XXVIV

Severus stood outside the oak door, his right ear glued to it. The voices on the other side of it were at first muffled, but as they had grown louder, he couldn't resist the urge to hear what was going on. He could never trust his Slytherin roommates.

At first they had talked about their 'vast experiences' with girls. But later it turned into talk of the Dark Lord, which was precisely the reason why he was standing like a dithering idiot with his ear pressed to the door.

Footsteps echoed through the hall. He silently went away from the door and hid behind the base of a large obsidian statue of some overweight historic figure he could not recall the name of. Regulus walked up to the door, his head hung low. Regulus stood there for a few moments, pondering whether or not to enter the room. His pale hand was on the door handle.

Severus walked over to him swiftly, soundlessly edging toward him. Just as Reg began to turn the handle, Severus placed a hand over his mouth and pulled Regulus away from the door.

"Don't make a sound," he hissed into Regulus' ear. Severus slowly pulled Regulus away from the door, and allowed a precautionary moment of silence before he let go of Regulus.

"What the bloody hell was that?!" hissed Regulus as loudly as he possibly could, without going a tone past a whisper.

Severus' face was glazed over with a cool demeanor. "They are communicating about a topic that would prove of worthy information to me. Now if you would excuse me…" he leaned over and placed his ear on the door once more. Regulus wouldn't rebel against him. To Severus' wonderment, Regulus leaned over and placed his ear on the door as well.

Something clicked into place in Severus' mind. Taking his wand, he flicked it sharply as he muttered "Perspicio," under his breath, so Regulus wouldn't hear him.

Inside, Avery was standing intimidatingly. His pointed nose was held highly in the air. His back was held straight in a nearly strained position. "Mulciber, you know what to do this time, right? It isn't much different from the last." His voice was clear and resonant.

Mulciber cleared his throat nervously. "Ah—yes-um—I—I—remember."

There were several other Slytherins in the room, most of which were in their seventh year of Hogwarts, but more importantly they were those who did not care whether they would face expulsion for their heinous crimes. They were all boys wearing smug looks on their faces and with lust in their shiny blue eyes of various shades.

The room was small and hidden carefully in the castle, but Severus had, had no trouble finding it, because of course, he had frequented the room several times before. Inside was a blood red carpet on wooden parquet. The walls were wall papered with a black and white paisley design, which came off as abrasive against the carpet. In the corner where Avery stood was a mysterious vile set upon an awkwardly tall, spindle-legged, cherry-wood table. Mulciber stood, shaking and perspiring in fear, whilst the others were on black leather couches bedazzled with silvery zirconium.

Avery shook his head in disapproval. "Mulciber, do you, or do you not know of what I am speaking of, or are you that daft!?"

"Well," he began as he twiddled with his fingers.

"Just a few months ago you brought a Hogwarts student to a muggle town upon which the Death Eaters attacked. There she died—like all things beneath purebloods should."

Regulus gulped loudly when he heard it. He had forgotten Mary MacDonald, but still, when he remembered the day she died and when the mourning which swept ever the castle. He felt sorrow fall into the pit of his stomach. But there was also fear, because he knew that a certain person next to him was not only halfblooded, but also the person he loved was of muggle birth. Regulus gripped Severus' shoulder tightly, because he felt as if he needed to. Though Severus turned to look at him in disgust, Regulus knew that Severus was grateful—so much about Severus could be seen through his façade, but only if you were the right person; only then would you see that his emotions where often double-sided.

The conversation in the room continued. "So I will have to…do the same thing I did last time?" asked Mulciber.

"Yes, you will. You will imperious another half-blood or lesser, take them to a muggle town of which I will have to specify at a later time. Not long after that, that person, among others, will be dead and placed at the top of a pile of dead people. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Avery."

Severus released the charm before walking away. Regulus followed him, but was doing so timidly because Severus wasn't too doting of people being near him while he was upset. They passed through winding corridors which were lit by torches. Regulus had never seen this part of the Slytherin common room, and he was almost sure that only a few people, including Severus, had discovered this part of the common room in the past century.

Observing Severus was not an easy thing. He was broken, yet functioned fully. Severus was a contradiction. A man so dark had so much light within him. He was not a typical human. No—certainly not. He was more flawed, more scarred by his actions and more awing than most of the human race. What's more, is that despite his every mistake he made, he could make the same mistake again and use it for a purpose so profound that not a single person in this world—not even Dumbledore—could understand it.

Severus, followed by Regulus, entered a cavern which was filled with a white, shimmering light. The cavern's walls were jagged. The walls were a slate grey, which oddly did not shimmer along with the light shining upon it. Water pooled in the deep, dark opening at the floor. Above the pool of water was a grey waterfall, flowing slowly and soundlessly in a never ending stream. The cavern had its own music—the sound of rippling water against stone as well as the sounds of the rocks creaking ominously.

