Chapter 83- Beyond
The haziness around the maze dropped, signifying that a champion won. Severus's eyes darted around the middle, just thinking that most likely… but Miss Delacour was in the center, Diggory running towards her. He spotted Krum next, standing before the sphinx, now walking away from it, because he would have realized it was over. But where was-
"Milly!" Severus called.
"Yes, sir!" the elf squeaked.
"Where is Harry?" he asked. Elves were highly talented creatures.
The elf thought for a moment and frowned. Severus's heart sank into his stomach. "Master Harry isn't on the grounds at all, sir," the elf said. Elves had less reach outside of their domain.
"Take me to the girl in the center of the maze," Severus instructed, holding his hand out with one look at Dora at his side. Dora put her hand on top of his, and Milly took them both.
"Where is Harry?" Severus demanded of the French girl a moment later. Diggory was talking to her already.
"'E vanished," she answered, looking alarmed herself. "Was zer anozzer challenge? Where did 'e go? 'E wanted me to grab with eem, but I- did not earn eet," she babbled.
"The cup is gone," Severus directed the girl.
"Yes, 'e grabbed 'e cup, and-" she made a swishing noise.
Harry was gone, transported off the grounds. How was that even possi- a portkey. Severus didn't specifically know that a portkey wouldn't work in Hogwarts grounds, but surely someone in the centuries the school was open would… where was his son? What sort of magical… traces of magic something would help him find his son?
"Dora?" he asked. If he had any room to care for such things, he would mind that his voice sounded scared.
"Where would Riddle want him?" Dora asked. Because she knew the right questions. "Milly, take us to Dumbledore, and then get Dobby too. And Moody," she ordered, and the elf took them to a grave-looking Albus Dumbledore. Alastor Moody was already next to the man looking equally grim.
"It looked like a portkey," the ex-auror man said nothing useful. Damn it, Mad-Eye had been able to see in the maze and Severus hadn't sat himself directly next to the man, demanding constant updates. Not that that would have helped.
"Who put the cup in the maze?" Dora asked, another good question. Severus should know this too. He just felt crippled.
"Percy Weasley," Albus answered directly.
That didn't make any- "Crouch," Severus said. "Has been acting strangely, and then to not be here today…"
The tall Weasley boy was standing alone, unusual when he was usually hanging about blathering on. He should be rushing around, worried for Harry. Severus found himself already running towards the ginger young man.
"Professor," the young man greeted, but Severus could tell he didn't seem right, though how he had come to know the irritating young man well enough to notice the difference…
Severus took a guess and began countering spells. There was only the Imperius on the boy.
"Oh, hello Professor," the young man greeted, still confused. "Where's Mr. Crouch? Or- of course, I am here in his stead because he is not feeling well. Quite an exciting day, isn't it? Or did it- has it already happened, Professor?" the boy asked.
Crouch had Harry then? But how could that possibly benefit the man, but surely it was Riddle?
Crouch hadn't been the same since Black's trial, and then there was the World Cup, and the trouble with his elf… the elf he fired and now works at Hogwarts.
Milly popped back with Dobby next to her.
"Dobby, can you look for Harry?" Dora asked. "You found him when he was in Hogwarts before you even worked here," she praised. It was a good idea.
"Get Barty Crouch's elf," Severus instructed, and Milly popped away again.
Time was passing and Severus had no idea where Harry was or what- could have already happened to him.
"Excellent," Tom Riddle said, turning from Harry to his servant, Crouch. "Give me your arm," he ordered.
"Master, you do not need them," Crouch protested, sounding like a gruesome, terrible child. "They are no more loyal than-"
"Silence," the man- if he could still be called a man- said. "We shall learn soon. Your arm!" he demanded.
Crouch revealed the Dark Mark, the same one that Harry's dad had, but this was a bright red. Riddle drew his wand from his robes, but did not use it. Instead he pressed his forefinger against the tattoo, which now looked more like a fresh burn. Crouch winced, and Harry saw that the mark turned black.
"We shall see how many are brave enough to return, and how many will be foolish enough to stay away," he said. But that meant… Would Harry's dad feel that too, and be able to come? Did Riddle want him to come? If Harry could just get his wand, then maybe… Why hadn't he learned to apparate yet?
