it at first, no one paid attention to the fact that their 'whipping boy' was going to become a broken record, but now they all wished they had. Ooh, yeah, they all wish now. Too bad they hadn't had the foresight.
You bet the branny bat up in the Divination Tower did, she properly squealed in delight as she stared into her crystal ball, and predicted Harry effing Potter's last words to ever be spoken. Then she probably said a bunch of bullshit about the Grim, and about Knights with axes, the number thirteen, rats, pale men that are ugly, useless messages, and something, probably in the mix, about all those damned people abducted by aliens for someone has to remember them in the midst of war.
After you find your saying, days pass by, then weeks, and then a whole month. By then, you had lost most of the hope.
They're coming soon, you've figured out the timing of the dungeons, though you're not sure, but you don't care about it. About the fact that they're coming, or about the fact that you're figuring things out and don't know how.
Your roommate knows it too, for he rolls over to face the wall. He doesn't like to watch your departure for he knows one day you might not return. He's not very good with goodbyes.
"I don't knows," he says to the wall. "He's getting paler and paler, Tim. He might not return from those men that eat death."
You cock your head a bit to the side, listening, hoping even, for Tim's response, but you hear none. "Ooh, I know he's sick, real sick," you feel him glance at you.
"Ensnare the senses," you promptly say and he looks away.
"He's not sick from the man that leads the men who eat death, he was sick looong before then," your roommate coos out and you have to focus real hard on the ceiling above you.
That was true. You are real sick. It was one of your deadly secrets.
It happened in your second year, with the Basilisk and the fang. Suure Fawkes tears saved you, but that's where most people were wrong. Tears of the Phoenix have healing powers, but they can't put a stopper to death. Ooh no, they can't stop it. That would be too easy. You could just collect Phoenix tears and save ever fucking person in the world if they stopped death otherwise.
They just stall death.
Spread it—give you a few extra years. Like a festering cancer that runs freely through your veins.
You found out on accident that you were dying, slowly, and you did some research. You didn't tell anyone, not even yourself really, all throughout sixth year you denied it, despite the fact that you unconsciously ordered all the right medicines, the potions, pills, and junk.
It was bad during the summer though and you were relaying on the medicine.
Now you're in "The Dark Lord's" grasp, away from all medicine, all Phoenix tears, and it's catching up with you full-blast. Yet, you don't care. See? You don't care about a lot anymore.
The thing is...the reason you don't care is because it's your own, last defiance against "The Dark Lord." He won't let you die by any other means then torture. You almost can't wait for the day you die by your illness, and he finds you, sprawled out, dead, not by his hand, but why your body's own.
This time your chant comes out almost laughingly. Your roommate looks at your and mutters to the splotch on the wall about your being nutters. Yeah, that's it.
Then footsteps echo suddenly, but they're too loud and too ungraceful to be the Grim Reaper's. Oh well, another day possibly.
"Ensnare the senses…" you say again, without much thought, habitually. You see them, but alas, you ignore them. They swing open the door and walk in carefully, warily. They're afraid you're going to do something…rash, again. Like last time, when you kissed them.
It was great. They walked in, just two, two you don't even know, you jumped forward, and before they could react, you tore off their masks and kissed them. They're stunned, and you tell the first one you kissed that he was your second kiss ever, and he wasn't really good.
There's a lot about life you'll never understand, and their reactions was one of them. They didn't react, and while your roommate crowed in laughter, they didn't spare him a glance, instead they just stared at you. Then they collect you, not as harshly as they usually do, and drag you to your weekly conference with "The Dark Lord".
They don't tell him about it though. You wonder why, it's the first time in a while you've thought of much else beside your chant or your death. It was a relief.
It's the same two this time, and they're trying to collect you softly.
You almost have a yearning to kiss them, but that was too forward really. You mean, you haven't even been on a date with them! Two kisses were just preposterous. A deranged smile must've crossed your face from the merry amusement of your thoughts because they two eaters of death share a look.
Then you grasp the nearest one tightly, and pull him into an ungraceful, an almost ugly tango. You use your body to make him move to it and for a minute both are too stunned to do anything. You just drag the man who eats death around the small, damp dungeon cell in a haphazard tango, the music only in your mind, until finally, he gathers his senses and shoves you off.
You don't fight it after that. Instead you bow to him and then turn to leave. The two eaters are completely stunned and you know they won't tell "The Dark Lord" about that either.
"Ensnare the senses…ensnare the senses…ensnare the sense…ensnare the senses…" you chant as you walk for the corridor. As usual. The Boy-Who-Was-A-Broken-Record now. Yes, that's it. That's your new name. You sort of like the ring to it.
You're shoved to your knees when you enter and "The Dark Lord" is sprawled on his throne, watching you with heavy, red eyes. Poor fellow, you think. He had such bad luck in getting those eyes.
"Ensnare the senses," you say, savoring the man's annoyed grimace. You'll not know it until later, but those words give the man nightmares.
"Potter," he drawls, twirling his wand. "I tire of this game we play."
"Ensnare the senses," my usual response.
