Disclaimer: Harry Potter and his wondrous world belong to J.K. Rowling.  This story is just for kicks and giggles. 

Summary: Snape's position as a spy is compromised when Harry's life is threatened.  The beginnings of a journey together… will they survive?

Spoiler: For all the books since I've read them all at least once… by the way, this story "takes place" after book five…


By Libellule

Chapter One

Of all things that Dumbledore hadn't anticipated, it was the stupidity of muggles.  His best laid plans were ruined one warm summer night when an ordinary, muggle burglar decided to break into number four Privet Drive. 

He didn't make off with much before Uncle Vernon came bounding down the stairs.  Only a mantle clock and some gold candlesticks were missing in the morning.  Of course, it would be Harry's bad luck to have been the only one to clearly see the burglar (Uncle Vernon had tripped on his slippers and tumbled down the stairs, scaring the burglar out).  For that reason Harry was dragged out of the house and down to the police station a few days later to attempt to ID the fiend who'd made off with what Aunt Petunia insisted were family heirlooms.

Harry knew that he wasn't supposed to leave the safety of Privet Drive, but he had little choice with the police squad and Uncle Vernon bullying him into it.

After Harry had identified the poor bloke from the lineup (and Harry was sure it was him, the same pathetic looking burglar he'd seen from the doorway of his bedroom), he'd pretty much been forgotten. 

Uncle Vernon clamored on about his heroic endeavor to rid the scoundrel from his home, while Aunt Petunia pestered the police about her stolen keepsakes.  Dudley helped himself to several powdered donuts from the Police station break room.  It was during this ruckus that a uniformed police officer came up behind Harry, who was sitting on a bench outside the interrogation room. 

"Don't make a sound, Potter," he whispered, as he pushed something hard and small against his back. 

Harry felt the unmistakable tip of a wand sticking his ribs.

"Stand up slowly and walk toward the exit," the man said. 

When Harry didn't move, he hissed, "Don't think I have any qualms about killing everyone in this room.  Unless you want innocent deaths on your conscience I suggest you get up." 

Even though Harry didn't much like his relatives, he didn't want them dead.  And he certainly didn't want the good people in the police station to be harmed. 

Harry did what he was told, staring desperately at his Aunt and Uncle, hoping that just this once they'd pay attention to him. 

Once outside the station, Harry didn't have time to take a single step before he felt the flustering lurch of portkey travel.  They appeared in a forest and as Harry stood there shivering in darkness in the middle of the day, Harry knew without a doubt that it was the Forbidden Forest. 

"Move," the man in the police uniform growled.  "And if you make so much as a whisper, you'll leave here with one less appendage."  He had a heavy hand clamped down on Harry's shoulder and a wand still pressed at his back. 

Harry felt panic slowly rising in his throat.  He was sure that this man worked for Voldemort.  How was he going to get away?  If his Aunt and Uncle had been supportive of Harry's Wizarding heritage, he might have been prepared for this.  His wizarding things wouldn't be locked away in a trunk or under a lose floor board.  His wand would be with him. 

The wand!  Harry's mind raced.  His only chance would be to try to get the wand from the man.  He knew he would only have one shot at getting it so he had to think carefully.

The man kept pushing him forward, and Harry stumbled over the uneven forest floor. 

"Keep up," the man ground out.  Harry steeled himself and counted to ten to keep his anger in check. 

The man shoved him again, this time sending Harry crashing to the ground.  The man mistepped, and stumbled over him.  Quickly, Harry swung his leg out, toppling his captor. 

Scrambling to his feet, Harry kicked the wand out of his hand.  They both lunged after it, but Harry was quick on his feet and grabbed it first. 

Harry pointed the wand at the man, his heart beating wildly from a mixture of excitement and fear. 

"Now you've done it, boy," the man said, sneering.  He made no attempts to move, but locked eyes with Harry.   

Harry wanted to use the wand and prove his ability to this man, but his instincts were telling him to run.

"Petrificus totalus!" Harry shouted, leaving the man immobile.  Pivoting fast, he took off in the direction they came from, hoping that the portkey was still operational.  The Forbidden Forest was a truly creepy place when one was tearing for dear life through it. 

