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Previously in 'Taking Away The Loneliness'

"What shouldn't we be doing, Harry?" Severus asked him with a smirk on his face.

"This… we shouldn't be doing this…oh Gods…." Harry moaned out.

"And why is that?"

"Cause I hear someone knocking on the door," he said with gasping breaths.

"What?" Severus stopped and heard Harry's irregular breathing, and heard the gentle knocking on the door.

"What timing… If that's Pettigrew, screw the trial, lets just kill him." Harry laughed at this, and quickly spelled a charm to hide his erection, pulled himself together, and got off of Severus.

"Later, alright Sev?" Harry said while smiling at him.

"Okay." He then walked over to the door, and there stood Albus Dumbledore, and a very nervous Peter Pettigrew.


-Levels of Control-

"Ah, Harry," The Headmaster broke the silence, his eyes twinkling merrily as they always did. "Just the young man I was hoping to see."

The young Gryffindor smiled back at his mentor, and moved aside allowing the two men to enter into Severus' chambers. He was internally pleased by Pettigrew's obvious confusion; the rat animagus was clearly astounded by the fact that James Potter's son was spending his extra-curricular time in Snivellus' rooms.

Shaking off the feelings of resentment that were beginning to grow from his pondering, Harry narrowed his gaze at his parents' betrayer. "Peter," he started, his tone emotionless. "I can't say I'm happy to see you again."

The forever-nervous man lowered his gaze in a guilt-ridden fashion, but didn't speak. Harry glanced at him in distaste, before turning back to the Headmaster. "Has he given you the Talisman yet, Sir?" He asked, frowning when the elderly wizard shook his head.

"Not yet," Albus replied, "Mr. Pettigrew demanded that we speak with you first."

Moving to join the conversation, Severus didn't bother to hide his curiosity. "Indeed?" he queried, his head tilted to the side, observing the two-time traitor and then his young lover. "Whatever for? One would think that a person in his position would be grateful for whatever leeway, no matter how minimal, was offered him."

"He believes," Albus continued, that damned twinkle in his eyes infuriating the Potions Master and Harry to no end, "That young Mister Potter here will relieve him of his burden to Voldemort in exchange for the Talisman."

Severus swivelled around to eye his bonded. "And where, I wonder, would he get that idea from?"

Harry glowered in retaliation. "Sev," he sighed, "I told Voldemort that I had the power and will to take away the Dark Mark bonding them to him, of any Death Eater who wanted to change their allegiance." He shot another glance in Pettigrew's direction, catching the rat-man's eye as he did so. "And I wasn't lying about it, either." Turning back to his lover, he smiled softly. "If he gives us the Talisman, and any information we want, without putting up a fight, I'll replace his mark."

Snape was clearly not pleased.

Harry stifled a chuckle, realising the kind of conclusion his lover must have arrived at. "Severus, you git," he laughed lightly, earning himself a decidedly harsh scowl, "he can bond himself to me, but I won't bond myself to him." He finished with a look into Snape's eyes that clearly added 'It's different between us. I love you.' With another vaguely amused shake of his head, he asked, "Do you see? He won't have any power over me. Not like you do. Never like you do."

With a sigh, Severus nodded his understanding and acquiescence, however he wasn't going to appear as complacent for Harry as he was for Voldemort, whilst in front of Peter. "Indeed," he spoke, gaining his customary mask of arrogance with ease. "Though, surely you're intelligent enough to ask for the Talisman and information before allowing him to change marks."

Realising that Severus' barely concealed insult to his intelligence was merely an act to keep Peter in his place, Harry rolled his eyes in mirth. "Of course, Professor." He replied, teasing his lover gently. "I'm not a complete dunderhead, as you well know." Before allowing Severus time to respond, he turned his attention back to Pettigrew, his countenance becoming strict and sombre once more. "Now, the Talisman, Wormtail." He extended his hand, clearly expecting it to be handed to him. He was not disappointed as the item was placed into his upturned palm. "Thank you," he added, aware that he sounded somewhat snappish and curt.

Peter still didn't speak, but nodded by way of response.

