Harry Potter/Severus Snape
Harry Potter Severus Snape
Slash Angst
The Harry Potter at Hogwarts Years
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix
Published: 01/12/2005
Updated: 02/09/2005
Words: 146,361
Chapters: 30
Hits: 275,831

Green Eyes Sublime


Story Summary:
When Harry returns to Hogwarts for his sixth year, only Severus seems to truly notice how deeply Harry's despair goes. Since Dumbledore is as blinded as everyone else, Severus decides to take matters into his own hands and help. But doing that means opening up his own soul and secrets to the Boy-Who-Lived, because Harry isn't going to just heal in one day. SS/HP, SLASH and depression related theme.

Chapter 26

Chapter Summary:
Harry returns to Hogwarts for his Seventh Year with a new determination to overcome all obstacles in his way. It doesn't take him long to realize that there is just a little more that he has to learn in order for him to win the love of a master. And in the confines of love and war, Severus must now learn when to let Harry go. SS/HP SLASH and Violence.
Author's Note:
Thanks: To my wonderful beta readers Amanda_Saitou and Philo whose wonderful help kept me sane.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Equal and Opposite Reactions


When the first attacks came they were swift and random.

Diagon Alley was the first to fall prey to the Death Eater's vengeance. Diagon Alley, with its many shops, wizard bank and air of buzz from the numerous customers who milled about, became like a ghost town. Shops closed and Gringotts set up an instant Floo network where money could be accessed from the convenience of individual homes.

No one ventured outside often anymore.

If they did, it was no longer with a jovial spirit. Everyone held their heads down when they passed each other on the streets. Hurried footsteps, wizard cloaks wrapped tightly around the body, and the every present, every oppressive air of sadness marked the change. Everyone looked over their shoulders. Everyone was afraid.

No one wanted to be the next victim of the war.

By the time the first week had passed after the escapes, the dramatic changes were solidified in place. There were deaths in hundreds. Destruction was on a scale so large that it seemed unreal. Muggles, wizards, magical and non-magical creatures were all being attacked from every end. All over the world...the war had spread.

At Hogwarts, the changes were just as large.

All Quidditch games and practices were cancelled. Care of Magical Creatures classes were kept in doors in the Room of Requirement. In fact, the students were restricted from going outside the castle at all. The Seventh years had to accompany all lower year students if they were indeed allowed onto the grounds. Curfew for the castle was strictly at nine. Only the six Head students were allowed to roam the castle after this time and that was only because their duties had tripled. Owls were only to be sent once a week. Since it had only been the first week, the students still had a huge problem with this new rule, but it was to be obeyed. So, each Year was given a day in which owls could be sent. First years had Mondays, Second years had Tuesdays and so forth.

The students had mostly all readily accepted the changes because no matter how hard it was to be locked up in Hogwarts, many of them realized that they were much safer than their parents or relatives on the outside. Hogwarts was still the safest place to be in the Wizarding world, and every day this was re-enforced to the Head students.

The mail came every day by hundreds of strange owls. Each letter was collected and sorted into large bags then handed over to Dumbledore. Every day he would look at them with a sigh and sadness.

Everyday, Harry would sit by the Headmaster with his resolve building moment by moment.

He alone knew what was written in the letters. He alone understood the strength it took to keep reading. Albus allowed Harry to read them because they were all addressed to the two of them anyway.

They were letters begging, pleading, bargaining and threatening for help. Hogwarts had unbreakable apparition wards and all the best wizards in the country. Hogwarts had the best Healer. Hogwarts had the best Potions Master. Hogwarts had the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who was also a werewolf! Hogwarts had the best Transfiguration witch.

Hogwarts had Harry Potter.

Hogwarts owed it to the wizarding world to open its doors to the outside world.

"Why don't we do it?" Harry had asked one day as he stared at the piles of letters whose pleas were overwhelming.

"Where do we stop?" Albus had countered him quietly. "When we open the doors and the halls are filled, when the yard is overflowing, what do we do then? The whole world can't fit into Hogwarts Harry. Who do we decide to accept and will we find the strength to turn away ten thousand to every fifty wizards we allow? It's better if we don't shelter any of them than to turn some away. Our task is to rid ten billion of the threat and not to protect two thousand."