One moment he was running for his life and the next he was lying on the ground, trying to keep the world from spinning.  Had he slipped?  Somehow Harry didn't think so.  His mind screamed at his body-- he had to get up.  Had. To. Get. UP!  But his body wouldn't comply. 

Coming into view overhead were four figures in black from head to toe with dark masks on.  Harry's heart leapt into his throat.  Death Eaters.  Two of them seized him by his arms and pulled him up. 

"On your feet, Potter!"  One shouted grabbing him by a fist full of his hair.  "Now, move!" 

With a Death Eater on either side and one leading in front and another following behind, there was no escape. 

Harry couldn't believe this.  This day had started normally enough.  He'd woken in his small bed in Number Four Privet Drive, helped cook and clean up the breakfast, endured a moderate amount of taunting from Dudley, and sat down to read a muggle book before his day turned upside down.  Now, he was on his way to Voldemort and his death.  The reality of it had hardly sunk in—he'd be dead before he realized it. 

Lost in his thoughts, Harry was not paying attention to what was going on around him.  He was brought jarringly back to reality with a sharp blow to his face.  Seeing stars for a moment, Harry turned his gaze to the broad Death Eater in front of him.  He was very large-- tall and big.  The Goliath-like Death Eater loomed over him.

"Insolent boy!" He snarled.  "You will listen when I am speaking."  He raised his hand to deliver another blow, and Harry shut his eyes, readying himself for it. 

But the blow never came. 

Opening his eyes, he saw the Death Eater, who had been behind him, now standing at his side, holding the other Death Eater's arm in check.

"That'll do," he said quietly, and Harry nearly gasped at the sound. 

Only one man could speak with that velvety voice.  It was Snape!  He tried not to let his breath quicken, but he couldn't help it.  There was a small glimmer of hope.  As much as they hated each other, Harry knew that Snape would help him.  Well, he hoped that Snape would.     

"What do you think you are doing?" demanded Goliath.

"Our orders are clear," Snape said calmly.  "We are to deliver the boy unharmed to the Dark Lord." 

"A few blows don't make any difference," the big one snarled. 

"I wasn't aware that the Dark Lord's orders were up for interpretation," Snape said smoothly, the dangerous undertones in his words clearly coming through.

The larger Death Eater wrenched his arm from Snape's grip, turned on his heel, and continued guiding the way.  Harry stared up at Snape, hoping for some sort of sign or clue, but Snape didn't look at him.  He returned to his position in the back.  

After several more minutes of walking, it was clear to Harry that Snape had no intention of doing anything to save him.  Harry thrashed against the two that were holding him.

"Struggle all you like," the one on his right said.  "You've nowhere to run." 

"Once the Dark Lord gets ahold of you you're as good as dead, Potter," said the Death Eater to his left.  "The Dark Lord is sick of all these games.  With you dead, all his power will be restored." 

Just then, they passed the man in the police uniform.  He was lying face down in the dirt-- dead. 

"You'll be joining him soon," hissed the Death Eater on his left. 

Harry continued to struggle.  He wasn't going down without a fight. 

"That's right, wear yourself out," The left said.  "There's no duel to prepare for-- just a little avada kedavra--."

"Will you shut up!" Goliath shouted, whirling around.  "Do not speak trifles to the boy!  Yes, the Dark Lord will kill him quickly-- but that's all the comfort he'll receive."   

Goliath stopped walking, and took a deep, calming breath.  "Now, you three wait here with the boy, while I see if they're ready for us." 

Harry watched as the Death Eater disappeared within the darkness of the forbidden forest.  He shivered in the cold.  Puffs of white breath heaved from him as he thought, This is it.  This is how my life will end

No sooner had the thought crossed his mind, the Death Eater on his right gasped and crumpled to the ground. 

"Jenkins?"  The Death Eater on the left asked, looking at the unconscious man.  He glanced behind him, but didn't get the chance to utter a word before he too fell.  

Harry spun around and gazed up at Snape, whose wand was still aimed at the fallen men. 

"Come," he said.  Shocked, Harry didn't move, just stood there dumbly, mouth agape. 