Shaking his head at the animagus' definitely non-Gryffindor behaviour, Harry observed the magical item in his hand. Appearing just like it had when he'd connected to Voldemort, the serpent pendant with black eyes gleamed up at him, looking incredibly lifelike, despite its small size. Harry wondered what might happen to it if he spoke to it in Parseltongue. Perhaps it might speak back, or at least begin moving. After all, stranger things had happened.

The Golden Boy didn't get a chance to test his hypothesis though, as it appeared that Dumbledore was requesting it. With a sigh, Harry passed the pendant to his Headmaster, and turned back to the man that was responsible for the death of his parents and also his late-godfather's imprisonment.

"Listen, Pettigrew, I will uphold my promise to you, but first you will answer any questions that Professor Dumbledore has, and you will answer under Veritaserum." Harry locked eyes with the cowardly man, "Am I understood?"

Taking a deep breath, Peter nodded, and stammered out his agreement. "Y-yes, S-sir."

From there, Harry allowed his lover and the Headmaster to take control of the situation, remaining silent and taking in every bit of information that might just be useful for when the time came when he would have to fight Voldemort and finish him off for good. It was over two hours later that Harry prepared himself to change the mark on Peter's forearm that would sever the link to Voldemort.

This time the mark on Peter's arm would only be the picture of the lion; completely devoid of the serpent that both Severus and Harry carried. Harry explained to the Headmaster and Severus that this version would ensure that the mark and its effects would only be one-way. The Serpent was the link to the other half, and it would be required in order for Peter to be able to call him in response, like Severus could.

Harry made it clear right then and there that no matter who else wanted to bond themselves to him, he would only ever give them one creature, the lion, as Severus was his serpent – his other half- and he would only share a proper life-bond with him.

He hesitated a moment, before explaining that if Severus were to concentrate hard enough, he too would be able to summon Wormtail through his mark, as he would have the same level of control as Harry, due to their shared, two-way bond.

Yes, it was somewhat confusing, but Harry felt that he had explained it as best as he could. At any rate, Severus seemed content with the explanation, and that was all that mattered to him. Harry knew that he wouldn't be able to go through with their current plan without his lover's acceptance and support.

Squeezing Severus' hand lovingly, the youngest of the wizards began the spells once more, hoping against hope that he was doing the right thing for everyone involved.

As with the last time, the first three spells flew past without any problems. When it was time to begin the Parseltongue portion, he was once again met by the Dark Lord's resistance, but forged on, determined to keep his promise. He was able to throw Voldemort's hold off much easier this time, and he suspected it was due to the support Severus was giving him through their mark. He didn't ponder too much on it, however. As he completed the spell, his scar flared up in much the same manner as it had in his previous attempt. When the pain cleared away, he found himself facing the Snake-faced bastard once more.


"How DARE you?!" Voldemort cried, incensed by his newest losses. "Mark my words, Potter, you WILL PAY!"

Harry rolled his eyes, "You do realise just how incredibly cheesy your threats sound, right?" he asked, riling his parents' murderer up further. " 'You Will Pay'. 'I Will Rule The World'. 'Mwahahaha'." The Boy-Who-Lived continued to mock. "Sometimes I wonder how people can take you seriously. You sound like a villain out of a MUGGLE B-Grade movie."

That did it. Voldemort was officially pissed off. He raised his wand and aimed. "Avada Kedavra."

The green light flew out at Harry, giving him no time to react. He braced himself for the worst, and waited for the curse to hit him. And waited. And waited…..and waited.

Nothing happened.

The curse obviously had no effect on him due to his Occlumency. Or at least, that was what the Boy Who Lived suspected, at any rate.

Harry grinned. He could inflict pain in these meetings, but not be affected by it; he had the upper hand.

"Well, well, well," he said, brandishing his own wand. "How many times does that make it now, Tom? How many times have you set out to kill me and just not been able to pull it off? Seven? Eight? Nine, even? I'm starting to lose count, old man. What about you?"

The snake-man remained silent, fuming at this turn in events. A child was beginning to take over. A CHILD was going to cause his downfall. He refused to believe that it was all because HE had marked the boy as his equal. (Or so the prophecy Lucius had finally attained for him had stated.) And, if that were the truth, then the brat wasn't the true cause of his downfall. He himself would be. And THAT he would not accept.