"You, Harry Potter Snape, clearly think you know so much about my so called family. But you know nothing. And if you cared for your own family, you would have taken my generous offer three long years ago. But your blood, blood of your mother and precious father, have made me more powerful even than the Philosopher's Stone ever could!" he declared. But that wasn't true. Soon, Riddle would be mortal. And it was almost funny that he intended to kill Harry, the very act that would make Riddle killable himself.
And then they started appearing, all in a circle, unevenly spaced. Death Eaters. And Riddle talked to each, to one called Avery, another Macnair. Harry would remember all the names.
Harry really, really had to get out. And if he wanted it hard enough, the ropes would comply.
Harry was sure he had snapped the ropes, but it was another apparition. And then there were many, many more.
Severus feels the burning pain that he hadn't felt in thirteen years. And the knowledge that every Death Eater was being summoned. Severus gripped his arm, not even trying to mask the pain. More importantly, he would be able to follow that call. He just had to get out of the wards.
But what it meant… Riddle returned to strength, and a loyal Death Eater by his side, soon to be many more.
Harry might already be…
"Milly, take me to the edge of the grounds. I know where to go. Dora?" he asked.
"I'll go with you, and they can follow me," Dora said, meaning Kingsley, Moody, and half a dozen aurors than Dora had made arrive in the last minutes whose names Severus had not learned. And perhaps others of the castle, the wolf and the dog were there too, had been there for the task. But it was taking too long. A larger force did help ensure… Harry's survival. But the large, selfish part of him wanted to keep Dora far, far away, though she'd hate him for that.
Severus appeared with Dora, just outside a… Death Eater ring, with Riddle in the middle.
And Harry- was alive, but tied- no, the robes fell away, and Harry pulled out his spare wand, where was?- Severus was already running. He just had to grab Harry and go. And Dora-
Other cracks of apparition rung around them, but Severus only had eyes for the long, white fingers closing around Harry's neck, wand at his temple.
"Kill them all!" that awful, high voice shrieked, "Except for Severus and the boy."
Spells clashed around them.
"Severus, I gave you the world, respect, a place where you were accepted. Do you think Lily Potter ever truly cared?"
Severus stared straight at Harry's face, so close to Severus's own face with Lily's eyes, the eyes of the woman who died for her son. Riddle didn't realize how pointless his wand was, when Harry had his own wand to the other side of his head, eyes clenched tight, ready to-.
Severus couldn't even breathe words, but he shot the killing curse at the person he loved most in the world, thinking of the horrible wretch that gripped his son so he could have enough hate to properly cast the spell. Both wizards collapsed, and the scene fell into chaos.
"Do not hurt Severus," Dora's yell was louder than the others.
In two steps, Snape grabbed Harry easily from the ground, not looking at his son's face. He found Dora behind him and pushed the boy into her arms.
"Go. He will wake up," Severus said. They'd discussed the option. Harry had even asked for it months ago, but Severus had never intended…
Dora nodded, not quite looking at the Harry's face either. She would have to hate him if this didn't turn out perfectly, and maybe even then. He was hardly holding himself together, but there was something else he had to do, for Harry. Dora had more difficulty supporting the boy, but she quickly disapparated, and Severus Snape turned towards his fallen former master.
White. Strangely bright white everywhere, brighter than sunshine. "Am I- dead?" Harry asked, taking in the scene around him, the people he was seeing. Lily and James Potter, his mother and- step father? He still wasn't sure what to make of the man. It looked like he was at a train station, King's Cross even, except everything was brighter, whiter.
"No, my son," his mother answered, tears in her eyes. "You have to go back."
"We think that you could go beyond from here if you chose, but it isn't your time," James said.
His mother reached out and touched his cheek. Harry leaned into the touch and found himself in his own mother's embrace for the first time he could remember. He felt larger arms surround them both. His mother spoke, "Severus needs you. He'd- not recover if you didn't come back after what he had to do."
"I- I want to go back to be with him, but I don't want to leave you either," he said into his mum's shoulder, grasping the back of James Potter's hand as well. The man had died for him, even if they weren't blood, and James still loved his mum. They seemed to be okay, wherever they were.
James Potter spoke, hand on Harry's head. Harry knew that for so many years, his hair had looked just like James's, "I love you, Harry. Can you tell him thank you? Severus, I mean. And if he'd want to hear that I'm sorry, know that I am. Very sorry. And Sirius. I hope Sirius grows to be a better man than we encouraged each other to be. And I was never worried for Remus, but I should have been. A person can make so many mistakes in so few years, and watch them play out over the next decades. Harry, make sure that you have a nice long life to grow and make amends for most of the errors you'll make before you're twenty-two." Harry thought about how the people in front of him died when they were only about Dora's age.
