Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all of its amazing characters are owned by J.K. Rowling.

A/N: This plot bunny struck me the other day, and I just had to write it. It's set in Deathly Hallows. If you've read my stories before, you shouldn't be too shocked by this one-shot. I would give more warnings, but I'd give away the big thing of this story. The only hint I can give you is that this is a dark story. Thank you for reading.

Darkness Inside

Snape hissed when he felt the familiar burn in his forearm. He frowned, rubbing his Dark Mark. The Dark Lord wanted to see him. No doubt another meeting to hear more information concerning Potter's whereabouts. He waved his wand over him, changing his clothes to the heavy Death Eater robes. A moment later, he stepped through the flickering frozen flames of the Floo and vanished behind the sudden large green fire that roared to life.

"Ah, Severus," purred Voldemort upon Snape's arrival. "Excellent. Most excellent."

"My Lord," Snape replied, kneeling quickly in front of the dark wizard.

"What news do you have for me today, my favorite?"

Snape thought for half a second before he responded. "The Order appears to have gone underground, my Lord. I've heard nothing concerning Potter for weeks now. Even his girlfriend hasn't heard from him."

"Go on," Voldemort sighed.

"Potter appears to be on his own, my Lord, and rather well at hiding currently."

"So, then you failed?"

Snape wisely said nothing. There was no good answer to that question.

"What about his friends?"

"The Weasleys have gone into hiding as well. And the Grangers appear to be under the impression that they do not have a daughter. Likely a result of an Obliviate."

Voldemort flicked his tongue angrily, hissing. "You disappoint me, Severus. I had thought by giving you the headmaster position, you'd provide me with more information than this." His reddish eyes flashed dangerously. "Give me something I can use."

"I've placed a tracking spell on the Weasley girl's bird, my Lord. It hasn't left the Owlery, however. I've interrogated the Lovegood girl and Longbottom boy. They know nothing, my Lord. Even McGonagall knows nothing about the boy." Snape forced himself not to react when Voldemort yelled.

"Enough!"

Snape instantly went silent. There was no new information unfortunately. He truly hadn't heard anything about the boy, and he had tried practically everything to get the information just so he'd know if the boy was all right or not.

"Just what is it that you do in that castle of yours, Severus?" Voldemort hissed. Silence stretched on as Voldemort glared down at Snape. "You have continued to disappoint me, my favorite. I had thought that by allowing you your freedom that you'd have something of use for me. Yet here you are before me with nothing." Voldemort's cold skeleton-like hand quickly snatched a hold of Snape's face, wrenching the younger wizard to meet his eyes. "I shall regret this you understand, but you have proven yourself to be more of an inconvenience to my cause lately. I must succeed, and you are keeping me from that, Severus."

"My Lord?" Snape breathed, his body betraying him by showing his rare fear.

"Crucio!" bellowed Voldemort, the Elder wand in hand and directed on the now writhing man.

Terrible pain rushed through Snape's body. Every nerve felt ablaze. Every muscle contracted. No part of him didn't feel the burning, stabbing, sharp pain of the curse. His mouth opened as he screamed and screamed and screamed some more, unable to fight back the instinct. Finally, his body slackened when the curse lifted minutes later, an eternity in his mind. He lay there, panting and gasping. Sweat poured down him as he shook violently, trying to catch his breath. A flash of light appeared then, so he blinked sluggishly to see who it was that arrived and had interrupted the Dark Lord.

"My Lord?" suddenly whispered a soft female voice. The voice was unfamiliar. Or perhaps Snape thought her voice was unfamiliar because there was a current roaring sound in his ears.

"Yes, my pet?" Voldemort then paused before he chuckled softly, likely noticing whom the woman was Snape guessed. "Ah. How appropriate."

"How may I serve you, my Lord?"

"Deal with this. When you finish, well, you know what to do, my pet."

"Of course, my Lord." The woman laughed darkly.

Another flash temporarily blinded Snape as Voldemort Disapparated. Snape quickly blinked and tried to focus on the woman. It couldn't be Bellatrix, because this woman sounded quite sane. So was it one of the Dark Lord's—for the lack of a better word—groupies? He groaned, slowly moving onto his side to blink up at her. Could he appeal to her good side whoever she was?

The female follower wore the heavy Death Eater robes with her hood up, so her identity was hidden. She seemed to have an hourglass figure, but he couldn't be certain. He couldn't see any discernible physical features. She was completely shrouded in black. No hair color. No eye color. No nothing to help him.

"Please," he rasped, hating how weak he sounded.

"Whatever you wish," laughed the woman before she flicked her wand at him.

Snape instantly arched his body like a bow once more as the Cruciatus Curse coursed through him. He bit the inside of his cheek to hold back his screams until he couldn't fight the urge any longer. He sputtered around his blood that had filled his mouth, screaming his pain in hopes it would stop. White hot pain seared through his body. In fact, his blood felt as if it was on fire in his veins.

