Rating: PG.

Pairing: SS/HP

Spoilers: OotP

Disclaimer:I don't own the characters or anything else to do with Harry Potter. Just the warped storyline added. No profit, no gain, and all that jazz.

Summary: Response to HPRoundRobin After Battle Challenge by firestar038.

The story starts just after the defeat of Voldemort. Harry is lying on the battlefield, near death death. Severus, seeing this, runs to the one he loves.

The following conditions must apply:
1) This must be an extremely sentimental piece.
2) In the end, Harry must die due to his injuries.

When Souls Collide

By Aria

Inspired and beta'd by the wonderful Magdelena

With a swift thrust, Godric Gryffindor's sword pierced through the scaly flesh of the sub-human red-eyed wizard known as Lord Voldemort. His maniacal expression transformed to one of shock and disgust, and in a final act of desperation, he hurled his dead weight forward onto his long-time nemesis, the object of his wrath and jealousy, and as of this moment…his killer…Harry Potter.

Realization preceded Harry's own downfall, as on a face marked by great effort and concentration broke a triumphant smile. His mission was finally completed. Harry Potter had once and for all murdered Voldemort.

The smile failed to reach the young man's eyes and if one were to gaze into them deeply, one might find evidence of concern, fatigue, and misery. His disloyal body was already displaying the telltale signs of the truth behind the prophecy. Oh, how he hated that cursed prophecy; the thorn in his side that had single-handedly robbed him of a normal life. To kill and to die – that had always been Harry Potter's purpose, and being the obedient boy that he was, he'd silently and dutifully accepted his doom.

As the young man fell to the ground, barely managing to roll sideways far enough to free himself of the burden of the meager remains of Voldemort's shell, warm memories flickered like wizarding snapshots, in his mind: receiving his Hogwarts letter, being accepted as an honorary member of the Weasley clan, winning the Quidditch house cup, and giving the valedictorian speech at his Hogwarts graduation.

The memories then took a sharp turn as Harry watched his relationship with his former potions master unravel before his weary eyes: being mocked and ridiculed during his first potions lesson, Severus saving his life at the Quidditch match during his first year at Hogwarts, Severus shielding Harry and his friends with his body from Remus Lupin in his wolf form, Severus displaying his dark mark after the Tri-Wizard tournament, Severus' eyes boring through his, as if trying to catch a glimpse of his soul, Severus' electrifying touch, as he shook Harry's hand at graduation.

Before his mind could reel over the recent highlights of their relationship however, Harry felt a slender hand grab onto his and begin stroking it softly. The mortally injured young man opened his heavy eyes to gaze into the face he loved so much, hoping to ease the pain he knew he'd find there. He wasn't mistaken. The crouching form of Severus Snape was kneeling at his side and was crying softly. Harry had never seen Severus cry before and the sight was most disturbing…yet gratifying.

Stroking the beautiful face of the fallen figure before him, Severus whispered, in between muffled sobs. "Don't leave me, Harry. I can't be alone again. Please, stay with me."

Harry tried to speak up, tried to answer his love, but the energy had already been drained from his body. He could not find the strength to form the words he longed to say. The weakened hero made a desperate attempt at tightening his hold on Severus' hand, but to no avail. His lifeless limbs no longer obeyed his orders. They lay sagging at the side of his limp body, answering only to Severus' tightening hold.

Inky strands of bloodied hair hovered above his face, as Severus cradled Harry's form into his strong arms. Harry felt his lover's rapid heart beat, as he was pulled closer into the embrace.

Soft, warm lips rested momentarily on his cold, chapped ones, as Severus moaned in anguish. The older wizard was longing for a flicker of acknowledgment from his love, who did nothing but lay so still in his arms. He withdrew his lips from the young man's mouth so he could peer into the once lively, expressive green, green eyes, but winced at the cold, deadened eyes that greeted him, instead. There was no evidence to confirm his Harry's spirit still inhabited the uncooperative body he so helplessly clung to.

"Please my love, please talk to me one last time."

When his plea went unanswered, Severus tried again.

"If you can hear me, Harry, blink twice. It's all I ask of you."

As difficult as it was, Harry channeled all that was left of his fleeting energy and forced his eyelids to shut for an instant. He had so much to say to Severus, so much to explain, but blinking was the only action he could still perform, in this state.

