Civil War

Chapter Fifteen - Harry Snape

By Sushi


… He followed the crowd down the noisy, cheerful corridor.  Harry couldn’t figure out what was going on.  It was a happy something, to be certain.  He passed an oak stairwell.  For some reason he broke from the herd and started up it.  Someone caught his shoulder.  “Wrong way,” Hermione giggled.

“Oh, yeah.  Guess it is.”  She linked his arm in a mirthful, friendly sort of way and nearly skipped beside him.  As they came closer and closer to a wide-flung set of doors leading to a room with red and blue sparks pouring down the walls, his stomach insisted more and more that it wanted to be empty any way it could.  He didn’t have the faintest idea why.  The mass of people was thick, too thick to see through.  He fought his way in; the vivid nausea grew more intense.  He caught a glimpse of soft blue curls, and long wiry hair still mostly black, and as they came up from the kiss Severus and William looked at him with smirks of mutual ownership—

“Wake up!”  Irma dropped another stack of books in front of him.  She put her hands on her hips and frowned mightily.  “You know, I’d rather have an assistant who assists than one who just sleeps all day.”  Harry adjusted his glasses.

“Sorry.”  He grabbed an armload and hurried to shelve them before the current class period let out.  It was the last class of the day, according to the clock on the desk.  Harry wondered how long it had been this time.  His head spent more time on a desk than a pillow.  He didn’t sleep too well by himself; he didn’t eat too well between Professors Lupin and Black, either.

Damn Severus.  Damn him until he couldn’t be damned any more.

But he’d already done that to himself, hadn’t he?

Start of term had come and long gone and the wizarding world knew about Dumbledore.  Hermione wrote the article for the Daily Prophet; in his last letter Ron told him it was up for some kind of award.  Sirius, the new Transfigurations teacher – probably for his ability to protect Harry as much as his prowess at making things think they were something else – was his shadow to ensure that no “accidental” harm came his way from the dungeons.  Their rooms were even across the hall from each other.  And Snape… Harry didn’t look down the staff table during meals anymore.  Severus never looked up, and Harry couldn’t stand to see the horrific protrusions of bone around his eyes, in his hands, along his jaw where the irregular surface was almost a part of his tissue-paper skin.  It was too painful to go to his office anymore.  He’d talk, and Sev might look up with those ghastly living eyes, and if Harry even tried to give him a reassuring touch on the shoulder or kiss on the head he’d flinch.  It wasn’t the Unicorn Blood doing it.  He was simply wasting away.

Harry climbed a ladder to stuff a large stack into the History of Magic section.  Binns had been giving essays left and right lately.  He had to rest halfway through the stack.  He’d lost a fair bit of weight himself since Sev… well, he didn’t like to think about that.  It was his own fault, really.  If he’d just said “hospital wing” instead of “the Burrow” nobody but Poppy would ever have known and he and Severus wouldn’t be stuck pining for each other.  Probably.  Snape might have kicked him out anyway.  And he might be able to get William out of his head from time to time.  It was nothing but a reaction to being left celibate and alone, but he found his mind wandering far, far more often than he wanted to silky blue curls and the memory of fruitcake.

The books were mind-numbingly heavy.  He leaned them against the ladder as best he could and shelved quickly.  When the last one was gone he went back for more, twilight blue robe loose around his body and neck.  He caught a glimpse of himself in a shiny black cabinet and hurriedly turned away from the large, dark circles under his haunted eyes.

And, yet, Sirius still insisted he was better off.

Irma looked up from sorting more books.  “Get out of here.  You’re in no fit state to work.”

“It’s not even four.”  He started to gather an armload of Muggle Studies texts.  She cleared her throat loudly.

“You are going to go see Poppy, get a sleeping draught, and get some rest.  You’ve been a zombie for the past month.  If this keeps up I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep you on.”  Her beady eyes sliced though him.  There was no fighting Irma Pince.

