Walking In Shadows
Disclaimer (One for all): Not mine, don't sue!
If you like, please review!Chapter 1 – Fall Apart
To say Lucius was having a bit of trouble would be an understatement, especially considering this bit of trouble was at this moment biting any part of him it could get its teeth on, scratching any part of him it could get its nails into and being an all round pain in the arse. This bit of trouble that Lucius was referring to was of course one Harry James Potter.
'Bring him here, Lucius.' Voldemort hissed at him. 'Have you never heard of restraining spells?' The anger coming from the Dark Lord was palpable.
However this was nothing compared to the anger Lucius felt at this moment. He had just risked his life to bring this snivelling piece of filth to the Dark Lords feet, something Voldemort had been wanting since knowing of the boys soon to be existence, and now he was acting as if Lucius had done something terribly wrong. He finally managed to drop the wiggling piece of flesh in front of his leader and, still panting hard, he bowed and kissed the dark man's robes.
'I am sorry My Lord.' He said, trying to put as much respect into his voice as he could. 'I needed both hands just to keep hold of the little whelp, I had no time to go for my wand.'
'Call yourself a wizard.' He said, turning to look down at the boy by his feet. His anger turned to elation and he smiled as Harry tried his hardest to find his feet, which was hard with his feet tied together. He kicked Harry away from him and then turned back to Lucius.
'You obviously had enough time to tie his feet together.' He grated out. 'Would it have been too easy for you to tie his wrists as well or are you so thick that it didn't occur to you.'
Lucius bowed his head and tried to keep the same respectful tone he had perfected throughout his years in the Dark Lord's service. 'I was discovered.' He said, knowing that Voldemort was not going to like that. 'I didn't have time to make sure he was properly restrained. I am already an escaped convict, I daresay next would have been the dementors kiss if they still had them on their side.'
Voldemort raised his eyebrow in a way that reminded Lucius of Severus. 'So you couldn't even do that much right. You have been … a disappointment.'
Lucius waited for the final blow but it did not happen. Instead, 'How is your son these days, Lucius?'
'He-he's learning my Lord. I promise you he will not fail you again. You have been lenient and I—'
Voldemort laughed. 'Your arm, Lucius.' He said calmly.
Lucius willingly held out his left arm and with that…
A soft, almost inaudible hiss came from depths of a potions laboratory in a dilapidated house in Spinners End. Severus Snape dropped the container of bats eyes and let the contents skitter across the floor as he curled his hand over his forearm in an effort to stop the pain. It did nothing of the sort of course.
What could the Dark Lord want at this time of night? Whatever it was it could not be good. Cursing, Snape extinguished the fire underneath his cauldron, grabbed his cloak and mask and was just about to leave when Wormtail came stumbling into the room, still in his nightclothes, wide-eyed and clutching his left arm.
'He – what – it's nearly midnight—'
'Stop your incessant whinging Wormtail and get something descent on. I'm certainly not waiting until you've got yourself together. I do not have a death wish.'
With that he stalked out the room, black robes billowing out behind him.
As the robed and masked figures started apparating around the clearing Voldemort turned back to Lucius. 'Would you be so kind as to just collect Mr Potter and bring him back here?' He said in a mock polite voice.
Lucius turned round and the cursed as he saw that Harry had been half crawling, half dragging himself toward the forest. He stalked after him in frustration, caught him around the middle and carried him fireman style back toward the dark Lord. He bowed low again, donned his mask and took his place in the slowly increasing circle of bodies, between Avery and Severus. He smirked at his old friend and Snape smirked back, the expression only noticed through the slight crinkling of the eyes, the only part of the face not hidden by the white masks.
'This, my friends, is a triumphant night.' Voldemort said in little more than a whisper that was still heard clearly all around the circle of onlookers. 'It is the night when Harry Potter is finally put in his rightful place.'
Some of the Death Eaters laughed. Lucius was one of the few who did not. He and the others only stared straight ahead at the red-eyed demon before them.
'But before this is done,' Voldemort carried on. 'I think a little entertainment is in order.' At this the laughter was a lot more pronounced and a few of the death eaters shifted in anticipation. 'Crabbe, Goyle, come here and tie him up.'
