Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, the characters or anything to do with that world... all I claim is this loopy plotline... maybe I'll just say I'm scum and leave it at that, please don't sue me. I won nothing! I'm a penniless student soon to be sans time to do my homework.. OH WOE IS ME!

Author's Note: It's taken me many, many months and a broken heart to write this and I've just had oral Surgery so I'm high as a kite on pain killers as the sensations start coming back into my nerve endings. I'm not allowed to go to school and oddly I actually want to go... I think I must be ill. I'm willing to let the common cold kill me for ages but oral surgery makes me want to fight.

Anyway I owe anyone who has ever got into this story a huge apology - I've been very, very lazy. And bad and evil! I should have updated so long ago but will you believe me when I say I'm studying many annoying subjects at a stupid level and am having difficulties juggling my social life, my homework and my fanfiction. I promise I will finish this soon since I have more time to talk with my muse, who help's me greatly - Thanks Eleri! And, I'm trapped in a room with a PC that screams use me like it's a whore. I swear it is. So yes... Read on and enjoy Chapter Twenty-three of Natural Veritaserum - Lord knows you've waited long enough.

Please don't forget to review! I miss them... they're like music to me.


Like a sentence of death,

I've got no options left,

I've got nothing to show now.

I'm down on the ground,

I've got seconds to live,

And you can't go now.

Cause love like an invisible bullet,

Shot me down and I'm bleeding.

And if you go,

Furious Angels will bring you back to me.

Will bring you back to me.

['Furious Angels,' by Rob Dougan]

Eventually Everybody Has To Open... Your Time Is Closer Than You Think.

Pandora's Box

Severus had never felt like this before... his head was light and everything felt hazy but he was so sure of what he had to do.

The trunk he was looking at hadn't been opened since he was sixteen. It was old. No mistaking that it had been through a lot, there were large chunks of wood missing where it had been mistreated by Snapes prior to himself and now contained all the possessions his parents had left behind in their passing. He had left things that had dwelled in the box in there since their entry, or had left those that lie within where they lay untouched. Severus had never wanted to look back at the things his parents had left behind. But now...

He placed a hand to his neck and pulled the leather cord that held the key close to his heart from under his black robes and placed the key into the lock there was a loud clink and the lock opened causing the lid of the box to judder. A little bit of dust had been expelled as the box had lain undisturbed since he'd become a teacher and moved to the school sixteen years ago... even though he hadn't opened it for many more than that. He pulled open the lid and moved back the heavy black cloth he had placed across the top of the contents.


The box is opened.

"This is the most dangerous thing you are ever likely to see in your life... now don't take it at face value for it's what dwells within that's the real killer."

"It's a book Dad... a spell book... how much harm can it cause?"

"What did I tell you boy? Not at face value... besides... it isn't a spell book. Which just goes to show you just how wrong you can be sometimes Severus! Now if you just listen!"

"Okay... I'm listening."

"It accounts for how to create a shadow of a being... a ghost capable of touch."


"It's like talking to a brick wall with you sometimes... I shan't bother... this knowledge in you could do more harm than good... then where would we all be? Go and do your school work... I'll explain this to someone with the patience to listen to me!"

"But I..."


The box is closed.


He was now looking upon a Staff - it was silver - a dragon's claw holding an orb. Severus looked down upon it with strange curiosity - he'd never seen it before... though he was positive he'd seen the orb before though he couldn't think where.

He had a sense of foreboding about this box. He wanted to look in it but everything he wanted to forget found its way into the box when he was sixteen but he... he'd not placed this Staff in there. He'd never seen it before - where could it have come from?

Raine... help her... his throat felt heavy... could he bring himself to wield it? Mores the point why would it help him against Voldemort... was he insane enough to face the Dark Lord... with something he hadn't a clue how to use? Killing Voldemort isn't your job Snape, he told himself... leave it to Potter... that's his destiny... and what is yours? This he didn't know. He didn't believe he was destined for anything in particular... perhaps this was what he had to do... die for someone. Well if you're going to go you may as well go with style... he uttered to himself taking hold of the handle... the orb began to glow.

"What the?"

The orb had a dark glow... it sparkled oddly but had the most sinister glint in its eye - is this a good idea? He slid his fingers down the handle and found the grooves that were intended for his hands... he smoothed his fingers around the metal looking at it like he'd found an atomic bomb three minutes from detonation. Like he had enough time to know what was going to happen and panic for a while, but not enough to get away unscathed. What does this thing do?

Ancient magic... it was that voice again - the harsh voice of a man, it mingled with the echoic voice of a girl that he remembered from long ago - it was like they were both trying to talk at the same time... it was an eerie sound - it washed around his ears and gave him goose pimples.

