Loneliness

Chapter 15

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. Blah blah blah. should just put a blanket disclaimer on the site for all the idiots that could possibly believe we actually own these stories or make any kind of a profit.


Sparkling green eyes looked up, pleadingly, from the most beautiful face he had ever seen. Her lips moved, but he could hear no words. He didn't need to. He knew what she was saying. Her expressive eyes told the whole story, as she begged for her son's life. The robed figure of her tormentor stood between them, blocking him, rendering him immobile and helpless. He reached out, crying silent tears, but his hands failed to reach her by what seemed like miles. The robed figure raised his hand, extended out towards her face, and in that moment she looked by her adversary and into his eyes. He saw his horror reflected in her emerald orbs. Her red hair appeared on fire, and it took him a few seconds to realise that it was actually a reality. Her head was on fire. He screamed but no sound emerged. He tried to shut his eyes as her face melted but couldn't. He was forced to watch as the woman he loved burnt alive, until her blackened corpse collapsed forwards and shattered into ash, borne away on the wind. He fell to his hands and knees and cried. When he finally raised his head, the black robed figure had turned, and was staring at him from under his hood, his face hidden, but his gaze felt. Pale, long fingered hands reached up to lower the hood, and that's when Severus Snape woke screaming in his bed.

He scrambled from his tangled, sweat soaked bed sheets and stumbled into the adjoining bathroom. He clutched at the sink with white knuckled hands as he ducked his head under the cold flowing water, gasping – the image of the face under the hood ingrained in his mind.

Severus tried to banish the face, but all he managed was to replace it with another equally terrible sight, of the woman he loved burning alive. 'Lily,' he rasped, shuddering, collapsing to the floor and hugging his knees.

Severus had suffered nightmares before, many of them dealing with the death of his beloved, but never one like that before. Normally his dreams consisted of her unforgettable eyes staring spitefully into his, unforgiving, before a flash of green light ironically took them away forever. Compared to this last nightmare, he would embrace the old ones. Those he could handle, knowing that he couldn't change the pat, knowing that he deserved them. This new nightmare, however, held such a terrible portent that it couldn't be ignored.

His mind was brought to recent events, specifically an event he had been putting off for days now. Albus had told him about it before the rumours reached him, about how Potter had set fire to Draco Malfoy's robe. He hadn't said anything other than that, but Snape knew what the old wizard wanted. He had claimed responsibility for Potter, and so he was expected to deal with the issue. The problem was, he didn't know what to do.

The news was incredibly unsettling, although not really surprising. It wasn't the first time Potter had shown signs of Pyromancy, an ancient form of magic that was incredible rare. So rare, Dumbledore assured him, that it hadn't been seen for millennia. Whether Potter held such an old power inside him, or had simply latched on to fire as a means of lashing out at those he felt had wronged him, Snape did not know. Either way, it was clear Potter liked to burn things. If his history were not proof enough, his recent attack on Malfoy would be.

Snape knew he couldn't put it off any longer. He needed to speak with Potter. He just wished he knew what he was going to say. Surely the boy needed to face some punishment, but that wasn't his major concern. How did he convince him not to go around setting other wizards on fire?

Snape seized the opportunity following the next Potions class, ordering Potter to stay behind afterwards. Judging from the look on the boys face, he had been expecting something like this for days now. Potter's girlfriend, the Muggleborn Hermione Granger, was the last to leave. She gave him a sympathetic look and then ducked out of the classroom.

Snape spread his hands on his desk and cleared his throat softly. 'You know why I asked you to stay behind?'

'Yeah.'

'You set fire to another students robe.'

'I did.' Potter showed little remorse.

'Do you think that was the right thing to do, in the situation?' Snape was actually curious.

'That's tough to say,' Potter answered cautiously. Snape gestured him to go on. 'Well, part of me says yes. Malfoy deserved it. He was provoking me. I had to show, not just him, but everyone in Slytherin, that they would not get away with doing stuff like that to me.'

'And?'

'And another part says maybe I went too far. I've been that I can't just burn things I don't like.'

Snape had to stop himself from smiling. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the person who had told Potter that was the quiet Muggleborn girl he liked to spend time with. The situation between the two of them was not unlike his old friendship with Lily.

'Wise words,' Snape said. 'You should heed them. If anything like this happens again, you will be expelled. Malfoy's father would have you gone now. Luckily for you, Headmaster Dumbledore will not be bullied either. He has ordered me to punish you, however.'

'Yes sir.'

'Detention. With me. For the rest of the year.'

Potter narrowed his eyes and clenched his jaw. After a moment, he nodded stiffly and said, 'yes sir. Is that all?'

Snape returned his stiff look. 'Yes. Report to me tomorrow at five o'clock for your first detention. Dismissed.'

Potter strode angrily from the room. He had not been expecting such a harsh punishment - that was for certain. In truth, Snape knew he had gone a little overboard, but he had his reasons. He wanted to keep a closer eye on Potter going forward. The final image from his nightmares haunted him. He could not escape the sight.

The sight of Harry's childish face grinning evilly.

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