It seemed to have been enough to allow Severus some small comfort, for a soft smile graced his pallid face and his onyx eyes brimmed with fresh tears. He leaned forward and whispered in Harry's ear:

"You are my one true love, Harry James Potter. I've never known a more courageous, noble, beautiful soul in all my years. Thank you for the incredible gift you bestowed upon a bitter undeserving bastard. Being loved by you has been the single greatest accomplishment of my life."

Severus felt the soft shudder as his lover's soul exited his body. It was almost as if Harry had clung to life just to hear Severus' parting words, and once they were said, the young man allowed himself to let go. To leave forever.

"Rest, my love" the broken man whispered softly, as he picked the lifeless body up and carried it back into the castle.

The battle had come to a halt once Voldemort's shriveled body disintegrated. A low howling shriek was heard from the remaining loyal death eaters on the field, as their master tapped into their magical forces, in an attempt to salvage his black soul.

Severus had also felt the intrusive pull on his magic, but luckily enough, was able to block it rather quickly. This brand of Symbiotic Magic was only effective in conquering the minds and hearts of those who remained truly loyal. The magical 'donor' must be either willing to share his powers, or too weak to fight back, in order for the spell to work.

Several moments of panic and befuddlement followed before the loyal death eaters instinctively tried to override their master's pull, realizing at last that their Lord was prepared to sacrifice all of them in order to reclaim his own life…it would be either him or them. So down he went. Alone. No followers flocking to his sides, no servants kissing the hems of his robes, escorting him down his final walk of shame, for when we die, we are truly alone.

Or are we?

Voldemort's dark and rotting soul no longer controlled its own actions in the corridor leading to the underworld. His soul had no choice but to trudge down the wily path of doom. But even the Dark Lord's troubled soul could not be fooled. It knew it was being watched closely, and it knew exactly who was watching him.

The golden silhouette of the Boy-Who-Lived followed him like a watchful guard dog, never letting him out of its sight. He could feel the energy force repel him, like polar ends of a magnet, pushing him further into the darkness. The golden silhouette kept silent, its aura shimmering beautifully as it glided gracefully behind him.

Harry Potter had been, in both life and death, the complete antithesis of Tom Morvolo Riddle. Where one slithered painfully towards the approaching abyss, the other waltzed daintily, almost gaily, as if he hadn't a care in the world.

Severus' faithful legs carried him directly to the hospital wing of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; the limp body lying in his arms growing colder with each passing moment. Upon entering the infirmary, he carefully placed Harry on an empty bed, tidying the ruffled black mane of hair as best he could, in an attempt to make his lifeless lover more presentable.

After all, there will be many wishing to pay their respects to the great hero.

Seconds later Poppy and Albus bustled noisily into the infirmary, rushing directly towards the bed on which Harry lay. Poppy ran her wand over his body twice, muttering several incantations, before facing Albus and informing him that Harry Potter was, in fact, no longer among the living.

"It's just as we predicted, Albus." The mediwitch declared, offering Albus a knowing glance. "They both had to leave this world together."

Poppy Pomfrey's official announcement caused Severus to tremble. Now that it had been formally stated by a professional, the knowledge of Harry's final departure became a harsh reality. Albus turned towards Severus, clearly noticing the long-haired wizard in the room for the first time. He offered the potions master a warm smile, accompanied by a soft twinkle in his eyes. The aged wizard stroked his long white beard languidly.

"Yes, dear Harry. Complete your job like a good lad."

Severus squinted in anger as his eyebrow shot up, and a vein in his temple began to pulse. Summoning all his strength to refrain from decking the old man, he shot him a deadly glare.

"What did you just say to him?" he hissed dangerously.

Albus remained nonplussed, eyeing the distraught wizard curiously.

"Why, I offered our boy encouragement on his mission, Severus."

"His MISSION???" Severus bellowed, incredulously. Marching up to Albus, he yanked his former mentor's robe collar violently and continued. "Hasn't he done enough for you? Hasn't he completed all your ungrateful little tasks? He gave his bloody life for your cause, what more could you possibly want?"

Albus remained calm throughout the assault. He placed his hands on the younger man's shoulders, massaging them gently, trying to placate and reassure him wordlessly.

Before either man could speak, the stern nurse turned to face Severus and stated, in a dry tone. "Harry had meant to explain the procedure to you beforehand, Severus. Did he not inform you in time?"

The confused wizard jerked back from Albus' touch and neared the mediwitch. "Explain what? What procedure?"

Holding his head in his hands in what appeared to be a most frustrated gesture, Severus' eyes wandered aimlessly from Albus to Poppy and back, begging to be enlightened regarding the situation at hand.