Raine! His mind finally snapped him back to reality - she needed his help - what if they'd already killed her... he'd never forgive himself... not that he had ever really forgiven himself for anything - wallow in self pity - go on give yourself a reason... the internal struggle was a case of fight or fall... would it hurt to fall? Coward!

He held the orb out in front of him then swept out of his chambers... the door handle was warm... he had forgotten how cold all these visions caused him to become. It was like he was slipping into some kind of trance. It wasn't a comfortable feeling - like he was being robbed of his consciousness... he wished these spirits would leave him alone.

Very good, boy... the echoic voice had returned - his father alone. Severus thought he preferred the girl's voice but it only reminded him of a broken heart that would never mend. His father filled him with hatred... he never knew what really happened to his parents - for all he knew it could have been his father who killed his mother.

"Shut up!" He snapped... I hope this works... lets just put the wind up that snake hmm? Severus found himself throwing doors open and slamming them behind him... he had become unthinking... one task! You can make this your death... you can go out with a... bang.

The corridors passed him by quickly... soon again he was out of the Dungeons and a corridor away from where he had left Raine.

Everything had gone quiet... there were definitely people down there... he reached the door... looked though the gap... the man from before... Maytricks... he was stood in front of her with his back to her... this was strange. She wasn't trying to fight him this time; it looked like he was defending her. What ulterior motive did he have this time? She was backing away from him. His wand was pointed at the Death Eaters and they looked oddly... frightened - perhaps not frightened... taken aback. The Dark Lord looked... well would it be fair to say pissed off beyond all reason.

"You unfortunately will not live to regret this day..." Voldemort hissed, his high-pitched voice caused Severus' insides to curl and grow cold. Severus felt like he was going to walk in on something that he perhaps wasn't supposed to have anything to do with... in fact he knew this was not his point to intervene - he had to wait.

"Care to take a bet?!" Maytricks' voice was crazed... possessed... this was not the Quentus Maytricks that Voldemort had semi trusted. "Avada Kedavra!" He roared pointing his wand at one of the Death Eaters who immediately dropped to the floor... another aimed straight for him... Maytricks then did something very, odd... he swept his left arm out to the side whimsically dismissing the Death Eaters who fell like dominos... three Death Eaters on the floor... surely they weren't dead. Severus continued to watch... they weren't getting up. A Sorcerer?

If Maytricks was a Sorcerer then surely he would have known this all along... why would he have aligned himself with Voldemort? He would have had no need to join a bad of idiots such as the Death Eaters. He would have had no need for company. Severus mused that perhaps Maytricks was not the strong and wild creature he appeared to be now but a confused young boy when he had become one of the Death Eaters.

"Kill him!" Voldemort screeched. Raine backed off... Severus could tell that even she hadn't anticipated this... though he got the sense she knew she wasn't going to be able to escape no matter who won. Would it be that Maytricks would do anything to have this woman even if it meant turning on those he had called allies for many years.

"Afraid? My Lord?" Maytricks said sarcastically, as he disapparated and apparated behind Voldemort. An Auror... clearly he had been... that is how he had managed to disapparate... he carries the Oct'rix as well as the Dark Mark. It was clear to Severus, Maytricks - or Stark, as he had called himself - had been a double crosser, he would never have trusted him as far as he could throw him unless of course Maytricks was an Occlumencer in which case no one would be able to tell and no one would know and you certainly wouldn't be able to tell. "You should be more selective with your trust in future shouldn't you? Hmm..." Voldemort it would appear didn't wish to stick around to find out... he disappeared in a flash of red smoke. "Thought so," Maytricks hummed in his most sinister voice - he looked upon the rest of the Death Eaters who looked bewildered... should they run? Should they stay and accept what was happening? Should they yield to Quentus? Severus remained behind his wall... Raine was creeping away, it seemed everyone had forgotten about her.

Raine had been backing away from Maytricks throughout his entire speech with Voldemort. She was keeping a distance, her black robes looked ruffled, her hair had fallen out of its ties and hung in black waves past her shoulders. She turned her head to look back at the door for her own escape and she met Severus' eyes, a flicker of emotion ran over his and her face as they both asked the same question in their minds: What are you doing here?

Snape didn't know anything that happened to her beforehand but she had a scratch on her left cheek and the blood had been smeared across her face as if by someone else's wandering hands. What had happened in his absence?





For Each A Road

For Everyman A Religion

Find Everybody And Rule

For Everything A Revolves

Forget Everything And Remember

For Everything A Reason

Forgive Everybody and Remember

['FEAR,' by Ian Brown]


"Ah... Miss Stark," fear.

"Professor," she corrected the Dark Lord... not a good idea... fear.

"You would expect me to acknowledge you with a title of respect girl?" Anger...

