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 29

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-Nine

Within or Without


The scream that pierced the room's pensive atmosphere sent waves of shivers down its occupants' backs. The five clung to each other seeking comfort and reassurance as they had learned to do so many times since the day they had been thrown into each other's company.

"He won't make it this time," someone whispered.

No one dared to agree. Each hoped against hope, anyway.

"Oh god. Listen to him scream. I can't...I can't hear this anymore...I can't!" This time the voice was older than the previous. Both female. The males were too busy offering them strong arms to find refuge within.

And then there was silence...and everyone held their breaths.


The screams were agony to listen to, but the silence sent fear coursing through them. Against all their inner instincts to preserve themselves from such raw pain, they waited for the silence to be broken.

Then it came. The screaming. Incessant. Agony.

Everyone whimpered and breathed freely again. The screams meant torture and pain, but they all knew by then that the silence was worst. The silence meant death.

So many had died before.

There was silence again. This time it was immediately replaced by voices and the unmistakable sound of footsteps. Followed closely by the sound of strange, yet now familiar whispered words, and the door to the room was opened.

With a grunt and a short laugh someone was thrown roughly into the room before the door was closed again. And whatever glimpse of light there had been beyond the open door, was lost.

Huddle together in the centre of the room no one dared to move. No one dared to breath too loudly. All eyes were trained on the broken figure.

Waiting...and then he stirred.

"Harry? Harry, are you alright?"

"Come on my boy, open your eyes. I know it hurts but it would be even worse if you went to sleep and never woke up again. Harry, can you hear me?"

"Harry? Harry it's us. You're okay for now. They've gone again for a while. Harry, please wake up. You're so brave. We could never do what you're doing with facing them over and over again. Please don't give up now."

"Someone get his cloak and that stick thing he likes to hold. Go on!"

The cloak was dragged out from where it had been hidden and quickly handed to the owner of the commanding voice. He wrapped it around the trembling unconscious figure as everyone watched. All eyes were still trained on Harry as his fingers were forcefully curled around the smooth piece of wood that was still strange to his new friends but familiar enough to have them understand.

Harry was one of them...yet he was very different.

"No! Can't yet...Have to wait...Can't let them know until he gets here...where is he?" The words trailed into jumbles of incoherent thoughts, then sounds, then whimpers of lingering pain and torture.

In the corner, away from the still trembling body and scrambling adults, there was the sound of sniffles and sobs. One of the women noticed the aggrieved child and went to sit beside him, pulling him into her lap.

"He won't wake up this time," he sobbed in her arms. "They've hurt him too much. They've hurt him...and...and -"

"Hush now. It'll be alright darling. He'll wake up. Look how everyone is trying to wake him up."

The child shook his head. "They'll just come back, even if he does. They'll just take him away and hurt him some more. They will..."

To that she could not argue.

Harry had appeared, somehow, in their midst and had looked them over just once before his mind seemed to have been made up. He had shouted his challenge to whoever stood beyond the wooden door and the men in black cloaks had entered the room and taken him away.

It was hours later, after many episodes of him being tortured and returned, that they had found the cloak and 'stick' somehow hidden in their midst. It was strange how they didn't seem to question the items' presence. They had simply hidden them and waited for Harry to be returned.

There was something special about the young man. Even more special than the strange scar he bore on his forehead. And although he had not been able to come right out and say it, they all knew why he was there. He had come to save them from the dark room they had been held prisoners within for months now.

Harry, their hero.

Ever since he had arrived they had been spared their own set of torment at the hands of their captors. All energy seemed now to be bent upon breaking down Harry's strong resistance. Harry was waiting on someone. They knew it and so did their captors it seemed.

That person was letting Harry wait.


"They're coming back! Quick move!"

"He's not even awake yet. They can't be coming back for him yet!"

"You tell them that! Get his things. Hurry!"

"Hurry up you two!"

"Petrificus Totalus!"

"Leave him alone!"


"Harry? Do come in. I've been expecting you to come and see me."

Harry stepped into Dumbledore's office a little cautiously. For some reason the aura of the room was much more serious than Harry had been expecting. Perhaps Dumbledore really was aware of his reason for visiting.

He paused before the headmaster's desk, trying to gather his thoughts into the right words.

"Sit," Dumbledore commanded softly. "I do believe that this may take a while."

Harry cautiously sat on the chair that slid over, behind him. Again his thoughts seemed too jumbled to be expressed, so he sat in silence, not knowing what to say to broach the subject.

Dumbledore waited, seemingly, patiently as Harry struggled.

"I have to find him. I have to fight Voldemort," Harry finally said quietly. "I think it's time that I do something and I can't do it here while I hide and wait at Hogwarts. I have to try."

