Author's Notes: Read at your own risk.

Disclaimer: listen carefully: NOT MINE.


He enters through a heavy oaken doorframe and taps cool boots across a soft rug, muffled and muted and sly. It seems to me, and I say this with every intention of convincing you that I know him well, that he means not to make an entrance by entering.

This is, of course, contrary to his nature, so I am puzzled and look up.

Hood up, arms hidden, eyes bright, he reclines in a nearby chair.

I am up in arms before he speaks.

"What do you read?", he asks quietly.

I show him the cover.

"En Exenia.", he reads the title aloud. "Interesting. How do you find it?"


I can sense his smirk. I know there is another reason he is here, however.

I smile at him, as programmed, and speak softly.

"What troubles you, lord?"

His eyes shine brighter from beneath his hood.

My stomach sinks, my pulse quickens, my eyelids fall low.

The book in my hands flies to his.

"I had no idea your interests had traveled to dark alchemia. Last we spoke, you were buried deep in potion-making."

"You haven't visited for a while", I say, and then add, just for flavor: "My lord."

His figure shifts and the hood drifts back and inch or two. He stands, his towering height reorganizing my perception of the room. When he wants to, the Dark Lord can fill up any room with his presence. He paces, and flips through the book.

"Brutus Holmei is hopelessly inane, my dear."

"I've discovered."

"Why did you not ask before reading this trash? You've wasted your time."

"As I've said, you've been absent as of late."

He pauses mid-step. It seems he's detected the hostility in my voice. I now walk on thin ice.

"Jealous?", he hisses.

I don't respond. My display of possessiveness touches him.

He seats himself.

"How go your studies?"

My heart freezes over.

"As well as can be expected."

The tension builds.

"And by this you mean…"

"By that I mean my studies go well," I snap.

I know at once that I've gone too far.

"Ungrateful slut", he seethes.

"Better that than a spineless lackey," I retort.

He does not go for his wand. For all his power, for all his anger, for all his bloodlust, he is, if anything, a gentleman.

"I've given you an opportunity to redeem you bloo-"

"There is nothing wrong with my blood heritage", I hiss. "I neither asked for nor require your help."

"Quite the contrary, my dear", he mocks, then grows serious. "You'd be dead without me."

"There are fates worse than death."

Silence settles heavy on the room.

A clock ticks from behind me, the fire burns lower. Snow has begun to fall outside. My bare feet are cold.

His eyes glare at me from the folds of the cloak.

"Would you prefer", he seethes, "I treat you like the common, ill-bred whore you are?"

This strikes me deep.

I say nothing.

"You betrayed your precious Order for me, darling," he continues. "This war is over. I've won. To the victor goes the spoils. And you, my dear, are certainly spoiled."

I realize, as I always do, that he is right. My body sags under the weight of my betrayal and my self-righteous anger flees.

He's won. He knows it.

His tattoo marks up the right side of my body. A serpent he etched into my very skin, alive and awake on the inside. The serpent coils around my arm and slinks down my side, smooth and coy.

I rub a distracted finger down my markings on my arm.

I feel his eyes drawn to the spot and again I feel the dead weight of guilt. The weight splinters and gives way to a sinking dread and a rising excitement. I know what comes next.

The air is heavy and warm and I feel him rise rather than see him rise. I recline on the couch and he sits next to me. A cool finger leaves a trail down my face and I shudder.

"I leave you alone for too long. You grow bitter with inattention."

"You've planted this wayward garden", I growl. "Attend to it."

"Your mind wearies of accepting theories. You wish to argue them."

"As only you know how."

"You've not accepted the dark arts, only learned them."

"Glad you can discern the difference."

There is a beat of silence.

"You will accept them."

His palm rests on my cheek. I fight the urge to lash out at him. His confidence unnerves me. He is right. I will. I haven't yet, but I will. Not because I would naturally, but because I am weak and easily lured from the righteous path I try (and fail) to walk.

Curiosity has sent many a cat to their untimely death. I am not the first, nor will I be the last.

Still, I can fight the lure of the dark arts for a while longer, and when I can, I will.

After all, disinterest is the only weapon I wield against He-Who-Ordinarily-Is-Not-Thwarted-For-Long. I can stall for time. Like Harry did. But ultimately, everyone always plays right into His hand.

Harry's empty green eyes come into mind. I am reminded of why I fight. I turn my head from his hand sharply.

He hisses his annoyance and yanks my head back towards him, and without further ado, slides his lips onto mine. It seems unnatural that my body spark and light up like it does when he touches me. It seems unnatural that I can't help the weakening in my stomach and the anticipation in my veins. I should be repulsed, but I'm not.

He moves down my neck and I'm shaking with something your delicate ears probably don't want to hear. He whispers against my neck, a charming habit, I have to say, and usually I can't quite catch what he says but today I do and I want to sink somewhere warm, wet and dark and hide there for the rest of eternity.

"One day you'll be-"

I miss the last part.

We shift and he's on top of me, and I don't want to but my fingers dance across the fastenings of his cloak. He's not quite as hesitant as I am and gets to his goal before I am even sure of mine.

"One day-"

I am sick, sick, sick. I want to fight and throw him off but I am weak and I don't.

"-you'll be-"

He nips just the right place, at just the right time, hard enough to draw blood and I'm not sure if he heard me whimper or not but I tried my best not to. One of his abnormally large hands splays across my stomach and roams upward, the other supports his weight.

"One day you'll be forgiven"

My insides grow cold and I try to push him off, but he is a deadweight of cold skin and bloodless muscle. His laugh is a soft hiss of pleasure.


Authors notes- Err. Right. Named for that a-mazing new Murder By Death song. Check it out. Interesting bit of info: Shiola is a word undefined. I've searched to find out what it is. Nobody on the WorldWideWeb knows. Theres even a website dedicated to finding out what 'shiola' is.