Albus Dumbledore paced frantically in front of his desk as Professor Minerva McGonagall sat with a tea cup and saucer in her hands. "We each went to the last known location and there was no trace of him. I'm afraid one of the Death Eaters might have captured him and we have no way of knowing, from those that remain on the loose, as to who it could be," said a nervous and worried headmaster.
"Or perhaps he got lost in the dark and is too far from the original porting site. We must not fear the worst has happened, Albus. It is usually you who has to calm me down, in these types of situations, not the other way around." Minerva took a sip of her rapidly cooling tea and when she settled the cup back onto the saucer, it rattled and she herself was shaking with internal worry.
"You're right, Minerva. I must think positively, I just don't know how we could find him." Albus stopped pacing and sat down behind his desk. "However, if something has happened to Harry, I'll never forgive myself. I should never have agreed to letting him go alone to rescue Severus. I should have thought it through more carefully before allowing him to port his way to that meeting."
"Albus, you know that Harry is headstrong and stubborn, as well as loyal to those he cares about. I'm not sure you could have stopped him, if he was that determined to save Severus. I'm just surprised that he wanted to save Severus after all that he has put Harry through."
"Ah, yes, well my dear that was my doing."
"I assumed as much, Albus. Perhaps forcing them to work together was a good idea. Severus seemed just as concerned about Harry as you were, maybe more so. If he hadn't collapsed, I wouldn't have been surprised to see Severus go back for Harry, no matter what injuries he'd sustained." Minerva looked out the window and saw the sun rise on that cool October morning. She was glad it was the weekend, she knew she would not be up to teaching otherwise. "Perhaps we should tell the other seventh year Gryffindors of Harry's disappearance, especially Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger."
The headmaster and the Gryffindor head of house went to the common room to find many of the students already looking concerned over their missing friend.
Their professors conveyed the disturbing news of Harry's being gone and their inability to locate him in order to bring him home.
Hermione spoke up after the initial shock wore off, "Why not send Hedwig, Harry's owl, with a portkey and instructions? If he has wandered off or is somewhere in the vicinity, I'm sure Hedwig could find him."
Albus looked at Minerva with a stunned expression and one could almost hear his, why didn't we think of that.
"Thank you, Ms. Granger. You've been a very big help." The headmaster and his deputy headmistress left in a hurry to the owlery.
Harry woke and shivered as the cool morning air nipped at him. He sat quietly, lost in contemplation of his feelings for Severus. He was now completely certain that he loved the man with every fiber of his being and could not think of a future without him in it. He had known before that he wanted to be with his potions professor, but when he'd had that vision of Severus being brutally punished and killed by Voldemort, he had known that he had to go save him, to make sure the man remained in his life and by his side for all eternity.
He just hoped Severus would forgive him for disobeying his orders and not staying at Hogwarts. Before Harry was aware, Hedwig flew down and settled on the young wizard's lap, startling him.
"Hedwig! Oh, Hedwig, am I ever so glad to see you, girl!"
The owl hooted softly and nipped at the fingers stroking her feathers. She lifted her leg up to show that she carried a message and a small object. Harry quickly untied everything and read the note first in silence. Not a moment later, Harry let out his own hoot of joy and petted his owl once more.
"Hedwig, fly back to Hogwarts, I'm going to be portkeying my way back," Harry paused and looked over at the still bound Pettigrew, "and taking some garbage with me."
Hedwig nipped and hooted at Harry once more before flying off. Harry took his wand from within his robes, strode over to Pettigrew, had the stupified man grasp the quill Dumbledore had sent and Harry tapped it gently with his wand as he spoke, "Hogwarts."
With the familiar pull, Harry along with Peter were now crouched outside the front entrance to the school, where the headmaster, Professor McGonagall, Hermione and Ron were waiting.
They all rushed forward and started speaking at once, when they saw Harry appear.
"Harry! You're all right!" came from Hermione. "All right there, mate?" was from Ron. "Mr. Potter, it is good to see you looking well," was spoken by his head of house.
And from Professor Dumbledore a quiet smile, his twinkled eyes somewhat dimmed with concern and a brisk, "Forgive me, dear boy."
Harry hugged his friends and stilled their concerns before turning to the headmaster. "No apologies are necessary, sir." Harry looked deeply into the blue eyes of his mentor and asked the most important question on his mind, "How is he?"
Albus' eyes sparkled a little brighter, while Hermione and Ron looked at each other in puzzlement. "He's fine. He's stable and most of his wounds are healed. In fact, he's still asleep. Poppy thought it best to keep him from worrying, while you've been missing. I take it that Mr. Pettigrew had something to do with your past situation?"
