I find myself longing to express myself. Something I thought I had set aside a long time ago. The last diary I kept was burned long ago, I am no longer a teenager. And yet...
I will write. I will write and I will burn each entry as it is finished. Perhaps that will satisfy this urge.
It has been three days since I murdered Albus Dumbledore. A mercy killing, he would remind me. A necessity more like, to save my own hide from the Unbreakable Vow. One trait all Slytherins share is a desperate need to live, no matter what befalls us. We will not sacrifice that thing that is most precious to us, ourselves. And so, I murdered the only man who truly knew me. The only man I respected. The closest thing to a father I had ever known, for mine was a poor excuse for a man. But there I hark back to diaries long burned, how many pages did I devote there to my pathetic muggle father? Too many.
The Wizarding world is in uproar thanks to me. They all thought Albus was immortal, I think. He had saved them once and he would do so again. Harry Potter was only a suitable poster boy because Albus Dumbledore had said so. He was the Kingmaker. With him gone the Daily Prophet is already questioning Potter’s suitability, thanks to my Master’s servants of course and their pervasive influence.
But I am dissembling, and to myself no less. I am not writing this to remind myself of facts I already know. I am writing because my mind is full to overflowing with feelings I cannot quash. And I must quash them. I must still my mind or my occlumancy may fail at the last hurdle. The Dark Lord has no reason to doubt me now I have killed his greatest rival, what folly it is that I should risk my discovery now.
What am I struggling with? I see Albus standing before me, I hear him say “please” in my dreams. I watch him fall. Except that I scream in my dream, I wail and try to stop his fall and weep over the edge of the tower. I have never felt such guilt over a death since the one that led me down this path. And I see her. I turn and she is standing behind me, her green eyes dark and reproachful. “Severus,” she says. “How could you.” How could I? I stand and weep before her, I have not wept in the waking world since her death.
My dreams exhaust me. My life exhausts me. I must burn this.
I am cold. It makes me less frightened. I focus on the cold and how tired and hungry I am. Those necessities trump fear, you just want. I want to wrap myself in a quilt and sleep on a soft soft bed. Instead I curl naked on the stone, avoiding the freezing bare walls that steal what little warmth your shivering creates. There are seven of us, some in better condition than others. All female, all largely naked, none of us sure where we are other than in terrible danger. We are all strangers, and we do not trust one another. We crouch apart despite the cold.
I hear them coming and I cower lower, walking in a crouch closer to the damp wall and the deepest shadows.
The door opens and the woman enters first, as the lamps flare. She chose us from the crowd last night, dancing among us singing, “That one, that one!” With the wooden stick in her hand she threw green light at those she found wanting and they crumpled to the floor. “Wakey, wakey, little birds,” she calls.
She is followed by men I haven’t seen before. Or rather a man and a monster with slits for a nose and pale mottled skin. I stare without looking, under my eyelashes. If I stay still and don’t look up they won’t see me. I will be invisible. Invisible. Invisible.
“They are all available for ussse, but I know you prefer your merchandisse relatively intact,” the monster hisses as she jerks the others into line by the chin and the hair and the breast. They gasp and shake and moan.
I am invisible, invisible invisi... she grabs me by my hair and yanks me out of the shadows so hard I can barely keep my feet under me. I stumble and scrape my toes on the floor.
“As a gift for your mosst pleasing sservice, you may have one for yourssself. I had Bella bring only the most pleassing in appearansse.”
“My Lord is very kind,” the other man says.
His voice is velvet in comparison to the hissing and screeching of the other two. His face is still and emotionless as his eyes flicker over us. He does not look interested, I see no desire or any other emotion. I find myself steadied by this, he seems cold but sane. The others eyes flicker with madness. I realise he is looking at me and that I am looking back into his eyes, and that I have forgotten the cold for a moment.
“This one will suffice,” he says, gesturing to me. “Imperius.”
And the world disappears into a warm, golden place. I want to walk and so I do. I follow him out of the cold stone prison and up the stairs I was thrown down the night before. I can no longer feel the aches of those bruises, nor does it occur to me to be ashamed of my nakedness as I follow him through well-appointed halls and up yet more stairs, past others that I barely see for I only want to look at him.
We enter a large room and with a flick of the stick he carries the golden glow vanishes and I stumble and nearly fall from the return of pain and cold and fear. He has shut the door and we are alone. I wrap my arms around myself, no longer comfortable looking anywhere but the floor.
“My requirements are simple, you will be obedient and silent. You will remain in this room at all times unless I escort you elsewhere. My preferences however are... more complex.”
I finally manage to glance up at him. His face is not kind.
“I do not enjoy forcing women, nor do I find it especially pleasurable to use Imperius for anything but practical purposes. Fortunately, I have devised a potion to encourage you in meeting my physical needs.”
I don’t understand him. His words wash past me like waves over my head causing me to sway.
He turns away and returns with a vial of liquid, which he holds up to my lips. “Drink this.”