"Oh I see... I'm a girl now am I?" You're going to lose you head... think about what you're doing! Stupidity.

"I had no idea the mystical Blue Phoenix existed as a woman... and yet you are still alive - by rights you should be dead unless it chose to manifest itself in you for another reason... surely you would save yourself by now which leads me to believe it isn't you... your healing powers-" he fired a short sharp spell at her face... it scratched her left cheek and felt like he'd turned a switch blade on her face. "-Are quite pathetic... for such a magnificent creature. This either leads me to believe you are not able to summon it again... or... it is not you." Panic!

"A Blue Phoenix does not manifest itself in a woman... history tells us that." Control...

"Indeed that is true, so who is he?" Conceal.

"Why should I tell you... you'll have to kill me first," the Death Eaters that had been holding her up tightened their grip, she squeaked. The one on her left was Lucius... her right saw Quentus looking down her physique in one lecherous glance. Her robes were torn slightly at her front revealing her shoulder and top of her bust. He's looking at you and not thinking death... he's thinking sex... manipulate this.


"You'll tell me Miss Stark... then you'll die... how does that suit you?" Death... they seek to hand you the Death card... Do you play that card?

"I'll never let it pass my lips," she spat as she found a way of pulling away from Lucius and placing her free hand around Quentus' neck, then leaning her back against his side she hoisted her legs up and kicked Lucius underneath the ribs, knocking him unconscious as he hit his against the passage wall. It had been done in a matter of seconds, when Quentus had grasped a hold of the situation he soon wrenched her arm away from his neck and forced her down again with both his hands on her wrists twisting them as he often did until one of them snapped, in this case it was the left. A small cry escaped her, but she was used to the pain - it was just the moment of breakage that hurt her, after that she clenched her mouth shut and glared defiantly at Voldemort who stood before her. She was on her knees back to Quentus who clearly enjoyed the power he had over her, he continued to twist her wrists until her head was almost on the floor as he pulled the rest of her downwards towards it. Pain...

"You'll speak Raine," Quentus hissed, "or I'll break them." Tears were falling reluctantly from her eyes, she was reminded of the pain she experienced as a girl. She was on her knees before Quentus... she was no contortionist. This was a pain beyond measure, she didn't think her arms were capable of being bent any further. "I could do this all day..." he hummed distractedly as he continued the manipulation of her body. Torture...

"You'll never hear it so why bother... look me in the eye and ask me..." Raine breathed through her pain. If there was anything her job had taught her... it was Quentus who had taught her, who always taught her... it was never submit. He had told her that her stubbornness was one of her finer qualities. Voldemort looked upon her contorted figure curiously; Quentus was now pulling her stretched arms backwards causing her spine to arch the wrong way to her heels. Fear...

"Speak!" Quentus hissed satanically at her. Rebellion...

"Bark," she said through gritted teeth. Stupidity...

"You're trying my patience Raine!" He snapped and threw her back into the correct position which hurt more than his slow manipulation had, she omitted a feeble groan as he pulled her up to her feet by her broken arms and pressed her against him. This was weird, he was doing something with his hands as they held her shoulders so tightly she thought he was trying to crush her lungs, yet it felt like... healing... what was he playing at? Release...

"You're playing a game you cannot comprehend Quentus... or are you searching for a way to satisfy yourself rather than others?" She said as his grip on her began to loosen. Tutorial...

"And if I seek for myself... I've nothing to fear from them anyway." His voice was a whisper by her ear, his soft warm breath sent shivers down her body... nothing to fear? Fear itself? What does he mean?

"You'd double cross them for what?" She hardly moved her lips so that only Quentus could hear her, and then released a whimper of pain to keep up the pretence that Quentus was hurting her beyond explanation. Acting...

"A kiss Raine... my curiosity needs feeding... persuade me," vampire... he removed his mask... his almost white eyes were terrifying - his pupils mere pinpricks against the ice - and then was a weird sound from outside of her head but she couldn't make sense of it, Quentus had turned her round to face him and pulled her into a strong embrace with his arms wrapped tightly, almost intimately around her, one arm across her shoulder blades and the other at the base of her spine; an embrace that she wouldn't have been able to get out of even if she wanted to, which she did. Trapped.

His lips were cold, like ice, it was like kissing a stone, his lips were thin and moved against hers like he wasn't interested in the romance at all - it was all about sex. His hand caressed her cheek and she felt slight pain as his finger pushed against her still bleeding cut... she could feel the blood spread across her face like rouge. Disgrace.

Her head was screaming, if she could persuade him she wanted him... if she could persuade him that she... maybe he would be her exit. Perhaps he would be able to free her. Manipulation...