“Yes, ma’am.”  He scowled and grabbed his cloak.  Harry had absolutely no intentions of going to see Poppy.  Instead, he made his way to his room – junior non-teachers didn’t get suites – and settled at his desk for another night of research.  … And, although it was popularly believed in some circles that the curse of the unicorn was a form of sanctification, it is known now that the toxic blood…  Harry sighed.  He knew Sev had already covered all of this.  He knew there was nothing new in the library, or even the Library Net.  He knew that unless one of them found a way to cure or treat Unicorn Blood poisoning his estranged maritus would…

He turned his full attention on the book and held it there.

He’d absorbed a lot of useless information on unicorn cults of the Middle Ages when a knock at the door distracted him.  “In there, Harry?” Remus called.

“Sec.”  He dropped a marker in the book and let it bang shut.  Harry checked his watch – six, time for dinner.  Lovely.  It was just another night of sitting and picking, and listening to the teachers talk when he should be working.

Stretching, he pushed his chair back.  It squealed.  He was going to have to talk to Filch about finding something just a wee bit more comfortable.  That wooden thing was killing his back.  Remus looked awfully bouncy when Harry opened the door.  “Greetings and salutations!  Ready to go?”  Harry shrugged and dragged the door shut behind him.  He muttered a quick locking spell and stuffed his hands in his pockets.  “And how are you, this fine, furry evening?”

“That time of the month again?”  He glanced up to see the hurt look on Lupin’s face.  Harry slouched.  In Sev’s absence, he’d taken up some of the man’s nastier traits.  “Sorry.”

“What’s gotten into you?  In the last month you’ve gone from sweet Harry Potter to—“

“Harry Snape?”  The irony nearly made him gag.

“Yeah.  That’s a better way to put it than I had in mind.”

“Maybe if Sirius wouldn’t follow me around like a puppy—“

“There it is again.”

“Sorry.  God, can’t even open my mouth around you lot.”

Lupin raked a hand through his tarnished silver hair.  “Paddy and I are worried sick about you.”

“There’s nothing to be worried about.”  He furrowed his brow and tried to focus on walking.  Remus pinched his arm.

“Yes, there is.  For starters, how much weight have you lost?”  Harry shrugged.

“A stone?”  Maybe two.

The werewolf made a disapproving noise.  “You don’t play Quidditch anymore, you spend all of your spare time – and I do mean all of it – with those books doing god-knows-what, you don’t eat enough to keep a Snidget alive.  I mean, what are you trying to do?  Turn into Severus?”

“It’s my life.”

“What’s left of it.”  Lupin sighed.  Harry knew he was worried.  He was Sirius’ silent partner, though, subtly turning Harry’s attention away whenever Sev came near.  He didn’t feel a need to answer.  He knew his research was important.  And it needed to be done if he wanted a hope in Hell of getting his Sev back.

Sirius was already at the table, chatting with Madam Hooch about the previous weekend’s Gryffindor-Hufflepuff match.  It had come dangerously close to a tie, so Harry had heard.  He’d been in his room, wrestling with hope of a thirteenth use for dragon’s blood.  His godfather acknowledged him with a nod and went back to Rolanda.  Harry sometimes wondered if there was something between them.  He grabbed a bowl of roast tatties and dropped a few on his plate.

Sev hadn’t been there when they came in.  He usually arrived late.  Sometimes Harry wondered if he came at all.  For the first time in weeks he allowed himself to look up for a heart-wrenching moment.  His eyes met black ones that immediately darted away.  When he looked back, Sev was staring at his plate, dragging bits of chicken and mushroom pie around with his fork.  Professor Arcadia, the new Head of Gryffindor, nudged him.  “Come on, Severus.  It’s lovely.”

“Then why don’t you eat it, Penny?”  She cringed at the harsh retort and stuffed a painful hunk of cauliflower in her mouth.  She was a lot like Neville in some ways.  Chubby, with nondescript brown hair and a round face, and if Sev put his heart into it he could have left her sitting in a puddle.  She’d held her own in the Battle of Hogsmeade, though – it was through her quick response and sheer guts that there were only a handful of casualties.  For some reason she still flattened against the wall when Snape was on the attack.  Sev put a few infinitesimal bites in his mouth and shoved the plate away.  He stood up and straightened his robe before walking out with as much quiet dignity as he could muster.  Harry noticed a few students watch him go; they sagged in relief.  Snape’s reputation of late was gorgeous in its ferocity.