Severus sat in a small alcove within the cavern. He folded his hands in his lap and starred at the ground, his eyes void of emotions and his face placid. Regulus just stood, far away from Severus, far away from the thoughts that consumed his friend and far away—farther than he had ever been—from what he was accustomed to. But he did not dare to speak, for he knew, or more so feared that if he were to say a single word, sanity would come off its already loose hinges.

Severus did not stay silent; he tapped his fingers, fidgeted and switched from bodily position to bodily position before he finally grew completely cold. "Everything is piecing together. It was not a puzzle I wanted to be solved," he said as he stood and then turned to face the wall. His icy gaze could have frozen the entire cavern twice over.

"But I should have seen it coming. I choose to forget MacDonald's death. I didn't account for it. But now I know how it happened and that it will happen against. I have the information and now no matter how much I do not want it, I will always have it as will you.

"Is that not the price you must pay for information: to be taken away from all that you are comfortable with—to be encompassed with fear, fear we all choose to have, not because we are cowards, but because we are human, humans with their debilitating predispositions?

"Yes, I believe it's true, very true indeed.

"And now is the defining moment—the moment to use the information we have to enforce our actions to come. Sitting around, doing nothing, watching time pass by as people die around you is an action. Oh yes, our blatant disregard for our ability to stopper death…is an action.

"But what will we do Regulus…what will we do?" His voice was distant, abnormal. But Regulus did not reply.

Severus walked around the room, his hands behind his back. He took careful strides as he held his head up, not out of arrogance, but out of wonderment and speculation. He stopped, opened his mouth, then closed it and kept walking, ambling through the cavern, talking within himself, battling with contradictions.

"And you, Regulus," he began, staring his friend dead in the eye. "How am I to know that you have not known of this information beforehand? Furthermore, you are a Death Eater—you have their egotistical ideals—their bloodlust for the same sullied blood which they revile, which they believe to be beneath them!

"You know very well that I've mourned my decision. You saw me cry, you saw me attempt suicide because I know what I did was wrong."

"But the question is: Do you think what you did was wrong because you are afraid that you are no longer good, that in the eyes of others you are not evil, or because you care wholeheartedly for those who aren't of pure blood and have only recently realized this? There is a difference between acknowledging a mistake and knowing why—truly understanding why it was a mistake." Severus' freezing hands were on Regulus' shoulders, tightly squeezing them.

"If either I or a muggle-born were to die at the Dark Lord's hand, I would gladly sacrifice myself, because I know that anyone who is not of pure blood has already led a more worthy life than mine." He turned to Severus and looked him in the eyes. His soft, caring grey eyes were up against Severus' deep, black and enraged ones. "If you were the one to be chosen to die, I would never forgive myself. If Lily was the one to be chosen to die, I would feel just the same because you care for her. We were all created equal. I understand that now."

Then it dawned upon him—the threat that was made while Lily was in the hospital. It all came down to this. He had held onto her too long. He couldn't let her go now—he had to keep her safe.

Severus nodded; the expression on his face had already softened a bit. "So what do we do now?"

"We will try to stop them."

"No we will stop them. And we will do so without getting caught by the Dark Lord." They were both determined.

Regulus had pieced together certain things about Severus. He knew that Severus was at Voldemort's beck and call only because he had a reason that was profoundly good. He knew very well that Severus had a heart of gold on the inside, despite his many maculate qualities. For Regulus to atone for his mistake, he promised that he would help Severus with whatever he was planning to do. He knew it was for a cause greater than the both of them.

"How could you think so lowly of me?" Regulus uttered in a low, quiet, feeble voice as Severus walked out of the cavern.

It's not that I think lowly of you, Reg. It's that I think lowly of the people you are with—myself included. He wanted to say it, but he couldn't, because he didn't have the audacity to say a word.


The days passed and nothing strange had happened. The grandfather clock had already struck midnight. Unbeknownst to Lily, Severus sat up every night by her door and waited there. Every night he would stand guard, always ready to protect Lily from whatever harm could come her way. He had been a Death Eater. He knew how their minds worked. Most importantly, part of their mindset always had them thinking that if the one person who had the most power was defeated, and then nothing could stop them.

The events of the past few days had been a surprise to him. More and more, Avery talked of dastardly subjects, including the one of Severus' interest. He remembered a specific conversation which he was included in. He had endured through it with the same zeal he had, had when he had first came to his new life.


The room was dimly lit by the grey, wax candles in the ebony candelabras. The insignia of a snake was largely engraved over the cobblestone wall of oblong shaped room. A hearth with coals lay untouched for centuries in the room, ancient suet sometimes coming through the shaft. The sounds of clumsy feat hitting the chilly, cobbled floor reverberated through the room.