The two biggest people there eagerly stepped forward. They each grabbed an arm and pulled Harry up until his feet no longer touched the floor. They tied his hands onto a rope that seemed to be hanging from an invisible ceiling, leaving Harry swinging in the air and particularly vulnerable.
Crabbe and Goyle backed away to rejoin the circle. Voldemort's piercing eyes roamed the circle and landed on the tall figure next to Lucius.
'Severus.' He hissed. 'Come forward.'
Harry's eyes swivelled round to glare at the approaching figure. Snape strode forward confidently, eyes shining. He stopped opposite the Dark Lord and fell to his knees.
'Master.' He murmured reverently, looking up at the Dark Lord in what looked like admiration.
Voldermort smiled and placed his hand on top of Snapes head. 'Severus, I have a task for you that I think you'll enjoy very much.'
'Yes Master.' Snape murmured.
'I'm giving you the pleasure to do what you have always wanted to do to your star pupil in class.' The smirk that came over Snapes face was easily distinguishable in his eyes as he walked toward Harry's hanging form. Harry jerked and his eyes widened.
He never really knew what had happened. He couldn't even understand how Lucius had gotten round the wards because there was absolutely no warning and suddenly he was there. It was so sudden in fact, and so quick, that Harry had no chance of fighting back. He vaguely wondered where his relatives were and found himself hoping they were all right, before realising he should be more worried for himself. He didn't remember much after the first spell was thrown his way until he heard voices and footsteps downstairs. Then he heard Lucius above him curse loudly and only then realised that his feet were tied. That was when he started to fight back.
Now though, he was feeling something distinctly different. A lot of it was anger, he knew but as Snape walked slowly up to him with a lecherous look on his face Harry couldn't help the fear that coursed through him as well as the deep loathing he felt for the man. When Snape incanted a few words under his breath and flicked his wand like you would do a whip Harry's whole body became overcome with fear so much that the anger was forgotten. As Snape had flicked his wand a long thick red tendril had come shooting out of it and Harry realised that it actually was a whip, one of the magical kind.
Harry realised that he was now shaking and Snape reached up and took off his mask so that Harry could see his whole face and the wide smirk he wasn't trying to hide.
'Oh Potter, scared are we?' He said in a mocking voice.
Harry tried to calm his breathing, he didn't want Snape to know how scared he was but he figured that it was probably a bit late for that. He felt like hissing out the word 'Traitor' at him but what would that achieve? He promised himself he would keep his vow of silence. He was not going to give him the satisfaction of seeing him beg.
'Now I am going to ask you some questions.' Snape said coldly. 'And if you get them wrong I can finally punish you with something a bit more interesting than loss of house points or detentions.'
Harry didn't make a sound. His arms were already aching as they were holding the rest of his body in the upright position and he tried to struggle free once more to no avail.
Snape laughed harshly. 'Question number one.' Harry could hear the laughter of the other death eaters in his ears. 'What would I get if I added powered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?'
Harry of course knew the answer to this question and Snape knew that he knew it. Still he vowed he would not give in to him and he kept his silence. It took only a few seconds for the worst pain in his life to flare up all around him as the whip made sudden contact with his back. He couldn't help it, he screamed. The pain was more than excruciating and Harry could smell burning that was making him feel sick. Anger rose up again inside him like an uncoiling Snake and he stared daggers at the man beside him.
Snape was unperterbed. 'Answer me Potter or the next one will be a lot worse.'
Harry kept silent again and the next strike had him screaming so loud he felt his voice going hoarse.
'Answer me!' He heard the commanding voice again through his haze of pain and this time, without realising it or wanting it he felt his lips move of their own accord.
'A sleeping potion.' He ground out.
'What about it?' Came the mocking voice next to his ear. He could hear the death eaters laughing again.
'It's so powerful that…' he licked his dry lips, 'that it is known as the Draught of Living Death.'
'Good, good.' He heard Snapes mocking voice again. 'You are learning aren't you? Isn't this a lot easier than trying to get things out of you in class?'