"Fool!" He eventually hollered. "You think you can defeat me?"

Harry grinned, and shook his head, "No." He replied, cheekily using Parseltongue. "I KNOW I can." And, because he felt like mocking the man and his corny movie-like phrases even further, he added; "Prepare to die, Voldemort. Hasta La Vista and all that. I'm going to take my revenge."

He felt something shift against his chest, before realising that he had been wearing the Talisman the entire time. Someone, most probably Dumbledore, must have placed it on him back in the land of proper consciousness, in the hopes that it could only help him further. And, as predicted, his use of the snake language must have brought it to life, or enacted it, or something to that description.

With a surge of power –and anger- unlike that which he had ever felt before, he levelled his wand at the dark lord. "Obliviate!" He cried, the curse hitting Voldemort directly between the eyes. Before giving the small number of Death Eaters that were also in the room time to move, he cried another curse impulsively; "Deminutio senectus*! Infantia*!" There was a flash, and all those surrounding Voldemort and himself stumbled backwards.

Harry blinked a few times, attempting to focus onto Voldemort's last known position, and stood stunned at the results of his hex. On the ground, in a puddle of robes, was an upset child, no older than a few months old. Harry smiled to himself, realising that the curses that had flown from his lips had destroyed Voldemort completely -effectively fulfilling the prophecy without causing either wizard's death- and reduced the shell of the wizard to his infant form. He was no longer an evil wizard bent on taking over the world, but an innocent baby. On impulse (Harry suspected that the Talisman had somehow effected his spell casting mindset) The Boy Who Lived had given his greatest nemesis a second chance at life.

The Gryffindor took a tentative step forward, and crouched down in front of the baby who had, until a minute earlier, been the most feared entity in the wizarding world. "Well, Tom…" Harry sighed, observing the child, "I think it's time we get you to Albus."

He leant down to pick the squalling baby up, but found that he was unable to, as he was only an astral projection of himself, and was therefore not completely corporeal. Now he knew he had a problem. He couldn't very well leave Tom here alone in a room full of unconscious Death Eaters whilst he pulled himself out of this projection to get help.

And that was another thing. If his projection had occurred due to his connection to the evil wizard, why hadn't it severed the second he erased Voldemort's memories? It didn't make sense…but then, nothing really did in the wizarding world. Perhaps Dumbledore could help him to understand once they sorted out this mess. A thought which, naturally brought Harry back to wondering HOW he was going to handle the situation.

With a scowl, he realised that the most he could do was to place some extra paralysing charms on the unconscious Death Eaters, and concentrate on getting back to the others.


Severus heaved a sigh of relief when Harry's eyes fluttered open. He had been out of consciousness for longer than in the previous cases in which he had made contact with Voldemort, and the Potions Master had feared the worst for his young lover.

Harry peered around at his surroundings for a moment, before leaping to his feet. "Pettigrew!" He cried, "You have to take us to Voldemort's manor, or hideout, or whatever you want to refer to it as." He looked at Severus and Albus, "I'll explain it all on the way there."

And he did. He told them every detail of the confrontation, as it would be forever etched in his memory. He relayed his confusion at the continuance of the connection, once Voldemort's mind was completely wiped. He even added his suspicions about the Talisman, prompting the older wizards to make note into further researching the magical item later.

Thankfully, due to the power of joint apparation using Peter's knowledge of Voldemort's last known hideaway, the quartet of wizards arrived at the manor before Harry's spells on the Death Eaters began to wear off. Once inside the building, Albus moved immediately to the crying baby, and picked him up with ease. Severus assisted Harry in properly detaining the collection of Death Eaters, whilst Peter watched the entire thing with wide eyes.

From there, Severus stated that he was going to go and get members of 'the old crowd' to assist them, before he stalked out of the building to apparate away. He returned less than 5 minutes later with a selection of wizards and witches who took over the entire situation, allowing him to finally pull his lover outside for a chat.