"Yes, it's quite humorous really. He tried using the Amens Aestuo Amorous spell on me, but since he lost his special hand with the death of Voldemort, his magical abilities were very weak." Harry looked behind where Pettigrew lay at everyone's feet. "I figured the Ministry would like to try him and perhaps exonerate Sirius posthumously."
"I'll take care of Mr. Pettigrew. I believe you are wanting to see a certain someone?" the headmaster asked, the twinkle in his eyes now returned to full brightness.
"Yes, sir. I just hope he doesn't hex me for disobeying his orders. I'm afraid my actions may have set things back a bit." Harry's face became concerned and he shifted from foot to foot in nervousness.
"Nonsense, Harry. I'm sure that things have actually progressed a few steps forward with tonight's events."
Harry's frown turned into a hesitant smile. "I guess I'll have to go and see for myself then. Wish me luck, sir." With those words, Harry parted from the friends he could only consider as his family and headed for the infirmary.
When he walked through the doors, he saw Madame Pomfrey leaning over Sevefus, who looked to still be asleep. She turned when she'd heard the doors close; she smiled as soon as she spotted Harry waiting expectantly.
"Come in, Mr. Potter. I'm so glad to see you are well, and not needing my attentions this time. Now that you are here, I can wake Professor Snape up. I know for a fact he's been worried about you, even in his sleep." Harry took several steps forward until he was by the foot of the bed.
"How bad was he, Madame Pomfrey?" Harry enquired.
"Oh, my. It was touch and go there for a while, but he's very stable now. He'll be in here for at least two or three more days, that is if I can convince him of that. He's one stubborn wizard."
"Tell me about it," Harry whispered ever so quietly to himself.
"What was the dear?" Madame Pomfrey looked at him questioningly.
"Nothing. Are you going to wake him now?"
"Yes, I'll wake him for you." The medi-witch turned and lifted her wand and enervated the potions professor.
Harry held his breath as Severus slowly came awake. He watched those eyes blink a few times before that dark stare fell his way. The first thing from Severus' lips upon seeing Harry alive and well was, "Thank Merlin you're all right. Come here and let me make sure."
Harry was sure though that once Severus was at peace with knowing he was alright that his behaviour would change in a heart beat. Harry would bet the contents of his Gringott's vault that Severus would chastise him soundly for disobeying him.
Harry moved forward and stood in the spot where Poppy had been and who had left as soon as Severus was awake. "How are you feeling, Severus?"
"I've been better, Harry. When I got back and found out that you had been at the meeting and not here as I had originally thought, I was panic stricken. Damn it, Harry, I had told you to stay here and return to your dorm after speaking with the headmaster. What were you thinking of, going into that situation alone?"
Harry chuckled internally, I knew it, I was right, Severus is certainly dependable when it comes to his moods. "On the way to see the headmaster, I had a vision. I know, I know, I shouldn't have been able to, but I think it's because I was so worried about you, that it was able to slip through. Anyway, the vision was of Voldemort having his Death Eaters torture you and then him killing you personally. I just had to stop that from happening. I..." Harry paused, catching his breath and trying to calm down. "I couldn't let that happen to you, because as soon as the vision came and went, something inside of me crystallized. I couldn't bare the thought of you not being in my life and by my side, Severus." Harry took the injured man's hand and gripped it tightly. Severus returned the gesture equally.
Harry leaned down and kissed him, gently, sweetly. Then he whispered softly against his lips, "I love you, Severus Snape, with all of my heart, soul and hopefully in the near future, body. Be with me always?"
Severus' breath caught in his chest in surprise and then he sharply exhaled. "Yes, Harry. I'll be with you always. Especially since there's nothing to stand in our way now. You do know however, that nothing can change, at least not while you're a student."
"Party pooper." Harry frowned and gave Severus his most beguiling puppy dog eyes.
"That's not going to work on me, Harry. At least, not right now. I'm going to be firm on this. We'll continue on as we have been, you will be my assistant in Potions and Defence."
"Alright. Speaking of defence, I wanted to tell you what happened after you left. Are you up to hearing it?"
Severus scooted over in the bed and patted a spot next to him. "I'm all ears."
Harry sat down, leaned in close to kiss his professor once more, this time long and deep, then snuggle up close to the man. Severus wrapped his arms tight around Harry, hoping never to let him go again. Harry was so glad that they were both alive and well and the Dark Lord was gone, now they had a future ahead of them and it definitely looked bright.
"Oh and one more thing, just because the Dark Lord is gone, doesn't mean we'll stop our extra lessons on defence."
"Honestly, Severus, if I didn't know better, I'd think you just love to hex me."