Disclaimer: Not mine, duh!
A/N: Doesn't relate to any of my other stories, Sorry.
Summery: Harry wears a blindfold and a chain of events occur. Warning, OoTp Spoilers and Major Character death.
THIS IS AN ALTERNATE ENDING!!!! SAME STORY BUT DIFFERENT ENDING!!!! THIS IS JUST TO SEE SOMETHING!!
"Believe none of us," Hamlet, Wm. Shakespeare.
The Blindfold, by Howl
He tied the blindfold tightly around his eyes, far too tight. For a brief moment the world of darkness flashed into a brilliance of white speaks scattered throughout the blackness before slowly ebbing away into nothing. With fumbling hands, he checked to make sure it wouldn't slip before turning around, swinging unknowingly into the darkness, and steadying himself.
Ever so slightly, he hesitated, but with a sucking breath, he stepped forward, his foot, as planned, firmly smacking onto the corridor floor. He grinned to himself, thinking this was going to be more fun than he had thought it would be, and took another step forward. His arm was outstretched, leisurely leaning upon the stonewall as if it had nothing better to do than trace every crease and crack that the stone bore.
All around the world swayed into acute sounds, the snoring portrait there, the dripping water there, the creaking of the old school settling around him all over.
He took another step forward, his hand tracing the stonewall lazily, tempting it to mock and misdirect him. The darkness was engulfing, bare, lonely, never-ending, lazy, numb, distant, and at the same time, it gave him what he needed the most at the moment. A sense of self.
One knew the way of his or her room, house, hallway, staircase, like the back of the hand. They could walk through it, sure and steadfast, without the slightest of hesitations, without even a thought.
Even in the mutual darkness of a room merely lacking light, one could navigate the room, using the acute shapes that burst out of the gloom to work around the world. But when one blocked all light out that could reach the eyes, well, then one was no longer so sure and steadfast for the walls and halls and places of the furniture were strangers and burst out at the wrongly estimated times.
Yes, with the blindfolded, blinding one's eyes to the light, the world became even more of a stranger that doesn't want to make one's acquaintance unless it's by prodding, poking, and smashing, and knocking.
Harry moved slowly, his step unsure but dying to be sure. He knew that there would always be a ground, because of the corridor he was following, it didn't lead to staircases, but the world was dark, unfamiliar behind the blindfold, and his mind just didn't want to link with his body, giving it the confidence of knowing.
Outside the walls of Hogwarts, night had settled in, nestling comfortably around the old castle, and inside the walls, the students and professors were already settled down deeply into their beds, snoring and dreaming of distant plains.
Harry wasn't one, as was evident in his wandering of the castle while wearing a blindfold. He knew it would be peculiar, to make himself blind, but he knew he had to do it.
Sirius's death was taking its toll on him slowly, but just enough that he felt he had lost a sense of himself. He was starting to question things. How was he to defeat the darkest lord of the century when he couldn't even get into potions, or when he couldn't get past the death of a loved one, at least bear it? He couldn't, and slowly, he was starting to forget, and lose a sense of himself.
The blindfold...it was a way of finding himself. Make it from the Gryffindor Tower to the dungeons while blind to everything, even without the invisibility cloak, and see what sense of the world he brought onto himself. It had been Luna's idea, not directly, but vaguely, while reading aloud an article about a man who blinded himself to see if he knew everything as well as he did. The experience, in vague words, was oddly like finding oneself.
Harry couldn't get the article out of his head for days and he knew that he would have to try it, if not to find himself, but just to see if he could survive in darkness, for that was where he was slowly progressing.
Through the corridors of Hogwarts he stumbled, his hands tracing the wall, periodically knocking into portraits that cursed and snorted at him, and once and a while smashing into a suit of armor that now lined the corridor. He could sense, rather then tell that he was in the corridor with the Trophy Room, only because of the strong stench of polish that always lingered in the air because of all the detentions Filtch issued there.
He wouldn't have directly associated the smell when he could see, just as something in the background, but when his eyes where gone, he noticed it more.
It was almost like he was ensnaring the senses....Harry shook his head, trying not to think of Snape at the moment. He remembered at the end of the year vowing to never, ever trust Snape, and he hadn't completely backed down on the vow, but then again, he wasn't completely living up to it either.
Mostly it had drifted back into the same sense as it had been for the past six years at Hogwarts. Loathing the man because the man loathed him. Sirius...blaming Snape for Sirius...well that was a thing of the past, a spur of the moment, stupid vow, that he now realized wasn't true. It was his own entire fault.