So the letters came, the students accepted the new rules and Harry dreamt of thousand of deaths filled with accusations and screams, knowing that there was nothing that he could do yet and secretly wondering if there ever would be.

Until one Sunday, when Harry, Hermione and Ron were urgently called to Dumbledore's office.

"Harry you can't come with us!" Hermione shouted.

"I can and I will!" Harry shouted back. "I won't stay here and do nothing! I won't leave them to die if I can help!"

A Ravenclaw third year, a Hufflepuff fourth year and three Slytherin fifth years had snuck out to go to Hogsmeade two hours before. Two Ravenclaw Seventh years and the Hufflepuff Deputy Head girl, Hannah had immediately gone in search of them when they realized the group was missing.

Hannah and one of the Seventh year Ravenclaws had returned and immediately sent to the Hospital Wing where they went unconscious. Not before Professor Snape had managed to get her to say what happened.

It seemed the group had been captured by some Death Eaters near the town. Hannah and the Ravenclaw had apparated within Zonko's and the Ravenclaw had managed to rework the floo network long enough to be linked to the Headmaster's office.

The others were left behind.

Albus looked at the little group that had gathered in his office. More than anything, he wanted to send Severus, Remus and Minerva to sort out the problem but they had all decided amongst themselves that the best thing to do would be to send the Trio. The three professors were doing much more in the war. They were...less...expendable. Hermione did not think that Harry should go since he was probably the one person that the Death Eaters wanted to see anyway.

Harry had stood aside long enough. He was not going to let his friends fight without him.

"Avarda Kedavra!"

Hermione and Ron fell without a sound...

Not when he knew that they would die if he was not with them.

"I'm going," Harry said firmly. "Just accept it."

Hermione looked as if she wanted to cry, but she knew there was no sense arguing anymore. The more they argued was the more time it would take. They didn't have time to argue. So she nodded reluctantly, although not before looking long and hard at the Potions professor who stood beside her.

Severus' face was a blank mask, but there was a moment when he and Harry stared silently at each other.

Emerald and onyx.

Harry's hand flew to his chest where his finger ghosted over an invisible ring nestled against his chest. Severus turned his eyes away and onto Dumbledore. Hermione knew then that she had lost.

The only permission Harry had wanted was Severus' and Severus had given it.

"We should go," Ron said quietly since it seemed the issue had been resolved. "They don't have much time. The Death Eaters probably have them dangling inches from death already."

The three moved towards the fireplace, but just as they did the fire within flared a blue green color. The Floo was opening.

"Just one more person before you leave," Dumbledore declared. "I thought it was only fair."

Draco Malfoy stepped out of the fire, giving each person in the room an appraising look, before raising an eyebrow in impatience.

"Are we going or not?" He asked. "I was doing something important and I'd like to get back to it as soon as I can."

Ron brushed by him in disgust. He grabbed a handful of Floo powder from the canister on the mantle, then he threw the powder into the fire. His voice rang out a clear 'Three Broomsticks' before he stepped into the flames and disappeared.

Dumbledore had opened a Floo to the Three Broomsticks and would leave it open for as long as the rescue was complete.

Hermione and Draco followed soon.

"Harry be careful," Remus said softly when it was Harry's turn to leave.

Harry gave him a small smile. "I will be."

He turned slightly to look at Severus. Their eyes met again and Harry could almost feel the protection in the ring double. He turned away, not wanting it to look suspicious that they couldn't seem to keep their eyes away from each other.

Grabbing a handful of the powder, he soon disappeared into the flames also.


"I never thought I'd ever see this place empty," Ron said quietly.

The silence was a drastic change from the noise that usually filled the pub. Now, standing in the middle of the room with the windows and doors closed, the only light was the sunlight that peaked through the cracks and spaces.

"We'd better go," Hermione said after a while. "I don't hear anything outside and that worries me. Shouldn't they be out there?"

They opened the door cautiously. When they were all standing outside they realized that Hermione had been right. There was no one. No sound.

Hogsmeade was empty.

"Follow the yellow brick road," Hermione's mutter was clear in the silence.

