Author's Note: It's rewritten! Huzzah! Yeah, this has been up for a while. But then I went back, reread it, and was struck by how horribly awful it was. So, I did the only thing I could; I rewrote it, of course. If you have any advice at all to help me make this story better, drop me a review. I'd appreciate it.
I don't normally write angst, so it's not my natural style. This is just to help explain a little of Snape's... Snape-y-ness.
Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, do you really think I'd be on fanfiction, whittling away my time by making up new and improved ways to force drastic character development on my favorite imaginary people? No. I think not.
"Let's see you get that off, Snivellus!"
Severus Snape ran blindly across the courtyard. Jeering laughter and shouts followed him, no matter how he tried to outrun them. Even Evans had giggled, and she was usually the one standing up for him. If he could just get inside the castle, then he could find some solitude… or a rock to hide under. Finally, he made it inside and slammed the door behind him. Dropping his books for a moment, he leaned against the wall and gasped for breath. His legs were shaking from the exertion of running. And worst of all, he – his hair, his skin, his teeth, everything – had turned a deep shade of violet. He wasn't sure what hex Potter had used this time, but it wasn't one of Snape's.
He drew his wand and pointed it at himself. "Invertae," he said, but his wand only made a sad hissing noise. He growled in frustration. "Invertae!" For the next several minutes, he tried various spells and counter-jinxes, but to no effect. Eventually, he gave up. He would have to make the long trip to the hospital wing in full view of everyone. Grimacing, he began to gather his books.
Suddenly, he heard a door open behind him. Instinctively, he darted toward a dark corner for cover, but there was no hiding the purple hue of his skin. "Oh!" he heard. "Let me get that." He felt a stinging sensation and looked down at his hands. They had returned to their normal white. He turned around slowly and was met with green eyes, brown hair, and a warm smile. "I'm sorry," the girl said. "Potter and Black thought it up. It's a sort of joke of theirs." A flash of anger crossed her features. "They oughtn't to have used it." She shook her head and the smile returned. "You're that Snape boy – Severus, right?"
Severus found his voice. "Yes. Who are you?"
"I'm Tara. Tara Daniels."
A Hufflepuff, he recalled. He couldn't believe he was indebted this to a Hufflepuff. But maybe they weren't so bad after all. "Thank you," he said, and meant it.
-7 years later-
Tara sorted through the morning's owl post. It was hardly challenging; there were only two letters. One was a short notice from Gringott's Bank, telling of a recent deposit. The other was contained in an envelope that read: Severus Snape. Tara frowned in confusion at the latter and examined it. There was no address. She carried the post into the kitchen, where she sat down in front of her breakfast.
"One's for you," she said absently, and handed the letter to the man across from her. He was tall, dark-haired, and somewhat pale, though not as pallid as when Tara had first met him. She looked up. "Severus, are you going to eat anything? I didn't poison it, you know."
Severus just raised an eyebrow at her and opened the envelope. His brow furrowed as he scanned the letter. "Hmm," was the only comment he made.
"Well?" Tara asked curiously. "Who is it from?"
"Lucius," he said dismissively, and Tara made a face at the name. He crumpled up the letter and threw it in the fireplace. "It's nothing important." He got up.
She frowned. "Are you going already? You didn't touch your food."
He favored her with a mild scowl. "Stop fussing. I'm going to be late."
"Very well, but at least do something with your hair. I like it tied up. It looks rather dashing that way."
He smirked. "I'll remember that."
"Oh, I forgot: if I'm late getting home, it's because I'm out with Martha getting support," she added.
"Support for what?"
"We have a group that raises support for Aurors," she explained.
He stopped. "No," he said firmly. "Stay home."
"But Severus, they're the ones that protect us…"
"It's not safe!"
"That's the point! If it weren't for You-Know-Who…" She shuddered.