"Even though you are weak and afraid?" Dumbledore asked. "Even though I don't ask it of you and neither do anyone else? Are you certain?"

Harry nodded. "It is my decision to make and I have made it. I will never truly be ready but that doesn't mean that I get to back out of this. This is as ready as I'll ever be and at least this way I am more prepared."

"Harry..." Dumbledore's voice trailed quietly and for the first time Harry saw sadness in his headmaster's eyes. "Harry I ask so much of you. I can't help feeling that this is my fault. Perhaps I have pushed you too far and somehow taken advantage of the light of hope I see in you. I would never have asked you to do this Harry. I would never have required that you sacrifice yourself for us all. And yet, I look at you now as I did your father, knowing that your determination would never allow you to turn away from your decision."

"I only do what I have to," Harry replied with a sad smile. "What I know I have to."

Dumbledore returned the smile. "I take it that you have not informed Severus of your decision as yet? I'm positive that he would have been in here already threatening to blow the school up, in anger."

"No I haven't spoken to any one else as yet," Harry responded, knowing that Dumbledore may not have been far from the truth as to how strongly Severus would respond.

"He cares for you deeply. Far more than he lets on," Dumbledore told him. "Harry, you have to promise that you will be careful. Never underestimate this wizard that you are about to battle. Remember always that he would use any means possible to break you down and if that means using your strengths against you that is exactly what he will do. Be careful Harry. Severus would never forgive himself if you died and we did nothing."

Harry nodded solemnly in promise.


Harry had barely opened his eyes before a sharp pain shot through his scar, seemingly to wrench his head apart. He groaned, lowering his head onto the cradle of his palm. It was a while later before he realized that he was sitting on a chair in the centre of a huge room and there was someone in the room with him.

"It hurts doesn't it?"

Harry looked up to meet icy blue eyes and the cold sadistic sneer of Lucius Malfoy.

"You don't look so well Potter," Lucius continued to speak in an almost conversational tone. "From what I've been told, you have been made to endure every magical torture imaginable and you don't seemed to have faired very well."

He tilted Harry's head upwards so that the defiant green eyes could pierce into his own unfeeling gaze. Harry's hand was still clamped across his forehead as shoots of pain sent flickers of agony across the emerald surface of his eyes.

Lucius moved his hand to dab gently at the thin stream of blood that escaped from the corner of Harry's lips.

"Ah, the Cruciatius curse," he said softly. "It is so effective. I was told that you were made to endure it for so long that your screams were like someone who had gone mad. Yet you sit here looking at me with such hate that I am not quite convinced. Can you even speak anymore? Or have you screamed your throat raw and bleeding?"

Harry violently pulled away from the soothing strokes of fingertips against his chin with every ounce of strength he had left.

"Sorry to disappoint you," he managed to say venomously.

Immediately Lucius Malfoy's gaze became so clouded with anger that his blue eyes seemed like an ocean of darkness.

"I love the night," Harry said softly.

"Do you? Why?" Jean-Claude asked, turning his broom in the air so that he was facing Harry.

Harry shrugged but instead of immediately answering, he turned his attention away to the world around them.

In the distance, millions of stationary yellow lights tried to mimic the twinkling of the stars above. Below was darkness and around them was the cold chill of the night air. The inky black sky was a canvas on which a silver moon was painted.

"I don't know. I just do," Harry finally responded. "The world goes to sleep at night and I like the silence."

"Is silence important to you Harry?"

"Of course!" Harry exclaimed as he began to fly circles around his MagiPsych. "It's maddening sometimes. Deafening...but it's comforting. It's just my voice in my head and not the echoes of a thousand."

He pulled up suddenly beside Jean-Claude, who smiled understandingly.

"At nights I'm just Harry," he whispered.

Fingers entangled in his hair snapped Harry's head backwards, hard enough to force Harry's attention back to the figure in black before him. It did nothing to block out the slice of pain that once again tore through his head however.

"It hurts, doesn't it?" Lucius repeated with a sneer. "Each memory is pulled from your mind and little by little you condemn your own soul to the Dark Lord's power. It must really hurt you to realize that you brought this upon yourself. You came here with such stubborn determination. Where are your friends Potter? And where is old Dumbledore when you need him now?"

Come on Harry. Fight me!

Severus...I can't....

"It doesn't matter what you do to me. It won't work," Harry said softly. "My memories are useless to him. He prides himself so much in being the perfect and most powerful wizard. Why can't he face me instead of getting you and his other minions to do his work for him? Or is he just afraid of me? Voldemort, the coward. Why am I not surprised?"

Lucius smirked. One delicate eyebrow was raised in cruel amusement.

"You underestimate him Potter. You underestimate us, but I myself am not surprised. You little fool. They taught you nothing it seemed. Harry Potter is the Wizarding world's hero, they tell everyone, but you are nothing but a filthy Halfblood. Nothing but a naïve little boy who thinks that one day he will prove himself to the world."