Redirecting his thoughts quickly, away from Sirius, because that was the reason he was wearing the blindfold, to escape; Harry tried to think of something else. As in getting himself to the dungeons.
Soon, he knew, he would reach the stairs, and then he'd have more to deal with than not bumping into armor.
And it was.
He felt like a baby just learning to walk. His foot scraped each step down carefully before he securely put his weight onto it, and since he was taking so long the staircases were always moving on him, impatient for his departure.
After a while, he was so lost in his own darkness behind the blindfold that he was tempted to just take it off and look around. What corridor was he on? How many staircases had moved on him? Redirecting him to somewhere opposite of where he was going?
Oh, how tempting it was to take off, to yank off the blindfold and let himself be swarmed with color, sights, and knowledge as to where he was, oh yes, very tempting.
But he didn't.
In a sheer sense of willpower that Harry prayed he would have when it came to the final battle, he fought the urge to take off the blindfold. He was going to see this through.
He had lost himself to the Auror Society because of his dismal grades in potions, and he had lost himself to the loss of Sirius, and the prophecy. But this he wouldn't lose. Not for the damn life of him would he fail to reach the dungeons while wearing the blindfold the entire time.
More steps, more stumbling, more heart-wrenching falls where he lost his balance and fell flat, more confusion, and more determination. On and on he carried, fighting the urge and working his way unknowingly downward, knowing that sooner or later he would hit the Entrance Hall.
He listened to the snores and mumblings of the portraits, recognizing some of the voices and placing himself on the map of the school to fall into surety, then to fall out again when a staircase moved.
On and on he traveled, listening for footsteps of someone approaching, in case...well in case of nothing. Someone saw him, then let him draw his own conclusions, this was his thing and no one was going to ruin it.
Sweat broke out on his brow from his effort, forcing himself to keep walking even though tiredness and exhaustion that was slowly creeping onto him like a prowler of the night, and trying to fight the staircases in a losing battle that he was determined to win.
It was like Voldemort, the man's biggest flaw was that he was afraid to die, and wanted to outlive death. Harry's flaw was that the one thing he knew would help him was nothing but a losing battle for he was sure to be lost forever to the blindfold on the staircases that seemed to love playing tricks on him.
A Villain and a Hero, both caught up in their own battles, determined not to fail, determined to beat the odds. Battles that are with themselves, but will affect the outcome of the battle the rest of the world expected.
Harry heard a staircase moving before him, and his mind was flashing. He had to get to the staircase before it moved, it was the one staircase he knew would lead him directly to the Entrance Hall, the one that couldn't move on him again or he'd be lost.
He bent down, doing what everyone would've screeched at him for being insane and stupid, and with a quick decision, he dashed.
Walking and stumbling without knowing where one was to land was unnerving enough as it was. Running, however, was horrifying.
Harry was sprinting, heading straight for the staircase that was moving on him, knowing two things. He could miss and plunge to a painful landing, or he could make it...and reach the dungeons.
Darkness bounced around him, the blindfold flopping around on his eyes, threatening to fall off. Closing his emerald eyes, just in case it did fall, Harry gritted his teeth, and allowed a trickling, cold sweat of horror make its way down his cheek.
Then he leapt.
The Staircase was moving, ebbing to the side slowly, taunting the boy to make it, and Harry was leaping, blind and unsure. With sight, it would've been easy for he had been doing it sense first year, but without...well he wasn't sure he was landing correctly, or in the right way.
For the briefest of moments, Harry was flying, airborne, his body free. Oh, how it was to fly without a broom, what an odd sensation it created, ebbing from the stomach and swarming the rest of the body through the veins.
Then the fear if he would make it or not, the one that he had since he ran, began to drift away. In a way, he didn't care. Either way, he was proving a point to himself. Either losing a battle with himself or winning.
But what was it like to really loose a battle of oneself?
Then, Harry's heart, fluttering, crashed into his ribcage as he landed, unsteadily, upon the staircase, and his knees buckling out beneath him, he crashed forward, sprawling onto the stairs.
He had made it! He had won!
Pushing himself up unsteadily, he crept down the staircase until he felt firm ground, and from there, he walked without holding his arms out like a zombie until he reached the dungeons.
Laughing, Harry reached up and pulled off his blindfold. For the briefest of seconds the world pounded a dazzling amount on light and sights and colors into his eyes that he had to blink rapidly before adjusting to it.
Then everything swam around him, and Hogwarts was once again his home.
He had lost it, when Sirius had died, he had lost his home, or rather his sense of home. Now...now he had found it once again.
