Author: a-leafs-whisper PM
What can set our souls at rest? Being accepted, belonging. Yes. But to achieve that you first have to forgive yourself and be forgiven by those you cherish the most. Final Battle Version, HPSS mentoringRated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - Severus S. & Harry P. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 5,070 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 34 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 10-08-11 - Published: 09-21-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7399865
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Part 4 – Safety at last
Hagrid was forced forward from between the bushes and wailed loudly at the sight of the said to be dead boy. Severus prayed that the half giant wouldn't feel for a pulse or everything was lost. There was no way to Imperio a half giant successfully, their thick headed minds somehow too hard to breach. Severus had often wondered if they were too simple, too basic for intrusion.
Severus followed them silently out of the forest, now and again keeping himself upright against a tree. Everyone who could stand, however uncertainly, had gathered in front of the castle. He could see Minerva, Granger and the Weasleys, Flitwick and even Filch was still standing.
No one moved as Riddle called for them to join or die. But then Longbottom strode forward, the old sorting hat in hands.
"Harry died for us! He fought for us and that he is dead is a shame! Yet we can't let him be the only one fighting, can we? We all will stand up for what we hold dear!"
Agreement was heard from the group behind him and Neville made another two steps to the front, directly before Riddle. Severus had to admit the boy was brave. And utterly foolish. A real Gryffindor.
"Longbottom, is it? Stupid boy. I don't fancy slaughtering pure bloods, but if you insist…"
Voldemort lifted his wand, but Longbottom made a beeline forward and suddenly it wasn't the hat he was holding but the sword of Gryffindor.
Hexes flew from the crowd, nearly as one big curse. Severus understood that this was a planned maneuver and ducked. And it worked.
Nagini hadn't suspected to be attacked next to her lord and Voldemort was too busy fighting hexes to look out for her.
Blood and flesh rained down on them as the snake was destroyed. Severus cast a quick spell to clean himself, to avoid being discovered through flying snakebits.
The fighting died down at once, the group in front of the castle hadn't moved away from the protecting stone walls.
Severus was on the brink of intervening as he spotted the Elder Wand pointed at Longbottom's back, but another was faster.
"Tom!" he bellowed and fired a curse at his opponent, forcing the man into a defensive rather than offensive stance, still weakened through the lost of his last Horcrux.
It was amazing that the boy could still stand after all the torture, let alone fight like he did. Pure and raw magic was exchanged, forcing everyone to stand back and give room to the battle. All eyes followed the movements of the two most powerful wizards alive.
Severus didn't move, just stood there, leaning against some debris which had once been a castle wall, unable to breathe.
He had promised Lily to protect her son. Again. And yet there was nothing he could do now. One didn't step into a wizard's duel and he would just manage to destroy the boy's determination and focus by dying anyway. Riddle was too strong for him.
Slowly Harry was getting the upper hand and just as quick as the battle had begun it ended in a booming sound and an explosion of darkness. There were no better words to describe the scene.
Voldemort was gone.
Harry faltered and fell to his knees. The ensuing silence was deafening.
And then Severus was running. The invisibility cloak fell away and followed him like a flag. He didn't care. He slithered to a halt and fell to his knees only millimetres away from the boy's body. No one hindered him, yet. All were too shocked to act.
Severus wrapped the man in his arms, not ashamed of his tears for once.
The silence formed to angry shouts, sounds of apparition as the Death Eaters fled and battle noise.
Then someone grabbed Severus by the neck and hauled him away from Harry. He was bound painfully and a strong hand held his throat captive.
Harry accepted a Pepper Up Potion Hermione was shoving into his face and Madam Pomfrey started healing his wounds there and then.
"Where…?" He croaked and cleared his dry throat.
"You've done it! You've done it! And hell, don't you dare do that again!"
Ginny slapped his face half heartedly and then wrapped her arms around him. Harry held her, his mind a jungle of different thoughts and feelings.
"Let the man breathe, Gin!"
Bill. Many red heads smiled down at him, but Harry's eyes were searching for a black mess of knotted silky hair.
He got up shakily despite the protests of Molly and the healer and found Kingsley, Jordan and Bell in the process of pulling a bound Potions Master over to a group of captured Death Eaters.
They turned; their gazes questioningly. Harry beckoned them over to him and Kingsley hauled Snape around and into the middle of the gathered Order and Dumbledore's Army, who stood in a huddled circle around him, watching the scene with confusion and hatred.
Snape didn't deserve this, not after all he had done for them.
Kingsley did, but kept his wand trained on Snape and the man bound on the floor.
"But Harry, he killed Dumbledore!" Charlie exclaimed angrily.
"He's a sodding traitor!" Percy Weasley spit.
Harry closed his eyes as his vision swam, shook his head to clear it and held up a hand. They were silent immediately.
"Look at my arm." The Potions Master commanded in his authorative voice. "I serve only one family…"
Kingsley ripped Snape's already torn robe away, leaving the man in his trousers and a black short sleeved shirt. Gasps of surprise filled the air as they saw that there was no Dark Mark and discovered the fine black band Harry's magic had woven.
Snape smiled a little and Harry thought it was a wonderful sight; changing the man completely and making him look very young.
Kingsley grumbled "Then you will have no objections to doing the vows in front of us now." The auror loosened the bindings and Snape slowly got into a kneeling position in front of a bewildered Harry.
"What are you doing?"
Snape bowed to the ground in one fluent movement. Harry glared at the Order in general and tried to get the man back up again, but Snape just looked up and shook his head slightly, a pleading in his eyes that confused Harry to no end.
"I have no objections, Mr. Potter." The man said, as if that in itself was explanation enough.
The man's head was touching the muddy ground and his hair fell around him. Then his dark voice spoke into the silence.
"I, Severus Tobias Snape, give my body, power and soul to you. I vow to protect and serve you and those you hold dear to the best of my ability 'til death ends my duties. Take me into your service, Master."
Light engulfed him starting from the mark. When it lastly reached the other wrist it intensified there and another mark appeared around the right wrist as well. Then, over the marks, solid golden metal bands formed, broadening and growing two chains each that crept up to the man's slender fingers and wrapped around his middle finger, where other rings of gold formed into which the chains melted.
It looked like some kind of jewellery to Harry, but the meaning was obvious.
He knelt down and touched the man's head, trying to get him to look up.
Snape did and the black orbs were at peace, startling Harry.
"Thank you for accepting me."
The Order exclaimed their satisfaction and Arthur Weasley helped him and Severus Snape to their feet. Someone gave him a brown woollen cloak to wear.
"The magic accepts him, so he must be of a pure intent." Kingsley announced.
"We could have convinced them otherwise, Professor… We-"
Snape smiled again slightly, and shook his head a little.
"I was already yours to begin with, Mr. Potter." And he showed the left wrist where the tattoo could still be seen under the golden metal. Harry touched the metal fascinated despite himself.
"What did you do?"
"I pledged myself to serve you. It is a tradition used to bind enemies to a family, if they were willing to, to end feuds. It is accepted and even above the law. And as I have no evidence left aside from my memories, there was no other way to clear my name."
Harry felt the golden chains and examined the ring, which had a miniature crest at the front.
"The Potter crest, I would imagine…" Snape murmured and looked at it himself, curiously.
Harry nodded numbly and felt dizziness claim him.
Madam Pomfrey was at his side the moment he swayed and Snape and the Healer lowered him onto a conjured stretcher.
On his mind was the image of a soft bed, a peaceful rest and his eyes closed without his express permission.
A hand held his shoulder and Harry knew whom it belonged to, without looking up.
And he felt save, for the very first time.