Author's Note:I do not own Severus Snape. I do, however, own Eryn Dawson.
The steady drip, drip, of blood was all that could be heard in the silent corridor.
Severus Snape was lying face down in a pool of his own blood, silent and unmoving. He had just Apparated back to Hogwarts from a Death Eater meeting, where he had been beaten and tortured due to his lack of information regarding the plans of the Order Of The Phoenix. He had managed to crawl to the stairs that led to the dungeons from the entrance gates before passing out. It was very late at night, and the whole school was asleep. No one would see him, no one would know he was there. No one would know he was dying...
Eryn Dawson had just woken up from a nightmare involving the torture of a faceless man by her own father, the abusive and renowned Death Eater, Gunther Dawson.
Instead of trying to get back to sleep, she decided to go for a walk around the school. To try and clear her mind, to empty it of all emotion. To sleep with a head filled with such feelings was careless. The emotions could seep out from within her mind, and flow into her mouth, where they could escape, revealing much of her dark life as the daughter of a Death Eater.
Eryn got up from bed, and pulled a black jumper on over her white cotton nightdress. She slipped on her flats and tiptoed quietly out into the Gryffindor common room, where she then fled the warmth and cosiness of the room, to the cold and foreboding dark corridors of the school.
She didn't have a plan. She just simply walked. Soon she had almost forgotten all of the details of her nightmare as she focused on her own feet while she walked, counting the steps as she moved.
Suddenly, she heard a noise. It pierced the silence like a knife. Instinctively, she took out her wand and looked around. She appeared to be near the entrance to the dungeons, and at first glance she also appeared to be alone.
But through the dim light of the torches hung on the walls, Eryn could see a dark figure slumped on the ground, a few feet away from the staircase.
Eryn cautiously moved towards the figure, wand ready and lit. As she inched closer, she could smell the strong, putrid, and familiar odour of blood. Moving more quickly, she realized that the figure was surrounded by blood. Dark pools of the thick substance was gathered about the figure's side and head area. She realized the figure was in fact a person, and an injured person at that.
She pointed her wand towards the mangled body. Eryn could see the form was most definitely male from the broadness of his shoulders and and the masculine presence he gave off.. He was wearing dark robes that were tattered and torn in some places. Pale skin peeped through the holes and tears. He was lying face down, in a position that assumed he had been crawling. Dark hair fell over his face, hiding his identity.
She had a shrewd idea who this person was. Her suspicions were confirmed as she knelt down and brushed a lock of hair out of his face. The dark eyes of Severus Snape, Potions Master, stared back at her.
Despite the fact that she had been expecting to see him there, Eryn still gasped aloud.
He was alive, but just barely so. He made small noises of either pain or relief as his cold, black eyes locked onto to her bright blue ones.
"P-Professor?" she whispered, panic clutching at her heart as she viewed the helpless figure beside her.
"M-m-miss Dawson..." he croaked.
He needed help, and he needed it now. Eryn turned him over onto his back. Snape whimpered in pain.
"Sorry..." Eryn mumbled, regarding him for a moment before deciding to check him for serious injuries.
She looked him over, trying to find out where the source of blood was coming from. She checked him over, lightly touching his limp body and found what appeared to be several broken ribs and several long gashes that lined the skin showing through the tears in his robes. One particularly long cut, spread over his abdomen, appeared to be a deep wound, and the source of most of the bleeding. Another cut was found on his forehead. The blood trickled down his face and onto the floor with a steady, drip drip.
"Professor, we need to get you out of here. You-you're hurt, you n-need to see Madam Pomfrey. Can you walk? Let me help you up--"
"What? Listen, Professor, you're hurt! We need to get you out of here. You're dying, c'mon, let me get you to Madam Pomfrey, then everything will be okay," she said imploringly.
"N-no. Let m-me die here..." His voice came out with raspy breaths.
"What?" Eryn said, taken aback.
"What is it worth? There is no point in me living much longer..."
"I-I-I don't...Come on, you don't know what you're saying...You can't die! We need you! Who will be able to protect those innocent lives from the Death Eaters? How will we be able to stop them, how will we be able to prevent them?"
Snape laughed, coughing up blood as he did so, and fell silent.
We need you?
Though obviously innocent and pleading, it sounded like an accusation to Snape.
We need you. Yes, it seems so, Snape thought scathingly. Dumbledore needs me to risk my life for him, the students need me to teach them Potions, he needs me to damage my moral standards, and to sacrifice whatever friends I may have had, just to help him rule the world. Yes, I am needed, I am used. I risk my life every bloody time I go to those meetings. I wonder every time I prepare to go to him, if it will be my last. They tell me they care for me, they tell me I am worthy, but that is all lies. No one feels for me, no one loves me – and the only one who might have died because of me. No one cares about all the pain I have to endure, just to ensure the survival of innocents, trying to make amends that are impossible to make. Despair, pain, and misery all follow me wherever I go. I am surrounded by these walls forged from the darkness. They enclose me, isolate me. Why should I try to protect others from the darkness when I, myself, am drowning in it? I see death every time I go to him, I feel pain every time I am forced to meet with him. All because I am needed. Never have I been told I shouldn't waste away because others truly want me there...I have wallowed in darkness for too long. There is nothing that can be done to save me.
Snape coughed and choked on his own blood. He felt it oozing down his face, hot against his cool skin. The girl took out a white handkerchief from inside her black sweater. She gently wiped away the blood on his chin and lips.
Snape turned his face away from her ministrations. He didn’t want or deserve anyone’s kindness. He wanted and deserved only darkness, his darkness.
But, then he thought, no matter what comfort and relief the darkness brings, there is always pain and despair attached to it. Those who have wallowed in the darkness too long have learned to accept this pain and despair, and greet it with open arms. They learn to lean heavily on the walls forged from the darkness. Those people are nothing but a mere shadow, a void in existence. Only the weak hearted allow themselves become such beings.
Snape looked, really looked, at Eryn Dawson now. Her face was set in the kind of determination so deep that it looks ferocious. She is not one of the weak-hearted. She has a strong heart, she must acknowledge it before it is gone.
Snape wanted her to hear the words he thought but felt unable to speak aloud.
Snape moved to get up – he couldn’t let her, one of the strong ones, feel the soul-sucking pain of feeling responsible for someone else’s death, even if that death was welcome, was his own... He stopped his efforts abruptly as a spasm of pain swept through him. He slipped into a new darkness, without feeling or thought.
Eryn didn't know how she managed to carry him to the hospital wing. She didn't care either, all she cared about was the fact that Severus Snape was somewhere safe.
After bringing him to the hospital wing, he had been put into a dreamless sleep that would ensure the healing of his body. Every day he had been in the hospital wing, Eryn had visited him, bringing him fresh flowers.
A week after the incident in the corridor, Eryn received a letter from the Potions Master, requesting to see her in his office. Slightly nervous, Eryn walked down the corridor to the staircase to the dungeons. She paused briefly, and glanced at the place where his body had been a week ago, covered in blood. Forcing her features into a false mask of confidence, Eryn drew herself up, and walked down the steps, and into his office. She knocked, and Snape let her in, wearing the usual cold expression. He gestured for her to sit down in one of the chairs by his desk. She sat and looked downwards, wondering what he would say.
Would he punish her for being out so late? Would he punish her for letting him live?
"Miss Dawson..." he began.
Eryn looked up, to see his face completely devoid of any hostility or coldness. His smooth features were relaxed and calm. And something else was there too. It looked almost like... Warmth.
"I just want to say, thank you..."