Severus grasped her shoulders. "Tara Snape, listen to me!" he hissed. "It's not safe. Go to work and come straight home." His voice softened. "Please?"
Tara sighed and bit her lip. "All right," she said at last.
"Good," he said, relieved. He kissed her and headed toward the door.
"I love you," she called after him.
He turned back, smiling. "I love you, too." Then he left.
Severus recalled the exact contents of his letter. If he had interpreted Malfoy's meaning correctly, the meeting place was not too far. There, the Dark Lord would be waiting. Unfortunately, Malfoy had been vague about the task he was wanted for.
He managed to make it to his destination without incident. He had barely gotten there before Voldemort apparated in front of him. Snape kneeled. "Master," he said, half prompting.
"Snape," Voldemort said coolly, but not without a slight sneer. "It has come to my attention that you may not be entirely devoted to me."
Snape looked up, shocked. Maybe the Dark Lord was testing him. Surely he hadn't done anything to provoke such suspicions. "No, my lord, I assure you that I am loyal."
"Is that so?" Voldemort sneered. He turned slightly to the side. "What was it that you told me, Wormtail?"
The figure of Wormtail sidled out of the shadows. He grinned nastily at Snape before replying, "Snape is married, master, but he has not told his wife of his allegiances. In fact, she is an enemy of the Dark Lord."
Snape's lip curled in a silent snarl at Wormtail. He wasn't daft; he knew where this was headed. Voldemort turned back towards him with a mocking smile. "If your wife," he made the word sound like a disease, "is an enemy, then she must be… exterminated."
The word was out of Snape's mouth before he could control it. Voldemort's face distorted. "What was that, servant?" he hissed dangerously. It was a mark of how much Snape's service was valued that he was given a chance to take back what he had said.
Snape took a deep breath. "No."
"She will be killed! And to show your loyalty, you will do the deed! Obey me, now!"
"No! I won't do it!"
Voldemort drew his wand. "Crucio!" he bellowed. Snape screamed. Again and again, Voldemort jabbed his wand at Snape, and Snape shrieked and writhed. It seemed hours before Snape was allowed time to breathe, and it was only for Voldemort to demand Snape to obey him.
"Not her!" he gasped. He managed to draw breath once more before he was hit again with the curse. Snape yelled until there was nothing left to yell with. His back arched. After a long time, Voldemort released him again.
"Obey me, servant!"
Snape's mouth opened and closed repeatedly; he couldn't seem to draw breath. He could only shake his head. "Crucio!" While he thrashed about, Snape lost consciousness.
It was turning dark when he awoke. Panting, he reached up to touch his face. Blood was running out of his nose and mouth. Blearily, he focused his vision on the two figures above him. Voldemort looked down at him coldly. When Snape didn't respond, he drew his wand.
Snape flinched back, desperately trying to shield himself. "Yes, my lord! Whatever you wish!" he nearly whimpered.
Voldemort smiled wickedly as he watched Snape stumble away, too weak to apparate. He turned to Wormtail. "Snape's fear of me has returned. But all the same," he mused, "inform Malfoy that he is to watch him. This shall not happen again."
Snape stood in front of the door to his house, as if he had forgotten how to open it. Slowly, he turned the knob and stepped inside. Tara looked up and smiled at the sound of the door, but she gasped as she took in his appearance. She jumped up and ran over to him. "Severus! What happened?" She tried to hold him, to help him to the couch, but he grabbed her wrists. She winced. "Severus, you're hurting me," she said softly. He pushed her to the floor, and she yelped as her arm hit the coffee table. "Severus?" she said, now pleading. He pulled out his wand. "Stop!" He stepped closer. "Severus, please…" He pointed the wand at her with a hand that was shaking violently. "Severus! I love you!" She was crying now, terrified.
"Avada Kedavra!" he screamed. There was a flash of green light, then silence. A wand clattered to the ground. "No… No!"
Severus Snape became a broken man. It was Lord Voldemort's victory.
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