They all turned to her with inquiring looks and she pointed to the ground. There were lines worn into the sand and gravel as if bodies had been pulled away.

"Why wouldn't they have just levitated them?" Ron asked.

"Because Weasley, they wanted you to see the tracks," Draco sneered, breaking his previous silence. "It doesn't take much to realize that Hogwarts would send someone out here to play the hero. Five guesses who everyone was banking on?"

Ron turned to him with a glare of amusement. "I bet you didn't think you'd be here, did you Malfoy? You have to play the hero now too."

Draco laughed shortly. "Don't remind me."

Hermione threw Draco a disgusted look. Then, linking her arms with Ron's, she pulled his away to follow the tracks.

Harry made to follow, but Draco stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.


Draco silently handed Harry a red drawstring pouch from where he had been keeping it in one of his robe pockets.

Cautiously, Harry peered into the bag then gave Draco a look of surprise. From the bag, he pulled out a huge marquis cut diamond, then another and another. Three in all.

"They enhance apparition," Draco explained. "Your friends and you will need to apparate back to the pub. I doubt you'd want to run with the Death Eaters behind you. Besides, the younger students can't apparate. The best thing to do is to form a circle and do a group apparition."

Harry gave Draco an incredulous look. "Malfoy, what the hell are you doing? You're going to get yourself killed! You can't play both sides like this. Sooner or later Voldemort or Dumbledore will find out."

"Let me take care of myself Potter."

"Why are you even doing this? You hate the good side. You've only been bragging about your father and the Dark side for years. Why the sudden change? Why did you even come today?"

"I didn't have a choice! Dumbledore said I had to come. I had to be here because the three of you feel the need to always put yourselves in danger. You idiot, haven't you figured it out yet? I didn't plan on this. I didn't set this up so I could be trapped too!"

"Then why haven't you tried any tricks so far?" Harry asked sudden very soft. "Why didn't you Floo somewhere else or apparate or something. We're not on Hogwarts' grounds anymore. Why stay to have the Death Eaters after you?"

Draco was silent. He turned and began to follow the tracks in the ground, leaving Harry to hurry and catch up to him. It was a long time later before the answer came.

They wound their way through the edge of the Forbidden Forest and caught up to Ron and Hermione. Still, they knew they weren't on Hogwarts' grounds. The trees were getting closer together as they walked. The air was colder without the sun's constant rays. The silence was deafening.

"They have my pet raven," Draco finally told Harry softly. "He has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The silence was broken.

They couldn't see them, but slowly the sound of voices drifted. Shouts. Spells. Ron and Hermione gave Harry an apprehensive look. They were getting close. Harry hung back a little from the others, allowing himself the short bit of privacy he needed.

Wandlessly...silently, he cast an Illusion charm on himself. It was the same one that Hermione had almost blinded him with in Charms class, and Professor Flitwick had been training him to do Wandlessly.

Without needing his cloak, Harry now had the illusion of being invisible.


There was a small clearing in the Forbidden Forest. Many in fact, but unlike for the others, the trees surrounding this one were bent to form a canopy. The air was still, saturated with magic and fear. The sound of spells being shouted were a constant stream of voices.

In the centre of the clearing, Will had formed a shield.

Standing beneath it, with his wand held steady even after all the hours, the narrow arched barrier was the only protection for the Ravenclaw who held it and the unconscious bodies of the students he was trying to protect. Every once in a while the shield would shimmer as the only testament to the determination it took to hold it in the place and the growing weakness that Will must be feeling.

There were four Death Eaters that surrounded him. All were casting spells in rapid succession, constantly at the barrier.

'They should have broken through already,' Hermione realized.

"It's a trap," she whispered cautiously.

The only person to hear her was Ron. Somehow, both Harry and Draco had disappeared. Ron seemed to have noticed this also, but since he wasn't one for waiting around patiently for his death to come, he pointed his wand at the nearest Death Eater and shouted the Stupify spell.

Having lost the element of surprise, Hermione ran behind him also shouting the spell.

They got about thirty feet into the clearing when the other Death Eaters suddenly appeared around them. Eight more. Twelve in all.

The four that had been occupied with Will abandoned that task to focus on their more important preys.

