He walked through the dark streets of what used to be a town. Buildings were ruptured, thrown into a horrible mosaic, dark silhouettes against an already darkening sky. He pushed past them, making himself not think of all the people who used to live here, many he had known form his days at Hogwarts, the same ones he now knew to be dead. Only one house remained in perfect condition at the end of the street, a floating green face permanently etched in the sky above.
He heard nothing as he approached the building, he saw no light coming from the windows, but he knew it was not vacant. There was no possibility of the house being empty, its importance to the Dark Lord was more than worth a few Death Eaters to guard it each evening, but the fact that unseen guards were present made him uneasy, all the way to the point that he drew his wand, concealing it in his sleeve.
At last reaching the door, he glanced behind him before knocking quietly on the ancient wooden door. A large man, his black hair stringy and clinging to his face, appeared in the doorway, his lips curled into a tight smile.
"Hello, Severus." The man glanced nervously down at the speakers arm, seeing his wand there, and the top of what looked like a drawing barely showing under his sleeve. "The dark lord is waiting."
The man stepped into the house, the building not offering him any more comfort than that of the cold street outside. No signs of life were present, no food, light or heat, only a strange hissing noise coming from the hallway he was being led down.
"Bring him in Rookwood; I have things to do this evening." A voice came from the last room, thin like a whisper. "Welcome to our ranks, Severus."
The man stepped into the room, swallowing his fear, and turning his back on his conscience. As his new lord burned his mark into his skin, he felt the urge to run, to get out before he was finished, if only because she wouldn't approve. He pushed it away, like everything else.
She didn't matter now, this was his new life. His new master. His new family. She was irrelevant.
As good as dead to him now.
He was marked now, he could feel it. But he had expected it, ever since Karkaroff had confided in him all those weeks ago. The Dark Lord was not happy with him, for his apparent loyalty to Dumbledore and his supposed protection of Potter over the last four years. He had to tread lightly now, to stay in the grace of the Dark Lord, that is if he had the chance to explain anything. He knew for a fact that the other Death Eaters had been whispering about him, every one of them suspicious of him ever since his assistance to Dumbledore that kept Voldemort from achieving the Sorcerer's Stone in Potter's first year. Another difficult fact to explain.
But he held his resolve. His mind was layered with protection so that it was impenetrable. Not even Dumbledore, the greatest wizard ever to have lived, could carve his way into it. He was safe inside his mind, inside his own thoughts and emotions, Voldemort would not be able to penetrate it. His only comfort at this point.
His meeting with the Dark Lord was approaching, as soon as Voldemort decided to call him. He thought of Dumbledore and knew that he was expecting him to return form this visit for the next term. He thought of Potter, who he knew would prefer he never returned. He thought of the other teachers, none of which he thought would really miss him. He wasn't one for friends. He pulled his robe over his shoulders and grabbed his trunk, disapperating into his home for the summer.
The mark twisted on his arm, telling him it was the time to face fate. He dropped the trunk on his bed and stopped to look at himself in the mirror.
Was his loyalty to Dumbledore worth all of this? No, he decided, it wasn't.
But his loyalty to her was. That thought sustained him as once again he disappeared, appearing in the old house as he had all those years ago. Swallowing his fear and fingering the tattoo still burned into his skin.
Hearing Dumbledore say the boy had to die, he knew it was true. But his mind fought it. His heart fought it. He couldn't die. The old man was lying! He had to be! Potter couldn't die, not Lily's son. Not the only part of her still here, the only part still alive.
As he walked down the hallway, he could feel the stares of students on all sides, their innate fear of him almost overwhelming at the moment, but he chose to move past them quickly, thundering down the stairs to the dungeons. He had not stopped to listen to Dumbledore defense for lying to both him and Potter. He had used trust to his advantage; he had used him to protect the boy so he could do what Dumbledore needed him to do, so he would be able to use him before he died.
He slammed the room to his office, rattling a small vial to the point that a small amount of purple case seeped out around the cork. He popped it shut, sliding into a chair, slamming his hands onto the desk. Dumbledore had cared for the boy, that much was obvious. He liked him, and yet he was going to let him die.
He knew for a fact that Dumbledore did not share the same affection for him. Trust was a different ideal than caring, one that was never shared between them.
So if someone Dumbledore cared for was allowed to die, could the same thing just as easily happen to him? Would it matter?
His eyes flickered down to the blood that was running down his chest, darkening his already black robes and giving them a metallic sheen. He had seconds left, maybe less time than that, he knew that even as Potter appeared, trying to stop the blood flow form the horrid wound in his neck. He didn't know where the boy had come from, and he didn't care. He had to know.
"Take them." He pulled the memories from his brain, offering them to Potter, who had to know the truth. A piece of Lily slipped form his hand, leaving behind an empty space like a drained river. He could see his own silvery thoughts put into a flask and stowed in a pocket, an odd feeling, but one he didn't have time to relish, nothing was staying very long anymore.
"Take them to the pensieve." He watched Potter nod, his vision blurring around the edges into an opaque black fog. His fixed his eyes on Potter's, they still didn't belong there, but he needed to see that last part of Lily before he died.
Harry's face faded from view, the only thing left were the eyes. But soon they too were gone.
(A/N) So the third one was really hard to write, I just couldn't get the words to come out right, so I did what I could. Hope you liked. Read and review as always.