It is nights like these when Scabior gets unusually, uncomfortably contemplative. Snatchers are not meant to think too deeply on things, and he generally abides by that code. But tonight is different; tonight he is haunted. He is laid out on the forest floor somewhere near Ipswich, hands behind his head and eyes lifted up toward the stars. The rest of the camp is sound asleep; the snores and heavy breaths of the men surround him. Scabior leaves the seclusion of his tent this particular night to give himself a breath from the inescapable heat; the tent walls feel as though they were closing in on him and he can't breathe. So he lay outside, unconfined and unbound, hoping that the stifling weather, the heat made palpable by a day's worth of rain, might keep the thoughts and memories at bay.

But the opposite is true. His mind begins to use those thoughts and memories as a distraction, a wicked taunt to keep him from suffocating in the evening heat. And, as his eyes stare bluntly and blankly at the open skies above him, the tormenting film plays across them, the black sky dotted with white stars playing the part of screen and his mind playing the part of projector. And no matter how he tries, there is no turning this projector off.

She dances on the edge of his vision, twirling easily out of his grip each time his mind gets close enough to grasp her. If he weren't so miserable, he might smile. She always was a tricky one. But he doesn't smile. In this life, this life he made for himself that seems a million apart from the one he shared with her, his smiles are reserved for his captives. They are rough and callous and taunting. He will not smile at her memory because his smile does not deserve it.

Things started out well, to be sure. But then again, all great tragedies start that way, don't they? They promise such great things, magnificent love affairs and terrific adventure, and then they drag you down a road from which you may never return.

His mind drags him to the first time he met her, in that other lifetime. The images are hazy, and he damns himself for forgetting the exact shade of her eyes, the precise way the dim light played across her hair. But the fuzzy pictures keep rolling, despite the flickering color of her hair-is it golden or the color of hay?- and the ambiguous shade of her eyes. A thin layer of sweat forms on his forehead. Why is this night so damn hot?

"You're looking for someone?" He remembers her asking.

She worked at the smallest cafe in the known wizarding world, and that day happened to be his most antsy. His head moved around like it was on a swivel, checking every corner for things and people unimaginable. He was not a snatcher then, but a very lost boy of 17 with an aching left arm and an exhausted mind. And she was a lost girl of 17 with a sweet tooth for the wrecked and damaged who wandered into the shop.

"I think maybe it's you," he flirted, his eyes peering up through his eyelashes sultrily.

He tried that embarrassing line on her, downplaying the nerves at meeting some of his compatriots from his Slytherin days. She chuckled and shook her head at him; he remembers that action particularly well.

"Nice try," she said, quirking her eyebrows at him patronizingly and scooping up the tea cup from his table.

He shorted her on the tab just to have an excuse to return the next day. And the day after.

Scabior returned every day until the entire bill was paid; it took him three weeks and six days, but eventually he repaid every last Knut he shorted her that day. And in that time, he learned everything from her name to the first time she skinned her knee, from her first kiss to her mother's abandonment. And in return, he trusted her with more than he ever told any living soul. She soon knew about his father's abuse, his brother's death, how he took his tea and how he brushed his teeth.

It is a conventional love story, Scabior thinks as he reminisces in the middle of the sweltering hot night. But it is not over yet, not by a long shot. He reaches up and slips the scarf from around his neck. It is beginning to feel like a noose.

For, as much as she knew about him, the clever little Ravenclaw did not know nearly enough. She did not know about where he disappeared to after their cafe rendezvous, and she did know know why she was never allowed into his home. Instead of asking the important questions, she would fold herself into the crook of his arm and ask him his opinion on silly matters and listen to his answers with intention. Perhaps they were not in love, but they were the loves of each other's lives. And Scabior truly did everything he could to protect her, but in the end, she was more vulnerable than he could ever imagine.

So vulnerable, in fact, that the next time he entered the Nott Mansion, she lay bound to the floor, her dark eyes begging him for rescue or explanation. But he could provide none. He merely followed orders, watching in silence as they tortured her, as they tormented her, and as they eventually killed her, leaving her once lively body in a heap on the ground for the elves to dispose of. He had looked to the Death Eaters to give him identity, a place to belong. But they destroyed the only thing he ever cared for. And the worst bit was that she was nothing to them. She held no information, no power, no threat. They simply wanted her gone because Scabior had her.

That is when he took to the woods and never looked back. The bitter rage, the guilt, the pain made his job all the easier. He had already sold his soul to the devil; it was a contract he could not deny. But from then on, the distant memory of the only person to ever make him feel human pushed him deeper and deeper into a daily madness. He was responsible for the death of the one he loved. If he should suffer so, then why shouldn't everybody else?

So, here he is. The greatest fool of them all lays in a forest clearing, staring at the stars and feeling that aching twinge of regret that all villains experience, even if for the slightest of moments. Tomorrow he will be Scabior the Snatcher, relentless and cruel, but tonight he lets the starlight pound down on him relentlessly, as though the Heavens have put a spotlight on his guilt. Tomorrow he will maim and snatch. Tonight, he will mourn and wish for her embrace once more. The best nights are the ones where he dreams of dying, of being bound to her forever in peaceful death devoid of Death Eaters or Snatching. But tonight is not one of those nights. Tonight, the girl with golden-yes, he decides that was the color- hair will keep him awake, restless and beating against the edges of his mind for a way out.

The sweltering heat does not subside until the morning, and the heat takes the images of her with it.

so, here is another one shot... I honestly have no idea where this one came from. Please review! I hope someone else out there enjoys Scabior!