"I'll give you a choice," he smirks slightly. "You can either tell me what the prophecy is." Ha! You broke him first. You were sure he was waiting for you to break and spill the beans about it, but he broke first. You could've crowed in laughter. "Or I'll use my most effective means of getting it out. What do you say?"
He walked into that one.
"Ensnare the senses," I declare and with a growl he stalks to his feet. Only he can do that. He walks forward and you're so use to the pain in your scar you think nothing of it.
"Tell me, Potter," he hisses, crouching eye-level with you. You stare into his red eyes, willing him to read your mind, because all he'd see was a neat spelling of 'Ensnare the senses.'
He jabs his wand under your chin, and the air holes that he calls nostrils flare out in annoyance.
"Tell me, Potter, or you'll face consequences more dire then anything you've suffered before." He warns in a level voice and suddenly you feel complied to say more then your chant.
It's time you changed you tune, you figure.
"Fine," you breathe and what should've been his eyebrows lift far up, clearly startled. "The Prophecy clearly stated, if I can remember," wow, for someone who hasn't uttered more then three words for the last month, you speak very well. Way to keep up the vocal cords.
"The Dark Lord" waits expectantly for you, clearly thinking he broke you.
"Well, it basically said that, with red eyes," you pull a lovely, in-a-trance voice. In any other situation you'd be laughing, actually, you're close to laughing as it is. "He shall arise once more. Birthed from a cauldron with his enemy's blood, he shall put a new, more grotesque view on the Birth of Venus, while his pale form shalt wilt away from the lack of sunlight he'll put on himself as he becomes "The Dark Lord." You do the quotations finger thing. "And his enemy, though escaping the land of graves, shall fall back into his clutches, were both shall survive, because both will 'ensnare the senses.'"
His face is priceless. It's contorted in pure, venomous rage, and his arms are literally shaking. You're so horribly amused by what you've just done that you can no longer contain your laughter.
You burst out into fits of it, with the eaters of death shifting uncomfortably around you, and you can't stop. It's a lot lower then usually though, your laughter, probably from the lack of water lately, but that doesn't stop you.
"The Dark Lord" blinks a bit, startled, and then he draws away, eyes glinting with a new light. He's got a new plan. You wonder if it hurts him to think too much.
He hasn't put any pain on your body yet, he must be waiting.
Once you come down your hysterical laughter, you look up, wiping your eye slightly. His eyes are flickering in their own morbid amusement, and you know you're in for a lot of pain. Doesn't matter though, for all the footsteps you hear are too light to the Grim Reaper's.
You've got time; you'll die from your sickness, not his hands.
"Tell me, Potter," he finally draws, and you glance up. "How are the dungeons?"
"Why," you respond, lazily and airily. "They're right cheery. Though, I must admit, you don't have nearly enough mice or hay down there. Or mold, or mildew, or leaking water, or bugs, such as ants, cockroaches, and all that good stuff. I mean, honestly, are you "The Dark Lord?" Fingers again. "If I didn't know better, which I do, I'd say your dungeons are cleaned weekly."
"The Dark Lord" is smiling—that's not really a good sign.
"Anything else, Potter?" he drawls.
"Um," you scratch your head. "Thanks for the roommate." You shrug and he stares at you in confusion. As does the rest of the Death Eaters.
"Roommate?" one echoes, a bit too loudly, but "The Dark Lord" doesn't do anything. He narrows his eyes. "Oh and," he lifts his supposed eyebrow expectantly. "Ensnare the senses, mate." You wink slightly and he looses his patience.
Whipping his wand forward, he points it at you menacingly. Not that he would point it anywhere else, you realize. That'd be useless.
"Well, I'm glad you like the dungeons so much Potter," he snarls. "Because once I'm done with you, you're going to rot down there…for the rest of your fucking life."
"Why, aren't I lucky," you say wistfully.
Instantly he casts the spell upon you, and pain like you never felt rips your body clean. Screaming, you fall backward, writhing as your skin boils, your scar, your mouth, and your nose bleeds. It was like someone had changed your blood to water and is then boiling it over an open flame.
Your fingers dig into the stone beneath you, rubbing them raw, while your throat tears raw from the screaming, your whole body in flaring in temperature, and with the boiling blood, a quick, dampening, yet useless sweat breaks out across your entire body. Your dirty, ruddy clothing sticks to your boiling skin, and you know nothing beyond the pain.
You can't even escape into your echoing room of 'ensnare the senses' like all those other times. Instead this time, the pain 'ensnares your senses'.
You scream until your voice hits that constant, hollow echo that's not really a scream, but yet it's the very essence. And then the spell stops and you collapse onto the ground. Your eardrums echo with shouts, screams, and cries.
"Master," a wheezy, voice of a fat-rat echoes slightly before you. "Master, we need your assistance. We're being attacked."
"Very well," you hear "The Dark Lord" sigh. "He's going nowhere anyway." Clearly he means you, unless he has imaginary friends. You don't doubt that. He's a very ugly man.
Heavy footsteps echo off, too heavy to be the Grim Reaper.
Sighing, you lean back, wishing, hoping the pain to numb away. It has to, all those lying people say it does, and they're not entirely wrong. It numbs, but yet it comes back too.
