Achluophobia


This fic is dedicated to all of those who fear the dark; some of us sit it through, pupils wide as we search for something to let our panicked eyes rest on, and the rest of us, who find that there is more light to be found in a darkened room behind our own eyelids.


DIS.CLAIM.UH- I HEREBY RENOUNCE OWNERSHIP OF THE HARRY POTTER CHARACTERS, SETTINGS AND SITUATIONS AS CREATED BY JK ROWLING AND MUTILATED BY THE WARNER BROTHERS CORPORATION, MAY THEY ROT IN HELL FOR BUTCHERING THE FIRST AND SECOND HARRY POTTER MOVIES.


HEY. HEY. DID YOU SEE THE RATING? I PUT IT THERE FOR A REASON. IF YOU CANT TAKE THE HEAT, GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN.


Past-really long time ago, like when he was a boy at Hogwarts and a few years before. Context clues indicate the exact time that the particular scene takes place in.

Now-as in, now.


If you count the seconds, minutes and hours, hold your breath and watch the clock, time moves at your command. You can speed it up or slow it down at your whim. Wrap their minds around that! Go! Try and explain that you are Father Time reincarnate!

Silly boy.

1,2,3,4,5…

This is when you suck the air in slowly, through your teeth, filling your lungs and stretching them like stockings over thick calves. You hold it there, letting it slip out in small spurts of release.

34,35,36,37…

Vision blurs. Spots form.

59,60,61,62…

Sounds lose meaning.

Release breath.


There in the back and not quite alone you stand hidden by boxes and the air you stuffed inside yourself so you could maybe fly away. But you can't but you cant you cant. You peek out and realize that they don't even bother casting silencing charms. Their wands light up the empty spaces in the storage unit, flashing one way then another. Black and brown and musty and not quite alone, you are. Tired and tired and tired.

You can slow their progress, speed it up at will. What will you do? End this? Or give yourself time to escape? You remain calm, allow your heart to slow, counting 7 seconds between each breath and then and then and then SUCK the air in and the wheels screech to a halt. Their voices stretch and elongate, tilting crazily over the boxes and lampshades and forgotten muggle contraptions with wheels and a pulley system and red shiny paint and a metal skeleton.

Go away, you think. GOGOGGOGO away. Your pull her closer to yourself and think about your cardboard box at Spinners End. Counting 5,6,7,8,9,10…

Your breath turns stale in your lungs but you fill them all the same.

Clutching her closer, you focus.

Counting 27,28,29,30,31…

Her ragged breathing is thunder in your ears, the room shaking crazily and the wandlight glowing eerily up and around what appears to be a birdcage. The shadow glides along the smooth concrete wall.

You have to shut this out.

Louder! And louder still! She breathes, her heartbeat teasing your own. Your breath is bursting your lungs so you exhale slowly, shortly and your focus wavers as your paranoia screeches in your brain, a train whistle that explodes with steam at the dots dancing behind your eyes.

You shut them.

And oh god you hear them.

"OVER HERE!"

You inhale and things speed up again, footsteps pounding your way at the speed of light but


You've done it in class to drown them out. The snickers and the words. You're a stone, you're a stone. You don't breathe, you don't move, you don't think, you're not alive. Then you focus and you're not anything. You don't exist, you're floating away until the pressure in your chest becomes unbearable and then you inhale sharply and then come crashing down. Flickers and blurred vision, candlelight washing your irises out like bleach spots on a towel.

You're back in the tower, idle chatter and thuds of books on tables in your ears, the scent of chalk and dusty stone and burning wood in your nose, the feel of grainy paper and wet ink under your fingers.

"Snivellus has got ink on his honker, James, lookit!"

Two black heads swivel around and you wipe furiously at your nose. The heads bob with mirth and swing back around.


Her head bobbed with mirth and turned back around to face her potion, which was simmering calmly. Your sounds have lost meaning, which makes this a minute and then some since you started watching her. You can't can't can't breathe when you watch her. She takes your breathe away.

Eyes twisting along the tawny curls that frame her face, the glow of the candles and then and then and then you see it. You saw it in your own. And this is how you know…

…candlelight washing her irises out like bleach spots on a towel.

She would shine through the darkness of any room, your lovely little light. Yours. Yours. Yours.


And oh god you hear them.

"OVER HERE!"

You inhale and things speed up again footsteps pounding your way at the speed of light but

you've got everything under control. You're in control. You're in control.


When you see her, its pretty much the same. Time slows to a halt and all that exists is the pressure in your lungs, the pathetic throb of your heart, the blankness in your mind.

When she speaks, when she raises an eyebrow in question, when her socks slip down below her ankle and she tugs them up and then and then and then…

She slips those shoes off. And her white socks. Unbuttons the sweater and shrugs it off. Stretches, upper body heaving upwards, toes pointed…

When this is over, truly over, you intend on holding her the rest of your life.


In the dark and damp of your room, the walls close in around your 10 year old head, pushing all the air out of your open window, they take it away from you. They take it away from you. But you need it! So what do you do?

Quick! Suck it in! Fit it all in there!

You cant see, they took your candles after you burned them clean away because you were too afraid of the splattering wax to blow them out.

But really, was that the case?

Or were you just afraid that if you blew it out, you wouldn't be able to see your walls closing on you?

And how, exactly, would you explain to them how this happened?

Slow it down, quickly!

They're moving in too fast! You're not prepared for this!

You're not, you're not you're not…prepared for this.

And that's how you learned that

if you count the seconds, minutes and hours, hold your breath and watch the clock, time moves at your command. You can speed it up or slow it down at your whim.


Now this, this is quite the opposite, is it not? The wandlight gets brighter as they approach, closing in around you, but you don't need their air!

You pull her closer, fingers digging into her hips and she whimpers quietly with fear. But you're not afraid. You've got everything under control.

When they laugh, when they sneer, when they take away your candle, your precious precious candle, when they let the walls push away your air, you breathe in and take away their control over you.
When they laugh at her, when they sneer, you don't let them take her away with vicious words. She's your candle in the dark and dank of your room. You need it. You need it.

You you you…


The light shows you what you cannot see for yourself. Fear of the dark is fear of the unknown. You're made of books and instructions and facts, diagrams and logic and order and law. But when the candles are all blown out, all of this escapes you. You're back to imagination and fantasy and you feelfeelfeel it as you lose control of the carefully constructed floodgates you erected to keep these thoughts from finding their way into your conscious mind.

Scared are you?

Frightened even?

Not afraid of the dark, Severus Snape, are you?


Not when you've got her, that's for sure. Tussled curls spread across your pillow, soft brown eyes in your own. You've known her, in the dark and the dank of your room, and when you do your walls shrink away in fear.


Counting 63, 64, 65, 66, 67…

When this is over, truly over, you're going to hold onto her forever.


And oh god you hear them.

"OVER HERE!"

You inhale and things speed up again footsteps pounding your way at the speed of light but

you've got everything under control. You're in control. You're in control.


AUTHORS NOTES-
I attempted to make this first chapter a sort of snapshot in time through the eyes of Severus Snape as he and the love of his life (Know It All Ms. Granger, of course!) hide from unseen enemies, presumably Death Eaters, as they hunt for Order Members in a muggle storage unit. This ficlet will expand into a short trilogy explaining how Snape and Ms.Granger ended up fleeing for their lives into this storage unit in the first place. Whether or not they get out I will decide at a later time.

What'd you think? Review and tell me.

MUCH LOVE TO MY NEW BETA EVERVENGEFUL!