This 'lil short story I'm working on won't be as in depth all around character-wise as my Jennifer Craw trilogy, and is much, much darker.  Can't make up my mind if it'll be PG-13 or R, but probably PG-13 because I prefer content to smut.  It's another Snape combo, but things are far from perfect in this world.  Voldemort has the upper hand and has seized more power than anyone imagined…and many are missing or dead.  Also, I'm writing this as I go so it won't be so quick on the updates either.  But in any case, hope you can buy into this, there's a twist to why certain people are there that shouldn't be or not there that should be.  (If you're picky about people staying in character/certain people being dead etc., please try reading my other three, which are more true to the original storyline even though they too have original characters.;) )



Beyond the Walls

  It was cold, but the girl no longer felt it.  It was damp, but she was soaked to the bone anyhow, so what did it matter.  The rats were the worst part, although few came in that lived long once she hit them with the rusting shackles that ran unused along the floor.  There was little reason to go that far; there was little chance she was going to get out with so many dementors on guard.  If time ever passed, she was unaware of it, except for the trays of questionable food and water that was slipped in from a little space below the door.

  She woke up as she had for many meals before, to the sound of a scrape…scrape…scraping noise from beyond the stone wall to the right of where she slept, across from the heavy, magically reinforced door.  For a long while she thought perhaps it were the rats, but now she was not so sure, the sound almost appeared to get louder as she put her ear to it.  She used the chains to scrape the moss away, and noticed that the sound had stopped momentarily.  After the pause it began again.  That was when she realized there was someone alive…perhaps even sane, on the other side of the wall. 

  Desperately she struggled with the chain, somehow managing with great effort to break the rusty thing and get at a pin inside.  Warily watching the door, and trying to listen to hear exactly where it was coming from, she began to chisel at the same spot that was coming from the other side.  For better or worse, it at least gave her something to do, and she noticed quickly that she felt a great deal warmer when she was doing something productive.  She could even half stomach the retched food that entered.  All of the sudden, she felt as if she had a purpose.

  Days went by, and calluses developed on her hands.  She pulled back her stringy hair and tied it with a strip of cloth from the bottom of her dress, and continued.  There was little doubt now, as her small dent widened the sounds became closer and closer.  At last, she began to feel vibrations besides hers as she worked, until the powdered tough granite finally began to give and a small hole appeared.  Frantically she tried to clear as much of the rock away as possible as the other chipped to widen it a bit.  Suddenly the scraping noise stopped altogether, and she peered in the hole, but it was too dark to see anything.

  "What is your name?" A voice whispered from beyond it.  It sounded strong and fervent, but tired nonetheless.  The girl had to think about that question a long time before she could form an answer.

  "Britta.  Britta Ainsley Marley.  What is your name?"

  "My name is Severus Snape," said the whispering voice.   "How long have you been here, Britta Ainsley Marley?"

  "I don't know," she whispered, sounding a bit lost.

  "Well, if I'm correct and they're feeding us once a day, I have been here three months," Severus said.

  "What year?" Britta asked.  He told her the year and date and she thought about that long and hard as she tried to sort that out in her head.  "I have been here over three years then, since Hogwarts fell."

  "Since the castle was taken, you mean," Severus whispered.  "The school is alive and well, hidden…at least, it was when I left."

  "The school survived that?  How is that possible?" Britta wondered.

  "That…is a long story.  Of course, we have nothing but time here have we?" Severus said, leaning against the wall.

  "It is good to hear another sane voice after all this time," Britta said, once he didn't continue right away.

  "It is good to hear another voice," Severus agreed, "Although I would hold my opinion on the sanity part if I were you."

  "If you question it you still have it," Britta pointed out.  "Perhaps now that we're able to talk we can keep it."

  "Perhaps," Severus whispered back, closing his eyes for a moment.