In a moment, Hermione realized the true predicament of the situation. The twelve Death Eaters stood with their wands pointed. They were blocking Will and the other Hogwarts students. To get to them, Hermione realized that it was either fight or flee. Two against twelve did not sound too fair to her and though she knew that somewhere with them, Harry was also there, three against thirteen was just as bad.

After all, Draco had somehow joined the ranks.

"I knew it!" Ron shouted, stopping short of the cloaked figures as he spotted Draco as the only uncloaked one. "You little ass, I knew you were a Death Eater!"

Strangely enough, Draco didn't rise to the bait. Instead he remained eerily silent, just as all the others. What was even stranger was what happened next.

"You set this up! You prick, you led us here knowing that we would be out numbered!" Ron continued to shout with angry, blazing eyes. "Did Will help? Is this his revenge on Harry? Move out the fucking way so I can kill him! Move! No one betrays my best friend like this."

Strangely enough Draco wouldn't move. He was standing strategically, directly in front of where Will knelt, doubled over in pain and fatigue. It was as if Draco knew that Ron would get to the wrong conclusion about the situation.

As if Draco was trying to protect Will.

"He wasn't a part of this Weasley," Draco barely hissed though clamped teeth. "He was in the same predicament that you're in."

"Move!" Ron breathed the word emphatically.

"No," Draco answered softly. "Leave him alone. If you want to hex someone I'm the one to blame. The only thing is, your spell wouldn't even get near me before everyone here incinerates you."

Hermione couldn't believe here ears. Draco was trying to protect the Ravenclaw from Ron's anger.

All the Death Eaters seemed to be just as surprised as Hermione at Draco's actions. If Weasley wanted to kill from his own side then that was perfectly acceptable and encouraged. The fact that Draco of all persons was adamantly standing in the way, set a few minds wandering.

Most of all Lucius Malfoy's.

"Draco, what are you doing?" the cloaked figure asked his son from where he stood beside him.

"You're here for Harry Potter, Father," Draco replied softly. "Allowing Weasley to kill the Ravenclaw will only take up more time."

"Let us decide that ourselves," Lucius said in a quiet voice. "Get out of the way."

Draco still did not move.

"Alright, Draco, we will settle this another way."

Lucius suddenly rounded on his son. In a split second he pulled Draco into his grasp. Then, with a load popping sound the two apparated away.

Hermione didn't even have time to wonder where Lucius had taken his son, when the other Death Eaters seemed to be snapped out of their silence. The circle they had formed around her and Ron tightened, but still the space where Will knelt was left open. Hermione tried hard not to stare in that direction, even though it was right before her.

"Where is Harry Potter?" A random Death Eater asked.

Behind her, Hermione felt Ron align his back against her. But, there was someone else with his back to theirs. Both Hermione and Ron understood what Harry had done then. It would have been a good plan too if Harry, it seemed, was not caught in the circle of Death Eaters also.

"Bugger off!" Ron shouted in the general direction of their captors.

Beside them, Ron and Hermione each felt Harry slip something into their robe pockets. It felt like a large rock but neither of them wanted to check. Then, Hermione was handed another one and somehow she just knew what it was. Gems gave off certain powers in a wizard's hand. This gem was definitely a diamond. Hermione's mind raced to remember their uses.

"Where is Harry Potter?" Another Death Eater asked.

And the answer came to Hermione of what it was Harry wanted them to do. Only it would mean that she would have to do something she had been afraid would happen since Harry had stubbornly insisted on accompanying them.

Harry would have to be left behind.

Harry had never learned how to apparate because he spent his summer going to and from St. Mungo's Hospital when Ron and her were learning and taking their test. She doubted that Jean-Claude, with all his perks, had ever been given permission to teach Harry.

It was a stupid oversight on Dumbledore's part, and it was going to cost Hermione her best friend.

"We don't know, and if we did, obviously we're not dumb enough to tell," she declared now more afraid than angry.

"Our patience is dwindling, we will not ask you again."

"Good!" Ron shouted.

"If you tell us, perhaps we will spare your lives."