"It- was pretty dangerous back there. I'm probably not that likely to live that long."
"Don't worry about that," his mother said soothingly, "Your father will take care of it, and you will have a happy, normal life, I promise you, Harry. You just have to wake up."
"Now?" Harry asked, almost a whine, still facing into his mother's embrace.
James Potter spoke, "It's not so bad. If I'm not mistaken, there are two beautiful women looking after you right now, almost at beautiful as your mother."
Severus made his way to his old master's feet, this time standing while the most feared man in the world lay on the ground for several moments, maybe even minutes. Aurors around him were rounding up what Death Eaters they could. They'd seen most of them without masks at least, surely. No one bothered him as he stood, perhaps no one sure whose side he was on.
He had just led a group of aurors to capture the last remaining Death Eaters, and then he cast Avada Kadavra on his son, but Dora had spoken for him. Was he a man without friends or enemies?
Tom Riddle's body stirred. Severus prayed to- something, someone- that that meant that Harry was recovering as well, rather than the opposite. Either way, he had to finish this now, even if he offed himself in despair later. He owed this to Harry.
"Avada Kadavra," he said, pointed at the barely moving form. "Sectum Semptra, Sectum Sempra,"he finished, for good measure. The snake-like head completely removed from the body and cut in half again made him feel better. Severus didn't even pay attention to anything else happening around him anymore. It was over.
Severus apparated himself away to the gates of Hogwarts, where he was certain Dora had taken Harry, feeling the cutting curse just hit his side just as he turned and vanished.
Nymphadora Tonks made it inside the castle gates, open because of the Triwizard event, before allowing herself to look at the boy in her arms. Harry was her what- pseudo- nephew? son? She loved this boy and he seemed dead. He failed every basic field test- no breath, no pulse even. But a wave of her wand showed the same magical signature he always had, fainter, but still there. Dora let her spell fade.
"'Arry!" a voice shrieked. Dora looked up to see the French champion collapse next to them. The witch was not who Dora would have expected to see, not that she expected to see anyone at all at the castle gates. The girl looked like she had been through quite a lot that day.
"He's going to wake up," Dora found herself saying. The witch seemed to care for Harry, and Dora needed to continue believing that Severus knew what he was doing, that everything would work out like they discussed.
"I was supposed to be wit him. Zen you, and ees fater…" yes, Severus had questioned the girl. "I 'ad to get out of ze maze, and everyone was yelling, and I just wanted to get off de grounds to apparate, but I did not know where to go- wat is wrong wit eem?"
"It's not your fault. It was- a plan to get Harry there. If you'd been there, I don't think there was anything you could have done."
"'Ow do you know 'e'll wake up?" the girl, Fleur, asked, tears flowing having felt the same lack of pulse at his neck that Dora had.
"Severus said he would."
"'Es father. You love eem, yes?"
Dora nodded, throat tight, thinking of seeing Severus use that curse. Yes, she loved him. If Harry didn't m- if Harry wasn't okay, then Severus wouldn't be either. She'd have to hold him together somehow, commit him to Saint Mungos for a while if she had too.
"I zink I could love him. 'Arry," the girl spoke, startling Dora out of her thoughts. "I zink anyone could zough. He should be a leetle boy at ees age, but 'e eesn't." Dora looked at the boy in front of her, half-grown just in the time she'd known him. She glanced at the girl beside her. The witch was probably not much younger than Dora had been when she first set her sights on Severus, a strange thought.
Both witches looked sharply when the young wizard between them twitched.
"Dora?" Harry asked, opening his eyes slowly, "I'm fine, Dora, really. I don't even hurt, except my arm a bit. Erm- hi, Fleur- are you alright?" What was Fleur doing there?
"Oui, 'Arry," the French witch replied, crying. Why was she crying?
"Hey!" Ron's voice shouted. Harry sat up. "No one knew where you went and your dad ran off. Dobby popped over and said you were back but weren't back, and he wasn't really making any sense. And Winky, Crouch's old elf, is in an awful state, crying and all. Where's you go? We were really worried, but hey, you won!" Ron said all at once.