"MAYTRICKS!" Voldemort screamed, it had been the third time he had tried to break this up. Quentus immediately released her; the master had given his orders, yet his eyes flickered bright blue as he looked at her; he was calculating something... Raine didn't think he let her go just because Voldemort told him to... is this his insanity? Let me die... her mind cried. Shame...

"Lord," Quentus drawled taking a breath. "A problem?"

"What are you playing at?"

"This," Quentus wrenched hold of Raine's arm and pulled her behind him. She was now confused... she'd saved her skin from Voldemort briefly... but Quentus would have his way before the day was out and she'd be just as trapped as before, either way she was in trouble... now she wasn't sure if she'd sooner face death than whatever Quentus had in store for her. Fear...


Fantastic Expectations Amazing Revelations

Final Execution And Resurrection

Free Expression as Revolution

Finding Everything and Realising

We got The Fear...

['FEAR,' by Ian Brown]



Fast Forward/Scratch/Play


Severus looked at Raine, who through everything actually appeared to be shaking as she got closer to him. Maybe she wasn't as fearless as he had first thought her to be. She had a habit of putting on a front, whatever had happened had just broken that front and now she was frightened.

The Death Eaters were still stood in silence looking at Maytricks who was smiling demonically a step behind where Voldemort had disappeared.

"You can either go and find your Master... or you can stay here and die," he said coldly, the Death Eaters looked oddly at each other then at the unconscious heap that was Malfoy. "Before I get bored of waiting for you all to run!" he snapped, and threw off the Death Eaters robes and took off his glasses replacing them with a pair of black lenses over his eyes and pushing them up the arch of his nose. "That's better," he hummed straightening up his normal robes rather lazily. Raine was shaking her head in disbelief, there was a sudden rush as the Death Eaters went to whichever exit they found closest.

"What have you become?" Raine said quietly her voice shaking, Quentus tilted his head to look at her over the lenses with his flashing eyes, she felt naked.

"Your worst nightmare," he said with a cold laugh. "And now my dear, the masterful Mr Wise is not here to save you."

"What did you do to him?" She breathed suddenly realising she hadn't seen Astix for quite some time.

"Nothing that he hadn't already done to himself.. let's just say he's going to want to kill himself - which is if he isn't already dead..."

"How could you?!" Quentus laughed as if she were being naive.

"Quite easily... now who else have you relied on your whole life to come to your rescue...? Your Guardian... hmm..." he gave a cruel laugh. "Has been dead for many years, in fact he met his end shortly after he met you, didn't he...?" he laughed again. Raine's eyes narrowed.

"It was you wasn't it!" She snapped suddenly realising something she'd always known but only at the back of her mind, something that had been unable to reveal its obvious truth to her because of the lies he had told her all these years, but now he had blown them away and the ugly truth was all that was left.

"Took you long enough didn't it Miss Stark, no wait... Professor," She clenched her fists. "And who else... ah yes, Mr Genis... the messenger... not a lot of good is he... never around when you need him and now it would appear you are all alone... alone without a friend."

"Oh, I wouldn't say completely alone," Severus said coldly as he appeared from behind the door... now perhaps he could attempt to... er... he had no idea what he was planning to do at all. Though Raine had always craved her independence as a woman her heart fluttered to think that a man had come to her rescue... though she'd have preferred Astix, at least he would have shown a decent fight. Severus was... not a complete rookie but, Quentus had just scared the pants off of the Dark Lord and now... this was going to be over in two seconds she was sure of it.

"Oh how touching, your Knight in shining armour has come to rescue you my darling," Raine's eye twitched, she'd told him to leave this to her... idiot... run while you still can, she thought as Severus' expression suddenly deflated. He had no idea what he was doing. "Would you like the same alternatives as the others? You're a little late you see," Quentus' upper lip curled as he smirked.

"How's about... how's about I give you the finger and blast your ass with this!" Why did I just say that? He thought, that was the lamest line in history....well, seemed like a good idea at the time... and it just happened, sometimes situations like this called for cheese. He pulled the Staff out from behind his back and brandished it like a baton. One of Raine's eyebrows was raised in mild confusion. Quentus too looked for the first time in ages, lost for words with curious confusion.

"...With what?" Quentus said genuinely doubting Snape's sanity. Severus began to worry, then panic - why wasn't he worried? He had a Staff pointed right at his face! He could see it, it was there...wasn't it?

"Er, can't you...can't you see it?" Raine closed her eyes and brought her hand to her forehead... Oh boy, he's lost it.

"See what? The air?" Quentus' laugh was like a harsh bark, "You'll need more than your fists to save your woman, Snape, but if you insist, I'll make it as painless as... hmm, as I see fit." Severus looked at the Staff in his hands, plainly there, but was he the only one who could see it? Oh well done, plan A of intimidating the foe really flopped big time didn't it? Next time, don't threaten them with an invisible weapon!