Ripping off his Death Eater Mask, he snapped, "Quickly, Potter!  We have not a moment to waste."   

Harry jumped to action, running alongside the Potions master.  "Professor, I--."

"Not now," Snape interrupted.  "They're coming." 

Suddenly, Snape seized him.  "Potter, stop!" he shouted, grabbing him by the collar, pulling him back.  Without any warning, a hex was hurtling at him.

"Expelliarmus!"  Snape deflected the curse readily, then turned, firing a hex behind them at the approaching assailants.  Harry realized that they would be surrounded by Death Eaters if they didn't reach the portkey within the next few minutes.     

"Drop!" Snape ordered. 

Feeling useless without his wand, Harry obeyed, diving into the dirt at Snape's feet.  In the distance he heard someone say to take them alive, that Voldemort wanted to deal with the traitor and the boy himself. 

Harry could see them now, Death Eaters coming out of the mist, like monsters in a B movie. 

"Watch out!"  Harry shouted as another Death Eater flung a hex towards them.  But Snape turned too late and was knocked to the ground.  Harry scurried to his feet towards Snape, but was warded back from him by incoming curses.  Only affording to be momentarily shaken, Snape regained his footing, dodging and deflecting hexes.   

Everywhere he looked he saw a Death Eater coming towards them.  There were too many now, Harry realized.  Snape would never be able to get them both out.  They were as good as dead.    

"You're mine now, Potter." 

Harry whirled around, looking up at Goliath, his wand thrust firmly in front of him.  "I've got something unforgivably painful in store for you."  Goliath sneered, then his gaze shifted to someone behind Harry. 

Harry stole a glance over his shoulder.  Snape stood fast, eyes narrowed and wand raised.  There was a Death Eater behind Snape with his wand trained on his back, awaiting orders from Goliath.  Snape's black eyes shifted from Goliath's wand to Harry's face, boring into his green eyes.  There was a choice here.   

To Harry, it seemed to happen in slow motion, for it was this moment that he would replay in his mind over and over.  Snape rushed forward, arms outstretching, grabbed Harry to him, shielding them both with his black cape-- Harry felt Snape's body shudder as a curse hit him-- anima praecido, one Harry had never heard before and then-- the lurch of apparation. 

An instant later they hit the ground hard, rolling together entangled in Snape's cape.  Harry laid still for a moment, catching his breath.  They were in another forest-- somewhere bright and warm, but completely unfamiliar to him.  He sat up, unraveling himself from Snape. 

Blinking in the bright sun, Harry asked, "Where are we?"  There was no response.  "Professor?"  Snape was sprawled out on his back, black hair splayed carelessly across his face.  He was unconscious.  

Harry hoped that he was only unconscious and not something worse as he leaned over him, trying to get a better look.  With no wand, there would be little he could do for him out in the middle of nowhere.  And he didn't really want to touch the greasy old git if he didn't have to-- he was sure that Snape would take points from Gryffindor for doing so anyway. 

Harry lowered himself to Snape's ear and shouted, "Professor Snape, are you with me?" 

That invoked an immediate response.  Snape's eyes flew open and he jerked forward so quickly that Harry had to jump back to avoid a literal tête-à-tête.

Snape brought a hand to his forehead as if to steady himself as he snapped, "Mr. Potter!" 

"Sorry," Harry said frowning.  "Are you all right, Professor?"

"Of course!" Snape said irritably.  "But we don't have time for a chat now, Potter.  We must move, quickly."   

Snape pushed himself to his feet, a bit unsteadily.  He looked around, gaining his bearings.  Taking only a few steps, Snape reached out for the nearest tree to steady himself.  Harry stared up at him with a sinking feeling.  There was something wrong with Profesor Snape... 

"For Merlin's sake, Potter!"  Snape shouted.  "We haven't got all day!  Get up!"  He extended his hand to Harry.  Harry accepted it without comment, and hoisted himself up.

They started walking together at a fairly swift pace, but soon Snape started to fall behind.  Noticing his quickening breath, Harry suggested that they stop for a moment.  Snape, being his stubborn, obstinate self ignored him and continued. 

