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Title: Darkest Pit in Me
Series: Bachelorette Set, #2 (Sequel to "Possibly Maybe", the hopefully un-word-wrap-butchered version for WIKTT)
Author: Twinkledru J.
Rating: PG-13 for dark memories and morallyambiguous!Severus.
Summary: Swirling black, Lily's totally ripe...
Disclaimer: Rowling's, not mine. Though I've no doubt she'd want none of the rights to this story.
Notes: Thanks so much to my lovely betas, Rebecca Wilson and technathene, for not slapping me upside the head, though I'm sure I've given them cause to. *smirk*

He was at her door again three nights later, looking all the fairy tale and glaring at her from under a black hooded cloak. She was granted a dark smirk as he grabbed her arms and pulled her to look at him, his black eyes biting into her unarmed ones.

"If," he whispered, "if I was to take you away from here one night while you slept, and you awoke in a place which you could never imagine -- though you may very well remember it -- would you play along with my charade?"

She stared at him, might have forced out a few strange noises, and at last he pushed her inside carefully and slammed the door shut.

(and surely she'd imagined that he waved a hand and muttered a few words at the door, for quick as a flash his attention was on her again)

He kissed her once then, hard, his teeth catching her lip for a moment -- he bit down, almost but not quite hard enough to raise blood, his elegant fingers still digging into her arms. She winced just the tiniest bit, but he ignored her.

"I'd pretend," she rasped as he kissed her throat with the same force, her heart moving like a bullet train. "Anything if you can take me back..."

And then she forgot what she'd been talking about because he pulled off his cloak and began peeling off hers.

He awoke at one-thirteen and looked over at her, let himself really *look* at the woman beside him as he ought to have looked long ago: coldly, judgingly, as he would his own handiwork in the lab. Of course, he was nearly certain that it was indeed the girl, but nearly certain wasn't good enough for him here.

There was no denying that she certainly *looked* like the girl he remembered from Hogwarts, from what he could recall seeing of her there, of course (and he'd seen less of her body in those seven years than he had in the past seven days). One also had to take into account that his memories were of a woman he had last seen five years ago.

In the end, of course, there was only one way to be certain.

Dumbledore would *not* have been proud.

Dumbledore was dead, and his followers had inherited only a war from him; a war they were losing more and more of each day.

Damn what Dumbledore would have thought.

"Resero," he said quietly, laying one finger on her forehead.

The last few years of her life flashed before his eyes. "Lily" gave a whimper in her sleep, which he ignored.

"Profundus," he whispered, shoving down one of the walls to one of her most preciously-guarded memories.

[and suddenly I was standing tired in the middle of a circle of mask-clad men and a voice I knew was laughing coldly crucio



crucio uncountable times from those in the circle and from a man whose eyes I knew too well because I felt them searching me for errors for seven years at school

and I knew too well that he couldn't afford to stick out his neck for me because we couldn't afford to lose our only spy

I was so damn tired of screaming and weeping and being betrayed

tired of screaming but I was screaming anyway

tired of weeping but they made me weep anyway

tired of being betrayed but HE BETRAYED ME ANYWAY

and then Voldemort

(and had I the energy I would laugh about my childhood fears of his name for his hands are so much more frightening now)

raised his wand and I could have cried for joy at the idea of avada kedavra

and then I found myself screaming when I heard another word instead


"Finite," he muttered as the images in his mind began to fade. It would do no good to try to go deeper yet; rather than simply Obliviating and erasing Granger's memories altogether, Voldemort had locked them away inside of her, and it would take much more than a few simple interrogation spells to get to them.

But there was a place where he could keep her safe.

He mused on this for a moment, then realized that she was now much more than whimpering in her sleep -- the girl was now weeping silently. Severus watched her for a few moments, contemplating what he ought to do.

Finally, he muttered "Accio," and summoned a small vial of a Dreamless potion. He shook the girl awake (not awake, really, but slightly aware of what was around her, though she couldn't explain why she was now sobbing in earnest) and had her sip the potion down. Within moments, she was asleep again, night terror forgotten.

Grateful that she was a heavy sleeper, he slipped out of bed and dressed himself, leaving his cloak lying on the floor of the front room. This he finally picked up and wrapped around her -- picked the girl up and with a few words, had Apparated in a Forest clearing which the teachers used as a spot for just this purpose, because it was too dangerous to be seen coming and going in Hogsmeade, and they were too vulnerable on the Express, and of course you can't Apparate inside Hogwarts grounds. Holding "Lily" and muttering a few words to ensure that she would remain asleep, he moved quickly through the forest, ignoring the whispers of the forest around them.