Harry started to put down his fork to follow.  Sirius clapped a hard hand over his wrist.  “Finish your dinner.”

“Can’t I have a doggy bag?”  He swore under his breath.  Lupin was right – this was getting out of hand.  Sirius growled.

“You and I need to have a talk.”

“Woof.  That better?”  God, where was this coming from?

Sirius wrenched his hand away.  “If that’s how you’re going to act, just go.  Really.  A few fists might do that mouth of yours some good.”

“Paddy, calm down.”

“I won’t calm down, Remus.  It was bad enough to find out I was ‘related’ in some disgusting way to that greasy freak.  I don’t need two of them.  Get out of here, Harry.  You’re not going to eat anything anyway.”  Madam Hooch touched Sirius’ elbow, but he ignored it.

Harry stood up.  He was very aware of several students watching their fierce, whispered battle.  He threw his napkin on the table.  “Excuse me.”

“For fuck’s sake, Sirius,” Lupin muttered behind him.  “Have a heart!  I’m no happier than you are, but yelling’s not going to do any good.”  He couldn’t hear his godfather’s reply, but it couldn’t be nice from the way Remus went dead silent.  He pushed open the door Severus had slipped through a minute earlier.  Let the school talk.  At least this time the rumours wouldn’t be true.

Out of sheer spite, he went to Snape’s office and knocked.  “Oi!  Y’in there?”  No answer.  Not that it meant anything.  He pushed the door open.  Sev looked up from his desk and glared.

“What do you want, Potter?”

“A slow, hard screw on the desk,” he muttered sarcastically.  “Hullo, Fawkes.”  The phoenix, who’d attached himself to Sev after Dumbledore’s death, blinked mournfully in the corner.  His brilliant plumage was a mind-numbing contrast to the dreary office.  Severus snorted and grabbed the first of a stack of essays.

“I’d rather stick my lad in a meat grinder.”  They both knew it wasn’t true, but why drop the charade for the sake of something as silly as the truth?  Harry slammed the door and fell hard into one of the chairs.  He propped his worn sneakers on Snape’s desk.  He got an icy glare for his trouble.  “Get out of my office.”  Harry raised an eyebrow.

“Nobody wants me, do they?  You can’t stand me anywhere near you, Sirius is convinced I’m turning into you, makes me wonder why I don’t just go out and join the Death Eaters.  They certainly seem eager to get their hands on me.”

The quill in Snape’s hand trembled.  Harry had definitely poked a wound.  He splayed his feet so he could watch the action.  “Please.  You don’t have the tackle.”

He spoke despite the softened edge of Snape’s voice.  “Then why don’t you show me how it’s done?”  For the second time in a remarkably short period he cursed under his breath.  The quill snapped in half.

“Get out.”

“Can’t you think of anything original to say?”  His guts churned, brain pleading to apologise, arms desperate to take that withered, breathing corpse and force life into him.  Obsidian eyes touched him with loathing.

“Would you like me to show you what the Death Eaters would do to you if they knew they could take their time?”  That low, seductive voice felt like alcohol on open wounds, alcohol in his veins.  He blinked, hard and slow, trying to ignore its effects.  Sev still had Harry, one fist on his heart and the other much lower.

“Goody!  Does this mean I’m finally going to find out?”

“If you do will you leave me alone?”

“Maybe.”  No.  Not a chance.  His eyes narrowed in challenge.  Sev binned his broken quill in disgust.

“You don’t deserve to know.”  Something in his voice told Harry he didn’t deserve the pain of knowing.  Harry stood up.

“Glad to know I wasted all that time keeping you alive.”

“I never asked you to.”  Harry jerked the door open.

Vale, mei maritus,” he sneered.  Snape didn’t answer.  Much to Harry’s self-loathing, he rather looked like he wanted to cry.  “What?  No kiss?”

“Leave me alone.  I have work to do.”  Harry did.  In fact, he did quite a neat job of it, not collapsing or sobbing into any soft object before he reached his desk.  Sinking teeth into his wrist to substitute one crushing pain for another, he opened his book.  Occasionally, he shoved away an errant tear with his sleeve.

