SUMMARY: AU, SEVERITUS. Harry gives his father the greatest gift he can give to him

DISCLAIMER: The usual, the characters belong to JKR, I own the plot.

A/N: Severitus is a branch of HP fanfiction where the story is set in an AU. What's so AU about it? Severs Snape is the father of Harry Potter.

The Greatest Gift

By Tiger

Dedicated to the wonderful Rhonda, who introduced me to HP fanfiction and Severitus

Harry was quickly weakening and he knew it. He could feel it. The worst part of it was that Voldemort wasn't killing him using magic, he was killing him with his cold fists, and his concrete feet. He was punishing Harry for defeating him time and time again. Voldemort snaked his hands in front of Harry and grasped the front of his shirt and pulled the young man up until they were face to face.

By this time, Harry was a mess. He was gasping, his nose was bleeding, he had deep cuts and bruises, and his clothing had been torn to shreds. His classes were lost somewhere on the battlefield. It hurt every time he took a breath, and every time he swallowed the bile that threatened to spill out, he tasted blood.

"So," the silky voice of Voldemort hissed into his ear. "We meet again, Potter," Harry shivered. He remembered that voice, he heard it in his dreams. Voldemort laughed at him. It was the same cruel laugh he heard in the dementor's vision, the same laugh Voldemort laughed before he killed Harry's mother. "Afraid of me are you boy?"

Harry stared straight into Voldemort's snakelike eyes and hoarsely whispered, "No."

Voldemort's eyes darkened with rage. He howled with anger and frustration a he threw Harry away from him, as if the boy was nothing more than a rag doll. "You will pay for that, Potter, I'll make you wish that you died along with those bloody parents of yours!" he vowed. He calmed walked towards the shaking boy. "You'll pay," he vowed again. "And this time, nobody will come and save you." Voldemort raised his wand with a malicious smile.

"STAY AWAY FROM MY SON!" a deep voice roared from his side and a heavy body barreled into him. He was caught off guard and fell to the ground. He opened his eyes in time to see a fist smash into his face.

A small distance away from them, Harry slowly opened his eyes. "Dad," he whispered. His father had come to save him. But no, his father wasn't the one who had to vanquish Voldemort. He was supposed to, and he was the one who would save his father. Slowly, painfully, he began crawling towards the fighting men.

"Why, Severus," Voldemort's thin voice drawled once he knocked Snape off of himself. "You came just in time to watch me kill that pitiful excuse for a wizard." Snape snarled and lunged at Voldemort, who easily stepped aside.

"You bloody bastard!" he spat out. "You murdered my wife, my best friend, and now you aim to murder my son! I swear on Merlin's grave that you'll die before I let you come near him again!" Snape made another grab for Voldemort. But the dark wizard blocked him and held the ex-death eater with a death grip.

"I never tolerated insolence from you before you betrayed me. I most certainly will not tolerate it now!" Voldemort hissed, a dark promise hiding behind his words. Like father, like son, he thought as he hit Snape in the back of the neck and tossed the man the same way he had tossed Harry. Retrieving his wand, he pointed it at Snape, ready to give him pain.

"CRUCIO!" Voldemort intoned. He grinned as green light spouted from the tip of his wand.

The next few moments slowed down for Harry. He saw the bit of green and the flash of the red eyes that looked intently at his father. He knew then what he had to do. Pushing the pain he felt away, he pulled his wand out and ran faster than he had ever run before. Pointing his wand at Voldemort, he shouted the unforgivable of all unforgivables, the killing curse. He felt the power build and leap out of his wand. Into the curse, he poured all of the love he had for his father into it, the one emotion Voldemort could not understand. As the curse leapt away from him, Harry threw himself in front of the curse meant for his father.

He saw exploding lights, and he felt as if Voldemort had lit him on fire with a single word. He shook and writhed on the ground, trying to find some way to soothe his excruciating pain. He screamed as loudly as he could, as if all the noise he was making could block out his pain. But then the pain started to fade. He felt so tired. Strong arms encircled him and rocked him back and forth. He opened his eyes and saw his father.

Snape let out a sigh of relief when Harry stopped shaking n pain and opened his green eyes. But something was wrong. His breathing had slowed considerably and was shallow. But how? He asked himself, desperately wanting to run away form the reality of his son's life. Voldemort had broken Harry's body long before the Crucio curse hit him, the curse had only made his internal injuries worse.

"Dad?" Harry asked. "Daddy?" he asked again. He sounded so much like a young child to Snape's ears. He was a child, Harry was no more than a boy, he hadn't even graduated from Hogwart's yet. Harry was his little boy. He felt a tear escape from his eye, even though he had tried not to let it go.

"Daddy, why are you crying?" Harry asked in his soft voice. He reached up and weakly wiped a tear away from Snape's eyes. Snape grasped the hand. It was no smaller than his own, but if felt so much smaller. It was slick with Harry's blood, something that made Snape sick to his stomach. Harry was bleeding badly, but he could do nothing to stop it. Harry's hand was frail, and he was afraid to let the hand go for fear that if he did, Harry's life would slip away form him. So he held the hand as tightly as he could without hurting the boy.

"I'm crying because I love you so much," he whispered. Harry smiled.

"I love you too, Daddy." Snape smiled a sad smile. If only his son knew how much he loved him. They listened to each other's breathing.

"Daddy, I feel so cold," Harry was indeed shivering. Snape wrapped what was left of his robe around the boy, to make him warmer, although he knew it to be futile. "Daddy, it's getting dark, are you going to leave me?" Harry sighed as Snape pulled him closer, cradling him as if he were a newborn babe. His father shook his head.

"No son, I'll never leave you." It was all Snape could do to not break down. His heart was bleeding. His son, his only flesh and blood was leaving him. He could see it in his green eyes. They had lost their sparkle and now they were losing their vividness. Snape put his head against Harry's wanting nothing more than to comfort him, but not really knowing how. How does a grieving father hold his only child as he dies? Severus didn't know how to comfort Harry, he couldn't even comfort himself.

"Daddy, I'm so tired. I want to sleep, but if I sleep, the monsters will chase me," Harry sighed. The world was starting to make him feel dizzy, like he always felt when he was tired.

"Shhh, the monsters won't chase you, you made them go away. Sleep son, I'll be here when you wake up." Severus's voice shook as he whispered.

"I'll sleep, I'll be a good boy for you. Goodbye, Dad, I'll love you always." For a minute, the old Harry came back, and then faded. He stayed long enough to love his father, the father he knew seventeen years too late. He closed his eyes with a small smile on his face, and breathed no more.

All Severus could do was to crush the broken body to himself and weep into his son's shoulder. It was silent on the battlefield, as everyone left standing grieved for The-Boy-Who-No-Longer-Lived, and wept for the awesome gift he gave his father: the gift of life.