"That," he began, his voice nothing more than a half whisper, "Was incredibly foolish of you." Harry moved to protest, but Severus continued. "Have you any idea as to just how worried I was? Do you realise you could have gotten killed? And yet, being the foolhardy Gryffindor that you are, you didn't give a thought to anything else."

Harry sighed, "But I wasn't killed, Sev."

"That is not the point!"

"Oh?" Harry shot back, "Then what, may I ask, is?"

Severus looked away, and muttered his reply.

"I'm sorry," the younger of the two spoke again, "I didn't quite catch that."

"I said," Snape hissed and spun around, his cheeks coloured lightly, "That I love you. I can't bear the thought of something taking you from me." He glared, "Satisfied yet, Potter?" He sneered.

Harry shook his head, a small, sheepish smile plastered onto his lips. "No." Snape arched an eyebrow. The Boy Who Prevailed chuckled lightly. "See, that just reminded me that you and I have some unfinished business…."

Despite his outburst, Severus found it hard to maintain his anger, and smirked at his lover. "Indeed," he replied, before looking around to check that they were not being watched. With a wink, he disapparated, leaving Harry to realise that he was making his way back to his chambers.

It didn't take the Gryffindor long to follow.


The next Saturday found Harry and Severus lounging around in the latter's chambers again. On this particular occasion, Snape was torturing his young lover mercilessly, and was enjoying every moment of it.

"Oi," Harry managed to gasp between his rather childish giggles. "That's cheating."

Severus smirked back at his lover. "I don't see how it is. After all, you brought it upon yourself."

"I did not!" The Gryffindor responded, before breaking into laughter once more.

The Potions Master grinned wickedly, "I believe that you did, Mr Potter. You came into my rooms, teased and taunted me-"

Harry was rolling around in laughter once more. "-Okay!" He gasped, cutting Snape's tirade short. "Alright! I give up!"

Severus still refused to deactivate his mark. "Promise you'll never attempt to stir me up and then leave me to deal with my body's reaction again."

The younger wizard nodded, still writhing around on the floor of the dungeons. "I promise. I promise. Just stop already!"

With a superior smirk, Severus relented, and watched as Harry sighed in relief. "Better?" he asked.

The younger wizard grinned, "Much."

The couple sat in silence for a moment or two, simply enjoying the company of the other, until the cry of an infant interrupted their thoughts. Snape sighed, and shot Harry a look of mock contempt as he stood up. "I blame you for this," He stated, for what felt like the thousandth time that week.

The Gryffindor merely grinned back. "I know."

After Dumbledore had returned to the school, he had called Severus to his office, and given the Potions Master custody of the baby formerly known as Tom Riddle, stating that he had received the Ministry's agreement. Snape had, as predicted at the time, cursed his young lover for not having the balls to kill the old snake-faced bastard when he had the chance. Over the course of the week, though, the Slytherin had started to get used to his newfound role as a parent, and at times even caught himself thinking that he enjoyed taking care of the child; not that he would ever admit it out loud, though.

"Brat." Severus called back, re-entering the room with the darkhaired baby in his arms.

Harry laughed as the former Dark Lord broke into a grin at seeing him. He adored the irony of the situation, and wondered if he would ever tire of seeing his ex-arch nemesis reaching out to him with glee, unknowing of their history together. Taking the child into his own arms, he decided that he definitely wouldn't.

"Hey there, Tom." He said, tickling the baby's rounded tummy. "You're being good for Sev…for your father, I hope." He corrected himself, his own grin widening further at his lover's new title.

Snape rolled his eyes at the display. "If you don't mind-" he began, only to be cut off.

"No. We don't." The Boy Who Lived chuckled.

Severus shook his head. "Insufferable child."

Green eyes continued to sparkle with mirth. "But you love me anyway."

"Do I?"

Harry reached behind him and grasped a cushion from the couch, before throwing it in his lover's direction. "You'd better."

"Indeed," Severus chuckled, lightly tossing the cushion back onto the couch, careful not to hit the baby in the Gryffindor's grasp.

