Severus froze just inside the shabby room. His heart pounded in his chest and his eyes glued themselves to the beast growling on top of the stairs. At the back of his mind, he was aware of someone running along the tunnel towards him. As the giant wolf leaped down Severus' breath hitched. His hand reflexively went for his wand, although somehow he knew it was already too late. At the same moment he heard another animalistic sound from behind and a few sharp bone like objects connected with his body near his shoulder, pushing him out of the way. The boney edges pierced his neck and shoulder and he was thrown to the corner of the room. Severus screamed in agony and heard the wolf's raged shriek before his body slammed into a battered table, breaking through the aged wood. Soon his vision blurred and the world went black.
A tall figure stood before him. The snake like features were pale and dull and bright red eyes glittered dangerously in the dim light. The thin lips barely moved as he spoke:
“You have been very valuable to me. Very valuable.”
He felt himself answering: “My Lord knows I seek only to serve him ....” ... [Severus heard no more. He was bursting with excitement .... The dark Lord..... He was talking with Lord Voldemort and the man was praising him! Was this a vision from the future? Was he destined to achieve high ranks within Lord Voldemort’s service? A sense of pride and hope filled his heart. He could picture himself as Voldemort’s right hand man, finally receiving the respect and recognition he deserved.....]
“You have been a good and faithful servant, and I regret what must happen.”
[The dark Lord’s words cut through Severus’ musings. Something wasn’t right. Swallowing his rising panic, he forced himself to focus and pay attention to the conversation]
“The Elder Wand cannot serve me properly, Severus, because I am not its true master. The Elder Wand belongs to the wizard who killed its last owner. You killed Albus Dumbledore. While you live, Severus, the Elder Wand cannot truly be mine.”
[Severus’ stomach dropped. He just couldn’t believe it. Voldemort believed him loyal and valuable and yet he wanted him dead.]
He rose his wand, knowing it was in vain and he watched in horror as Voldemort swiped the air with his wand. Nothing happened at first and for a split second he thought he was spared. But then something dropped on his head. There was a giant snake inside.
No sooner than he heard a hissing sound from Voldemort, the snake’s sharp fangs bit into his flesh several times. He screamed in pain and betrayal.
Falling to the floor Severus heard Voldemort’s cold voice: “I regret it.”
He was lying on the hard floor. There were hands putting pressure on his throat. His neck and shoulders were damp and every inch of his body ached. Each breath was agony. Severus could hear growling and scratching noises coming from somewhere nearby ..... The werewolf ..... , his mind supplied. He struggled to get up but he was too weak and someone was pinning him to the floor. With difficulty he opened his eyes and looked up. The hazel eyes of his captor were familiar but for some reason he couldn’t place them. He blinked several times with considerable effort to clear his mind but too soon he went back to unconsciousness.
His left arm was on fire. He was standing in front of the defense classroom and his eyes were on the students who were attempting to unarm each other. He resisted the urge to grab his left forearm. Severus started moving between the students. With every minute that passed the burning sensation in his arm intensified. He could feel the dark Lord’s increasing anger and rage through the mark.
[He was obviously a teacher. Why would Voldemort call for him in the middle of the day? There was no way he could get away with so many people around. He was sure the pain would kill him.]
The pain was now spreading up his arm to his shoulder. All he wanted to do was scream .....
Severus moaned weakly. He recognized the smell of the flesh mending potion. Someone was rubbing the potion onto his injured arm. It burned like hell. He moaned again and tried to pull away from the insisting hands. A female voice shushed him and then continued the process. After what felt like hours the hands stopped and bandaged the wound. He felt a cool hand gently touching his cheek and fell sleep.
He was crossing Hogwarts' courtyard in long strides careful not to be seen by the people gathered near the maze. His arm ached as if it has been burning for hours. He exited the wards and stopped at the edge of the forbidden forest.
Severus looked down at his hands, they were shaking a little. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a brief second, then touched the mark on his forearm and disappeared.
The next second he was standing at a graveyard. Before he could have a good look around, he was bound and fell to the muddy ground. Once more he was looking into the red eyes of Lord Voldemort. The man pointed his wand at his heart and hissed “Crucio”.
The air left Severus’s lungs as unbelievable pain rushed through his chest and spread along his limbs. He screamed and screamed as his body thrashed in mud. He could feel his bones shifting against each other and his flesh tearing. He just wanted it to stop .....
“Make it stop” he mumbled. The women shushed him again. The wet cloth on his face felt nice, and soothed his flaming skin. He was shaking all over.
A hand came to the back of his head urging him to lift his head. This time it was the scent of anti-fever potion that filled his nose. He swallowed the cool liquid greedily, unmindful of the foul taste. It didn’t take long for him to go back to sleep.