Leaning against the wall, Harry looked around, admiring his home, second home more likely for he had to consider the Dursleys as home, but sometimes a second home was always better.
In his hand the blindfold was being held limply, and with a glance at the thick piece of black fabric that he had ripped from his third year robe, he shoved it into his pocket.
It was over.
He mourned Sirius in his heart, and always would but he wouldn't allow it to rule his life. The prophecy was a way of life to him now, and once it was completed, it would be over. No longer there, and he planned to survive.
For he had won the battle with himself, beat the odds and pulled through. Voldemort never would, he would never stop fearing death, and he would never outlive death, so Harry had the advantage.
He had the advantage.
He had once again found himself.
So all that now mattered, was getting what he wanted for himself....
It was Saturday; the sun was beating down outside, and students splashed around in the lake, tickling the giant squid tentatively. Ron and Hermione sat by the lake, but they were only a duo. The third was lacking.
And he was lacking in the dungeons.
Harry had figured it out last night, when he used the blindfold, and now he was going to do it.
Snape's office door loomed before him, and sighing, biting his bottom lip, Harry knocked. There was a gruff 'come in' and before he could change his mind, Harry quickly entered.
Snape was sitting behind his desk, pouring over the first essays of the year, his brows knitted in frustration and disgust, and when Harry entered he didn't bother to look up.
Harry patiently waited in the doorway, awaiting some sort of recognition. As far as he knew, he had been banned from Snape's office last year, and this could bring about his death for being back in there.
Finally, Snape set aside the essay, after marking a large 'P' on it, and looked up. His eyes went from surprise to loathing in seconds, and the coal colored eyes were merely slits before Harry knew it.
"Potter, you're not supposed to be in here. I explicitly remember kicking you out last year." His voice was a snarl, edging on menacing and hatred.
"Yes sir," Harry said, trying to keep himself calm. The usual feeling of loathing rose up. "But I need to ask you something."
"Oh," Snape raised a mocking eyebrow. "Ask me something. The Great Harry Potter needs to ask me something?" His voice was dripping with an acid like sarcasm.
"Yes sir," Harry responded, bluntly ignoring the comment. He needed to keep his cool, and get through this. Yelling would bring about nothing with Snape.
"All right then," Snape suddenly said, startling Harry who figured he'd be at it for a few more minutes. "Ask before I change my mind."
"I want to be in NEWT Potions," Harry stated bluntly.
"Not a question Potter," Snape said snidely.
"Will you allow me to be in NEWT Potions, sir?" Harry sighed.
"No," Snape responded, before returning to his papers. "Now leave." Harry didn't.
"Sir," Harry resisted the urge to stress the word. "I need to have NEWT Potions to become an Auror."
"Not my problem." Snape responded.
"Please, sir. I'll take a test...do anything!" Harry pleaded, trying to keep his calm. He wasn't begging, by no stretch of the imagination, he was just desperately asking something. Snape finally looked up, an eyebrow corked.
"A test?" he asked snidely. "Tell me, Potter, why should I subject myself to conjuring up a test for you, you Harry Potter above the rules, the Golden Boy, while I already have a class of students who passed the OWL last year? Just so you can become an Auror?" Harry hesitated, not sure how to respond. Snape leaned forward. "Do you really think becoming an Auror will give you better chances of beating The Dark Lord?"
"No sir," Harry said quickly, truthfully. "I know it won't, but it's all I ever wanted to be."
"Touching," Snape snarled, turning back around.
"I know being Auror won't give me an advantage, but it'll help me beat Riddle though. I know that's what you were implying sir." Harry said, surprising himself with the steadiness of his voice. Inside he was close to boiling with loathing.
"Riddle?" Snape snarled. "Why Riddle, Potter, afraid to speak his name."
"I'm not you," Harry snarled, losing control. "I call him Riddle because like saying You-Know-Who, calling him Voldemort creates just as much fear of the thing, and gives him more advantage. Calling him The Dark Lord," he spat at the words with as much insult as possible, "well I imagine there are tons of Dark Lords before Riddle and more after Riddle, so it's nothing but another advantage. Tom Riddle, well that's something entirely different that creates nothing but the image of a man afraid of death."
Harry finished his speech with a slight smirk, remembering last night.
Snape's face had turned impassive while he spoke, but now it was back to its usual glare.
"Get out Potter," he snarled. "You're arrogant, cocky, and you don't know anything."
