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No Great Loss

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“Good job Lily!” “Lets hear it for Evans!” “Gryffindor wins!” The class clapped and cheered.

Lily beamed in relief. She won the duel against Severus Snape. She sobered a little before walking over to Severus and handing him back his wand.

“Good duel, Lily.” Severus said softly as he took his wand from her extended hand.

Maybe, they could be friends again. Maybe, just maybe he would come back to the light. Come back to her. Lily was about to thank him when she was interrupted by the deep voice voice of the new DADA professor.

“Ten points from Slytherin for throwing the match.” Professor Riddle’s voice was even and controlled but the anger was evident. An explicable fear ran up the spine of every student in the class.

Severus’s eyes widened, “I... I didn’t...”

“Another five points from Slytherin for an unconvincing lie.”

The Slytherins didn’t groan at the additional point deduction- Slytherins wouldn’t do something so asinine as groaning aloud like some growling Gryffindor. No, they focused their ire in a particularly menacing glare.

“Ms. Evans please step down.”

Lily shot a puzzled look toward Severus. Had he let her win?

“Now, Ms. Evans!”

Lily obeyed.

Professor Riddle was towering over Severus in a few strides.

“What would you do Mr. Snape, if you were in a true fight? Would you surrender so easily, begging for mercy? Do you think the Dark Lord would show you mercy? Do you think his followers will? I can assure you that they will not.”

Severus straightened his stance and looked Professor Riddle in the eyes.

“Again, Mr. Snape and this time imagine you are facing the Dark Lord himself.”

Professor Riddle walked a few paces away they turned, taking a dueling stance.

Severus’s eyes widened. He was going to duel the Professor?

———

Riddle’s flesh split open in a dozen long gashes. He cried out in excruciating pain. The lacerations seemed strategically cut to barely avoid major arteries whilst causing the maximum amount of pain and steady blood flow. This was a spell designed for a slow painful death. Riddle pointed his wand at himself and quickly started casting healing spells but none seemed to be doing anything. When he looked up again at his opponent, he was surprised to find him standing right in front of him. Severus’s wand was pointed at his chest and his eyes were wild with fear.

“Surrender.” Severus commanded in a voice that belied the fear and worry in his eyes.

Riddle’s clothes were soaked in blood. He felt light headed from blood loss. With a loud thud, his knees landed on the floor at Severus’s feet. His head fell forward and he watched his blood pool around him.

“Surrender now or you will bleed to death! I’m the only one who can reverse the curse.”

Fear gripped Riddle’s chest. Death was the one thing he feared.

“Please, sir!” Severus’s voice cracked.

Riddle blinked and looked up at him. There were tears in the teen’s eyes and flowing down his cheeks.

Riddle let his wand fall forward between his fingers and lifted it to the boy.

Severus snatched the wand and immediately set to work on the counter spell. His voice was soft and melodic. Riddle could feel the boy’s magic knitting him back together. It stung like a thousand needles stitching his flesh. There was pain but there was also something intimately pleasurable in the sensation. Severus’ magic was dark like his own but different somehow... almost smooth and it flowed in subtle waves whereas his own was piercing-striking out, constricting, and suffocating. Tom knew his magic acted much like a snake, a sign of his heritage- proof of who he was, is and is meant be. But Severus? How could magic so richly dark seem almost bitter sweet?

Tom has never felt love before. Believed himself incapable of it. He didn’t feel it now even. He felt numb inside. Same as he always has but Severus’ magic felt something like the longing of love. Not love itself nor even seduction or lust but just the longing without any hope to make it fully light. He was surprised that this didn’t disgust him more. No, this was magic in its purity - dark or light, it was driven and guided by intent. It was that intent that always fascinated him. That control. That power. As just now, this boy could take his life or save it. The power was in his intent not in his magic itself but how he focused it and manipulated it. Magic whether dark or light did what the caster willed it to do. That control was intoxicating.

Tom stared at the boy before him, unable to look away while these thoughts streamed through his consciousness. Severus was unblinkingly focused on his task. Though evidently exhausted from their duel. Sweat beaded on his brow. It was not an attractive face but striking. His greasy black hair, clumping from sweat, fell into his face but the boy paid it no mind. Tom reached up and brushed the hair from the boy’s brow. Severus did not seem to even notice.

When Severus has finished his task, his eyes rolled back and he fainted. Tom caught him in his arms. The boy was magically drained and physically wounded from Tom’s offenses. Never looking from his face, Tom took his own wand from the now limp hand and cast healing spells. His magic however, was aggressive in nature and even a healing spell struck Severus’s body with force that caused the boy’s chest to spasm towards Tom’s wand.

Tom looked up and saw that Professor Flitwick and Headmaster Dumbledore had been fetched during the heat of the duel. Flitwick looked astonished, worried and a little impressed. Dumbledore however, had lost the twinkling in his eyes and stared Tom down, looking between him and the unconscious Severus Snape. Tom stood with the limp body of the boy in his arms and with all the strength and dignity he still possessed even after so much blood loss, he walked out of the room towards the hospital wing.

Dumbledore would watch him even more closely and probably the boy too. He would have his job for this. Though Tom has taken the curse off of the position he knew Dumbledore would use today as an excuse to take the DADA position from him next term. No matter, he’d just curse it again. No great loss in the grander scheme of things.

He looked down at the boy in his arms. Severus would be his right hand. Not even Dumbledore could stand against them.

No, no great loss at all. Not when he’d finally met his match.