Harry didn't say anything.
'Tell me Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?'
The hatred coming off of Harry could be felt in waves but he answered nevertheless, his mouth moving of it's own accord again. 'The stomach of a goat.' He croaked.
'And what is the difference between monks—'
'They are the same plant that also goes by the name of aconite.' Harry interrupted. That was a mistake.
He heard the swish of the whip before he felt it and his world was enveloped in pain again as he was left gasping with the force of it.
'Don't interrupt me again Potter.'
Harry seethed and bit his lip to prevent the gurgle at the back of his throat from breaking through.
'What kind of blood needs to be added to make a strengthening solution?' Snape asked.
'Um,' Harry had to think about that one for a moment. What was it? We only made it two years ago. Snape started to raise the whip. 'S-Salamander blood.' Harry managed to gasp out.
Snape let the whip fall to his side, smiling cruelly. 'I don't know which is more satisfying Potter, causing you pain or the power in making you do as I say.'
Harry said nothing, just trying to forget the pain by focusing on the very urgent need he had to pee.
'In the Mutatio Verfere it is important to stir the potion which way after adding the snake venom?'
Harry had never heard of the potion before, let alone knew what it meant. He was sure they had never done it in class so far.
'Um, anti-clockwise.' He hazarded a guess.
The whip came done again and Harry gritted his teeth in an effort to ride out the pain. It hardly helped as a soft gurgling noise still made its way through.
'It was a fifty-fifty question, Potter.' Snape said in irritation, actually sounding very much like he does in class.
This went on for a while, how long Harry did not know because he was in his own little world of pain throughout most of it. The only noises that Harry could hear almost constantly were the laughing of the other death eaters, his fast, shallow gasps and the wild beating of his heart. At least with the last he could tell he was still alive. It was not much but it was the only thing he had to cling onto.
All too soon Snape's voice was drowned out by the haze that clouded Harry's brain. The pain was almost constant as Harry could neither hear the questions nor hope to answer them anymore and he knew he was close to passing out.
After a some time Voldemort called a halt to the proceedings and Snape grudgingly stepped away, gave his wand another little flick and the red tendril retracted back into his wand.
'Good show.' The Dark Lord said.
Snape bowed low and kissed his robes again. 'Thank you for the pleasure Master.'
Voldemort smiled a particularly cunning smile and he saw Snape give a look of confusion for a moment but he still walked slowly back to his place in the circle.
Voldemort pointed his wand lazily in Harry's direction and the rope lengthened slightly so that Harry's feet could touch the ground, although he still had to keep his arms up above his head and his legs hardly had the strength to hold him up anyway.
'Now,' Voldemort said to the crowd around him. 'I know you are all very eager to know exactly how Lucius was able to get through the wards of Potters home. Even Lucius himself is wandering that, aren't you?' He said, turning to Lucius.
'Yes Master.' Lucius murmered.
'I would like to say that it was extremely tricky and dangerous … but it was neither, because as of midnight last night the wards around Potters home became non-existent.'
There was a low murmer at that as the Death Eaters whispered among themselves.
'Quiet!' The dark Lord hissed. 'And let me explain.' He carried on in a deadly whisper and that same sly smile. 'At exactly midnight last night, young Harry here came of age, and at exactly the same time … this happened.'
With that Voldemort took a rolled up piece of scroll from his pocket and held it up for everyone to see. With a flick of his hand it unrolled to show a list of around seventeen names. The last one of which still appeared to be wet as if it had been newly quilled in. The name of course was 'Harry James Potter.'
Gasps could be heard throughout the Dark Lords followers but one sound was unmistakable among them. It was the sound of someone half screaming, half choking, perhaps like the sound of a cat when someone has stepped on its tail.
Voldemort's smile became more pronounced as it sought out the producer of the noise. Severus Snape was on his knees, hands over his face, looking for all intents and purposes like he was going to be sick.
Lucius looked coldly down at him in some surprise and a little amusement. 'My, my, Severus.' He said. 'Whoever would have guessed?'
'Who indeed?' The Dark Lord added.