Hermione caught up around the end. Harry might have noticed that Fleur was standing several steps back by then.
"The officials- didn't seem to know- that the cup was a portkey. Are you okay, Harry?" Hermione panted.
He was more than okay. He was free. He wasn't a horcrux, he was- "Where's Dad?" Harry asked Dora. It was terrible that it had taken him so long to realize-
"He's crossing the gates now," Ron answered.
"Severus, you're hurt," Dora cried.
"Harry!" his dad said, stumbling over.
"Severus, we need to get that looked at," Dora insisted. "I'm awful at anything that bleeds," she said.
"Hermione's good at it. Can she, dad?" Harry asked, only a little worried as his father wrapped arms around him.
"Yes, fine. And close the gates," he instructed, not moving himself from his place half sprawled on the grass, holding Harry. It wasn't needed in the end, because Milly arrived with a disoriented Madame Pomfrey, who sorted out Harry's dad in a matter of seconds, adding in some scolding for not seeing to himself. And, to not be left out, Dora joined the embrace on the ground.
*****Harry Potter Snape*****
Harry let Godric pass from hand to hand, crawling up his arm. Harry took extra time to visit his pet even more often after everything was over. The snake had actually clung to him more closely now that they couldn't- talk like they had before. It was the only bad thing about it all being over, not being able to talk so easily to Godric and Salazar. Harry had spoken to them both about it when he first found out about the horcrux, that he'd gotten his parseltongue abilities from the man who tried to kill him. He told them that if they could get the- thing out then he probably couldn't talk to them anymore. He thought that they remembered and understood.
"ShaaasssSSStttssss ssttss?" Harry asked if he could get Godric anything, feeling clumsy in the speech even though he'd practiced for years now.
Godric replied that he wanted food, and Harry told him that it wasn't time for him to eat again for several days, but he'd get him some bugs now.
It was a conversation they'd had a dozen times before, except Harry usually just told him to stop complaining and wait. But now Harry didn't want to miss anything.
It wasn't so bad. No one else had a pet they could talk to, and they never complained about it. And really, Harry still could talk to them some. His dad had had Salazar for years without getting to talk to him. And Hedwig always seemed to know what Harry was talking about when he visited her, which he tried to do more often too.
Harry had told Sirius and Remus what James Potter had told him in the almost dream, and the Sirius hugged him, wiping tears from his eyes. Harry had told his father everything about the- vision as well, and the man hugged him for even longer, but shed no tears.
Remus was doing well, staying with Sirius still, but Harry's dad said that he might be able to return as the Defense teacher next year, because Moody still wanted to leave. That would be great, because Remus was a great teacher too.
Harry and his friends were doing fine, glad that another crazy year was over, and thinking that maybe this time there wouldn't be any major disasters the next year. Of course, Hermione's reminders that OWLs were coming up weighed on everyone- though maybe Harry didn't mind too much. Draco seemed okay, and would probably come visit sometime during the summer like always. Harry, his dad, and Dora were still going to go on some family vacations this summer, but not to anywhere that had anything to do with horcruxes.
The foreign students left the day before the end of term, and Fleur gave Harry another kiss on the cheek, and told him that she would write, and she was applying for jobs in the country. Maybe France would be a nice place to visit that summer. And maybe Harry would go send a letter before dinner, because it would take Hedwig some time to take it to France, probably. And then he would go pack most of his things in the tower to bring them down to the dungeon.
Harry didn't make it out of the door before running into his father, almost literally.
"Are you alright, Harry?" Harry's dad asked. He'd been asking that a lot since Harry had sort of died. His dad was taking it a lot harder than Harry was.
"Yeah, I'm fine, really. Not dead- no horcrux. No one- er- not as many people out to kill me- I'm really great, I swear."
"We can't be careless. Not all of the Death Eaters have been captured, and not every evil comes in Death Eater robes."
"I know," Harry said calmly. He did know. There were always people out to get him, but there were a lot of great people around him too. And Harry was really glad that no one had died trying to bring him back, even if a few Death Eaters did get away.
"You know I love you, don't you, Harry?" his dad asked, not uncomfortably like he would have been not so long ago.
"I know, Dad. I love you too."
"I would- never forgive myself if it had turned out any differently. I'm not sure how you can forgive me now."