The book was generally useless.  It was more history than potions, and mainly folklore at that.  He dropped it on the floor and kicked it under the desk.  Yanking open a drawer, he rummaged through scrolls and sheets of parchment.  Something in here ought to be useful.  He unrolled one out of sheer desperation and his heart sank.

Little Sev was playing a rapidly accelerating clapping game with his Gran.  Clap, clap, clap, clap, up, down, across, switch.  It went faster and faster until Harry couldn’t see their hands.  Suddenly, Philia went for Severus’ ticklish sides; he shrieked in delight and fell over in her lap.  Why couldn’t photographs have sound?  Philia noticed Harry and shot him a we’re-busy-sod-off look.  “He’s really sick, y’know.  I don’t know how to help.”  She looked puzzled, glanced at Sev (who seemed unnerved), back at Harry.  “Unicorn Blood.”  Her cold eyes widened.  She clasped a hand on the back of his head and held her grandson tight.  “You’d be able to fix him if you were alive, huh?”  He felt very silly, talking to a photograph about this, but there was nobody else to listen.  Much to Harry’s surprise, she turned her chair.  A moment later she held up a book for him to see.  He squinted.  It looked like Sev’s journal.  No, the cover was grey in the photo so it had to be some sort of colour.  Sev’s was black.  “You found a cure?”  She shook her head.  “A treatment?”  She pursed her lips and nodded uncertainly.  “Experimental?”  She nodded heartily.  Tenderly, she lay her cheek in Sev’s hair.  He’d stuck his fingers in his mouth again and slurped for all he was worth.

Oh, god.  How was he supposed to get into Severus’ suite to find the book?

If it was even there.

But it was hope.  That was more than he’d had a few minutes ago.  Of course, if Sev did have the book he would have already tried it.  So, logically, either it didn’t work or the book was somewhere else.  He rubbed his eyes.  For a moment, Harry gazed at the boy in the picture.  He was almost painfully thin.  Such a delicate body for such a devastating brain.  Because he couldn’t do it to the grown man, he gently pressed a fingertip to his lips and stroked it over the picture’s hair.  Sev gave him an odd look but didn’t recoil.  Philia glowered as if to say, “You’d better mean that, and for the love of god help him.”

“I’ll do my best.”

“It’d damn well better be good enough.”


He frowned at the letter.  It was by far the more disheartening of the two he’d received at breakfast.  Hunstanton Mediwizardry Research (formerly LeStrange Pharmaceutical) was prompt in their response that Philia Westin’s only known research into Unicorn Blood or its treatment was performed in the 1920s; they had included a very technical-looking paper on it, which was nice of them, but Harry was no better off than when he’d started.  He looked again at the parchment in his hands.

Dear Harry,

Whatever you do, don’t work for Gringott’s.  I think this is the first break Bill and I have had in a week.  A minor priest’s tomb was discovered near here and we’ve been battling three-headed zombies for days.  What I wouldn’t give for a backrub.  Bill is asleep, poor thing, or I’d get him to do it.

How are things with your bloke?  We haven’t received any desperate owls from Molly saying “get the axe” so I assume all is well.  I guess I just wanted to know how you’re doing, and to let you know that we miss you and that the offer is still there should you ever need it.  Mi casa es su casa.  Sorry, I picked that up from an American chappie a while back.  I think I got it right.  Drop us a note with Nephthys – she’ll want a rest and some mice (or a rabbit if you’ve got one) before you send her back.  Gorgeous, isn’t she?  I hope to hear from you soon.



He wasn’t sure if it was the casualness of the letter or the complete lack of any recognition of the kiss that bothered him.  Or it may have just been the reminder that William did, indeed, exist.  He was pulled from the bleak train of thought by a book plunked on the desk.  “Hey, Harry.”

“Hullo, Nadja.”  He folded up the letter and stuck it in his robe.  She was stacking up potions books.  He sighed, annoyed.  “More reports?”  She shook her head, slender dark braids writhing.

“I thought there might be something to make Professor Snape feel better,” she whispered as though she were afraid for anyone else to hear.  Rightly so.  Sev had dumped an entire cauldron of botched Serenitas Solution over a third year Hufflepuff’s head last Friday.  Fortunately, it did nothing but congeal slightly and make the girl cough purple spiders for an hour, but both McGonagall and the school governors were livid.  One more outburst, he’d heard, and Snape would be suspended for the rest of the year.  Or sacked.  It depended who he talked to.