Lucius slowly traced the scar on Harry's forehead with the sharpness of a fingernail. Unlike others before him, the look on his face was not awe or delight. It was disgust and hatred so strong that Harry had forgotten that such intensity existed. Through the pounding headache and numbness of the scar, Harry couldn't feel the pressure or the pain being inflicted, but he was certain that his scar was to be next on the lists of his bleeding body parts.

"I'm the fool?" Harry asked incredulously, jerking his head away from the sharp nail and covering his scar immediately with the palm of his hand. "I'm the naïve little fool that wants to prove something? Look at you. You're an adult wizard with a wife and son and here you are playing the willing servant to Voldemort? What is he giving you for your troubles Malfoy? Being married isn't working for you, is it?"

That earned Harry a resounding slap across the face.

Ever since he had been released from the continuous Cruciatius curses, Harry hadn't been able to feel any part of his body singularly. The only thing that got through the haze were the ripples of agony in his scar and the random shoots of pain in his arms and legs that would send his body into attacks of twitches. What was one more addition to his pain?

For a second though, Harry was almost certain that his jaw had been broken.

"Why don't you ask the questions that you really want to ask Malfoy?" He was finally able to challenge softly. "It's on the tip of your tongue but here you are being a good little servant. You're not being half the wizard I thought you were. Ask it!"

Lucius' eyes narrowed as Harry's only warning to stop speaking, but Harry was far beyond the point of reason or manners.

"'Where is my son Harry Potter?'" He mimicked for the Wizard before him. "'Where is Draco? What has Dumbledore done to him? Where is he? Tell me, now!'"

"He's a Slytherin, Potter. What did you expect? Gushing words of encouragement and devotion blinded rubbish?"

Harry turned at the sound of the voice already knowing who it was but not quite sure what he should reply.

The day was already fading into night. Above, there were already a few stars that sprinkled the darkening sky. But, even in the fading light, Harry would have recognized the form and voice anywhere.

Exactly what Draco Malfoy was doing near the lake was a mystery unto itself however.

"I saw you leaving his private rooms. I'm sure I can guess exactly what happened when you told him your brilliant plan," Draco said with a very familiar smirk. "Let me see, he was livid?"

Harry's gaze fell away from the piercing silver of Draco's eyes to the small vial of potion that he had taken from Severus' room. For a moment he just stared at the beams of light that were cast from the moon's glow, being reflected off the lavender colour. Not really seeing them anyway.

"I thought he would understand. I thought he would care," Harry finally said softly.

An uncharacteristic sigh escaped from Draco's lips.

"He does you idiot," he said in a tone fit for explaining to a five year old. "He wouldn't have been angry if he didn't care. You probably scared the hell out of him with your stupid talk of self sacrifice."

"Shouting at me does not equal deep care, Malfoy."

"Of course it does!" Draco responded impatiently. "He's a Slytherin. He isn't going to go on his knees and beg you to rethink your foolhardy decision. He isn't going to tell you that he's so afraid for you that he can taste bile at the back of his throat every time his brain supplies a scenario. He isn't going to admit that in his mind you've already died a thousand ways, and he really wishes to be spared the actual agony of having his fears be made into reality. He won't say any of that because he's a Slytherin and for us such fears are always transformed into energy we can dispel. Like anger and curses."

Harry looked at Draco for the longest time. It made sense of course. Hadn't Harry proven that to himself so many times before? Whenever Severus' emotions were threatened the first thing he did was to become angry and perhaps even violent.

It was strange that after seven years Draco Malfoy was making sense.

"Thank you Malfoy," Harry responded after the moment had passed. "I really appreciate you coming out here to offer me some insight."

The look on Draco's face, in that moment, could have started a tsunami.

"I didn't come out here to offer you insight," he declared, turning away in exasperated disgust. "I'm just telling you what you need to know. You're the one in love with a Slytherin, Potter."

He paused to turn and shoot Harry a look of superiority, long enough to say his piece before turning and walking away again. His words resounded in Harry's head never to be so easily forgotten again

"Just so you know, a Slytherin's love is incredibly different from a Gryffindor's. It's like a poison...Lethal but bloody unforgettable."

"Alright Potter," Lucius snarled in a low voice. "Where is Draco? What has Dumbledore done to him?"

At the questions, Harry smiled with lips that were numb with phantom pain and laughed in amusement he certainly was not experiencing, as yet again another memory was wrenched from his head.

"Shame on you Lucius. The time to ask the questions has already been missed," he teased. "You didn't really think I'd tell you did you? Malfoy deserves to be locked into a Muggle cage and transported to the centre of a mountain. Maybe that's exactly what already happened. I wouldn't be surprised. If only to rid you of your one heir."

