The Sugar Quill
Author: Starbuckx  Story: The View From Azkaban  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

A/N: To Ami and Ali, for convincing me this fic deserved to be posted. To Joyce, for putting up with me and my endless questions. To Carrie, because I miss you, and I hope you come back soon. And to Elle, for without her this fic wouldnít exist. Thanks for pushing me to try to write Snape. You are the best!

******* 

Itís cold in here.

It penetrates me, running through my veins as if it were ice, reaching into my soul until it manages to take away all the warmth, all the good memories, all my feelings, and all thatís left is the dreaded cold.

And the guilt, that never leaves me. Itís become such a big part of me now that I often wonder how I managed to get through all those years at Hogwarts without paying attention to it. Maybe itís because I had a duty. Now I have nothing.

I remember the faces of each and every one of the people I killed much more clearly now,  the fear, the screams and the frenetic pleas for mercy. I had laughed then but I donít find it funny now. At night, when I try to sleep I will hear their voices and see their terrified faces, and I will relive the pleasure I took in killing and the way I used to enjoy making them cry and beg before I delivered the fatal blow.

That was before.

Before Dumbledore took a chance and believed in me. Before I had any reason to do good. Back when all that mattered to me was the power and the fame. When I was still proud of my Dark Mark.

Life was different then. All who joined Voldemort gained instant power and the people who stayed with Dumbledore spent more time hiding than they did fighting. I was a different person too, younger, inexperienced, careless. Dumbledore had been a mentor for me, and I respected him, but he could not offer me what I desired. Power. So I joined Voldemort.

I was never fool enough to believe I was on the right side, but at the time I did not care about being on the right side. I wanted to be on the winning side. And it looked like Voldemort would win. He had too many followers, too much power, too little resistance.

Itís ironic, but the people who sent me here were right after all. I am paying for my crimes. Not the ones they think I committed now, but the ones I committed when I was fool enough to turn my back on the right side.

ďTraitorĒ

Thatís what they call me. No one ever uses my name anymore. I am just another traitor - no, the biggest traitor of them all. The word reminds me of so many things - of a time where I turned my back on what I had chosen for myself and decided to go to Dumbledore, of whispered conversations in dark hallways, of an old-man with a gentle smile.

Dumbledore.

He is dead now, gone forever. Sometimes when I look at the stars I can almost see his face reflected there, and for a brief moment I feel happy because he found peace.

But happiness doesnít last long here.

They donít visit me that much, the Dementors. I have few happy memories and the ones I have are kept locked inside my heart, away from the world. Itís in unguarded moments like that they appear to deprive me of the gentle reminder of the greatest man I ever knew.

Minerva is gone too. I always knew she would die at his side, as she always lived. Fighting for what she believed in.

Of the eight who went into that final battle only three came back unscratched. Albus and Minerva are lost forever, but they are not the only ones. It seems like in the end, Voldemort finally managed to beat The Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter. When they came back, one by one, their tired faces streaked by tears everyone thought he was dead. But that was not the case. In the end Harry Potter just Ödisappeared.

No one, not even his closest friends, the ones that did come back from the battle, know what happened to him. He is just gone.

Sometimes I think it might be better for him. I donít think he could survive what happened to everyone else. Azkaban is enough hell for me, and the last person on earth I thought Iíd feel sorry for is Harry Potter.

But I do.

Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger are relatively okay, but there the good news ends. Black is on the brink of death, and if he were to die I donít know if Lupin would be able to survive. It seems that Black saved Lupinís life that day, and Lupin blames himself for what happened to his friend. Without Harry to take care of, I think he might be willing to follow his friend into a better place.

Albus and Minerva are dead, of course. And if that alone wasnít enough to slowly tear him apart, then thereís Ms. Weasley.

I donít think she and Potter were ever involved, but it was clear he had feelings for her. And sheíd always adored him. Itís stupid, if you ask meÖwhy not take advantage of the time they had left?

Now, things wonít ever be the same. She is just there, lying on the hospital bed, unable to move, unable to speak. The doctors are still not sure what happened to her, but they have very little hope of her ever becoming the girl she once was.