Finally, after another lifetime, his body slackened as the curse was removed. He drew in large gasps of air, his lungs burning from the exertion. He shook violently, seemingly seizing on the ground.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. He wasn't ready to die yet. He hadn't fulfilled his mission yet. Potter was still in danger. He hadn't made up for his grave mistakes. There was still so much left for him to do. A miracle. That was what he prayed for in his mind.

After all, it wasn't like the Order would save him now. He was deemed a traitor in their eyes; even though, he had just been following Dumbledore's orders surprisingly enough. No one would come for him. He would die alone. Would anyone even care, though? Likely not now since the truth wouldn't be revealed. He had failed. Again.

His grip tightened around his wand as he attempted to fight back, sending his specialized cutting curse at his torturer. In his weakened state, however, she quickly overpowered him magically speaking. His Sectumsempra, in fact,rebounded and slashed his left leg. He felt another curse, then, hit his arm, a deep slice along the bones of his forearm directly over his Dark Mark. He fought against the darkness that settled behind his eyes. He couldn't give up. Not yet. There was still so much left to do.

Silent screams erupted from the back of his throat a moment later. Another cutting curse hit him, this time in the hand. He could feel the tendons being cut away from his bones. Would they find any piece of him left to identify? At this point, he sincerely doubted it. Death, like life had been over the years, would be unkind to him as well.

At the feel of being yanked up suddenly, he drew in a shuddering breath. He could feel the streaks of tears that had unfortunately leaked out of his eyes. Weak was all he could think. How weak he was for giving in to his pain, for giving up in the first place.

The woman was removing her mask he noticed as she held his limp self up for a moment. He felt his heart stop when she lowered her hood a moment later. No. No. This had to be some mind trick the Dark Lord was using on him. It couldn't be true. Not her. Not . . .

"Surprise," grinned the long, dark red haired woman with almond-shaped bright green eyes.

"No," he howled, his chest aching horribly. It was a trick. That's all it was. A trick. It wasn't his Lily. It couldn't be his Lily. Not his beautiful, sweet Lily.

The auburn haired witch laughed loudly, clearly amused by Snape's shock. She pulled him closer, their noses nearly touching now.

"Oh, Sev." Those beautiful green eyes of hers he had loved for years sparkled in dark glee as she held his horrified black orbs. "See now all the good you did by giving me a choice to live, Sev? Hmm?" She ran a hand over his bloodied cheek. "The Dark Lord was merciful to me as you can see. No more would I slave away for James, and no more taking care of his brat of a child. The Dark Lord embraced me as one of his, in fact, overlooking my blood status as long as I did as I was told." She trailed a finger down his cheek. "Oh, he gave me the choice, of course, to be with you, Sev, but frankly I couldn't stand the mere thought of being with you. I think this is much better, don't you?" She smiled darkly as she laughed. "I'm afraid this is where we must part, my dear Sev. Fitting, don't you think? That it would be me who would kill you after you thinking for years you had been the one to kill me? Don't worry. I'll make it quick." She pressed her wand underneath his chin, holding his eyes. "Avada—"

"Expelliarmus!" screamed a loud female voice somewhere to Snape's left.

Snape felt the powerful spell propel Lily far from him, his robes ripping in the process since she had been grabbing him there. He rasped when he noticed that he hadn't fallen forward, a spell likely holding him upright for the time being. Gentle arms wrapped around him, then. He couldn't stop himself from resting his head against the new person's shoulder, disregarding the fact that at that moment he didn't know who it was that saved him. He was just so damn tired.

"Shh, Snape. It's all right," whispered the witch holding him, tightening her hold. "You're safe now." The witch's slender fingers slid through his raven locks tenderly.

He certainly felt safe for the time being. His black eyes slowly trailed over to where Lily lay motionless slumped up against the wall. What had happened to the witch he knew and loved? He didn't bother asking himself why he didn't know Lily was alive all this time. He knew that answer. The Dark Lord had kept her a secret until this very moment so that he'd feel the ultimate betrayal in his heart before he was scheduled to die.

Snape watched a man, Shacklebolt perhaps, emerge from the shadows, bend down, and pick Lily up. The Order had come here to save him? Nothing made sense anymore. Other than he felt safe now.

"Let's go home, Snape," whispered the witch, holding him. "It's over now."

He felt the familiar feeling of Side-Along Disapparation a moment later before they reappeared in the hospital wing at Hogwarts. No doubt, they'd find out what happened to the once kind Muggleborn witch and learn what it was that made her change into this dark shadow. He wasn't worried that they wouldn't discover those answers. No, instead, he was concerned what those answers would be.

Since the Unbreakable Vow would have taken over if Potter had been killed, he knew the boy was safe wherever he was. Snape himself was safe and alive as well. He hadn't failed. He turned his head as he now lay on a cot. He could see Lily lying a few beds down from him. She was not the woman he loved. He had lost her long ago. He knew that. He closed his eyes, feeling Madam Pomfrey work on healing him. So many questions needed to be answered. However, that would be for another day. For now, all that mattered was that it was over.