Harry hugged his father tightly. He noticed for the first time how much he had grown in the last year. His father was still a good amount taller than him, but his father was a pretty tall man. "Because I was about to do it myself, and not that well. And I knew it would work. And… I'm sure if I died, Dora would take care of you even if you fought her over it constantly."
"She would. Merlin knows why," his father sighed, but looking up the inches still between them, Harry saw the wide smile on his father's face.
"I know why. It's easy to understand because I love you too."
A/N: Done! And, I will resist the urge to go full epilogue and tie up everyone's future, especially in a romantic way. EXCEPT for Severus and Dora, so I couldn't let this pass:
Christmas morning, 1996- Harry's sixth year.
Harry tried to open his gifts with the same excitement he had when he was eleven, but really, he just wanted Dora to open his. From Harry's past experience, legal paperwork made a pretty good gift. His father was looking forward to it too, Harry knew, because he'd helped Harry get it started, even going to the Ministry with Harry, which Harry knew he hated.
"Mine next," Harry insisted, handing Dora the thick envelope when he couldn't wait any longer. He thought back to the first gift he'd given her, drawings, because Ron said that parents liked stuff like that.
"Oh Harry!" she shrieked, gently putting the unwrapped papers down and getting to her feet, hands outstretched.
Harry stepped into the hug. Harry intended no offense to his father, but Dora gave the best hugs.
"Oh, and you've made me cry," she said.
"Well, it doesn't really take much these days," Harry teased, but loved every moment of their hug.
"Don't you dare make fun of the crying pregnant witch, Harry Potter Snape!" Dora chided, but she gripped even tighter. "You'll be such a good big brother, Harry. You'll have to teach her so much."
"Or him," Harry reminded again. They'd declined to find out the gender, which Harry knew his father had been supportive of at the time, but it was driving him mad now. Because Dora wouldn't let him perform any diagnostic charms on the baby, or he'd find it out. So as compromise, in addition to the regular visits with the auror healers, Dora visited Madame Pomfrey whenever Harry's father wanted, which meant she was the most frequent patient in the hospital wing that Hogwarts had ever seen, Madame Pomfrey claimed.
"She's definitely a girl," Dora maintained, trying to wipe her eyes with the hand still wrapped around Harry's neck- which wasn't really working when she had to reach up so much now.
"But you like my gift?" Harry asked, because he wanted to hear it even though he knew she did.
"It's the best gift I've ever gotten. Don't tell your father, because before this, it was his ring," she said, but she said it loud enough that Harry's father would obviously hear it. But he wouldn't mind. Most days now, Dora wore her engagement and wedding rings around her neck, because her fingers were too swollen from the baby. She could always shrink them… but usually she didn't. She played with her rings and wiped her eyes as she finally let Harry go. The large amethyst with little diamonds around it was Harry's favourite, and the plain wedding band next to it.
"So, does this mean I can call you 'Mum' now?" he asked. He'd given her the adoption papers, that she just needed to sign. He'd be seventeen in seven months, but it had been something he'd really wanted to do.
"Oh Harry, please!" Dora cried, and then she started really crying again, and hugging him again, this time more comfortably around his middle, head on his shoulder. "I love you so much."
"I love you too, Mum," Harry said. Because he did. She had been there for him since he was eleven years old, had made his life better than he could have possibly imagined. He had a dad, and now a mum, and friends, and a godfather, godbrother, new little brother or sister, teachers and… so many people who loved him. And that didn't make his first mum any less important, or James Potter either. There was just always room for more.
Harry's dad put an arm around his crying wife, the other arm around Harry. Because he didn't want to be left out of the hug. "And I love you too, Dad."
A/N: There, done! (And I do like to think that with Tom Riddle dead, Remus returns as the Defense teacher that stays). I so often wanted to tell you all that I always envisioned this story as going through four years, but I didn't want to spoil anything. Please, please review and tell me what you thought! Favouriting the story means even more! I won't mark this one as complete for a few days because I don't want to spoil it.
I really wouldn't have stuck with this without you! I really hope you will check out my other stories, because I have loved your support there as well. I meant to stop writing for a while after I finished this, but I haven't been able stop. I've already written an alternate version of In My Life Again, and a different Draco/Hermione one-shot. I'm still hoping to find inspiration to write more to Are You My Father (my other Severus and Harry fic), but I haven't written much more of that yet. After that, I might be ready to put up a Draco/Ginny story that I've been working on lately.