Chapter 36: Voldemort

When the world stopped spinning from apparating, Harry found himself beside Severus, surrounded by Death Eaters. He looked around and flinched, everyone here wanted him dead. They were outside in a forest. The tree coverage was dense, making the night darker. The only light was provided by a singular clearing, with the full moon shining through.

"My humble servants," Voldemort hissed from behind Harry, he turned to face him. The moon illuminated his serpent-like face. His slits of nostrils flared and he glared at his followers. Nagini slithered up beside him as he slowly strode before the group. Harry shrunk behind Snape. "I called you here tonight to discuss the plans for the death of Harry Potter." Bellatrix uttered an enthusiastic shriek that rang through the forest. "Silence!" She stepped back, deeper into the crowd, her head bowed. "Now, I want you all to listen very carefully. The boy—" Harry stepped forward from the group, wand raised. Severus reflexively stepped slightly forward but corrected himself before Voldemort noticed.

"You don't have to plan anymore, Voldemort," Harry challenged. The Dark Lord glared at Harry and drew his wand. Harry raised his wand, they cast their spells at the same time. A jet of red light meeting green, a shower of sparks in the middle as the two spells collided. Harry fell to his knees as Voldemort sneered, the green pushed closer to the edge of Harry's wand. "No," Harry whispered. His wand fell from his grasp and rolled away. Blind pain over-took his entire being. Somewhere far in the distance, Harry heard Severus screaming.

Severus watched as Harry crumbled to the ground. He screamed as the life left the boy's eyes. Voldemort clutched his chest and hissed. Pain was spreading through him as he turned to Snape. "Severus? Why have you screamed?"

"Simply to commemorate your victory, My Lord," Severus said, his head inclined, not meeting Voldemort's eyes.

"Indeed, Severussss," he said. "Crucio!" Severus crumbled to the ground screaming. His vision faded to black. Somewhere in the distance he heard Voldemort calmly command, "Nagini, kill." He shook himself and wrapped his fingers around his wand. His eyes snapped open; Nagini was flying towards him, her mouth opened wide and fangs fully extended. "Confringo!" Nagini erupted into flames. Voldemort hissed again as pain erupted from his chest again. He cast a weak curse at Severus as he apparated. Severus deflected it, easily. The other Death Eaters apparated as well, leaving Severus alone with Harry. He crawled across the grass and cradled Harry's limp body to his chest.

"Harry no, please, no. Please Harry," Severus whispered ad he looked into Harry's dull eyes. He drew them shut gingerly with his fingertips. Snape hugged Harry closer as his body was wracked with sobs. He apparated them back to the grounds just before Hogwarts' boundary and held Harry even tighter as the sobs overtook him again.

Harry opened his eyes and sat up. Looking around he saw nothing but white fog, as if he was in a cloud. "Harry," a gentle, familiar voice called his name.

"Mum?" He asked the fog.

"Yes Harry," She said, materializing before him. He stood and walked closer to her, in awe. She wrapped her arms around him and he fell into her, hugging her back. He couldn't hold back the tears as they trickled down his face.

"Mum! I – am I dead?" He asked quietly, looking up into her eyes.

"No," she answered distantly.

"Then what-?"

"I'm sorry Harry, I can't answer any of your questions. The only thing I can tell you is that you have to go back and kill Voldemort."

"I tried, he was too strong. I'm a failure." Harry knew his time here was limited if his mum was already telling him he had to go back.

"Shh, no baby, you're not a failure, you're so strong. And Voldemort is weak now. Nagini is dead." She ran her fingers though his raven hair.

"I don't want to go back, even if he is weak. I want to stay here, with you. I want to have parents."

"What about Severus?" Harry bit his lip. He hadn't forgotten about Sev.

"Is he okay?"

"You'll have to go back and see. Harry, there's no easy way to tell you this. If you don't go back, the war that many wizards are speculating about, will happen. So many you love will die. Fred will die, Severus will die, Tonks and Remus… All of them and so many others, gone. You can stop it before it begins."

"How?"

"Kill him." There was a dreadful sound to Harry's right and he looked down and saw a small bloody creature with flesh falling from its bones, crawling toward him. Harry shied away, closer to his mum. "It won't hurt you, it can't."

"What is it? Is it hurt?"

"It was a piece of Voldemort's soul. The piece that lived within you. There is nothing you can do to help it, it's dying."

"Mum, I love you."

"I love you too, Harry. You need to go, now," she kissed his head and began to fade.

"No, mum! Don't go! Please," Harry cried, falling to his knees.

"Thank Severus for me Harry. You are so loved." She disappeared and Harry felt a falling sensation. The white around him began to blur and fade. It slipped to a darker shade of white; gray began flooding in. Harry felt as though he was falling through a tunnel of white fading to black. He felt a sharp pain in his head, it spread though his body and blackness completely encompassed him.

Severus cradled Potter's body for hours. His tears splattered across Harry's school robes. The boy's body shivered and Harry inhaled. "Potter!?" Severus exclaimed. There was no reaction from the boy in his arms, just shaky breathing. Snape attempted to pick Harry up, but was too weak himself to move him. He sent a patronus to Minerva, hoping she would be able to help them. She arrived quickly and magically levitated them to the hospital wing.

Harry opened his eyes as he touched the bed. He looked to his side and saw Severus in the bed beside him. "Sev," his voice was scratchy and tired.

"Harry," Severus said, relieved and exhausted. "I thought I'd lost you."

"Mum says thanks," Harry mumbled and passed out again. Snape stared at him silently, in a trance. He'd talked to Lilly?

"Severus? What happened?" McGonagall asked, pulling him from his thoughts.

"He was dead… The Dark Lord hit him with…" Snape choked and had to take a moment to collect himself. The next time he spoke, his voice held no emotion. "Potter apparated with me to the Dark Lord. He thought if he could surprise him, he could win. Potter was wrong. Fortunately somehow the boy is alive and Nagini is dead. I have my suspicions about the Horcrux in Potter. It may have died as well."

"But—"

"I'll answer your insufferable questions in the morning," Severus snapped as Madame Pomfrey bustled over and handed him some vials. He downed them all and drifted to sleep.

"I'm worried about them, Poppy," Minerva said once Severus was asleep.

"Everyone is, dear," she whispered and began tending Harry.