A/N: Before you get confused, Hogwarts Dropout and Mr. Padfoot are one in the same. Fanfiction deleted my account, and I decided to take the opportunity to change my name. Sorry for any confusion!

The Golden Gem

By: Hogwarts Dropout

Of Revelations and War

Chapter 1

The battleground was littered with corpses. Screams of terror and pain sliced through the air like hot knives through flesh. Harry saw only blinding flashes of light, and shadows falling to the ground like dominoes. Chilling cries shrouded his senses; everywhere he looked there was red…blood. He couldn't seem to move himself. All he could do was stand in the middle of the war, watching spells of evil and good flash by him at blurring speeds. Had that been Remus screaming? Was that Ron's body bloodied on the ground? He couldn't seem to think, couldn't breathe.

Everything went still. An eruption of green light was hurtling towards him. He couldn't make his feet move! He could only watch his death speed faster…closer. Suddenly, warm strong arms enveloped him and threw him to the ground. A solid, heavy form lay shielding him, breathing heavily and sticky with blood. It all seemed eerily quiet. He wormed his way out from under the heavy body on top of him, taking in the black billowing robes now limp with blood and dirt. He felt liquid searing down his cheeks, literally pouring from his eyes. He saw the gaping wound in the body's side, the flesh that had been ripped away to expose entrails and bones. He felt his heart constrict. He knew that all eyes were on him. The battle had come down to that moment. With a shaky hand he grabbed the shoulder, knowing whose face he would reveal. Memories rushed through his head like a poorly filmed movie.

His lips feel like silk against mine, his pale skin cool and soft. My fingers tangle in lengthy black hair, pulling him harder against my mouth. His fingertips brush my sides, explore my back. It is so perfect. It is everything I had ever dreamed it to be and much more. I would face a thousand dragons to experience another kiss from my untouchable god.

It's snowing outside. My bag is on the chair, a Transfiguration book slightly visible from its depths. My lover crosses the bedroom, a towel shielding his wonderful body from my eyes. He does not know I'm awake. He touches the book bag, letting out a deep sigh, and sits heavily on the bed. I know what he is thinking. He is thinking how wrong it is for us to be together, student and master. I can only say that if wrong feels this good, then what's right would surely kill me. I only wish I could ease the years away from him, so that we could lie in each other's arms as two young lovers with no obstacles in our paths. But time is harsh, and life is cruel. And Severus? Severus is simply beautiful.

Tears flood from my heart, but none wet my eyes. I feel I am drowning from the inside, where it really matters. He stands behind his desk; his back half turned to me and his eyes downcast. He will not let our relationship continue. He will not let me waste myself on a bitter old man. His job is in jeopardy, and he will no longer take the risk for me. I can't believe that. He is just trying to push me away. He can lie through his lips, but I hear different words from his heart.

We are to fight Voldemort soon. My comrades are nervous over the impending battle. Even Dumbledore's hands show a slight tremble, though he tries to hide it. I alone stand brave and unafraid. I have stood Voldemort's torture long enough. I will chaff my skin against his chains no longer. I will save them all, and I will protect him. I cast my eyes to the side to see him standing in the corner, talking with Draco in hushed tones. Draco looks scared. I see one of his elegant hands briefly grasp Draco's shoulder, a rare touch of comfort and strength. I will not let Severus play the hero. I will not let a drop of his blood fall. I have never stood in the midst of the battle of the kind that Dumbledore describes, but no matter what it is like, I will protect him.

It is my precious lover. I see his ebony eyes roll as I turn him, his lips slightly parted and bloodied. A weak cough and more blood spills down his chin. My tears are splashing on his face as I grip his shoulders in desperation and despair.

"Go. I will…die as I…have lived…bitter and alone. I…I…deserve no tears…of gold."

And death took his voice as he fell in my arms. I felt it like I had never felt it before. Everything had left me, yet I was filled with such a power…such an awesome power blazing with vengeance. I slowly stood and saw him. He was not laughing maniacally, as I had sometimes pictured him doing as he killed and slaughtered. He was ashy faced, desperate and wild. His wand was raised, and I realized mine was as well. I could see shadows begin to claim faces and names. Dumbledore stood to my immediate right, quite a few feet away. He was watching silent as stone, clutching his wand with narrowed eyes. And there…to my left…I saw Ron and Hermione. Fudge, Minerva, Draco, and Remus… even Sirius stood behind me battle worn and silent. But Voldemort was not alone. Deatheaters struggled to close around him, meeting our half circle with one of their own. It all came down to this. To the monster in front of me with a bloody wand, the man at my feet so unjustly murdered, and myself, the boy who lived…to kill.

With a rage I had never known the spell fired from my wand, smashing into Voldemort's and engulfing it with ease. I saw Voldemort's eyes as the blast shot for him. I saw the lack of remorse in their cold, red depths. And I saw the grin on his face before he was no more. Blackness surrounded me and I fell.

I saw Voldemort lying dead on the mossy field. I looked to both sides of him, but there was no one else. Severus did not lie at my feet as a bloody sacrifice. I felt empty…so unbelievably empty. I could see the sunset glittering off the golden trees, though a few were white from their roots to their leaves. In the distance, I heard the ocean and saw a foreign land on the hazy horizon. A warm hand rested heavily on my shoulder.

"Harry, do you believe a heart can be evil?" I can not see his face, only hear his resonate, kind voice. I do not have to turn around to know he is clothed in robes of gold and his eyes are filled with wisdom. I look at the corpse of Voldemort.

"Yes. His was." I reply. The hand lightens its pressure.