This time, when the Death Eater spoke, Hermione recognized the voice. She felt Harry go rigid in anger beside her and she knew that his determination was only intensifying. She wanted to tell him to leave it alone and escape with her and Ron. She wanted to beg him to not do anything foolish. She wanted to pull him over to where Will knelt and the students laid and force him into letting her apparate with him.

Instead she gave his invisible hand a squeeze and hoped that he understood how much she knew he had to do this.

"We would actually rather die than betray Harry. Killing us won't solve anything. In the end Harry will win. He's the better wizard than Voldemort," Hermione said quietly.

Bellatrix Lestrange looked murderously at them from beneath her hooded cloak, before she spoke to them again in a snarling voice.

"How dare you speak our master's name. You insolent children. You will pay for your quick tongues and small minds."

Then Hermione felt the hard shove in Will's direction that Harry gave her as the signal to run. Without hesitation she tugged on Ron's hand and he too seemed to get the message. Taking the Death Eaters by complete surprise, each stunned the two nearest cloaked figure.

Hermione raced over to Will, pulling the other diamond from her pocket and hoped that Ron had also retrieved his. She pulled the Ravenclaw to his feet and shoved one of the diamonds into his hand. Will swayed, but he managed to hold the diamond up steadily into the air. Ron was already in place with his diamond help up over the other students, so Hermione took her place.

They formed a triangle.

"Pretend the diamond is a wand!" Hermione shouted. "Use it to appar - !"

"Avarda Kedavra!"

Behind them twelve different Killing Curses began to be shouted in unison.

Hermione turned to look behind her in horror. As if time had slowed, she saw the streams of green leave each wand and watched the spells being completed in an avalanche of voices. They sped towards her.

Before they reached, she saw a rain of pebbles hurtle through the air at a magically enhanced speed.

An invisible Harry had scooped them up from the graveled pathway they had followed into the clearing and now he threw two fists full of them.

The pebbles reached Hermione before the Killing curses did.

Each stone suddenly sprang vines. Each vine intertwined with another vine so quickly that to Hermione's eyes it was like a thousand snakes slithering into each other. The vines and stones formed an intricately patterned wall of green and gray.

It was so solid that it held rooted when the twelve curses slammed into it. Effectively, it hid the group from the Death Eaters, giving them the time they needed to start the apparation. As one, the three Seventh years felt the diamonds connect with their magic and slowly they watched as a beam of light shot from one diamond to the next.

"It's an Illusion spell!" Hermione heard Bellatrix shout from beyond the wall.

"Finite Incantatum!" Someone else said.

As if sound had snapped back into Hermione's awareness, the noise on the other side of the green wall intensified. There was the distinct sound of running feet and curses being shouted. A struggle perhaps.

Shouts of pain.

The ground shook.

More spells.

Death Eaters screaming.

Bodies hitting the ground.

The diamonds completed their triad of connection. Ron apparated first, followed closely by Will and soon it was Hermione's turn.

Then Hermione heard Harry scream.

Only it was too late, the circle of apparition was complete and Hermione, whether she liked it or not, had to apparate too or kill everyone within her circle.

'Harry!' her mind screamed.

Then she too disappeared.




Harry fell to the ground as his body spasmed with pain. Before his eyes the world became a swirl of real and unreal. Bodies lied around him as they had been struck from the wild strains of magic that had been released when the Death Eaters had surrounded him. A body laid before him, wreathing in agony, beneath Harry's pain glazed eyes.

His screams mingled with the screams in the vision.

"I don't take kindly to being betrayed, Draco Malfoy, especially by one not yet under my allegiance."

A figure stood above Draco, with his wand pointed.

Lucius stood to the side, watching in silence. He never flinched an inch as his son screamed. Impassive. Unfeeling. Cold.

Draco's screams mingled with Harry's.

"So Harry Potter, you can do Wandless Magic now. How informative. My master will be eager to know, to prepare."

Bellatrix Lestrange stood above Harry with her wand pointed.

She had been the only Death Eater who had not been stunned by Harry's magic. She had grabbed one of the others in panic and used him as a shield against the tumult of untamed strands as they raced towards her.

Never before had she seen a wizard so young be so powerful.

He seemed to have mastered the art, and since she had no idea how to do it herself, Bellatrix hadn't given Harry time to recover. She cursed him from behind and watched in glee as he fell to the ground screaming.