"Severus," Raine sighed. "Go home."

"I think she feels your embarrassment for you, you've clearly not the training for this," it was true... Severus was very... very embarrassed, still... he was angry even she had no faith in him. Quentus' eyes looked... suddenly surprised... a frown of... qua? Did I just see what I thought I saw? Severus looked down at the Staff and moved it around slightly - it was almost like he himself was seeing it again for the first time. It seemed different... not in appearance but a feeling - it felt different and now he knew that they could see it too - this gave him back some confidence.

"No I guess you're right... I wouldn't stand a chance of fighting you with the air... but this," he looked down at the Staff again. "This however might do a little damage?" He asked, then released his left hand and swept it through the air so that the orb was pointed at Quentus' mid-rift. "Could this make a mess? I mean I'm not too sure what it does... perhaps we can find out hmm?" Quentus looked surprised, Raine thought quickly... get out of the way! She rushed back towards Snape and watched as Snape closed his eyes causing the orb to glow black.

"What use is a toy like that if you've no idea what you are doing?" Quentus said calmly.

"I'm quite sure I'll learn very quickly," Severus said, I flicked of electromagnetic energy shot from the orb.

"Ah..." Quentus looked at Raine and then to Severus who was concentrating on what he was doing with the Staff so intently he hadn't really noticed that his hair was taking on a charge and standing slightly. The high energy was rising from the Staff and it seemed that the room appeared to get darker as the Staff was now the brightest thing in the area. Quentus braced himself, waiting for something to happen. He closed his eyes and concentrated all of his energy on creating a shield that would save his skin. Something odd then came into Severus' mind, they could just run away... he didn't need to use the Staff... it started to get lighter in the room until the Staff was no longer in his grasp - it disappeared. He grabbed Raine by the arm who seemed confused by the whole situation... was he going to kick Quentus' arse? Unfortunately it would seem he was going to run away. She found herself being dragged by the arm from the corridor and back to the main centre of the building however they did not get far, as the reached the end of the second corridor Quentus appeared in front of them. "Nice bluff," he hummed looking at Snape - who no longer had what appeared to be a weapon of mass destruction. "Now how would you like to die? Slowly? Painfully? A bloody death?"


Listen to the wind blow,

Watch the sun rise,

Run in the shadows,

Damn your love.

Damn your lies.


"Why?" Raine asked again.


And if you don't love me now

You will never love me again

I can still hear you saying

We will never break the chain...


"Because I can Raine... because I can," he said looking at her as if she were stupid. The corridor was well lit - the windows were mainly open, it was after all, summer. Raine couldn't believe half of the things she was seeing... she was running away, she was genuinely scared of Quentus. Severus stood tall... look death in the face... be a man for once. The light shone from behind Quentus who laughed a low growling chuckle and brought an index finger to his lips as if he were thinking of the best way possible to kill the pair of them.... or at least Snape... he had no use for Snape. Raine however had other... uses.


Listen to the wind blow,

Down comes the night.

Run in the shadows,

Damn your love.

Damn your lies.

Break the silence,

Damn the dark.

Damn the light.

['The Chain,' by Fleetwood Mac]


"Because you can?" Raine began to back away... Severus still stood proudly looking Quentus in the eyes. Severus black eyes were aglow with defiance. He could draw his wand... wouldn't do him much good but he had done a fair amount of duelling in his time. Did he just accept what was happening? He could die quietly, or he could make a fuss... who are you kidding Master Slytherin.

"Yes Raine, now stop asking me irritating questions, I'm growing tired of hearing your voice." Quentus was still thinking however about how he wanted to torture them slowly. Raine heard something strange... something she hadn't heard in a long time. There was a cry from outside, that of a wild bird. There was a wave of hope in her mind but then... what if everything went horribly wrong?

Something strange happened in Severus' mind, what was happening, he didn't feel like himself, he felt ill. His head went light, this was going to be a horrible way to die, he began to sway on the spot.

"Stop it!" He could just about make out Raine saying before everything went hazy and all he could sense was swimming, he was floating looking at himself from the outside like he were a visitor in his own body.

"Stop what my dear?" Quentus drawled looking at Snape with mild amusement. "I'm not doing anything yet." Severus was watching himself, his eyes were lolling around lazily his head rolling like he was trying to regain control over it, if this wasn't Maytricks' doing then he was probably suffering some kind of seizure which means he was dying of a heart attack... what a crappy way to go... thought I had more stamina than that! He thought from outside himself, in fact he was more than annoyed about this prospect, Raine had rushed up to him, her eye were pleading.

"Severus!" She said her voice sharp - worried. "What's happening, Severus, wake up!" Quentus stood there laughing, he clearly found Raine's panic funny.

