Chapter 2 : Chapter 1
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by Caren at TDA
“Yes, this potion is very old; the recipe comes to us from the deep of ages. It's not the elixir of youth or immortality, no. But when I take it, I will be sixteen again.”
The Lord broke off, taking a green root from the shelf. Only light breaths and the sound of the knife cutting interrupted the silence.
“This recipe is very difficult, Nagini, and dangerous. Even in the old times only a few agreed to this madness. To make ‘Vita Nova’. Hmmm…isn't the name talking by itself? ‘New Life’.”
Nagini worriedly rustled her scale rings. “If it is dangerous, then why…? You already have a body.”
The man was silent, like he didn’t hear the question. But at last, he spoke calmly and thoughtfully.
“I thought a lot, Nagini. Why I can't kill Potter?”
“Not again” the snake hissed angrily.
“Yes, again,” the men flared up. “Don't you dare disturb me!”
“I came to the solution. I wouldn’t kill him.” The shock shook the air around them. The man's sneer broke off the stretched string of misunderstanding,
“Not yet, just not yet, Nagini. I want to understand why I can't destroy him. This potion will help me to become a student in Hogwarts again. I will have the opportunity to look after the boy and Dumbledore. Maybe I’ll even join his line of trusted people. We will win this war, Nagini. I will win it.”
“But, my Lord, Dumbledore knows what you were like in your youth.”
“Hmm…You think I was working on this potion so long just to get nothing? I greatly improved it, and his name means nothing. My appearance will be alike, but nevertheless different. Every person has their own unique mask, my Nagini, and I won't be an adult man in a young body. No…I will definitely become a youth, at the age of sixteen... ‘Vita Nova’, Nagini, ‘Vita Nova’.
“Though my knowledge, power and skills will remain, my inside essence will change. Only a little, but enough for Dumbledore to not know who I am. This potion is irreversible. Why are you so quiet, Nagini?”
“This is dangerous, Master.”
“The risk is worth it,” the Dark Lord cut in.
“The plan is great. But what will your Death Eaters say?”
“I still don’t know if I will tell them my plan, sweet Nagini. Let's go, I already put in all of the things that I needed. The potion needs to be in here for a while; it's dangerous for you to stay here. Today Tirakuli is very strong.”
Walking out of the lab the man and his snake didn’t stop their talk.
“Is this turning dangerous, Master?”
“Yes.” Walking in the dark corridors of his castle the Dark Lord wasn’t afraid to be heard.
“Will you take me with you?”
“Do you want me to shout out about my arriving to Hogwarts? Maybe you even wish me to send Dumbledore a letter saying that I'm coming? Hmm…isn't that a good idea? He would meet me at the station like a dear friend of mine. We didn’t see each other for a long time, so the talk would be nice.” The Dark Lord's voice exhaled sarcasm. Then Nagini's muzzle went down guiltily. If there were any possibility for her, she had better keep quiet, sulking in bitter regret.
“I didn’t think, Master. But why can't I take this potion too?”
The man stopped suddenly. The snake was now looking at her master carefully. His lips were shut, and his eyes narrowed. He wanted to hide the emotions that were passing in his eyes.
“This potion isn't checked, Nagini, and I wouldn’t test it on you in the first place,” the Dark Lord hissed. “I don’t want to lose you, my Nagini, and this conversation is over!”
The man turned sharply to the stairs, the way out of dungeons, leaving the snake nervously compressing and uncompressing her rings of scales. When the man faded away from the view, she hissed “I won't leave you, Tom... never again,” and slithered away in the darkness.
At this time the Dark Lord was walking in the Great Hall on the first floor. He opened huge, massive doors with a little wave of his wand.
The man gracefully sat down on the black wooden, high-back throne, decorated with gold and precious stones.
Voldemort continued his thoughts about Nagini's words, about her taking the potion. ‘I don’t want to lose you, my friend, my Nagi…The potion will be done soon…What do I do?... Well, I’ve already read, and made the potion, but I can't solve my own problems about my plans. Did I become old?’
His heavy look rested on the closed doors. ‘I can definitely correct it. The main thing is how to start.’
The Dark Lord straightened himself on the throne, moving his head up proudly, and concentrated on the Dark Marks of his Inner Circle.
He called, burning the minds of his most trusted, cunning and harsh people. He felt pleasure when thinking about them suffering from the great pain tormenting their souls…and their bodies. But it was not as important as them being his slaves. Of course, he could make this process painless. But it was a joke. His kind of cruel joke, making them remember what they are.
He felt that his Death Eaters were walking to him through the space, with desire and anger. They wanted to stop this feeling, feeling of pain, falling down on their knees in front of their master.
The Dark Lord felt magic near the main entrance to the castle. A moment passed before black doors opened and people in dark cloaks came in with their faces shadowed.
His fellow Death Eaters stood, forming a half-circle in front of the throne and fell on their knees.
“Get up,” Voldemort hissed. “Lucius, come here.”
One of the figures separated from the others and fell on his knees in front of his master, kissing the hem of his cloak.
The now opened hood revealed magnificent blond hair falling to the man's shoulders. His look was directed at the floor.
‘Interesting…is he afraid of me or disgusted?’
A light laugh broke the dark silence. “Do I not look good, Lucius?”
Lucius looked at Voldemort fearfully. “No, my Lord.”
“Then why don’t you look at me, my friend?”
“I don’t dare, my Lord.” Regretting his words, he looked at his master's face, knowing that if he didn’t, he would get punished-but afraid to look in his eyes.
“What news do you have for me, Lucius, from the Ministry?”