It was Albus who finally forced the agitated man down to sit in the armchair by Harry's bed, as he informed him of that which had taken place.

"You must understand, Severus, that it was Harry's choice to keep this information from you. You will have to ask him why, someday."

Seeing Severus wince at that, Albus motioned for him to remain silent so that he could continue the explanation.

"You see, Harry came to me four years ago, during his 6th year at Hogwarts. It was several months after he learned of the prophecy concerning himself and Voldemort. Harry had been mulling over its meaning during that time, and luckily decided to share his interpretation with me.

"As you know, we all believed the prophecy implied that neither Harry nor Tom could survive the death of the other. Their link, we assumed, would force them to disappear from this world together.

"Harry found a loophole in this theory. He truly believed with all his heart, that he had a chance of surviving Tom, if only he could wait out the transitional period in which Tom's soul would leave this world. If he could, for lack of a better word, 'trick' the cosmos into thinking he had died alongside Tom, he could complete the task of escorting Tom's soul into the underworld and handing him over to his judges. This way Harry would fulfill the prophecy without causing upheaval to the powers that be, or infuriating the Fates."

Severus wore an expression of grave befuddlement as he interjected vigorously. "How, Albus? How would he trick the cosmos into believing him to be dead? How would he return to reclaim his body?"

Eyes twinkling, the white-haired wizard clasped his hands together, looking smug.

"How indeed. Have you not noticed the changes Harry had gone through over the past few years? Our daring boy grew into a responsible, hard working young man who delved deep into ancient runes, Jewish Kaballah, and various Oriental teachings, searching for a solution for this conundrum. He researched diligently and left no stone unturned, seeking for the answer to his deepest desire."

The usually austere potions master made no attempt at hiding his shock. How could his lover have hidden this from him all these years? Did he not trust Severus with the truth? Did he think so poorly of his lover, not to seek his advice or assistance?

Severus felt betrayed. He lowered his head and placed his hands on the sides, trying to organize his thoughts once more.

"Harry found an ancient Egyptian spell that preserved the body while allowing the soul to complete its unfinished business. The soul must return to the original body within a single hour however, or the spell would backfire, thus rendering the body useless, while leaving the lost soul to wander the corridor of doubt which leads to the underworld, for all eternity."

The expression on Severus' face revealed the depth of the wizard's hurt and confusion. After a long pause, he mumbled softly, "Why would this information be kept from me, Albus?"

The kind eyed old man placed a soothing arm on Severus' shoulder, and responded with a deep sigh. "You must realize, dear Severus that Harry's main concern was to shield you from further pain and suffering. Since we had no means of testing the effectiveness of the spell beforehand, our dear boy did not wish to needlessly raise your hopes."

Severus was staring at his mentor, wide eyed and dumbstruck, incapable of forming a coherent reply.

"This morning, however," the aged wizard continued, "as I cast the powerful spell on him, within moments of Voldemort's attack, he had a change of heart." Albus' eyes were soft with sadness as he lowered his gaze momentarily. "As could be expected, fear of dying on the field overwhelmed him. He rushed out of my office like a tornado, intent on finding you before it was too late." Albus reaffirmed his grip on Severus' shoulder as he added, "I'm afraid he didn't manage to reach you in time."

As if struck by a bolt of lightening, Severus jerked up to his feet and cast a hurried glimpse at the clock.

"That leaves him precisely seven minutes to return."

Albus and Poppy nodded grimly.

"It's taking him longer than we anticipated", the mediwitch added.

Without a second thought Severus positioned himself at the side of his lover's numb body, snuggling as close as possible, while ignoring the watchful gazes of the witch and wizard present.

He stroked Harry's dark hair lovingly, placed butterfly kisses along his cheek, and whispered softly. "Come back, my love. I know you're close now. I can sense it. You can do it, Harry. Come back to me."

The next few minutes passed at an agonizingly slow pace. Severus continued murmuring gentle words of love while caressing the contours of Harry's face. He refused to consider the tragic possibility of Harry's soul returning a moment too late. No, he had already lost him once today, and there was no chance in hell he was going to lose him again.

With barely two minutes left before the spell backfired, Severus' gaze bore deeply into Harry's still opened emerald eyes before bringing his mouth closer and covering the deathly pale lips with his own. As Severus kissed Harry, he felt a sudden gasp of air exhaled from the young man's mouth.

And he knew.

Harry had found his way back to him.

Reviews make me do the happy dance!