I'm really in a one-shot mood right now. Trying to break my writer's block for a Serpent's Son. It's almost broken through now.

Tell me what you think of this. It was just a random idea floating through my mind, as they all are.

Maybe only a little crazy.

The voice echoed in his mind, his darkest memories and deepest fears playing out over and over again.

He was five years old and they were telling him he was such a disappointment to The Family

He was eight and they said he would never live up to expectations, so he didn't try. He knew his place and he did his best to keep it. It was easier to survive when no one expected anything of him.

He stared at the stone wall, ragged clothing offering no protection against the chill air. He was enclosed, and it frightened him, but what was there to be done? Nobody saves the nutters, the voice reminded him. And suddenly, the walls looked like they were growing, and he was listening to the little voice again as it said knowingly,

A bit more then a little crazy, then.

He remembered being nine, feeling so alone and empty. He had no friends, and he was always hungry. Nine was a bad year.

And then there was eleven. Eleven was the Saving Year, as he called it. That was when the White-Beard Man—Dumbledore, they told him, was the man's proper name—showed him magic and all that it could do. That was the year he began to change, he started making friends. And such friends they were! They stayed with him through everything, even when he knew he was different, even when he had to keep secrets. They let him be normal.

He needed normal.

Those were the years, those good school years, that made him happy. They were the memories he clung to and refused to release. They were his only tie to the little sanity left in his mind.

Maybe only a little crazy.

They told him his friends were dead now, but that couldn't be right. His friends would never die. They were always there for him when he needed them. He hugged his knees to his chest, thinking hard. His friends were there, he knew. He felt them still. He spoke to them in the dark, and, although they never really did speak back, he just knew they had to be there.

He smiled, recalling the adventures, the trouble. There was always trouble where he went, it seemed. His family told him to behave. He was a disgrace. He shrugged them off. There was no happier moment for him than the day he finally got away from them. At last he could stay with people who loved him, the people who wanted and respected him.

His friends.

They became his surrogate family, and he loved them. He told them everything that happened now. He told them of the dark rooms and the screaming and the gray days. He told them of crying for no reason at all, and of the things They said. They were always saying things, things that didn't make any sense to him.

He didn't remember these memories They tried to have him share, and he didn't want to share. It was his memories. They could get their own.

He told his friends of the troubles he face now, and asked them why they didn't come to visit more often. He told them they had grown, and so had he. Did they notice? He told them he was hungry, and he was very cold, but they only stared and smiled, like little muggle photographs looking through the bars. He recited lessons from school, and all the mischief they used to get into. He recalled fondly the times whey his friends had been led, by him, of course, into many different sticky situations. He told them he was lonely here, in this dark place with the walls and the stones and the rattling keys. He told them they should stay, but they just kept staring and smiling, and sooner or later, they would leave. He told his friends goodbye, and come back soon. He told them he loved them, and they smiled back.

He never did realize his friends were really only a bedpan and a bedside table.

Maybe only a little crazy, said that voice in his head again. He slipped back into the recesses of his mind, thinking of his good days, trying to make his friends come back. But there was only an enemy.

His enemy was the only one who spoke to him on visits. His enemy was real, and he was standing right there, his greasy black hair hanging as limply as always, the big, hooked nose looking larger than ever. His teeth were bared, yellow and spit-flecked and crooked.

"You are being selfish," said his enemy. "The Headmaster would have been disappointed." His voice was sniffy and disdainful. Just the reason he was called Snivellus.

He wanted to reply to his enemy. He wanted to tell him just what he could do with his selfishness and his big nose. But it was his turn to be the photograph and just sit and smile vacantly, his friends' faces flitting through his mind, wondering pleasantly whether Pygmy Puffs had wings. Or was that owls? No, no, he was sure there had been a pink Pygmy Puff named Ron, and a purple one named Hedwig, or something like that.

His enemy sneered.

He looked up, not very interested at all, his eyes showing no signs of emotion.

"Wake up, you blasted fool!" The enemy was angry. He could remember the times before, when Snivellus would lose his temper and start shouting. He was always so angry about, well, something, Snivellus was.

He shook his head, his face clouded over. He wondered what it was to have a proper family. He wondered why his friends were not there to take the enemy away and save him. Why could they not save him from this place? Why did They say his friends were dead?

"You have been in this state for three months, and it is growing tiresome," snarled Snivellus, and his pale face was flushed. Funny, it was the same pink as Pygmy Puff Ron. "We have all told you, but you remain the selfish, arrogant fool you always were. You suffer the same had-ache inspiring lack of wit as you did at school, but even less so now."

The enemy droned on, but he tuned out.