"Then teach me," Harry snapped, his voice slightly rising. "All you ever do is preach to me about not knowing anything, and if that's the case then bloody well teach me! I'm not arrogant like my father, and you know it, just won't admit it. You think it's all a game! I know it's a game! You have an image to protect, and I know it. Fine, do so! But stop calling me stupid, and if you really believe that, then TEACH ME!" Harry's more or less shouted. Snape stood up, his body creased in a fury.
He stepped forward, his eyes flashing.
"Don't ever pretend to know me, Potter. You know not what I think." He was getting closer and Harry had a sudden flashback to last year after the pensive accident. He shivered slightly. "But you're right, Potter, it's a game. You just have the rules wrong. But don't EVER pretend to know me. Understood?"
Harry nodded mutely, startled and bit frightened by the man's voice which was low, and dark.
"I'll just leave then," Harry mumbled, frightened but not willing to admit it to himself let alone Snape.
"Why were you wearing the blindfold?" Snape suddenly asked, startling Harry so much that the boy had to blink for several seconds, dumbly, before following his words.
"I—err—needed to prove something to myself." Harry mumbled, horrified that Snape had seen him. If he had...why hadn't he said anything?
"Did you?" Snape asking, not bothering to back up, but boring into Harry's eyes, who met him steadfast.
"Yes," Harry said, confident and truthful. Snape studied him for several seconds, making Harry feel interestingly uneasy.
"Why did you come down here to speak to me about the class?" he finally asked. Harry knew what he was looking for in a response.
"To get back on track," Harry informed just as truthfully.
"All right Potter," Snape finally said, after several minutes of a thick silence. "The test won't be easy, but you can take it next Saturday, at one. Be at the classroom on time, understood?" Harry was startled, flabbergasted, stunned, but he nodded nonetheless mutely.
"Yes sir, thank you." Harry breathed, quietly and Snape stepped backwards, quietly.
"Leave," he snarled and Harry didn't think about it twice, he turned and made to leave, still stunned. He had yelled, insulted slightly, and lived. Amazing.
"Oh and Potter," Harry didn't turn but he paused. "It's an appearance like you said, and I do have to keep it." Harry nodded. "However, you're appearance...it disappeared last night, when you jumped."
Harry turned slightly, wide-eyed.
"Don't be daft boy you know very well what I mean." Snape snapped, and Harry did, and with a slight nod he opened the door, for there was nothing to say.
"Oh, Potter, ten points from Gryffindor for being out after curfew." Harry smirked, some things would never change, and he left the dungeon. Though his was mind was in a whirl.
Somewhere, he knew he had created a truce ever so slightly with the Potions Master. A truce that was loosely based and only apparent when no one could report it to Tom Riddle, but a truce all the same.
A truce that brought trust...
That one day could be the key to everything. For Severus Snape, as Harry, was in the center of the chessboard, another pawn, yes, but a special pawn that held more power. Harry the key to Voldemort's defeat, and Snape, they key to Voldemort's plans, both so dearly important, that if one died, then the light would lose.
Their trust, brought on by a mere blindfold, that till this day resided deep within Harry's Hogwarts trunk, was what joined their chancing of winning, and so it was that on that faithful day, when the final battle came around, the one that held a wounded Harry Potter in his hands, was none other than that other pawn, Severus Snape.
"Tell me, Potter," Snape began, as he held a young man who was gulping for air. All around bodies laid, having ceased to live, or just barely clinging on. In the center, two steps to the right, was Voldemort, Tom Riddle, a lifeless lump, his milky pale flesh crumbled in on itself. "What gives you the right to die?"
"What gives you the right to mock a dieing man?" Harry asked, a smile cracking his face.
"Why, Potter, I'm not mocking a dieing man, but a living one." Snape paused, seemingly rolling something around in his head. He had helped Harry Potter, he had helped the savior win the war, defeat Voldemort, he had helped him in a way no one else could.
Not even he could explain why.
"Is if wrong to fear death?" Harry whispered, his voice gasping.
"No," Snape responded, his face and demeanor impassive.
"Riddle did," Harry whispered. He didn't want to die; he hadn't even finished his seventh year. He had two weeks left; he wanted to live through them.
"Riddle was dark, you're light," Snape responded, helplessly cradling the young man to his body. Though he would never admit it, he didn't want Harry to die either. Not because he was the Harry Potter, but because he was boy, just Harry. "It's a reasonable feeling, to fear death."
"If you say so," Harry mumbled.
"Don't get arrogant on me." Snape snarled, unable to stop himself, and Harry smiled, weakly, his brilliantly flashing green eyes piercing Snape. Then he began to cough, his stomach heaving and ho-ing darkly, and harshly.
