This is my first, short attempt at writing something dark, so please let me know how I did.


Knuckles were shock white as the fingers they connected clenched an equally coloured sink. Ragged breathing filled the air. If one could call it breathing. He couldn't. He couldn't breathe at all. Not after…

Arms shook as the muscles strained themselves. Those same muscles were reaching a point where they might tear from the exertion. He couldn't relax his arms. He couldn't relax any part of himself. He couldn't breathe.

Severus… Please…

He couldn't look at his reflection. He didn't want to. The last thing he wanted right now was to see his own eyes staring back at him. Eyes that had just watched another person die. Killed, right in front of him. He had done nothing, could do nothing. He felt like dying himself.

S-Severus…

How many more would be killed? How many more would he have to watch die? All for the plans of one senile old man. A senile old man who had cornered him into a position where he would have to take a life.

Please…

His arm lashed out blindly, once, knocking everything off a small stand to the right of the sink, twice, shattering the mirror with his fist. It wasn't enough. The blood rising up to his torn knuckles brought back their colour.

Damn that old man. Damn him to Hell. If he wasn't there already.

Damn himself.

He couldn't watch another person die. He'd reached his breaking point. This was it. How could Dumbledore have expected so much of him? He was only one man. He couldn't do this any longer.

Severus, please… We're friends.

He dropped to his knees. He couldn't bear it any longer. He didn't know how he'd borne it this long.

A knock at the door. Wormtail was summoning him for the Dark Lord, one last word before the start of term.

Images of Lily flashed through his mind. Beautiful Lily, his first and closest friend, taken from him time and again. Her eyes, so striking, and passed on so easily to her son, who needed all the help he could get. That was right. He owed it to the boy, he owed it to Lily.

Another knock. Wormtail's wretched voice pierced his senses a second time.

"I'm coming, you fool." His even tone belied his turmoil. It should have taken the strength of ten men for him to lift himself from the ground, but he only had his own strength available to him, so that's what he used. He was alone. He was always alone.

Once standing on legs that shook, he used his wand to restore the bathroom to the state he had found it in and healed the damage on his hand. He took a deep breath and looked at himself in the mirror, taking a moment to remove all the ghosts haunting his eyes. The Dark Lord and his Death Eaters could never know that anything had transpired here—they would not know.

He walked out of the bathroom swiftly, knowing he could not keep the Dark Lord waiting. It gave him some amount of twisted pleasure when he felt the door stop suddenly upon striking Wormtail's head. He knew the way his cloak billowed behind him made him look like a dark wraith on the prowl to those who saw him, but they had no idea.

He was not a wraith. He was merely a shadow.

A shadow of a man. A shadow of himself. Nothing more, nothing less.

S-Severus. Severus, please… We're friends.

He just wished Charity had known that before she had turned to him for help. It would have made things easier on the both of them.