That earned Harry another slap across the face, but this time Harry laughed through the pain.

"So brave Potter," Lucius said in a voice of disgust very much like his son's. "What do you fear the most? What makes you weak and screaming? What tears you apart and eats out your insides like maggots to a fruit? What are you so terrified of that it sends shivers down your spine? What Potter? Rest assured that we will know. We will find it and use it to rend you from limb to limb until that brave little exterior of yours is gone and all your confidence oozes into the core of the earth. We will destroy you. Potter. You came here looking for this. Well just so you know, it will be your downfall and you won't be the last one laughing in the end."

Harry shook his head slowly to physically deny the words. "There is nothing left to do to me now. You've done it all and I'm still alive. So why don't we just move on now."

"There is still plenty Potter," Lucius smirked slowly. "The day is still young."

"Really? What else is left Malfoy? Are you going to pull out your wand and hex me now?" Harry seemed to be deliberately goading the older wizard, but a moment later his voice softened to bitter amusement. "Of course not. Even if you are itching to do it. Voldemort didn't give you the command and since you are nothing but a puppet on his strings, there will be no killing of me by your wand today."

Once again Lucius' gaze became clouded with barely veiled anger, but very quickly it cleared to ice and cold again.

"No Potter, I cannot kill you," he said very softly. "But there are other things that I can do. In fact, I will."

He quickly pulled out his wand, but the only spell he whispered was one that brought on darkness and silence for the young Gryffindor.




Harry awoke to a very different room than the last one this time around. Where the other room was large and empty this one could definitely not be considered as such. Although neither room had more than a tucked away chair as furniture, the difference was in the fact that the room he now awoke into contained six very large men who decidedly were Muggles from all appearances.

"You're so brave, so confident Potter," Lucius snarled into his ear. "These beings that you protect are so easily manipulated. They are so fickle. Yet you love them enough to want to give your own life for them. Well let them take it. I find it very poignant that the very thing that you protect will lead to your destruction."

"I thought you believed Muggles to be a waste. And yet you're now turning to them to do what you can't. Now who is being fickle?" Harry returned bravely.

For the first time Lucius laughed, but it was cruel and cold and it made Harry's stomach clench in fear.

"It doesn't matter Potter," Lucius whispered. "By the time they are finished with you, there will be nothing left of you to even mutter a challenge to the Dark Lord."

He gave Harry a hard shove into the direction of where the men stood and with a quick flick of his hand gave the indication for five of them to approach from where they were standing at the other end of the room.

Harry stumbled, already desperately weak. He watched the quickly approaching men and for the first time since he had made his decision, he felt a wave of nausea threatening to overcome him.

Spells and curses, he had been prepared for. Magic and potions he could deal with, but the entire time he had held on to the belief that what he was doing was the right thing. Muggles didn't deserve to die and one wizard did not deserve to rule the world.

"When I get back I want to see an effort worth rewarding. There should be nothing left but an echo of the insolent brat that he is now. Leave marks. Make sure that he bleeds. I want him to be hurt and broken. Keep him alive...but make sure that he wishes that he were dead."

"When you get back, all you'll have to do is hand him a knife and he will take his own life himself," one of the men responded.

The last things Harry heard were the sounds of Lucius walking away and the door being firmly shut, locking him into his own private hell.

When the first punch fell, Harry stumbled backwards but there was someone else behind him that shoved him forward into another set of punches. This time they came from about three different angles.

Those finally sent him crashing to the ground. His vision blurred and he could already taste blood, but the worst was yet to be unleashed as a rain of kicks fell. Above him came the sound of grunts and curses, continuously in sync with the blows to his body. Harry acutely felt as ribs broke and his breathing became impaired from a stomp to his chest.

Harry struggled to breathe through the tightness in his lungs and the tears that stung his eyes. Four floors down from the magical hospital, he watched both Muggles and Wizards walk the streets in their rush to carry on with their lives.

One set oblivious of the other.

"You don't know what it's like Hermione," He said turning to look at his best friend. "You don't know! You don't understand! And he's a MagiPsych. He doesn't understand either! He can't just expect me to put it all behind me and go stay with them again. I'd rather stay here at St. Mungo's than go back to that house, but of course I can't."

"Then tell me," Hermione encouraged. "Make me understand why you're so suddenly upset. You've stayed with your relatives every summer. What's so different about this summer?"

Harry took a deep breath. "I hate them."

"They are your family."

"They're my relatives," Harry corrected. "Family implies a level of respect and care."

"So you don't care for them?" Hermione reiterated. "I already know that, but people are like that. You just have to work past it."

"Not everyone is like that," Harry responded quietly.

"Are you sure about that Harry?"