Once they reached the school (he took the long way round the lake to avoid that disgusting mutt of Hagrid's), it took him a long time to move quietly through the corridors. For him to be seen wouldn't normally be a problem, but when he was carrying a girl whom everyone, for all intents and purposes, had assumed was dead after three years of searching turned up nothing, would raise too many questions. He wants to give her some time to start to understand where she is before anything else (though the Headmistress will have to be notified tomorrow, even if no one else is).

When they reach the dungeons, he deposits her on his bed with what is, even to himself, a startling gentleness. He wraps her up in the bedclothes, and considers sleeping for a bit himself, then desides against it and sets about to working out a lesson plan for next month.

It would do her no good, he knew, to awake locked in a dungeon, but he could not afford to give the impression to any of his peers or students that something was up by dropping his classes, or alerting the Headmistress to anything by requesting a substitute.

When he came back between classes, he saw that she had awakened at some point, but was asleep again, slumped ungracefully on the floor before the wooden door of his quarters. She had tried to beat the door down as the blood on her hands attested and when he woke her, that she began cursing at him in a hoarse and quiet voice told him that she had spent her throat screaming.

"I won't hurt you," he said simply.

"Just kidnap me?" she shot back, obviously adding another chalk mark to the list of betrayals she'd suffered in her life (both what she could remember of it and what she couldn't).

"You were not kidnapped," he answered coldly. "You gave consent last night, if you'd forgotten."

She just spat at him.

He turned on his heel and began to walk out. "I haven't time to explain this all to you right now, and it's not safe for you to go wandering about the castle yet. Here."

With a spark from his wand, a Gladrags box slid obediently out of the closet. Within is an ensemble he picked quickly a few days ago, anticipating this moment. Before she could insult or snap again, he was out the door, back towards his classroom, and locking the wooden door behind him.

He had forgone supper that night, and returned to make sure the elves had provided for her (as he bullied them into doing without asking questions early that morning), which of course they had. She looked up, calmer, and he soon saw the reason for this.

The texbook he taught his third-year classes from was lying in her lap, and she was well over halfway through it. When he caught her off-guard, there was a spark of that starving fascination in "Lily's" eyes, one of the few things he remembered fondly about Hermione Granger. She never cared much for him as a person, but as a teacher, he could hold her spellbound for any amount of time, and he always appreciated that realization that he could indeed offer her something, even if it wasn't friendship.

"What is all this?" she asked, and her voice was no longer hoarse, though she was on her guard now and still watched him warily. "I suppose I'm now going to learn the hard way why one should never go home with strangers...tell me, are you planning to eat my face before or after you've had my liver with some fava beans?"

"This is not a prison," he said simply.

"Really," she answered flippantly. "Then you might want to hire a decorator; the Bastille look really doesn't do much to contradict that idea."

"It's a school," he explained.

She snickered. "Well, I've heard that some schools cling too tightly to tradition, but really..."

And then she trailed off, looked around. "A school?" she repeated, frowning. And he knew exactly what is on her mind -- it was on the edge of her memory; he could practically see her working to recall whatever it is.

"A school," he confirmed. "I'm a teacher. And you..." he paused, wondering for a moment if this was really best said now. "You used to be one of my students."

At this, she dropped all pretenses, all anger vanished, and the hungry -- ravenous, even -- look she had worn when he first found her in that stupid club returned. Her brown eyes pinned him and for all that it looked much better on her than the cynicism, it wrenched him for just the tiniest fraction of a second because it wasn't fair of him to do this to her, to give her hope when he could give her nothing else.

The dungeon was silent for a few long moments. Finally, she spoke again, her voice hushed. "I...I went here?"

He nodded once, moving over to his papers.

She wouldn't let him turn away, though -- her voice broke the silence once more. "I studied...this?" She gestured towards the textbook.

"Yes," he snapped.

The two of them were silent for a few more moments, and finally, he stopped trying to distract himself with the papers and books. He knew he couldn't put this off forever, but he wasn't looking forward to it any more for knowing that.

"Come on," he said. "There's someone you ought to see."

It was time to tell the Headmistress that her prodigal golden girl had returned at last.

In some form or other.

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