When: Morning after Meeting with Voldemort
Severus was in the process of attempting to steady his hands. The night before, in the Dark Lord's infinite mercy, he had been subjected to the Cruciatus.
This was considerably merciful, considering his offense was punishable by death, had he been any other man, under any other circumstances. In fact, Severus had a sneaking suspicion that his time with the Death Eaters was growing short. Once this Philospher's Stone project had reached its conclusion, he would be disposed of. It was almost certain.
More to the point, Severus had been subjected to the Cruciatus more than a few times, and, apparently, was discovering that long-term exposure had adverse affects on the human body.
Specifically, he was experiencing muscle spasms and a form of palsy that made his hands shake semi-controllably for about ten to fifteen hours after each "treatment".
It was rather uncomfortable, and more than a little unnerving. After all, a long run of the curse could send one to madness - but exposure over a period of twenty years? Degeneration of the muscles? Liquification of the intestines?
And no Healer to be had.
But still, we don't lose our sense of composure, do we? he asked himself, reaching into the cupboard for a teacup.
His hands shook so badly that he dropped the glass.
As he stared down at the mess, it occurred to him that composure took a damnable ammount of patience.