"Well... saves me a task hmm..." he laughed.

"Severus!" She half shouted her voice terse. Severus was still watching himself, he felt like he'd been pushed out. The swaying was stopping and suddenly almost sharply his eyes had a form of action, more harsh and shrewd than he had believed himself to be... this was unusual, this was not conscious. Whatever was inside him looked down at Raine suddenly then lightly pushed her aside for she had stood in front of him begging him to wake himself, he was still waiting to regain consciousness for all he knew. Something... or someone was invading him.

"Ever feel trapped Master Stark... or should I say Maytricks?" This was not Snape's own voice, it was harsher, more guttural. The eyes in Snape head narrowed and balled Quentus with disgust. "You've still blood on your hands..." Quentus recognised this voice, the voice from the corridor.

"Get away from me you vile being!" Quentus screamed, his voice was no longer calculating... it was frightened, petrified. He fired something at Snape's body that was blasted down the corridor and against the door. Raine could see the figure hit the door standing fully then slumped down to the floor... dead? No! Her mind screamed. Something odd happened, he got up... slowly but surely.

"I've forgotten how weak these shells really are," was the guttural voice again.

"Die!" Quentus wailed, blasting something down the corridor, Snape's body fell a second time... but again it got to its feet. Severus, who had been pushed out recognised the voice as well... it was the voice of the spirit... the voice of his father... His father has possessed him, what a bastard... talk about invasion of personal space!

"You know Maytricks... it really is no use... the physicality that I have embodied will not be harmed and thus the shell remains unharmed because... let's say - Severus, is not in, hmm?" Raine shrank back against the wall to the side, she was stuck in the middle of the corridor with an insane Sorcerer and an unconscious yet possessed moving figure of the man that was the father of her child.

"What is happening?!" She yelled all of a sudden... she was - confused, irritated and to compound everything she hadn't quite got a grip over all of her hormones, she felt like she'd missed something and no one was explaining it to her. A little like being in a lesson that everyone else understood but her - it was no use however - they appeared to be ignoring her.

"Why won't you die?!" Quentus hissed.

"Why waste time trying?" The sound from outside, the wild bird scream became louder.

"You died! You died all those years ago! I killed you!"

"Don't congratulate yourself for a job you had no part in..." the voice from within Snape's now swaying being rasped. "I killed myself you fool... there was no way I would have allowed myself to die at the hands of an incompetent... boy... such as you."

"You're dead!" Quentus seemed to be yelling insanely down the corridor he was dancing around on the spot with his balled fists at the side of his head as if trying to convince himself he were dreaming... that he wouldn't take such an action if he were awake. Snape's body was swaying again, now Severus felt that he had control again... he stopped swaying and looked down the other end of the corridor, he knew what had happened to him before.. blasted... he should be dead but he wasn't...this made no sense. "You're dead!" Quentus screamed grasping his head, he stopped moving and pointed at Severus who felt the aching of his bones but hadn't the time to appreciate the damage properly.

A large shadow darkened the window and in a flurry of golden feathers a large creature a massive elegant wingspan tore in through the window. Quentus span about on his feet looking crazed, manic... the creature... a golden hawk issued a scream and tumbled into him talons outstretched bowling him to the floor before the hawk's feathers appeared to explode outwards engulfing the pair of them.

Severus ran forwards to Raine and grabbed her by the arm, then started to back off down the corridor... the feathers were settling. When the feather's were clear they could make out a second man... an Animagus... Hombruh! Raine thought with a glimmer of a smile. Hombruh was grappling Quentus who was struggling like crazy to get away but appeared to be slightly winded. Hombruh's golden eyes met Raine's briefly.

"Run!" He shouted, Severus didn't need telling twice. He yanked Raine's arm and pulled her out of the corridor and as fast as he could, she appeared to want to stay and help but he wasn't going to let her stay there.

They raced out of the school passing students on the way that all looked rather amused at the sight of the Potions Master running with the Dark Arts teacher - both looking scared, he was dragging her. Something should have struck them as panic but they didn't... instead they continued their daily routine as Raine and Severus raced through the building without even thinking as teachers... or adults should. They wanted to be free of the danger... something told them they would have to fix this situation though.

They had managed to get to the Entrance Hall and out onto the Hogwarts lawns when the hawk again landed in front of them then turned with a pop back into a man.

"Hombruh!" Raine said shocked and relieved. "How did you... what are you doing... I... thanks!" She said pulling away from Severus who looked at the second man strangely, she hugged him tightly... the second man, Hombruh hugged her back smiled then scratched his head his golden eyes resting on Severus.