Harry started plucking checkout cards from the books and writing her name in the covers.  “I hope you find something.”  She flashed him a smile and patted his hand.

“I will.”  Her confidence and her one-sided alliance with Severus were reason enough for him to shell out fifty Galleons a month.  Harry had no objections to the reports she gave him, either.  Once, Snape had been giving a lecture and suddenly told everyone to shut up and study while he stormed out.  When he came back maybe twenty minutes later he’d been holding his arm funny.  Like he’d had blood drawn, which Nadja had read about.  Harry supposed that was a good sign.  If Sev could recognize attacks before they hit, it would make life easier for him.  “Sorry, I need to go put these in my room before class.”  Lunchtime was almost over for the students.

“It’s not a problem.”  He claimed his hug, and Nadja tottered out the door, struggling under four or five heavy books.  Harry doubted she’d ever be five feet tall.  He looked back just in time to catch the stack of books that fell at him.  Asher Belasco looked profusely embarrassed.

When Irma finally showed up he headed back to his room for an hour of research.  “Lunch,” he called it.  The focus had turned from Unicorn Blood to Philia Westin.  He glanced in the mirror and was aghast at the deep hollows under his cheeks.  In the warm light of the room he looked sallow.  Christ, he really was turning into Sev.  He was piercingly glad that his lunch didn’t coincide with Sirius’ – there was a lecture just aching to happen.

On the table under the mirror was a tall stack of green-foil-wrapped packages tied together with a silver ribbon.  It was dusty, and a cobweb chained it to the wall.  He ran a finger absently over a corner and it came back grey.  It had left a raw wound in his chest when he finally unpacked and found the present carefully set among parcels from the Weasleys and neatly folded robes.  He didn’t let himself think about how much it must have hurt Sev to pack it away.  He’d been so annoying, trying to find out what it was.  Harry thought again about taking it by his office, but he knew it would come back wrapped.  Harry turned to his desk and found his place in the lone, thin, hammered biography the Library Network had found.

… It was in 1932 that Westin suffered the accident that would leave her in a wheelchair for the rest of her tragically short life.  Details were never made clear, but an unbreakable curse was used to sever her lower spinal cord and for the next forty-one years it slowly dissolved her body from the inside out.  It was rumoured that her husband was the originator of the curse, but he was cleared following…

Harry frowned.  Once again the Snape family struck him as little more than a slew of pureblood psychopaths.  He wondered if this was why Philia killed him.  Frantic pounding on his door made him drop his head on the desk.  He gritted his teeth.  “Fuck off!”

“Harry, you’ve got to get down to the dungeon right now.”  Huh?  He unlocked the door only to have Ginny grab him.  Harry barely pulled the door shut as she dragged him by the wrist.  She was pale; blood spattered the side of her face and her hair.  “Snape’s gone bugfuck.  He hit Colin and started screaming something about ‘Eversor’, whatever the Hell that is.”  Oh, shit.  Harry broke off at a run, leaving Ginny behind.

Screams echoed up the stairs before he even reached the dungeons.  A small crowd of anxious students stood outside the classroom.  He must have beaten the other teachers.  Colin, his eye seeping blood and jelly, lay almost catatonic on the floor.  A Slytherin girl held his head in her lap and stroked his hair.  She glared, teary, at Harry as he pushed through the pack.  Inside, a Slytherin Beater and two large Gryffindors tried to hold Sev back.  His wand lay in splinters.  “GOD DAMN YOU, EVERSOR!  YOU KILLED HER!”  Fighting tears with a sneer, Harry stormed up to Severus and landed a reverberating slap across his rictal face.  The man hissed.

Get a hold of yourself!  Eversor is dead!”  He grabbed Severus’ greasy, struggling head and forced his eyes open with his thumbs.  Crazed black drilled into him.

“I’ll kill you,” he muttered.  “I’ll kill you, you son of a whore.”

“Look at me.  It’s Harry.”  With a supreme screech Snape tried to break free.  His right arm went loose with a sickening wet pop.  Several students shrieked.  Some started to cry.  Sev snarled and fell to his knees.  Harry knelt with him.

