Why do you think it is called the Dark Arts?
Art is something indirectly made by nature - through us, wizards, and magical creatures. Everyone has natural instincts directing his life. To become something more than just a creature, an animal ruled by its instincts, you have to practice an art.
Practicing Dark Arts is a conscious action leading to improve yourself. There is a reason why the Dark Arts are banned by Ministry. Many people succumbed to the call of power, simply because of one crucial thing: Emotions.
Of course, simply baning the Dark Arts is a disgrace, which poses a threat of Azkaban for every potential user, even the ones not actually using the Arts in a harmful way. And people wonder why I became a Dark Lord.
Severus choked. He was pretty sure the last line was a joke. The Dark Lord joking? Something must be wrong with Severus' head. He quickly continued reading though.
You shall not study or practice the Dark Arts for wrong reasons, such as anger, sadness, pride or ambition.
You have to study and practice the Dark Arts because of the fundamental principle of things - it makes you stronger.
There is only power and those too weak to seek it, Severus.
That is the truth behind everything.
You suffer because you practiced the Dark Arts for wrong reasons - to impress a girl.
Now you know the true reason - the reason, the WHY gaves you power over others. It allows you to master your emotions. You still feel them, but you are no longer ruled by them, because you know the principle, because you know why.
What does it tell you about yourself?
Do you feel bad? Do you feel neglected, abused, threatened, sad?
This is the feeling of weakness.
Do not try to seek compassion. Powerful people naturally sympathize with other powerful people, weak sympathize with weak. You do not need sympathy, you need power.
Dumbledore would of course disagree. He has this poisoning idea that love and sympathy helps. It does not. It makes you feel temporarily better, but in the long run it causes you to stagnate.
Become powerful, Severus. We are waiting for you.
It isn't hard to understand why the Dark Lord has succesfuly recruited nearly half of wizarding population. He was charizmatic, powerful and he appeared to share his power with everyone, who wanted to become part of the Death Eaters. Nothing is ever simply black or white. Who determines what is right? Lord Voldemort is a symbol of power for many people, even those who does not neccesarily want to kill, maim or torture.
It was many times said he is an immortal. People tremble when they hear his name. He is extremely intelligent. You may not agree with his ways, but you can certainly admire his other abilities. Severus didn't want to kill or torture, but he certainly wanted the power. He wanted power, he wanted his looks, he wanted his charisma, his self confidence.
And now he was getting letters from the Dark Lord himself. 16 years old, disliked by most of his house, mostly ignored by Profesors, shunned by Lily Evans, bullied by Marauders. They stopped bothering him, though. Information received from Lord Voldemort gave him something. He looked different. He felt different. Others slowly started to feel it.
Mulciber and Avery stopped acting like they owned him. Regulus Black shooted him curious glances. Simply because he knew - there is only power. Such knowledge, if you really understand the truth behind the statement, determines your life. You are no longer a child, naively looking around yourself, playing games invented by natural instincts, which, even though useful, simple emotion change could stop the progress.
If you know the truth though, you start to look for ways to make yourself stronger on everyday - every hour basis. Don't like Quidditch? Doesn't matter, because you want the physical strenght obtained by playing the sport. Don't like potions? Doesn't matter because you need to know everything that can make you stronger.
And Lily? Well, there was a progress. They met regularly in potions class, and often paired together by Slughorn - because they were the best. Severus started to understand his fascination with Lily. It wasn't just because of the sympathy he received, when they were younger, or that because she was his first friend. Lily was powerful. More than other girls. In fact, she was probably the most powerful female student at Hogwarts. She was good looking - evidence of some physical training, intelligent, good with spells. She was confident and wasn't afraid to voice her opinion or stood her ground against everything she considered wrong.
Severus now also understand why Lord Voldemort didn't object against her, despite her being a muggleborn. It had nothing to do with him. If he said he liked some weak muggleborn witch, Voldemort would object. But the Dark Lord viewed Lily as a potential recruit. It was all just an investment, he realized. A long term investment.
He realized another thing. He didn't view her before objectively. He didn't really try to understand her. He never tried to learn from her. Who helped him to realize? Dark Lord Voldemort.
Everything is an investment. You invest part of your energy. If you do right actions, you recieve more energy than you invested.
This is one of the most primitive principle of life, derived from eating. You put food inside your stomach, loosing a part of your energy for digestion. Afterwards, you recieve more energy than was used for the digestion. However - only if you eat the right food.
You have to use this principle while dealing with people. Do not associate yourself with weak. Seek potential. Find power at the early stage and cultivate it.
Socialization can accelerate your progress. Do not become a loner. Find people with abilities you want and spend time with them. Learn how do they do it.
There is a reason why students start at Hogwarts so early. Curriculum doesn't really matter that much. People who teach do. Children subconsciously learn from powerful people. Their moves, their style, their self-awareness.
Muggleborns and muggle lovers do not understand. They try to implement muggle culture into schooling - such as spending more time with their parents.
Two years ago we pulled strings to stop the bill, proposing free floo access from school to visit their parents.
They do not understand that spending time with muggles or weak wizards would make them weaker, because they do not understand The Principle.
Surround yourself with the most powerful students. Including females. There are actions you can learn better from women. Elegance, finesse, dexterity.
Spend more time with powerful Profesors. Slughorn, McGonagall, Flitwick, even Dumbledore. Analyze.
Severus realized he behaved like a child with Lily. He wanted her attention, because it brought him good feelings. He was like a child hanging on his mother. He never tried to analyze Lily's overral behavior. She was better than her peers because of something she was regularly doing. Severus needed to find it, understand it and reproduce it. It would make him stronger in other ways than simple raw power. Severus had enough raw power. He needed finesse and elegance.
Lord Voldemort was often accompanied by Bellatrix Lestrange. Her marriage with Rodolphus was simple arranged formality. She was Voldemort's favourite, despite her young age. Severus saw her at the Malfoy party. He shuddered at the memory. She walked among those people like some predator. Everyone had to think really hard about their actions while she was arround. Most feared female in Britain. And Severus could see some similarities between her and Lily.
Females fight differently than males. They do not use as much raw power and rely on shields. More dodging, more charisma usage. Sexual usage. Fighting with beautiful woman is a lot harder than fighting an ugly man.
"Lily." Severus spoke quietly.
She tensed. "What?"
"I think we should continue sharing our experiments and new knowledge. I know things are . . . difficult between us, but it would be benefitial for both of us. It is better than to try everything yourself, when another has already tested the theory." Severus has some trouble with his speech and cursed in his mind.
She was looking at him suspiciously and he tried not to fidget. It was after all very reasonable.
"Very well." She agreed eventually.
They switched their books - both were writing notes right beside original instructions, and Severus felt he was finally making some progress.