"Not to worry my darlin'," was Hombruh's response as she let him go and stood back. "And who is this?" Hombruh's voice was not English... it was... Irish. A strong Irish accent and he seemed cheerful enough. Raine looked at Severus then at Hombruh again.

"This is Professor Severus Snape," she said suddenly needing to draw her breath after the run. "Hombruh... what are you doing here?"

"Me?" He asked looking down at himself.

"I'm looking at you feather head," she said stepping up to him and pulling a golden feather off of his head.

"Well... you know... spying," he said calmly.

"On me?"

"You should know I follow you a lot of the time, Astix gave me orders you see," Hombruh said now looking at himself for any more feathers. "He wanted to be sure that you were okay... which you weren't. That and you have a habit of taking actions he condones."

"Where's Quentus?" Raine asked after suddenly thinking, what was the psycho doing now?

"Oh... I left him in there, I may be dotty but I'm not really that crazy, I don't know how to fight Quentus, I usually leave that kind of thing to you," he chuckled, there was something about this man that made Severus feel uncomfortable.

Maybe it was his voice - he spoke very fast and even when the situation wasn't calling for it he smiled a magical, happy smile that told you he'd be happy even if someone was poking him in the eye with a lemon soaked pin.

Perhaps it was the way he looked... he had light golden brown hair and a broad well-structured face with piercing eyes, eyes that looked through you rather than at you. His tall physique and broad structure made him look like the kind of man a lot of women would throw themselves at, in short there was something about this body language that told Severus this didn't happen. Or it did... only the encounters were embarrassing.

"The students?" Severus blurt out - back to teacher thinking, must show concern for the students.

"Oh... Argh!" Raine felt a sudden pang of guilt; they'd left them in the building with Quentus... "We've got to go back!" Raine said looking back at the building; everything sounded quiet but how long could that last with the unstable mind that wandered through the corridors.

"You're right - we could send everyone to their Common Rooms," Snape said. "Or we could get them outside but then all students in one area could cause more harm than good. Then there is the fact that this man is insane and we don't know what he could be capable of. Of course, if we allow them to continue as they are who knows what is going to happen."

"I suggest you get them all to their Common Rooms," Hombruh said rubbing his hands together.

"Then what? Wait for him to pick them off one room at a time?" Snape snapped.

"No Severus," said Raine a twisted smile darkening her features. "Then we flush him out like the dog that he is;" her voice was more of a growl. "Get them to their Common Rooms, I don't care how you do it just do it," she said straightening her robes and looking back at the castle.

"And how do you propose we do that Stark?" Severus snapped, it's all very well saying that but the building is massive.

"Ah... now Professor," Hombruh said darkly. "Quentus Stark has one weakness," he looked at Raine.

"Me," she said rolling her eyes.

"Have you completely lost your mind?!" Severus snapped folding his arms. "We've just got you away from that nutcase you, you wish to go and look for him? Is it just me or do you like this guy's attention?"

"Snape, I appreciate what you've tried to do for me, the thing is, if I don't go back in there and look for him he's going to do something despicable... you're going to have to go too by the way. The more people looking - the better. It's always better to know what you're expecting. We're going to have to find him... and Astix, I need to find Astix!" Astix was suddenly a priority too... Quentus had given her the idea that he had done something terrible to him as well.

"Astix can take care of himself," Hombruh said looking at the school. "You know the longer we stand here and argue the more damage he could do."

"You're right... Snape, get the students to their Common Rooms, then search the first floor, Hombruh I want you to search the Dungeons," she started marching off back to the school drawing her wand as she went. She had a strange thought... what would a student think if they found three dead Death Eaters and one unconscious?

"Where are you going?" Snape hissed rushing up to join her, Hombruh sauntered along behind them.

"Back to that corridor." She said her voice was now harsh, she sounded annoyed, this sounded more like Raine, less panic and more snap.


"Just do as your told for once!" She barked, sometimes, he thought, she can be so ungrateful.

Severus cleared his throat, "Sonorus," he uttered after drawing his wand and pointing at his throat. "As a matter of dire urgency ALL lessons are cancelled and everyone is to return to their Common Rooms immediately, Staff are warned to take extreme caution in the corridors while escorting students..." His voice ripped through the grounds as if he were shouting down everyone's ear at once. He released the charm afterwards... perhaps some things he was going to say or might say weren't for everyone's ears.

"You could have warned me!" Raine snapped rubbing her ears as she now entered the building flanked by Severus Snape and Hombruh Genis.

"You told me to warn them - I warned them..."

When they got into the building everyone appeared to be rushing around, they had heard him and they listened... that was strange.

"Okay... this is where we split... Hombruh, if I find him I'll signal you... visa versa. Snape if you find him, shout and someone should hear you." Great... shout she says, fantastic... Snape thought sarcastically. Why should he risk his neck for the people in this school? But they're just children... It was almost like he felt a different for of attachment to the young people in the school now. He was a father himself now - if anything happened...