“You bastard.  If you’ve touched him—“

“I – am – Harry.”  He pushed away the good hand that tried to fix around his throat.  “Don’t do that.  It’s really old.”  The students struggled to hold Snape still.  He spat.  Harry pulled his wand.  “Petrificus totalus!”  Sev froze.  His limp, thrashing arm was caught in mid-flail.  His wide eyes filled with stark terror.  Harry stroked a brittle cheek.  “Poppy’ll be here soon.  We’re going to get you taken care of, you cracked greasy bastard.”  He could swear he felt threadlike muscles trying to fight beneath that deathly skin.  “Eversor’s not here.  He’s not going to hurt anyone.”  Harry took the tortile figure from the students and held him.  From behind he heard the soft, nervous sounds of the Gryffindor and Slytherin seventh years.  Professor Arcadia spoke softly to Colin.  There was a rustle of many robes and in a moment Poppy crouched beside him.

“We’ll have you sorted in a second, Severus.”  She took a syringe and a vial of the marbled milky mixture from a black bag.  It turned clear.  Carefully, she measured what looked like a lot, and pushed up Sev’s sleeve to smear his arm with alcohol.  Harry couldn’t watch as she gave him the dose.  He let his eyes unscrew long enough to see Ginny’s class staring, with confusion at Sev and with pity and awe at him.  A few more teachers were standing in the corridor now.  Sirius was just inside the door; his face was blank.  Harry couldn’t take that gaze.  He dropped his head.  Carefully, he twined Sev’s rigid fingers.

“You’re going to be okay,” he whispered, pressing his lips against filthy hair.  Poppy conjured a stretcher and Harry and the Slytherin Beater – Jeremy Avon, he remembered now – lifted Sev onto it.  Colin was already gone.  Harry started to follow to the hospital wing.  Sirius stopped him.

“Let Poppy handle this.”  Harry shook his head.

“She doesn’t know how he’ll react when he wakes up.”

“Do you?”  No, not exactly, not for sure.  He nodded.  Sirius clicked his teeth, thinking.  “Only until he wakes up.”  A horrible weight in the middle of Harry’s chest lessened.

“Thank you.”  To his slight annoyance, his godfather followed while he caught up with Poppy and the stretcher.  Snape was still wracked and frozen in a perverted foetal position.  His disjointed arm looked more like a tentacle.  Carefully, he stroked the white stripe in the middle of Severus’ head.  He thought he heard a muffled whimper at the touch.  A deep, dark, merciful part of Harry prayed he wouldn’t survive the night.


He did, but not by his own choice.  The moment Poppy broke the body bind he reached out with his good hand and grasped Harry’s robes.  “Kill me,” he croaked in Harry’s ear.  “Please.”  Oh, god, he was tempted.  If not for what Philia’s image had told him he would have gone for his wand and uttered the Killing Curse before anyone could stop him.  It wasn’t out of vengeance or malice, but mercy.  Just like Sev did to Eversor.

“No,” he whispered back.  “I’m not going to let you leave me again.”  Sev rolled on his back and whined as his mangled shoulder hit the mattress.  He wouldn’t let go of Harry’s robe and Harry made no move to untangle his fingers.  Silently, Poppy inspected his arm within its loose sleeve.  That robe used to be perfectly tailored.  Carefully, hiding her wince every time he whimpered, she put it in a more comfortable position and muttered a spell over it.  Harry saw it slide into place.  She muttered again and an invisible splint held the joint immobile.

“No sudden movements for at least three weeks.  I’m going to give you a sedative.”  She didn’t sound like she thought it would do any good.  She left.

Sirius stood at the foot of the bed the whole time.  His stark charcoal robe was a spiteful contrast to the white curtains surrounding them.  Sev lifted his head.  He rasped, “You’re just like your mother, Black.  A bitch.”

Sirius’ jaw clenched.  “If you want me to put you out of your misery, Snape, you’ll have to try harder than that.  I’ve heard more creative insults from first years.”  Harry stroked Sev’s hairline.  His skin was rough.

“Can we have a little privacy?”

“I’m not leaving you alone with that thing.”