"You still have much to learn…Harry." I want to see him now, though I am still rooted to the spot, allowed only to see my fallen enemy.

"But the things he did…"I protest.

"…Came from his mind, a sick and twisted mind." The voice supplied. Just as mysteriously as the voice had come, it was gone. Instead, I saw only a blinding light above Voldemort. It seemed to seep out of his every pour, drip off every follicle. To my slight horror, his chest bubbled with the light before it exploded from him, ripping through his chest in a glorious wave. When I open my eyes, a gem, the likes of which I've never seen, is floating over Voldemort and spinning slowly as if to give me a view of it's perfection from every angle. I tell myself that if it has come from Voldemort then it is evil, yet its brilliance draws me to it like a moth to the light. The mysterious voice comes back to me. Perhaps…the stone came from his heart. Was it bad? Was a heart ever bad?

"A heart is a tool of good, young Harry. All of life is a battle between the heart and the mind. Some follow their hearts; others follow their minds. The choice has already been made, yet has not been made at all." The mysterious voice again.

All the while the gem began to glow brighter, almost as though it were a captive finally breaking free of its manacles. It talks to me in a way I remember. It was like the time Severus pushed me away…yet his heart called me to him. It calls to something deeper than my will. It is talking to my heart…

"Find the questions you seek and make your choice!" The voice boomed in a crescendo of power. Images are flying at me now. Severus lying at my feet in a pool of his own blood…a churchyard with a rusty gate…the brilliant gem…Voldemort's eyes…Dumbledore's shaking hands…everything hitting me at once and spinning around my head.

Harry opened his eyes. The sterile hospital room blinded him with whiteness, and for a moment he thought he was looking at the gem again. His dream was still vivid, still haunting and fresh on his mind. He felt as though his head was exploding. His pupils dilated as the room spun and tipped upside down. He let out a startled yelp and gripped the soft sheets. A calming, cool rag was placed on his forehead. Only then did he realize how hot he was. He had been expecting Madam Pomfrey, but it was a different medical witch in her place. The new woman was courser, older. The harsh lines on her face showed the stress she was under, and the sag of her eyelids revealed her lack of sleep.

"So yer awake now, eh? Don cha worry, lad. I'll have yer right as rain in no time at'all." She soothed in a motherly tone that seemed out of place with her rough appearance and frizzy orange/gray hair. Harry relaxed back into the pillows, letting his eyes close and open a few times. All the while the nurse began pulverizing some poor herbs in a stone bowl and muttering charms as she worked. The rhythmic tapping of the stone lulled him into a light rest that was free of dreams.

When he awoke the second time, it was a full day later. This time familiar faces greeted him. To his right he could make out Dumbledore through his blurry vision. On his left was Sirius, clasping his hand lightly and changing the cloth on his head every few minutes.

"Thank God you're finally awake again, Harry. You had me out of my mind with worry." Sirius half whispered, patting his hand lightly. Harry pulled on a small smile for his Godfather's benefit.

"I'll be okay." He croaked out in a dry, disused voice.

"I think," Said Dumbledore as he stood as the nurse entered, "that we will all be okay. I am only sorry that most of the healing is not the kind that herbs and potions can complete. Now that I am certain you are safe, Harry, I will leave you with your Godfather to recuperate. I will come by again later when you have more strength back." He spoke in a sagely, gentle tone. Harry gave him a brief nod, all that he could manage at the moment, and turned his attention back to Sirius. The nurse was muttering a spell, and Harry soon felt his throat moisturize and loosen, allowing him to talk clearly without difficulty. He only had one question.

"Severus…" He knew he was crying again, but he couldn't help it. He was glad that there was only Sirius there to see him shed his tears. Sirius quickly looked away, perhaps something clouding his own eyes.

"I'm sorry, Harry. I only wish…that he and I had put away our differences. He'd done a great favor to me by helping keep you safe at Hogwarts, and I never told him how grateful I was." He buried his face in his hands, looking more tired and worn than Harry had ever seen him. "We were only children, yet we carried our grudges far into manhood."

"I think he knew, Sirius." And he did. Harry had told him. He had wanted his Godfather and Severus to bury the hatchet, as they were the two most important people in his life next to Dumbledore, Ron, and Hermione. They were the only family he had left.

Sirius nodded once wearily and busied himself by smoothing out the bed sheets.

"Everyone else, Sirius…what happened to them?" Harry asked carefully, determined not to let any more tears flow. Sirius stared at him a few moments before he sat down heavily in the chair again.

"Considering it was a massacre, I'd say we made out fairly well. Voldemort didn't have half as many supporters as we thought he would; though there were hundreds. Our own side lost many to the unforgivable curses. All the staff here is doing good and your friends are fine. There's only one other thing…" Sirius trailed off while Harry looked at him expectantly. "Arthur Weasley. He was found dead two days after the battle. I'm sorry Harry, I know you looked up to him. In many ways, we all did." Sirius informed with a heavy heart. Harry relaxed even further into the pillows, tears coming all over again even though he wished they wouldn't.

"Is Ron okay?" Harry asked as he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. Sirius coughed lightly and pushed some of his hair back.

"He's proven that he's a man of bravery and strength. He's been good to his mother and sister, but I think he's taking it with as much grief and pain as would be expected. He's got good friends though. He'll pull through." Sirius said softly. Harry breathed deeply and looked to the little bed stand. A single flower rested in a light blue vase, drooping over the rim as though it were simply exhausted. Harry sympathized. After a few more words with Sirius, he passed back into slumber, soon lost in the throws of the previous dream with the mysterious voice.

~ Hogwarts Dropout

(Keepers do it in the Air, Reviewers do it in the Box)