Finally, Snape had to stop to catch his breath.  "Keep... going..." he heaved.  "I'm only a few paces behind you."  Worried, Harry started to move towards him, but Snape ground out, "Potter, go!" 

Harry did as he was told, stealing furtive glances over his shoulder to make sure that Snape was indeed following.  He couldn't believe what a hardheaded, mulish, stiff-necked, opinionated, unbudging git Snape was.  Too proud to admit that he needed a breather, let alone ask Harry for his help. 

"That stubborn, greasy haired--."

Suddenly Harry heard a thud behind him, and the insults died on his lips.  Reeling around, he saw Snape collapsed on the ground. 

"Professor!"  Harry rushed back to him, dropping to his knees.  His face a pallid white, Snape struggled, inhaling jagged, raspy breaths.  He coughed-- Harry was horrified to see blood on his lips. 

"Professor, what-- how--."

"Listen--." Snape interrupted, then exploded into a coughing fit, blood sputtering up past his lips.  It was nearly a full minute before he could speak again.  Harry remained silent, not daring to say a word. 

"...keep going," Snape said softly.  "On the left... there will be a... a stone wall.  There's a house... beyond the wall.  It won't look like it, Potter, but there is."  Snape paused, struggling desperately to get air into his lungs.  "Tell the woman who lives there... that you're my... my student.  She'll take you in... you... you'll be... safe... there..."  Snape closed his eyes, trying direly to breathe.   

"What about you?"  Harry asked.  "Professor Snape?" 

Snape's coal black eyes opened slowly, dilated and tired.  "It doesn't matter... Potter, go." 

"But, I'm not going to just leave you--." 

"Go!" Snape yelled.  As another coughing fit seized him, he curled into himself as if trying to hold on.  Quietly he murmured, "Stupid Gryffindor honor... Potter, you must go... before they come..."  Snape closed his eyes again.   

"I'll go," Harry said.  "I'll get help, Professor."

Harry rose to his feet, and broke into a run along the path Snape had described to him.  The forest was green and gold, with long leaves of yellowing grass weaving between the trees.  Harry's mind raced as he sped through the woods.  How had this happened?  It had to be the curse that hit Snape before they apparated-- anima praecido--

Suddenly Harry realized that he was passing a stone wall.  He skidded to a halt.  Past the wall was a field of yellow grass with no trace of a house.  He stood in the summer sun, a warm breeze gently bending the grass, tousling his hair. 

Even injured, Snape had anticipated his doubt and had assured him that there was, in fact, a house-- but where?  Harry decided to get a closer look.  He walked up to the stone wall that stood at least six feet high.  Climbing it would be difficult-- especially with the poison ivy weaving around the stone blocks.  Harry knew he didn't have time to waste, so he jumped up as high as he could trying to get a good hold on it when he fell through the wall itself.

"It's an illusion," Harry whispered.  He looked up and there was a small, two floor cottage about twenty five feet away.  It looked as if no one had resided in the place for years, the way the ivy overtook the cottage.  It was warded by strong magic that he was sure would only allow him through the threshold if the owner permitted.

Harry raced to the front door, banging on it wildly. 

"Please, I need help!"  Harry shouted. 

A metal plate in the door slid back and a pair of old, hazel eyes looked down at Harry. 

"Who are you?"  The eyes asked suspiciously. 

"My name is Harry Potter-- I'm a student of Severus Snape." 

"Severus sent you?"  The small window closed and the door was thrown open.

An older lady with short, white hair and round spectacles came to the door.  She seemed very pleasant and what Harry suspected a grandmother might look like. 

Her pretty features twisted with concern.  "Why isn't Severus here himself?  He always comes himself." 

"Please," Harry pleaded.  "You must come.  Snape is hurt-- I think he may be dying.  Bring your wand, we could levitate him--."

"My wand?"  She asked.  "Why, I have no wand, dear.  I'm a muggle." 

To be continued…

* * * * * * * * *

Author's note:

This story is based on a dream I had this summer over three nights.  It kept replaying in my head until I had an entire story plotted out.

This is my first Harry Potter fiction--  shall I continue?

Please review --  How will I know if people like my work or if it's any good if no one reviews it?

Thanks much,