"Be careful Raine," Hombruh said as he headed to the Dungeons.

"Good luck," Raine said turning to face Severus, her face seemed to care, like she was taking in exactly what he looked like. It was almost as if she was taking her last look at him.

"Don't do anything stupid Raine," he said turning on his heel and heading up the stair that went to the first floor. As he walked up the steps Raine was still stood at the bottom of the steps watching him go, the last he saw of her was the spin of her black robes as she turned to leave.

Why was he looking for trouble? He passed a fair few deserted corridors, he passed no members of Staff, it was almost like they were hiding in the Common Rooms too... perhaps they were in the Staff Room trying find out what is happening?

Severus was running through the corridors - he was looking in classrooms, this was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. Why would Maytricks bother coming upstairs... unless of course.... Raine's office. Raine's office was on this floor... he rushed back to the top of the stair and headed the other way, if Maytricks was going to go anywhere it would be there.

Raine's office was a door in the middle of a long corridor, at the end of the corridor was a circular room with walls composed of windows and lead to another corridor. The circular room however was not empty; haloed by the setting sunlight stood the dark shadow of a man, Maytricks. He said nothing, Severus was walking slowly forwards down the corridor not taking his eyes off Maytricks for a second... almost as if he couldn't blink.

Maytricks stared back at him oddly. It was a shrewd calculating look that was trying to understand. Severus stopped half way down the corridor holding his wand out, Maytricks looked at him, Snape could just make out a smile on the cold face staring back at him as his wand turned to ashes.

Okay now he was worried... he didn't so much as have a wand to protect himself and there was a Sorcerer standing opposite him with a low growl of a laugh growing louder and louder...

"Tell me Snape, what other tricks do you have up your sleeves? Do you keep a rabbit?" Quentus hummed still standing tall, arms folded looking over his dark lenses. "Today you've shown me your cheap tricks and now I'm wondering... without your wand... will you pull out Flopsy bunny? Or perhaps a dove - not that I'm interested in peace with you." His white eyes flashed.

Severus said nothing, he looked at the remaining ashes in his hand then allowed them to fall to the floor... he looked at the dust, he'd look like that in a minute. He looked up at Quentus, eyes narrowed. He didn't want to die.

"Finally speechless I see... I thank you for your silence. Just makes things quicker you see. Means I don't have to listen to any feeble excuses or your pathetic pleading for your life," get on with it, Snape thought.

"What makes you think I'd give you the pleasure or hearing me plead? I've waited for this day to come... sometimes I wished for it, so you'd be doing me a favour." Snape straightened out the cuffs on his robes and then brushed a little dust off the shoulders of his black robes. He then stood straight and looked at Quentus as if he were waiting for a bus.

"Very well," Maytricks said slowly before drawing a mass of energy out of nowhere that glowed green then he released it full pelt down the corridor at Snape.

The light was amazing. It was like fire, green fire and it engulfed him. He'd brought his arms up to his face to protect himself and now it would appear that he wasn't in fact being burned by it, he was being pushed backwards while standing, it was pushing against his feet, forcing him back but he wasn't dying... he was warm... his fingers tingled... but he wasn't dead. The green light subsided and Severus was stood at the beginning of the corridor again. He looked back at Maytricks who was now looking back at him an irked expression. Severus looked at himself.

"Was that it?" He said looking at his hands... small sparks of electricity appeared to flicker from his fingers...

"You!" Quentus recoiled... he'd not seen what Snape had seen... he'd seen wings... transparent hazy wings... a shield.

"Hmm?" Severus now had a different serge or confidence, he was still alive - if there was something that made him feel he had one up on Maytricks it was the fact he'd failed to kill him. His fingers itched... he looked down the corridor more intently. "Ever wondered what it was like to be on the receiving end?"


You're a dirty needle,

You're in my blood,

And there's no curing that,

And I wanna run

Like the blood from my wounds

To a place you can't see me

Because love

Like a blow to the head has left me stunned

And I'm reeling'

Yeah I'm reeling'

And if you go Furious Angels

Will bring you back to me

['Furious Angels,' by Rob Dougan]


Burn with intensity... explode like a star...


Author's Final Thought: What did you make of that one? I need to know - tell me - REVIEW! If you don't review you can't have your say - then you'll feel that life sucks and that no one listens to you. I want to listen, tell me... review! WEE!

Mucho thanks to Eleri Nuvios - otherwise known on fanfiction as Green Pig PROUD Hufflepuff! Oh and Evil Little Slytherin, who kept reminding me that I had to keep writing this story.

I.C [Hyper] Fire