Harry nodded emphatically. "I have to believe that there is some good in people. We don't all live to hurt each other. We don't all have to. I have to believe that they are worthy of being rescued. Some people are evil, but a lot of us are strong and good. My Aunt and Uncle just happens to be one of those people that makes me angry at the world."

"Leave him!"

The voice echoed from across the room where the sixth man had stood watching the ensuing fight. By then, Harry was curled into a foetal position on the cold concrete ground. His clothes were a mess, his mouth was bleeding, his body was bruised and broken and his vision already began fading to the dark of unconsciousness.

"Leave him alone!" The man commanded again as Harry felt him crouch beside him.

As if by some miracle, the other five men immediately stopped. Then one by one they turned and began to walk away to the other end of the room, mumbling the entire time about how they were never allowed to have their fun.

"Can you move?" the man asked in a gruff voice.

Harry barely managed to shake his head. Somewhere on the ground his glasses laid broken and bent so his rescuer was just a badly blurred form before his eyes.

"You can't stay here," the man said, already moving Harry's arm to wrap around his neck. "This is going to hurt like hell, but I'm sure that it's better than what they were doing."

At the first tug of his body, Harry bit his lower lip to fight the scream that rose within him. They continued moving, however, until Harry was slowly laid propped up against the nearest wall.

"We need to remove your shirt," his rescuer told him. "You have a huge gash at the side of your head that looks as if it's going to be bleeding for a while."

He shifted Harry a little so that he could grasp the edge of the shirt. A strong tug on it ripped it into two separate pieces which he helped Harry to slip from his bruised shoulders.

"So do you wish you were dead yet?" he asked conversationally as he applied the cloth to the side of Harry's head.

Harry smiled sadly, although it was very brief since his split lip seemed to rip that much wider from the effort.

"I'm getting there," he replied softly.

The man nodded his understanding. "They can be brutal. Can you tell that we've been here a while? That Malfoy is a righteous son of a bitch isn't he? Thinks he owns us and can get us to do whatever he wants, but one of these days I'll set him straight. Luckily for him...I like blood."

That last sentence quickly got Harry's attention.

"What do you mean by that?" he asked cautiously. "You like blood?"

The man shrugged nonchalantly, but instead of responding he ripped off a small piece of the cloth to first wipe the blood from Harry's nose then to dab at the corner of Harry's mouth.

"You're a pretty one, aren't you?" he muttered softly. "I haven't seen a pretty one like you in here for these long months. What did you do to piss old Malfoy off? We've been hearing the screams all the way in here. They sure put a lot of effort into breaking you."

Harry felt as if his head was spinning. How had he managed to go from one means of torture to land so quickly into another?

"Don't be afraid of me," came the whispered words. "I won't hurt you like they hurt you. You'll like this. You'll really like this."

Rough hands trailed a line upwards from Harry's stomach to his chest sending shoots of pain along Harry's ribs and another wave of terror through his body. The man seemed to hungrily wet his lips before he lowered them unto Harry's shoulder, trailing sloppy licks of spit along Harry's collarbone.

"Stop!" Harry shoved him back as hard as he could, but the man just laughed in amusement.

"Boys come over here and help me with him," he shouted to the line of five that were already approaching. "It seems that he still has some fight left in him."

At once Harry was attacked. One person tore at the remainder of his clothes while another held unto his ankles and pulled him until he was lying on his back. Someone else quickly held his wrists painfully together. Still another joined the one at his feet to hold his legs apart.

He could still hear the quickened breathing of the first man, mingling with the pounding of his own heartbeat.

"You cannot possibly think that Potter. That is a disconcertingly naive way of looking at the world."

Harry groaned loudly before rolling around on the bed. His body aligned perfectly with Severus', but his attention was more focused on the dark light of disbelief than the warmth of his lover's naked flesh against his.

"Well it's what I think. I had this conversation with Hermione a few months ago and in the end she admit to agreeing with me. There are good people in this world. Way more than bad and they are the ones that make it all worthwhile. Not everyone is Slytherin enough to think that humans are all monsters in our own rights."

Severus sat up quickly on the bed. His eyes flashed dangerously as he pulled Harry up with him.

"Listen to me Harry and listen to me very carefully," he declared softly. "You are not this innocent and if you are I will not stand by and hear you sprout rubbish to me. You don't have to be a Slytherin to understand human nature and if so then perhaps everyone else should take a page of our parchments and open their eyes to what we can tell so easily. Humans aren't evil but we certainly are not saints either. Yes there are incredibly pure people in this world but they are very rare. That's what makes you so special, and even you can be tainted. It is very easy for any of us to become the next Dark lord."

He reached across the distance to trail a finger lightly against Harry's lower lip.

"We are all demons Harry," he whispered. "And you are the Bogey monster."

