6. The Gift
Severus’s eyes wandered, shifting his attention from the writhing man on the ground to the mingling crowd around him. Years of violence had made him indifferent to everyone else’s pain except his own. Torture no longer incited the same blood pumping misguided exuberance that it once had when he was younger. Now it felt more like a chore similar to the chopping of highly questionable ingredients for his most disgusting potions.
The cloaked figure at Lucius’s side vibrated with agitation as the screams grew louder in both pitch and fever. Severus sneered at the unguarded show of emotion. The person underneath those robes must be fairly new if they had yet become accustomed to the violence that so regular accompanied these meetings.
The person wore a heavy winter cloak that hid their face from view. But despite the cumbersome winter robes Severus could still tell that the figure was of small stature, not short but petite, which meant that they were either a woman or an adolescent. It couldn’t be Narcissa for the woman never came to the meetings and Severus seriously doubted that the cold calculating woman could sum up enough feelings for any outward display of emotion other than disdain. And Draco was out of the question simply because the boy was still underage.
Apparently he wasn’t the only one to notice the stranger’s behavior as the Dark Lord lazily lifted his wand, momentarily stopping the curse just as the man’s cries of pain deteriorated to whimpers. “Lucius, it appears that you have brought a guest.”
Lucius mentally cursed. He hadn’t planned to present Willow to the Dark Lord so soon. Despite what he told her earlier she wasn’t quite ready to face his master. But the daft girl wouldn’t stop fidgeting. One would think that she had never seen anyone tortured before, which he knew wasn’t true. It was all he could do to keep her from interfering and he was not about to let her get herself killed trying to save some worthless underling. Malfoy’s mind raced, picking up one idea as he discarded another. There must be someway to savage the situation.
Malfoy hesitated then bowed his head subserviently at the Dark Lord’s feet. “Yes My Lord.”
Malfoy turned to the cloaked figure at his side and pulled back the hood to reveal a muggle. For one brief horrifying moment Snape thought that Malfoy had some how kidnapped the youngest Weasley’s child. But after a closer look he realized that even though the girl shared many of the same physical characteristics with his pupil he could sensed no magic from her at all. But why would Lucius bring a muggle here? Surely he wasn’t crazy enough to openly mock the Dark Lord. He knew that Azkaban had left Lucius a bit cowed but he didn’t think he was suicidal.
“A muggle, you must be joking,” cackled Bellatrix mockingly.
“No she’s much more than that,” said Lucius.
“What’s the meaning of this?” asked the Dark Lord in irritation.
“I beg you for your indulgence my Lord. I promise you it will be worth the wait.”
“Very well, you may proceed but I warn you I’m running out of patients.”
Snape could see the whites of the girl’s eyes as they grew wide with fear as Malfoy pressed the tip of his long thin wand against her pale throat. The girl’s head shook in confusion then with dawning horror as she realized the blonde’s intentions. “No, please,” she cried.
For a moment Malfoy’s eyes seemed to soften with remorse as he gently cradled the base of her scull with his hand. “Trust me,” he whispered. Then his eyes harden and his grip tightened painfully into her scalp as he shouted the Cruciatus curse.“Ah, than it was to be torture than,”
thought Severus sadly. Perhaps Malfoy sought the Dark Lord’s favor with a gifted sacrifice. Torturing of muggles always seemed to put him in a good mood. Severus felt sorry for the girl, but he could do nothing without exposing himself as a spy. Unlike the Death Eater that had been tortured before she was a complete innocent whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps she was a relative of one of his muggleborn students or simply a poor naive girl that Malfoy had picked up on the street somewhere. Either way she would soon be another causality of a war that wasn’t her own and the only solace he could afford to give her would have to be a silent one.
Blue lighting shot from the tip of Malfoy’s wand and struck the girl in the chest. But instead of screaming the woman let out a low moan filled with such ecstasy that it pulled at Severus’s gut. Startled whispered spread through the crowd as the woman’s magic uncoiled about her body like great wings as it absorbed the dark curse.
Malfoy’s grey eyes gleamed with undisguised arousal. “Yes, my little sparrow fly, fly higher and higher until you can no longer see the ground,” whispered Lucius huskily.
Dark veins began to creep across the woman’s pale cheek, up the side of her face across her temples into her hair until the roots bled into black. When the redhead opened her eyes they were swimming pools of black. The transformation had been subtle but different as night and day. Severus let go the breath that he did not realized he held as he relaxed his grip on his wand. She was magnificent.
The Dark Lord nearly salivated at the sight. He had always been attracted to power and to have it all wrapped up in such a pretty package was irresistible. “That was… an interesting reaction. Have you tried other spells?” asked the Dark Lord eagerly. Nagini, his serpent familiar, uncurled his head from under the Dark Lord’s hand. His eyes sharp and alert as his forked tongue darted in and out of his mouth as if he tasted the magic in the air.
“Just a few dark curses my Lord. But I thought you may enjoy experimenting with them yourself.”
“Yes, Yes that would be most agreeable,” said the dark wizard with child like glee in his voice. “You have done very well Lucius, very well indeed.”
Lucius smiled smugly as he bowed his head.
“Come here my child,” beckoned the Dark Lord with more warmth than Severus believed he possessed.
Lucius grabbed the redhead’s arm and dragged her towards the throne where she practically collapsed at the Dark Lord’s feet. Her head fell forward into her heaving chest as she gasped for air. From the sway of her body Severus knew that she was most likely still suffering form the aftereffects of adsorbing such a powerful dark curse.
The Dark Lord leaned forward and grabbed her chin, sharp claw like nails dug into the hollow of her cheeks as he forced her dazed ebony eyes to focus on him. Red intense eyes, so red that it filled her vision until nothing else existed outside of them, burrowed into her mind. Images of her life in Sunnydale, Tara, Warren pleading for his life, Giles’s pain filled face, a billion of people crying out in pain and the Bluff, filtered through her mind bringing up dark memories of uncontrollable grief, anger and shame.
“So much power and… pain, you have been betrayed by those who claimed to love you. They fear what they do not understand. That is why they tried to restrain you. If you join me I will protect you from them, I will make those muggles pay for what they tried to do to you,” hissed the Dark Lord with dark promise.
The girl’s voice cracked with uncertainty. “No…I, I don’t want to hurt them.”
The Dark Lord carded his bony fingers soothingly through dark locks of her hair in comfort. “Shh, I know. You aren’t ready for that yet. But you will be.”
Author’s Note: Well that’s the end of first part of the three part series. The story will become progressively darker in part two where Severus will be introduced as a new love interest.
To be continued in SOWW 2: Dangerous Desires.