Now she stood above him, laughing at the turn of events.

"How does it feel? Not very nice is it? Many Wizards have been driven mad from it. Do you know why?" she taunted.

"I will not be made the fool, young Malfoy. I will not be betrayed."

"It's the pain. It cannot be ignored, because to ignore it would mean facing the full onslaught of it. Most minds fight it. Pain has to be overwhelmed completely so that it is dulled. But, what is there? What is strong enough to fight the Cruciatius?"


"When every cell in your body alights with a fire that twists your insides, your senses reel in confusion and panic. There is no focus. There is no escape. The curse opens every pain neuron inside the body and floods it. Every single one."

"You stood on their side, protecting their own!"

"I...gave you...Potter."

"And for this one wizard, how many Harry Potters is he worth to you?"

"Do you know how many there are? Do you know what it means for the mind to find a source big enough to block the constant fire? The mind races to find an answer, but there is none. Pain can only be overwhelmed to get reprieve. But, what happens when the mind is overwhelmed from all the pain?"

"I had to! Dumbledore sent us...Dumbledore would know...if...I didn't...return. If he died...Dumbledore would know it was me....You have Potter...he's worth everyone else to you."

"It breaks. It surrenders...."

"Alright Draco Malfoy. Perhaps your father was a little hasty in doubting your allegiance. Your path is set clear before you. Your destiny dictates that you one day serve me. Today, you have gotten only a warning of what will come if you betray me now or in the future."

"Finite -"

" - Incantatum!"

For a long time, the silence was deafening to Harry.

"Potter, I believe that you have finally come to the end of your short life," Lestrange's voice pierced Harry's recovering sense, forcing him to focus on the evil smiling face above where he laid. "This is the moment in which you die."

Harry's eyes narrowed in anger and disgust. "Famous last words. We'll see who dies tonight."

Bellatrix laughed, then casually raised her wand again and pointed it at Harry's chest. The spell glinted transparent blue when she commanded it. Harry didn't have the energy to move his still twitching limbs.

"Petrificus Totalus!"

Bellatrix laughed again when Harry's body became frozen. His green eyes flashed his silent anger at her, but that had no power she knew. This was her moment. She had been waiting for years. First it had been Sirius Black and now here lied Harry Potter at her feet. She could taste the power that sizzled on the fringes of this moment they were suspended within.

Using her wand, she opened the few buttons his school robe and beneath that, his shirt. She wanted to see his heart stop beating when the curse hit it. She wanted to capture the image in her mind of Harry Potter dying and knowing that it was by her hands.

She didn't even see the ring until it glittered from a ray of sunlight hitting it.

She gasped, intrigued. Kneeling beside him, she used her wand to twist the chain and then she gasped some more. The ring appeared and disappeared slowly. It seemed that the concealing charm on it had weakened from all the curses and spells that Harry had been involved in since he had arrived in the clearing.

Bellatrix recognized the Snape insignia immediately.

"Well, well Harry Potter, you are full of surprises," she muttered softly, half to herself. "My master searched high and low for this ring. I'm sure you haven't yet realized what power the ring Severus gave to you holds. He gave you his soul when he entrusted you with this ring. And what better person I suppose. The famous Harry Potter. The boy who will die at my mercy. Master lost many of his followers at Snape Manor when we tried to steal the ring and all along, we had only to capture you for it. Very clever. Two birds with one curse, it seems now."

Then something snapped within Harry.

Bellatrix could pinpoint the exact moment she had gone too far and said the wrong thing. To talk about killing Harry did not have an effect of the young wizard but the moment she mentioned Severus Snape she realized her mistake.

Severus Snape hadn't given Harry Potter the heirloom for decoration purposes it seemed.

Beneath the stillness of the spell he was bound within, the famous Wizard's eyes glowed a shade of blood red. Anger was its fuel, but she could read the other emotion as plain as day also. Love was not a thing to be underestimated.

Men killed for love.

'How dare you. You killed Sirius and now you want to kill me. I promised Remus I would be careful. I promised Severus I would come back. I won't die! I won't! Not like this! Not here! Not with you! You Bitch!'