"Turn him over. Careful now I want him conscious. It's no fun if they're not conscious. You've all had your enjoyment, now it's time for me to get mine."

Harry struggled against the iron-clenched wrists that held him prisoner, but his struggles were in vain as unanimously they turned him. And pain spread quickly through his body like a wildfire.

For a moment...for a long moment...Harry felt as if a Dementor had stepped into the room. The air felt cold and it chilled him to his soul. He couldn't breathe. And suddenly all sound was gone. Movement was in slow motion and Harry could feel nothing as if he were numb.


"Bloody hell! Did it just move?"

Sound came rushing back...and time froze instead. The foot that had been planted brutally on Harry's back to keep him immobile was hastily removed. The man who was crouched above Harry paused and everyone else did also.

"You just get more and more appealing to me pretty boy." The voice was laced with awe by then. "More and more appealing. That's some tattoo you have there."

The man couldn't resist the urge to stare hungrily at the body that lay so appealingly near. His gaze roamed over muscled calves then lingered first on the curve of Harry's butt then on the sword and snake imprinted so realistically on the plain of Harry's back. When the urge became too strong to resist anymore, he reached out a hand to trail along the contours of Harry's flesh.

And deep within Harry, something snapped.

The air crackled loudly as strands of magic seemed to be unleashed from the pores of his skin. His body glowed and thereafter the room also began to glow a dark copper colour. The men stood in disbelief as the silence of the room was suddenly filled with a loud rushing of air, like a vacuum of power had been created.

Then they all began to cough, gasping for air as their lungs seized and their hearts began to slow in their chests. The gasps quickly became struggled, ragged breathing then finally into wheezing of breaths. And suddenly they all began to shake, convulsing and twisting upon the ground before air returned to their lungs only to escape this time as long torturous screams generally associated with one particular spell.

The Cruciatius curse.

Then, as quickly as it began, the magic dispersed and the screaming were cut short so quickly that it was as if sound had been sliced in two and had rendered the world mute.

On the ground laid six bodies that were very still. Stunned...not dead...Harry hoped.

His own vision blurred into shades of grey and dark shadows. His scar stung. His body was a mass of pain and his head pounded with blood so loudly that his ear could have mistaken the sound as his own heartbeat. Harry felt utterly drained.

Slowly, very slowly, he drifted into unconsciousness.


The room was dark when Harry awakened.

His clothes had been repaired and returned to him it seemed, as he was fully dressed and sitting. The chair was metal and he was shackled to it with manacles locked firmly across each of his wrists and ankles.

This room was larger than the others and very strange. One moment it was pitch black but within the next it quickly changed to mostly shadows and beams of moonlight.

Harry could just barely make out the four figures that appeared before him as they focused their attention on him. One of whose footsteps, previously sounding as echoes that reverberated off the walls, stopped as the figure stopped to face him.

"Harry. Harry what are you doing?"


"From yourself?"

"No Ron. Reality."

Ron shook his head with a sound of disbelief. He was wearing Muggle clothes and sitting backwards on a wooden chair directly before where Harry sat. His arms were crossed on top of the back of the chair and his chin rested upon his arms as he raised an eyebrow.

"I don't think that sounds very healthy Harry," he declared.

Harry shrugged. "So? I'm not an idiot. You're not really here. Am I hallucinating?"

"Harry you're stronger than this. Don't give up now," Ron encouraged. "It will be over soon and then you'll kick You-Know-Who's -"

"Ron leave him alone," Hermione chided.

Harry turned to look at her. She was sitting on a ledge and was also dressed in Muggle clothing; only her clothes seemed to be picked right out of an ordinary British high school catalogue. Her hair was out, contrasting vividly with the moon's light and the white of her tunic.

"Harry," she said softly. "You can't stay here. That's the purpose of this whole place. It is for you to do this, for you to retreat into yourself. Don't you see? They want you to go crazy."

"Then maybe I've already lost my mind," Harry muttered.

"Don't say that Harry! Why are we here if you're planning on giving up?" Ron chided. "What have they done so far since you've arrived? Veritaserum, which you managed to infuriate them with by not spilling anything to them? The Imperius Curse, which was just plain dumb on their part since that never worked on you before? Those other dark curses, which you survived?"

"The Muggle part was bad," Hermione whispered. "Sadistic bastards! They sprout rubbish about being Anti-Muggle and yet turn around and use the knowledge. And the Cruciatius Curse! Can't they be more original?"

"Well, well, I never thought I'd hear Ms. Granger curse." Came the sarcastic drawl. "Only you could manage to improve the original, Harry. Pity we aren't really here."

Severus stepped out of the shadows looking exactly the way Harry had remembered him. His black wizarding robe billowed behind him and his strides were long and even. He walked over to Harry and levelled him with his infamous scowl.