Although the child was now officially 'Thomas Snape', and no body outside the Golden Trio, Dumbledore and himself knew of his previous identity (Wormtail had been slightly obliterated on the topic), he was still finding it difficult to think of the boy as his son. Harry continually made pointed comments about the issue, but he –Severus- had yet to say it himself. He knew he would be able to do so one day, especially with his lover's continued support, however he worried that it might be too late.

"Sickle for your thoughts?" Harry's voice interrupted Snape's inner musings.

Severus smirked lightly, "The usual. I'm marvelling over just how much my life has changed these last few weeks."

"Ah, Okay." His younger lover nodded, clearly pausing to ponder over the most recent events in his life as well.

Harry crinkled his nose as Hermione's voice popped into his head, repeating the words she had used mere days ago. 'You're about the furthest from control that any person can be.'

Was that still true? He wondered. He hadn't exactly fallen into the recent events willingly, but he'd grown used to them and made the best of every opportunity. And now that Voldemort was gone, he had been given a new lease on life as well. Besides, he had chosen to stay with Severus, despite the mark on their arms. He had chosen to assist his lover in accepting Tom as his own –as their own, if he really thought hard about his actions- and had, unknowingly at first, chosen to give Tom another place in his life; one without malice and attempts at murdering one-another.

No, he decided. He may have been losing control of his life as little as three weeks previously, but had somehow regained his grasp on his life and on his future.

Would he be able to maintain it? Who knew? For now, all he cared about was the present. And he was enjoying every minute of it.

"Y'know, Sev," he began after a while, earning his lover's attention once more. "I never thanked you."

Severus quirked an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"For outing me, last year." Harry almost laughed outright at the confusion etched on his Potions Master's face. He didn't extrapolate on his random statement, though, choosing instead for Severus to work it out himself. He stood up, and put Tom back in his father's arms, pecking the older wizard gently on the cheek. "I've got to go. I promised Ron I'd go for a fly around the pitch with him." And with that he left, knowing that Snape was still pondering on his previous comment.

Severus watched as his lover walked out of his chambers, and waited for it all to click. Then it did. Had he not outed and humiliated the Boy Who Lived the year before, he never would have apologised and explained his own past, which essentially started the entire chain reaction, leading the two wizards into each other's arms and hearts. He smiled softly at the now closed door.

"You're welcome, Love," He replied quietly, before turning his attention to his adopted son, and giving the child an almost invisible grin. "Always."

******************************** FIN *******************************

Chapter By:

Cha-Cha Chica (or, as I am NOW known, thanks to FFN 'ChicaOfChaCha')

When we had this idea, we honestly didn't know how people would respond; if they would like working with other authors, or like the concept of a Round Robin. We are truly amazed at the response. You were all so kind, and eager to participate, and we cannot thank you enough. This has truly been an inspiring experience, to watch, and be apart of, the coming together of writers, to work with such wonderful authors, and create one piece of work.

Any one of you could have not cared about the outcome of this fic. You could have thought 'Well, it isn't my fic, so I don't have to try hard with it, or put much into it.' Well, no, it isn't your fic; it is our (all of ours) fic. And every one of you gave it your all. You put your emotions, your time, and your immense skill into every word, and now look at the result. We hope you have made new friends, learned from this experience, and maybe, you will share it with others. We know that we have grown as writers, and persons, while participating in this, and only hope you have done the same. We hope you got as much out of this fic, as you put into it. We know we did. You are all very talented authors, and this is the proof. It isn't easy to follow another author, to carry out their thoughts, and finish what they started. But you have, and you have done it with pure grace. We hope you are as proud to have your names on this fic, as we are, ours. We congratulate you all on a job supremely well done, and hope to work with you all again in the future. And if we do not get that chance, we wish you the best of luck in your writing, and the best of luck in life.


Mandi and Michelle

RR: Taking Away the Loneliness Participants:

SquibsRus – Chapters 1 and 10

Minerva-Severus-Dumbledor – Chapter 2

crysta astra - Chapters 3 and 13

ChaCha Chica – Chapters 4 and 14

Corgi – Chapters 5 and 12

Savage Damesel - Chapters 6 and 11

Bramblerose-Proudfoot – Chapter 7

Goldenpaw – Chapter Eight

Lee Lee Potter – Chapter Nine