You're not sure how long you lay there, hearing the screams and the bangs outside, and yet you're too engulfed in 'ensnaring your senses' that you don't even really wonder or realize what those sounds probably indicate.
Your stomach rolls, and your jaw sags, you feel blood leaking out everywhere, and you realize half of what's going on is not "The Dark Lord's" work, but rather your body's own work. Your illness.
Is it finally time? Are you going to become one of those characters in the old muggle novels that just seem to conveniently die at the right time, right after a confession or dramatic scene of sorts? They just say something and for no reason whatsoever they drop dead. Are you finally going to become one of those characters?
It'd be fun, almost.
Your heart slows its beating. Funny how you can feel that. Its thumping much more slowly then usual and you know that it's time. At least, you think and almost hope its time. With the condition you feel your body in…you pray it is time.
Footsteps suddenly echo behind him, soft, quick-paced footsteps. Not too heavy, they're not heavy. They weren't the eaters of death footsteps. No, they were light, quick, sly, and cunning. Your breath hitches.
It's the Grim Reaper's footsteps.
You open your eyes, crack them tiredly and wince again the dull light of the snake-torches in the corner. You want to see the Grim Reaper. You wonder what he looks like. It's a morbid fascination of sorts.
They're closer and you force yourself to stay awake with wide-eyes to see him. Or she. Or it.
They're right next to you now and they stop. Yes, definitely the Grim Reaper. You turn your head and you look up at Death's face. Then you painfully tilt your head a bit more.
"Well," you croak as Death kneels beside you. "This is a bit of surprise." You throat is so raw that you can't talk very well. But you have to. "Then again…I guess you are a very good image of Death."
An eyebrow shoots up and a hand reaches into a pocket, pulling out a vial.
"And how, pray tell, am I Death, Mr. Potter?" the Grim Reaper that was showing his colors to be the Potions Master asked.
"Why, you walk much lighter then everyone else of course," you say as he gingerly takes your head into your hands and leans over you, with the vial. "And you're awfully pale."
"Yes, that is true," he says, humoring you. "Then again Mr. Potter, as tempting as it is to, ah, collect you, I can't possibly bring you back dead, or the Headmaster will kill me dead, now won't he? And what shall the world do without the Grim Reaper?"
"Live," you murmur. Snape quirks a smile and tips the liquid into your throat. You gag on the taste and with large, emerald eyes stare at the man expectantly. You want to know what the hell that shit was.
"Phoenix Tears, Mr. Potter," the man declares once he catches the glimpse and you make a silent 'oh'.
So, they're prolonging your life a few more years then? Oh well, guess it can't be that bad. You have to call "The Dark Lord" ugly several more times.
"Am I leaving then?" you ask. "Or shall I survive a bit longer?" Snape cringes sadly, and looks away as he pulls you up into his arms. Can't use a portkey inside the serpent's lair, have to wait to get outside.
"Survive until I can get you to Poppy, Potter, and then it's out of my hands." He informs and you nod tiredly.
"Can do, Professor," you inform as he carries you away. That hope that once diminished is back and you wonder just how happy you are. What happened that month would always be with you. Then again you are the Boy-Who-Lived—you survive. It's the law.
"That's good," Snape says.
"Yeah, I have so far anyway. Thanks to you," he doesn't even grace you with a look. "Because I…" you break off with a tired yawn. "Because I ensnared the senses."
He looks at you, indifferent, but you can read his eyes. He's surprised, he's impressed, and you realize because of that, you'll have to especially survive. It was a hard deed, making the Potions Master impressed, and to earn his respect.
You went through Hell for it, and now, he's dragging you back through Hell one more time. At least this time he's there, with you, not insulting you.
You pass out, eventually, in his arms, and already you could feel your body stalling its death. Maybe this time you'll tell someone and get help, so you don't fall too terribly ill.
It was after all, your fate to rid the world of the ugly man. "The Dark Lord."
How would you survive the worst situation in your life? Simply by the will to keep on living.
There are many patterns, many choose to succumb to fate, some choose to scream and yell and be defiant, and there are those who are more subtle in their choice to survive.
They become, to the mildest degree, insane. They act with impulses like insanity, such as kissing rather then biting, dancing rather then attempting to run, and sharing the horrors with someone rather then all to oneself.
You became mildly insane to survive.
It was only after several months of intensive therapy, hard supporting from friends and adults alike that you eventually managed to become mildly sane again. Snape became a slightly reluctant guide for you, mainly because he didn't cuddle you like the others did. You need a reality check more then you needed overzealous comfort.
Yet, you'll always live in a form of insomnia from your memories of that month, and when you touch your head, shaved free of all the burnt hair, or see a lighter, you'll cringe in horror.
While out of the corner of your eye, when you spy your roommate in the reflection of a window or standing on the corner, you'll whisper a passing greeting to him, and he'll wave back, calling you 'nutters' and never letting go because he wasn't good with goodbyes.
And when situations turned for the worse, or when you ended on your up on your death-bed because of the illness, and no other reason, you'll stare at the ceiling, murmuring your broken chant 'ensnare the senses.'
This was how you survived…
One-shot! R&R please.