"I wasn't just being sentimental when I said I loved you Potter," he said in a hard tone. "I believe you can do this and so do your friends. Now stop trying to do this the easy way! Where is the Gryffindor courage you're so famous for?"

"They've hurt me and I can feel every bit of it," Harry whispered. "I don't have the strength to fight anymore. I feel so tired. I don't think I can even move."

"Harry, this isn't supposed to be easy," Hermione said softly and Ron nodded in agreement.

"Then how do I do this? I can't. I just can't -"

"Potter!" Severus' voice snapped Harry's attention back into focus. "I will not tolerate excuses and self pity."

"Then you do this!" Harry responded. "I don't have to listen to this. You're not real! You're not here. You can't bloody tell me what to do while you're all safe and I am slowly being killed!"

"Harry," Severus' voice softened as he reached out a hand to cup Harry's cheek.

Harry could almost feel it. Harry wanted desperately to feel it, to forget that they weren't really real and he was hallucinating and the worst was yet to come. He hadn't even faced Voldemort yet.

"Harry," Severus began again. "I love you. We love you. It doesn't matter that for this moment we're just a trick of your imagination and fatigue. The reality is that we do indeed exist and our love for you is real. So stop feeling sorry for yourself! Pull yourself together! If you don't he will easily destroy you."

From the shadows, the footsteps paused again as Remus finally stopped pacing long enough to face Harry with a sad smile.

"Harry we're with you. We are in you," he said softly. "And you never had to do this alone."

The words seemed to echo continuously into the darkness of the room. Harry's attention flickered from one face to the next as they all smiled encouraging at him. Slowly they began to fade, melting into blurs then shadows and suddenly the room was dark again.

Harry sat on a metal chair in the centre of a very dark room, shackled by both wrists and ankles, listening to the oppressive silence.

Then slowly, silently the tears he had held back for so long began to stream down his face.

He had made the wrong decision. He had tried too hard to please a desperate world by wanting to earn his title as their hero. He was going to die alone...but he was already there, in the moment, in this place and it was too late to take all his decisions back.

If he died, he was at least going to take Voldemort with him.

As the tears stopped flowing and the reality of broken bones and bruised flesh sunk in, his brain once again protested at the overwhelming pain that he was in. He waited for the slow feeling of falling that always came, before the edge of his vision blurred then slowly darkened and yet again he gave into the dark realm of unconsciousness.


"You cheated," Harry said softly to the shadow that stood before him when yet again he opened his eyes.

"You challenged me," Voldemort responded in a hiss. "What were you expecting? Did you think that I would answer your challenge by meeting you halfway? You challenged me with the air of an impulsssive child! You were just going to come here and claim a victory, you supposssed, but I would never have stood for that."

"You cheated," Harry repeated. "You made sure that I wouldn't be able to fight you in the end."

Voldemort's eyes narrowed eerily, but instead of lashing out as Harry expected, at Harry's feet he dropped two items. One was Harry's wand and the other was his cloak.

"Then allow me the opportunity to address this unbalance," he stated never once removing his gaze from the younger wizard's. "Here are your belongings. Neither sssearched nor tampered with."

With a flick of his own wand, the manacles opened and Harry was free to reach for his possessions.

Harry donned his cloak first, making sure that as he smoothed it along his body his hand brushed the pocket where the potion was still hidden. Next he reached for his wand. This was certainly harder to get to because his broken ribs would not allow him to bend. In the end his fingers managed to graze its smooth surface briefly.

Then there was immediately the tug on his navel.

"I lied about the tampering," Voldemort said with an expression worthy of waking the dead. "Consider thisss as just another thing tilted in my favour."

Before Harry had time to form a reply the port-key pulled him away, into a vortex of time and space.

He made it out of the port on his knees as his legs collapsed beneath the pain of his weight. Immediately, he came face to face with the smooth dryness of sand beneath his fingers. Hot sand, like a desert. It took a moment to notice however that the wind that began to blow by then, was not hot like a desert wind. Instead it was cool.

If he tried hard enough, Harry could almost smell the ocean.

"Familiar, Potter?"

Harry looked up first at Voldemort standing with billowing robe in the wind then past him to the house in the distance. The mansion sat in the evening sun as a testament of generations of wizards who had walked the courtyard throughout time. It spoke of a proud history and a strong man and moments of gentle understanding granted so easily.

Above the house, in the sky where Harry had spent so many days of his summer spilling his secrets and bearing his soul, was the Dark Mark. Green and glowing. Permanent. Telling of the great tragedy that had occurred that day. Marking the death of his MagiPsych.

"Mon Coeur..." Jean-Claude whispered with eyes the colour of a midsummer sky in a voice that would resound in Harry's mind forever. "Harry..."