Sometimes I dream he appears and things suddenly get better. Black gets well instantly, and Ms Weasley awakens from her deep sleep to greet him. Life suddenly gets brighter. And they think about me long enough to get me out of here.

Then I wake up shivering, the Dementors standing by my bed, ready to take away my happiest thought.

The happiest.

If you had told me five years ago that my happiest thought would have something to do with Harry Potter I wouldnít have hesitated to call you crazy. But itís true now. I dream about Harry Potter coming to rescue me. How ironic.

I always supported Dumbledoreís decision to keep my involvement into all of this secret. If I was to succeed, no one could know I was working for Dumbledore. But he choose to trust Harry Potter with the information anyway. I always thought that what Potter knew, Granger and Weasley were bound to find out sooner or later and I had disagreed with Dumbledore. But he had just smiled at me and told me not to worry. Harry wouldnít say a thing.

He really didnít. And for that I am here.

If he had told Granger and Weasley, like I thought he was going to, they could have testified that I wasnít really working for Voldemort, and I wouldnít be in this wretched place. But he didnít, and my best hope is to pray and to hope for Harry to return.  Once again,  how ironic is that?

To say he wasnít one of my favorite students would be too kind. I loathed the boy, and I canít say my opinion of him has changed too much. But this place takes away your strength, your will, and your feelings. The only person I hate these days is myself.

 Itís not that I feel bad for being strict with him; everyone was far too kind. Itís not that I think he didnít learn anything in my class, because I am sure he did. Itís just that I suspect the same things could have been achieved in a better way.

Thoughts of my students fill my mind constantly around here. A way to pass the time. I remember the little things, Ms. Weasleyís reluctance to try out anything her partner did, Potterís ridiculous little feud with Malfoy, Longbottomís clumsiness.

Longbottom especially, is in my thoughts. The boy was as clumsy as they come. Never managed to get anything right in my class.  Heís dead now, one of Voldemortís first victims, and I canít help but wonder if a little kindness of my part would have made a difference. Maybe he would have chosen a different path. Maybe ...maybe Ömaybe.

I spend a lot of time considering what could have been and what should have been. A thousand different futures present themselves to me: different decisions and different results. I wonder how many of them I influencedÖhow many turned out wrong because of something I did, or said.

I never used to be ashamed of what I was or the way I behaved. It was necessary, for me to behave a certain way, to keep a certain appearance or Voldemort wouldnít have accepted me back. He just wouldnít. But as I think about it that excuse means less and less, and the guilt consumes me until all I want is to crawl into a corner of the room and die.

But I donít.

I often wonder what keeps me alive. It canít be hope, because Dementors take that away. It canít be love, because I donít feel it anymore. I am not sure I ever did. It canít be loyalty, because there is no one to be loyal to.

Maybe itís just the feeling that I want to get more out of life. I deserve to get more out of life. I am a Slytherin after all. And, who says thatís a bad thing?

 

Epilogue

 

Cold. Wake up. Cold. Eat. Cold. Sleep. Cold

Thatís all we ever do around here. Thatís our routine. It never changes.

But today it did.

I had a visitor.

Not a lot of wizards want to come here, and even few want to come here to visit a prisoner. So the opening of the door to my cell presented the first of the many surprises they day would give me.

Mr. Cornelius Fudge, all dressed up and carrying a stack of newspapers he dropped by my side with a smirk, before he started talking.

I blocked him out, like Iíve always done. It becomes increasingly difficult to pay attention to a man like him after youíve heard him once. You are better off blocking him out and asking someone else later.

He didnít stay for long though, he just looked at me with a very smug expression and walked out of the door just seconds after coming in, leaving me happy to be alone with my thoughts for the first time since Iíve been here.

It was not until later, when I focused on the newspapers that he had left here with me, that I allowed myself to feel everything I had blocked away for the past two months: happiness, fear, joy, hope, they all rushed through me as I stared at the headlines:

ďHarry Potter: The Boy who lived, once again.Ē

 

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