“Sirius, please.”  He looked at his godfather.  “Just stop hating him for a few minutes.”  Harry’s voice cracked, but he wouldn’t cry.  He wouldn’t let himself cry in front of Severus.

“I’m in no fit state to attack anybody, if that’s what’s sullying the room with your presence.”  The old enemies locked eyes for a hard minute.  Sirius finally lifted a warning finger.

“If you hurt him, I swear on every god and every demon that I will make you immortal.”  Sev weakly inclined his head.

“Fair enough.”  As Sirius reluctantly ducked out, Madam Pomfrey returned with two goblets.  She looked puzzled but didn’t ask questions.

“Drink this first.”  Severus eyeballed the thick white goo.

“If this is what it appears to be, I recall Harry having a more than adequate supply.”  Poppy flushed scarlet.  Harry wanted to dissolve.

“Just drink it, you letch.”  She hid her face until he’d finished.  It reeked of oranges.  He handed the goblet back.  “Don’t look at me like that.  You know perfectly well that was a myofascial regenerative compound.”

“Ah.  Slang.”  Poppy growled and thrust another potion into his skeletal hand.  Fortunately, this one was thin and blue.  She snatched the goblet away and bustled out before he could think of something vulgar.  Sev waited until she was gone and drooped on the pillow.  “It must be nice there.”

Harry blinked.  “Where?”

“Wherever Gran and Albus are.  Otherwise I don’t think they’d have gone.”  Harry instinctively knelt and rest his head on that thin chest.  Ribs bit his cheek.

“Don’t say that.”

Sev pushed him away.  “Would you rather I go to St. Mungo’s?  I’m sure they’ve got a lovely, soft room all ready for me.”

“You’re not going to St. Mungo’s.  You’re staying with me.”

“Have you forgotten that I don’t want you anymore, Potter?”  His eyes were sardonic behind a mercurial glaze.  One clear drop slid down his temple and left a spot on the crisp white pillowcase.  Harry sat back on his heels.


“Insolent, stubborn wretch.”

“What makes you think there’s not a treatment for this?”

“You need to have your eyes checked.  Those glasses are too weak.”  Sev stared at the ceiling.  His eyelashes glistened.  “Go.”

“Not this time.”  Harry settled on the cold floor.  His shoes could do with a polish.  “I found a treatment.”  His spine prickled at Snape’s barking laugh.

“You?  Harry ‘Oops-was-that-supposed-to-happen?’ Potter?  I’d rather die with my hair as it is, thank you very much.”  Harry glared at him.

“Look through your Gran’s books.  You’ll find it.”

Sev furrowed his brows.  His eyes were cold.  “The only thing of my Gran’s I had is that watch I was daft enough to give to a dunderhead like you.”  Harry’s oesophagus started squeezing backwards.

“Where are they?”


“What do you mean, ‘gone’?”

“I mean,” Sev rolled his head to stare in annoyance, “gone.  No more.  Destroyed.  Just like me.”

Harry’s intestines vanished.  Pieces of his heart cracked and fell into the void that once was his future.  He thought he felt warm wet drops soak through his robe and cool but he was past caring.  He grabbed at the bedframe to steady himself.  “Why?”

“You’ll have to ask my brother.”  Severus turned on his other side.  His splinted arm put him at a funny angle.  “If you’re going to stay here, be quiet.  I’d like to at least pretend I’m dead.”










Latin Lexicon For Latin Lovers


Vale: goodbye, farewell.  The standard dismissal.  (Plural: valete)





English For Americans And Other Deviants


Tatties: potatoes





If you haven’t already, go visit the Official Harry/Snape Site of the Snape Slash Fleet, Walking The Plank.  The URL is - check out the Fanart section!  I’ve got a couple of little bits up there (nowhere near as good as some of the pics they’ve got; my god, a freakin’ quarter of a century studying art and I still can’t do it – time to focus more on writing, methinks).  One is a kinda-sorta illustration from CW – just a generalization, mind, but I wanted to do a visual study in contrasts.  It’s called “Mariti” (I did the picture before the story by the same name and they’re totally unrelated).  In any case, go, visit, look around, jump on the bed for a while.  It’s all good.

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