"Jean-Claude. I'm sorry," Harry silently whispered back.

His attention returned to the wizard who stood before him with his wand already aimed.

Harry stared at the epitome of evil before him and he broke inside. It didn't matter that he had finally assumed the position on his knees that Voldemort had longed to see him on for so long. It didn't matter that he had been the one to bring this upon himself. Harry couldn't remember what mattered anymore. He had cause the death of someone else. Everyone who cared about him would die and he would die also. He hadn't been able to save any of them.

"It hardly seemsss worth it anymore, doesss it?"

Harry didn't respond to the cruel gleam in the dark eyes. He didn't even respond when Voldemort reached out a finger to trail along the lightning scar on his forehead that had made Harry so much into the wizard he had become.

"What happens Potter, when the world around you fadesss to black and the silence drills a chiasm into your head ssso deep that your thoughtsss and emotionsss spill out like a waterfall of pain? Where do you go when the light isn't bright enough to save you and the dark is ssso deep that it swallowsss you whole? So pure. Potter. It hardly seems worth the effort you exerted to be here. You hardly seemed worthy of the air I allow you to breathe or the space I made you occupy for ssso long."

The finger was retracted.

"So this is how it will end Potter. The final battle between you and me will take but a moment. You on your knees as you should be and me, the one who will rid you of your miserable existence. It took me seventeen years Potter, but today it will end."

Voldemort raised his wand to press it against the scar on Harry's forehead and whispered the spell almost sentimentally. Except he had no heart and the power he had sought for so long was his only love.

"Avarda Ked -"

That was the farthest he got before the words were cut from his lips and replaced instead by a sharp gasp. It took a moment for the reality to register before Voldemort took about three steps backwards and then he too fell to his knees.

The Gryffindor sword protruded grotesquely through the centre of his chest, serving its ultimate purpose in being included as Harry's tattoo.

Immediately a river of crimson spread on the black robe and along the silver blade. Crimson. Harry was sure that it would have been black like poison. But instead of pain glistening amongst the disbelief on Voldemort's face there was suddenly a smile...slowly and he began to laugh.

"What is one body for another Potter?" he asked. "Souls are transferable. I have proven it. Bodies are repairable. Is this the best that you have?"

"Do you understand that I have lost everything to this wizard?" Severus asked softly. "Do you understand that for everyone who is close to you he has taken from each of us? Some more than others?"

From his robe pocket Harry pulled out the vial of dark potion and uncorked it. With a long look at the bleeding figure before him, somehow what he had to do became so clear that his mind reeled.

"I love you Severus," Harry whispered silently. "Remus...forgive me for this."

Before he could change his mind, he brought the vial to his lips and donned the bitter potion in one gulp. And then he waited. They waited...until Harry began to scream.

His body writhed in agony as his insides ripped apart. He felt the blood vessels erupt one by one in a series of pain. Beneath the surface of his skin they appeared like a chain reaction. Harry vomited...bile and blood. He doubled over not even feeling the pain in his ribs against the contractions of his abdomen.

The world tilted...swayed...as tears began to flow. Even his screams didn't help and soon the blood at the back of his throat gurgled as it spilled into the hollow of his lungs. He coughed. Choked. Was suffocating.

Somewhere in the background, Harry could hear laughter.

It was the laughter that broke through the pain. It was the laughter that anchored him. He wasn't even aware when he wandlessly conjured up the blade. But, he had done the spell so many times before as he had carved away his own pain that the moment it appeared in the palm of his hands he suddenly felt weightless and focussed.

With one sharp flick he drew the blade across the palm of his hands. He didn't even feel the pain. He had never felt that pain.

With what little strength he had left, he reached across to grasp the hilt of the sword still protruding from Voldemort's body. It came out with a slick wet sound that caused the monster before him to gasp.

Then Harry vision suddenly became sickeningly dark although his eyes were still very open. Harry didn't think about it. Instead he reached across the short distance to press his wound against the larger one in the centre of Voldemort's chest.

Immediately there were screams again, but this time Harry knew that they were not his.

He kept his hand steady as he felt the twisted convulsions of the form before him. Harry wished he could have seen it. He didn't move even when his own breaths became shallow gasps of air and his body began to slowly become cold and he heard the last breath of the wizard that had hunted him for so long. He waited until he felt the weight of an old soulless body fall against his own.

By then, the tremors in his body had stopped and sound was no longer a factor. By then his heartbeat had slowed so much that he could barely feel it within his own chest. By then his muscles relaxed and he felt as if he was melting and he couldn't feel his body parts anymore. By then he was floating and in his dark world the faces of everyone he loved flashed silently within his mind.

Only then did Harry fall to the sand...as he patiently awaited his own slow death.

Harry Potter.

Harry Potter, the hero of the world.