Snape grabbed his arm around the boy's shoulders, comforting. "Don't Potter, don't die. Help is coming." Merlin, he hoped help was coming.
"I got all the rules wrong," Harry mumbled.
"Not surprising, you're usually wrong." Snape commented dryly, without much passion.
"About our game," Harry carried on, bluntly ignoring Snape's comment. "I twisted them myself, therefore I change our game. S-sorry, I should've known that it was a ploy." Another swarm of coughing overtook him. "T-thanks for letting me into Potions."
"You passed, amazingly enough, the test, Potter. I had no choice but to let you in." Snape said, keeping himself detached. Harry chuckled weakly. "You can't die on me Potter, for I have yet to finish my year's ridiculing you yet."
"Mocking a dead man, how sweet." Harry chortled slightly and Snape pulled a face that clearly said, I'm not mocking. "Professor, you remember the blindfold?"
"How could I not? It caused all this." Snape pretended to sound disgruntled, about his trust in Harry, but he couldn't pull it off too well.
"I found myself because of that..." Harry whispered his breath dieing.
"Why are you telling me this?" Snape snarled.
"You should try it," Harry carried on, his eyes closing.
"I take insult—Potter! No! Potter! Don't die on me!" Snape said, jerking Harry up slightly, over in the corner, Neville stirred, he was a key player in the final battle, but no one had known this, even guessed this. Snape ignored him though.
"Professor...." Harry's voice was real weak now, distant. "I'm not afraid anymore."
"Because you're not dieing," Snape snarled.
"No, because I trust you...and you're holding me. I—I don't feel alone anymore." Snape's breath hitched, no one...no one had ever said that to himself. "The blind...fold...it's...in my...trunk...thank-you...Severus..."
"Potter! Harry! Potter!" Snape jerked Harry's body, to stir him to life, but he wasn't moving, he wasn't breathing. He was gone.
An unknown feeling prickled at Snape's eyes and he hurriedly wiped them away, cradling Harry closer to him. He looked over at Voldemort's lifeless body, and hugged Harry more.
He had been a mere boy, only a boy. And Tom Riddle, Voldemort, had been a man, a lunatic, but only a man. Harry, the boy, had realized this. He called him Riddle, knew his fear, and treated him, thought of him, as human.
Snape had called him Riddle sense that day Harry walked into his office, but only when he was out of earshot of DE's and Voldemort.
But it had taken a boy to make him realize...and for the first time in seventeen years, Snape cried.
He didn't attend the funeral for Harry Potter, but went up to the boy's dorm room. He began to dig through his trunk, numbly, until he came upon the blindfold. He stared at it, remembering all that it brought about, and felt an urge to tear it to shreds and at the same time, cradle it like he had the dieing boy.
Without hesitation, he put the blindfold on, wrapping his eyes tightly, as Harry had done the first time, and he began to walk.
Harry hadn't been lying, one did find himself when wearing and comforting the darkness. Snape, who had been lost for some many years, and had found himself even more lost after Harry's death, suddenly felt more in tune with himself as he made his wall, stumbling and crashing, shamelessly through the castle.
Trust Harry to get it right, he thought.
Then, he finally reached his distention, the third floor corridor, next to the door that once guarded Fluffy seven years ago. It had taken him a long time, and he was sore by time he reached it. But he had made it, like Harry had made it to the dungeons.
He had found a part of himself he had thought he lost.
Then, he tore off the blindfold, blinking against the light and colors of the hallways, and stared at the portrait before him.
"This is where it all started, Harry," Snape said to the portrait. "Where you first began your reckless adventures." He glanced at the door and smiled slightly. He wondered what it would've been like had this never happened, had the Sorcerer's Stone never come to Hogwarts.
Things would've been different, he was sure of it.
Then, with a nod at the sleeping portrait, he walked to his classroom, his new job as Defense Teacher, and sat at his desk. He dropped the blindfold onto his desk, knowing that Harry was at peace, and that he was at peace with himself too.
Then, he realized, that on the portrait in the hallway, something had been missing. He went back, quickly, without the blindfold this time and stared at the picture. (He would forever keep the blindfold.)
And on the picture, a dozing boy that was the savior of the wizarding world and of Snape, but missing from his head was the scar that had so doomed him to his fate.
Freedom, Snape realized. Harry was free without his scar...
"To die would be an awfully big adventure," Peter Pan.
A/N: How you like? Good or bad? I wrote in one go, going in one direction and ending up in another. READ AND REVIEW PLEASE.