I hardly need to obey as he pushes up my chin and tips the liquid into my mouth leaving me to either swallow or spill it all over us. I swallow. It tastes of blood and honey.
He smiles for the first time, a sharp twist of thin lips. “Good.” He turns away, leaving me alone in the centre of the room. “I have work to do, I will see that you are fed.”
With a sharp click of the door he is gone and I stare after him for several moments before I finally look around the room. It is richly furnished but still impersonal. Or rather it doesn’t seem like him. Too rich, too showy. He did not seem a man for gilt and velvet. His clothing was well cut, but dark and plain. His hair had hung clean about his face, but lank and undressed. Even the stick he had held was straight and black unlike the curved claw of the woman’s or the carved bone the monster had held at his side.
A shiver runs through me as I start to warm up. The carpet is soft under my feet, expensive. Everything in this room looks expensive. I finally move my feet, they feel strange and I trip over nothing as I try to figure out what I’m doing. Looking down again I notice that I am dirty from the journey here and the time spent in the dark cell. I want to lie down, but the room is pristine and I am afraid he will be angry if I make too much of a mess. There are two doors on the wall opposite the door we came through. I tiptoe to them, although I think the worst of the loose dirt must have come off on the walk up here. I open the first door to find a dressing room, there is room for more clothes than I have ever owned... and in honesty I have quite a lot of clothes... but there is little there and almost all black or white. I don’t want to pry so I quickly close the door. The second door reveals what I am looking for, a bathroom. Even more gilt than the main room. The room is all dark grey marble and elaborate silver fittings with a painted ceiling that looks like Hieronymous Bosch, except it’s moving. The animals writhe and cavort through the landscape. It is then that I finally understand that I am somewhere beyond my comprehension. Every strange thing from the last 24 hours floods my mind at once and I realise what I am looking at is sorcery. The desire to follow him, sorcery. The green light that made people fall over, the strange squashed darkness that took me from my world to this one. Sorcery. The monster and the woman and even the relatively normal looking man who had left me here. Sorcerers.
And the liquid I had drunk... my stomach churns and I have to lean against the sink for a moment. I can’t remember what he had said it was for. I can’t remember much of what he said at all. Just his face and how dark his eyes were even in this brightly lit space. And the feel of his hand on my chin and the taste of the liquid. It had been warm and salty sweet, slightly oily. I could still taste it faintly at the back of my mouth.
I rest my head on the edge of the sink for a moment and exhaustion sweeps over me. I grab a wash cloth and turn on a tap, as quickly as I can manage I wash my top half then try and figure out how to clean my legs. The bath is huge and has more than ten taps and so I risk splashing water on the floor to wash my legs and feet from the sink. I wrap myself in a towel and wipe up the spare water with another. I finally risk looking in the mirror. I have mascara still smeared under my eyes. I wash my face more carefully. For a moment I think that perhaps if I had not been dressed up the woman might have overlooked me. I so rarely wear makeup. Then I remember the others falling to the floor with such finality and think perhaps it is better this way after all.
Here we are again and I am stalling. I should have gone to bed hours ago, but I am uneasy. I am not adverse to my ‘gift’, but I do not trust myself at the moment. I do not trust my judgement or my control. On little more than a whim I gave her the potion I devised last year, it is largely untested and I have not yet explained its effects to her. I chose her on a whim too, though I could hardly do anything else when presented with an assortment of random muggles. She has the colouring of a Malfoy, it caught my eye in the murk of the dungeon. It amused me. And she does not look at all like Lily. She is shorter and more slender. Lily was tall, for a girl, and as she got older she was... buxom. Her eyes were a dark sparkling green and this girl’s are a pale blue, not unlike Narcissa’s.
I liked the idea of trapping her, of controlling her. I have been trapped and controlled for so long. She will not be the first muggle girl I have taken advantage of, but I am unsettled in myself. I do not know who I am right now, nor what I want. I want to hurt her, to be the man I am playing... the man I largely am. I am not a kind person. I am a murderer many times over. I have tortured, I have raped. Though what I told her is true, I do not enjoy rape, it is mechanical and generally distasteful. Now that she is in my room there is no need to hurt her to keep my cover, no-one will know what we do or do not do behind my highly warded bedroom door. But I have already given her the potion, why do that if I mean to largely ignore her? I can negate it, of course, an antidote could be created... though it will take some time. But I have other more important things to be doing and I find it pleasing that she now needs me to survive. Albus would not approve. But then I did not give Albus the full tale of the things I have done in his service, I spared him such fine detail, and he could not break through my occlumency any more than the Dark Lord can. I think he would have turned me away had he been truly faced with the darkness I am capable of, no matter how useful I was to him. Albus could be mercenary... but not that mercenary. I showed him a side of me that sees little light elsewhere, the side that still remembered what it felt like to love. The side that still held onto some humanity, even if it was only through the pain of loss and rejection.
This is ridiculous. I should burn this and go to bed.