Where were his friends today? They had not come since the night before. Why were they not coming to see him? Why did they leave him here with this greasy man, this—Snivellus? He listened to the man, his own face growing into a heavy scowl. He didn't like his enemy being there when his friends were gone. He needed them here. He needed to talk to them. He needed to tell them everything, so they could smile and stare, and he could just talk all night.

"You aren't really mental," said the enemy. "You will realize this one day, and you will thank me for coming. Do you hear that? You will owe me when I save your sanity. It is there, I can see it still. You will be in my debt one of these days. Just you wait. I wouldn't bother coming if there was no hope for you. I wouldn't waste three hours out of every day to watch you drooling on that blanket."

A blanket? There was no blanket. Just the cold stone and his torn clothes. He had no blanket.

"You will thank me," drawled the enemy.

He smiled serenely.

"Maybe only a little crazy, Snivelly. Snivelly the Coward. Snivelly the Greasy Git. Snivelly is Snivellus is the Enemy!" He chanted in a sing-song voice, rocking back and forth. "Snivelly! I give mine heart to thee! O, Snivelly of greasy hair! Of crooked nose, grayingunderwear Nothing but those underpants getting o' so gray! O Snivelly, why don't you play? No, no, no, no, Snivellus, so why the fuss? SO SNIVELLY, I GIVE MY HEART TO THEE, FOREVER MAY YOU HOLD IT DEAR! AND IF YOU BREAK, WELL, THEN MY HEART YOU TAKE, BUT YOU ARE HERE; I HAVE NO FEAR!"

He broke into maniacal laughter, his eyes squeezed shut. The enemy was glaring. He must have really enjoyed the new song.

The enemy's eyes were deepest, darkest black, glinting with anger and pity.

"I see you will not co-operate today," he said stiffly, turning crisply on his heel and walking out the door.

He watched the enemy leave, still humming the verses to "O Snivelly" and smiling vaguely. Today was a good day. Today he didn't have the bad memories to come and steal his mind from him. Today he knew his friends would not come, but that was okay, for They had not come either.

And then he heard it. It was Them. His heart seized with fear.

The red-headed lady with her little baby came in, smiling pleasantly. He shrank away, still watching to door. There was the Mirror Man, for there were two of him, and they both looked identical. There was the skinny boy with his big teeth and his nervous, round face.

"My friends," he gasped, still trying to put distance between himself and Them. The red-headed lady reached out, clasping his hand in hers, moving his fingers to stroke the baby's soft black hair, its big green eyes staring and staring until he didn't think he could take it anymore.

"They're gone," she said sadly. "I know it is hard, but they are gone. Please, please come back. Please come back to me. Look at the baby. He can't . . . he can't grow up without . . . his daddy. Please . . . ."

She was starting to cry. He reached out and brushed her tears away, remembering his childhood tears. No one was there to brush those tears away.

"They caught . . . Lestrange. They caught her, and she'll pay for the crimes she—she'll pay for what she did to them, but please come back here. Come back to this life. We miss you so much . . . ."

"Lily," he said, stroking her red hair. He couldn't remember her name, but something told him there was a red-head named Lily.

"No, no . . . ."

He held her for a moment, her hand clutched in his own sweaty one, and he remembered. He remembered for only a moment, but it was enough.

"I—I love you," she choked out, touching his hand, his messy hair. She kissed his cheek softly, and he liked the way it felt. He liked the baby's soft hair under his fingers, as well. She stood and backed away, motioning to the others. They regarded him sadly before turning to go. The round-faced boy slipped him a bubble gum wrapper. He clenched it tightly in his fist.

"I'm maybe only a little crazy," he called after Them. The red-head stopped and smiled back at him through her tears, but it was a sad smile.

"Only a little, Harry," she said, and the baby cooed. "Maybe only a little."

He waved to them, grinning at the gurgling baby and calling back, "Name him Sirius, mind?"

She nodded. "Sirius James Potter. I know, Harry."

And just like that they were gone, leaving him again in his empty place, only now it was no longer stone. It flickered to a small, white room, where he was sitting on a bed with a green blanket that had little snitches stitched into it. He clung to the image of the room, knowing full well that it would be gone in a moment. It always disappeared after They left.

To his right was a glass potion beaker, bearing the label—MEMORY RESTORATIVE. He looked at it.


The enemy was always leaving those potions.

And for a brief moment, Harry Potter laughed. A real laugh, a sane one. His room would fade back into the prison in a moment, and his friends would be there, smiling their muggle photograph smiles. He looked at the potion beaker again, noticing with glee the sunlight from the small window reflecting off of the clean glass.