“Fudge is an idiot, my Lord. He still doesn’t believe that you returned. Everybody thinks that the boy is a liar and Dumbledore is a fool that has lost his mind.”
In the deep silence that came after the Death Eater's words, only the men’s breathing could be heard. The Lord could feel his silence pushing on them like huge pieces of metal.
It made them nervous.
Voldemort smiled to himself; this situation was funny for him. The Inner Circle of Death Eaters still couldn't believe that he had come back.
“This is good,” he said at last, “this gives us time.”
“Time?” Lucius was looking at his master's chin.
“Crucio! For your foolishness!” The Dark Lord suddenly pointed his wand at the man, knowing that is was cruel, but…Power corrupted, didn’t it? She was sweet and…could satisfy…his offence…For their lives. For their breaths…and for them not wishing for his return.
‘Am I jealous?’ The thought slithered in the depths of his mind, leaving a bitter taste of lost time. ‘This is not the end.’
Voldemort stopped the torture, noticing that Lucius allowed himself only one moan of pain. He respected strength, even if it was a different kind.
“We have time to prepare,” the Dark Lord hissed, releasing the aristocrat with a nod.
“I need to disappear for some time.” Surprised gasps, but nobody dared to interrupt their lord. The Lord himself smiled sarcastically.
“Don’t hope that I will disappear for a long time. I have business that is in need of my person and supervision. I will send you information through letters and your minds. You must always be prepared for when I call for you. I have big plans for this year…You may go!” Voldemort finished harshly. “Severus, you are staying.”
Snakes rustling disturbed the silence in the room that was left after the meeting.
Nagini slithered to her master's throne and twisted around it, looking at the lone Death Eater in the room. Her forked tongue flashed in the air, catching any smells, particles, perceiving all that happened in this room before.
All this time the man didn’t look away from his master.
The snake hissed angrily. “He is rude, Master!”
“Oh, yes, my Nagini.” The hissing answer was very quiet, but the Death Eater heard satisfaction in it. “Severus always was rude. Look! He still hasn’t looked away. I like it, Nagini.”
“He is dangerous.”
The Dark Lord looked at his snake.
“All Death Eaters are dangerous, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. But you are right...We need to look out for him…my girl.” Silence came back, and nothing disturbed it.
Suddenly the man on the throne stood up, cloak flapping to the floor. Not expecting this move, the man on the floor shuddered and moved back a little.
'Hmm, he has a fear of me, or is he afraid of something else?’
“Is there any difference, Master?”
“You read my thoughts again, Nagini? Of course there is a difference. He is worthy.”
The snake's question was left without an answer.
“Come with me, Severus.”
The Dark Lord walked through the halls of his castle, feeling waves of worry and doubt flying after him.
He understood perfectly why Severus was strained. None of his followers came to the forbidden side of the castle and the man was trying to figure out if this adventure would give him pleasure or if it would be his end.
Voldemort was taking pleasure from this little torture…Waiting torture…How long he waited himself!
Passing dark halls, going down and up without any hint of the direction or reason of this quiet walk, both men appeared in the small room with different smells than any other room in the castle.
It was comfortable, full of light colors, with a carpet, a dead fire in the fireplace, a small table and big armchair. But the most remarkable things were dense curtains hiding the whole wall beside them.
“Come in, Severus, be my guest today.” The Dark Lord bowed a little, sarcastically, and moved out of the way to show his ‘guest’ the room inside.
Voldemort seemed to notice with pleasure the emotions that faded in and out of the man's face. Shock covered his features, hiding the mask of coldness.
“Do you like my garden, Severus?”
The garden was magnificent, flowers and trees swimming in the smooth sunrays. Trees from simple to exotic intertwined with each other, embraced by blooming lianas, forming twisted transitions. The soft murmur of running water reached the ears.
If one listened closely, the sound of a small waterfall could be heard, cascading down into the reservoir, touching stones and ledges. And everything, everything was surrounded by flowers – bright and shameless, light and embarrassing.
Dense, exciting aromas soared above, and below gravel footpaths, that like graceful webs stretched in all corners of this strange place. Somewhere the beautiful benches could be seen, set about in an extraordinary order.
Infinite smells entered the brain, heart and soul, absorbing, submitting the mind and…admiring its existence with all of it.
The two men were walking slowly by the gravel path, one of them a little behind, not daring to break the charms and dreams of this garden.
“Flowers open to all and to everyone, Severus.” The Lord's quiet voice interrupted the silence. “They are the most pure of creatures in this world. Can you see these roses? They don't care who we are or where we’re from. They don’t have preferences, they aren't choosing who has the right to admire them and who doesn’t. For them everyone is equal, Severus, they wishing only one thing: to be beautiful, so that they can be admired by others. But they can be dangerous, Severus…Very dangerous…The most powerful magic in this world is the magic of the flowers, the magic of their aromas…Each person has their own smell…their flower, which reflects their essence. Sometimes there is enough of one flower to express all the person's feelings, but sometimes the bouquet can't express it all…”
The Dark Lord stopped and turned to the man following him, making him jut back, trying not to fall on him. Voldemort stepped forward and hissed his next question.
“And you, Severus? What aroma can you smell now?”
His dark orbs opened widely, the pupils convulsively changing in size. Drops of sweat accumulated on his upper lip, his vision becoming misty because of the fight with the non-human, all-consuming aroma. The thin sense of smell of the potion maker turned against him, catching inexpressibly, absorbing wonderful aromas.
Sweet? Tart? Bitter? Sour? All this together and absolutely another, torturing…divine.
The man's eyes sprang open with horror, and with a weak voice, whispered only one scary and sweet word: “Tirakuli…”
His unconscious body smoothly settled beside his master's feet.
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