Severus sat on a recliner, his legs crossed and his arms folded over his chest in a near-defiant manner. He looked over his shoulder nonchalantly as others filled in the room. The meeting always held men, never woman—most believed that they couldn't take these meetings, nor stomach the conversations of massacre and rape. During these meetings, however odd it had been, they always talked of women; always of their daily escapades, and miraculous feats, which seemed of the utmost importance to them. It was an adolescent thought—that speaking of women with uncouth tongue was showed strength and power to some extent. Furthermore, that speaking of women and the things they so longed to do to them was something sacred among the Slytherin Death Eaters and Death Eaters to be. Severus would always remain quiet through these meetings. He would never share a single one of his experiences, nor divulge a single one of his maverick and wanton fantasies he had dreamed a thousand times over. There was first whispering, as the room became more and more full, but soon came several loud conversations which Severus automatically threw out of perception. He was a respectful, modest man. The only reason why he chose to come to these meetings was to learn of anything, any possible bit of information, no matter how small it may be, which would only get him closer to reaching his ultimate goal.

"Who would you say is the most powerful and influential girl in this school?" asked Avery when the gossip had died down.

It was when those words reached Severus' ears that he straightened a bit, interest eating at him slowly. He could almost read Avery's mind, but he wasn't exactly sure. There was no point in using legilimency—it would only get him further away from what he needed to accomplish.

No one had answered; they were too deep in contemplation. There was a Slytherin boy—the youngest of the group—with silvery blond hair and pale grey eyes, so pale that they nearly appeared to be as white as the whites of his eyes. He ruffled with his school robes nervously, biting his lip. He looked up at Avery, his mouth agape like a fish longing for a morsel of nourishment.

"Yes, Alija."

"Um—Avery, sir—wouldn't she be the head girl—the most powerful and influential to the students, that is."

"That would be correct. You are learning fast, Alija."

Avery's pale cherry-colored lips curled wryly. Every day, Avery became more and more of a snake. With every passing minute he became more enamored and absorbed by the dark. As the seconds ticked by, so did his heart tick, beating ever coldly—forevermore enwrapped in the blackness of his soul.

"And so, as the most powerful of the girls in this school," he began, sinking deeper into his chair. His voice darkened as he went on. "Whatever she feels would directly influence the student body, would it not? But more so, if something were to happen…if she were to be—"

Avery stopped to look at Severus, whose face was blank and unconcerned. "Severus, it would be best for you to leave."

Mulciber stood at the door, opening it for Severus as he left. Avery had made a grave mistake—one that had affected his entire plan. His plan would be foiled—Severus would ensure it. Of course, for that to happen, he would have to spent many sleepless nights at Lily's door, guarding her, wasting the time he could have used for more productive things.

Lily sighed as she turned over in her bed, dreaming of Severus. She no longer saw him as often as she used to, or rather as often as she liked to. In her dreams, he was always there, whether prominently or not. But seeing his sweet smile lightened her world and gave her strength.

But that wasn't to say that she was not frightened. Oh yes, she was extremely so. In her dreams, sometimes, she would be walking up to him in a long, white gown. He would be standing at the altar, smiling at her with a smile she had never seen grace his face before. Others, she would dream of him dying, blood seeping through his clothes. She would be bent over him, kissing him, telling him how much she loved him as she tried to take him away from the brink of death with love alone. But the most terrifying dreams were the ones she had when she was alone in a white room, standing in front of a mirror. These dreams were always vivid and full of happiness as well as apprehension for the future. As she stood in front of the mirror, she would turn from a side view to a frontal view repetitively. Her hand would be placed on her slightly bulging abdomen. She would sigh, but do so smiling. Severus would appear in the infinite room. He would wrap his arms around her and hold her tightly to him. He would bend over slightly. In her ear he would whisper, "You look beautiful today." There was no kissing. Yet it was intimate—the happiness she felt permeated through her skin. When Lily would awake, she would always be scared, because she never thought of a man in the way before. It was in those dreams that she was sure that she wanted something more than just a relationship with Severus. It would never be enough for her if it was a regular, genuine relationship full of dates and nothing more.

It was the first time that she ever felt like she would willingly—with her whole heart, mind, soul and body—giver herself to someone. But this wasn't any someone—this was Severus—a man who was unpredictable, a man who had broken her heart so many times before, but also a man who had pieced her together more than he had ever broken her. He was a mystery, an enigma, a specter of her heart, of every crevasse which love was buried in and most of all, someone she could trust. Severus had made it known to her, not through a set of words, but through his every action, however small it was.

She was irrevocably and maddeningly in love with him.


A/N: No more updates twice a week now. Unfortunately, you will have to wait until next Sunday to see what happens. Believe me; things will be thickening as if they were entwined with cornstarch.

I do sincerely hope that you are enjoying this FanFic. I am attempting to write this to the best of my capability. Is there anything I could be doing better?

Please Review. I am forever grateful to Ebony Starstorm for adding my story to her community.