Harry screamed the word in his mind. The more he screamed was the more he could feel a burning in his vein intensifying.

Was this what hatred felt like? So all-consuming? Was this what darkness looked like from the inside? Was this it? The blood pounding a rhythm beneath his skin? The taste of...bile and fear and anger mixed like a vile potion on his tongue.

Harry's sense reeled; not understanding what was happening.

'Kill her. Poison her. Kill her. She killed Sirius!' he commanded, as if there was something to command.

And suddenly there was.

The Slytherin snake appeared as a green mist rising from beneath his back. Gathering into a whirlwind it took its shape as the huge emerald snake. The burning in Harry's veins intensified. He could feel the residue of all the poisons he had induced coursing with the cells of his blood. The beat became louder and stronger.

'Don't let her kill me...'

Bellatrix screamed when the snake struck. It sank its fangs into her neck and Harry watched her turn a deep, almost glowing pink colour, before slowly changing to blue. A sickening, shade of blue that spoke of contaminated blood vessels and ten of the strongest poisons that had magically been transfused into her.

She fell, the snake disappeared and Harry could move again.

On his knees he surveyed the clearing around him. It was littered with bodies. Most had been stunned unconscious but in their midst was a body that would never stir again.

Even in death she looked evil.

Harry retched into the earth, but there was nothing inside him to give. He retched some more anyway. Trembling violently, he doubled over upon the ground, gasping for breath. He had too much inside of him, it seemed.

And amidst everything, his scar began to burn.

Stars flashed against his closed eyelids, tears streaked down his face, but there were no sobs. Just the silence. Emotionless. Numb.

Harry felt as if he'd been broken into tiny pieces.

"Don't take it so hard Potter." The soft drawl broke the silence of the clearing. "She would have died anyway. The Dark lord doesn't approve of servants who take it upon themselves to disobey him. She tried to kill you. He wanted her dead."

Harry hadn't even seen when Draco had disapparated near the wall of vines.

"He wanted her to die and I did it for him," Harry said softly. "He was so angry and I was so angry that it just opened my mind up to his manipulations. Who needs the Imperius Curse when I can do his work for him? All he had to do was want her to die and I wanted her to die too. Stupid scar. Stupid link."

"She would have died anyway," Draco said again. "Sooner or later, someone would have had to punish her for her sins."

Harry took a deep, shaky breath then turned to where Draco laid. He looked exactly as Harry had seen so many look after being under the Cruciatius curse. He looked exactly how Harry felt. With twitching limbs and hollow eyes. There was even a thin stream of blood from his lips.

Harry crawled over to him.

"We have to get back to Hogwarts before the other Death Eaters wake up. I don't want to fight them too. I don't want anymore dead," he said softly.

Draco looked across to him with intense silver eyes and shook his head slowly.

"I can't go back to Hogwarts," he said softly. "You friends would have told Dumbledore by now what happened. They will all think I'm a Death Eater."

"Death Eater-in-training isn't such a nice title either," he scoffed sarcastically, but shrugged tiredly. "You can come back. You haven't done anything wrong. You basically saved everyone's lives with the diamonds. Dumbledore will forgive you. Even if you were a Death Eater he would still forgive you. Everyone is redeemable apparently."

They looked at each other for a long time and a strange bit of understanding seemed to pass from one to the other.

Then Draco sighed painfully. "I don't suppose you can work a bloody miracle and somehow apparate us out of here?"

Harry shook his head slowly, as if his body was made of glass. "Sorry, no can do. We'll have to walk around Hogsmeade and the forest to Hogwarts."

"I was bloody afraid you were going to say that."

They crawled to each other, linking arms. Shoulder to shoulder they somehow managed to pull each other up to stand. Resting heavily upon each other using the other as their anchor, they slowly began their journey.



They broke the silence that had lapsed between them. Hurrying quickly over the forest's uneven ground and around close trees, knowing instinctively that evening was fast approaching and soon the sun would set.

"Do us both a favor and pick a side to fight on. I don't fancy walking into a trap like this again. Understand?" Harry said in a tired but serious voice.

"What if I pick the wrong side Potter?"

There was silence again for a moment.

Then, Harry sighed. "Well at least then I can abandon you in clear conscience."