Summary: The final battle has been fought, the side of the light has won. However, Severus Snape has paid a high price. His friend Kingsley Shacklebolt helps him on the road to physical and psychical recovery. This is going to be hurt/comfort – PURE hurt/comfort; no action, no complex plot, just a view on how our Potions Master is going to deal with his situation and how others react to it. Also, this story will provide a closer look at an unusual friendship between my favourite main character and my favourite supporting character.
Category: Drama/Angst, a bit of melodrama and a couple of pensive moments… and NO SLASH! There still exists such a thing like just friendship between men… Yes, there is… really:-)
Rating: PG-13, just to be on the safe side.
Warnings and A/N:
There is no warning for violence or such stuff, but Snape will be out
of character in some scenes, especially in the earlier chapters.
This is the translation of my originally German fic "Die letzte Sühne", which was written before HP6. And since that one was (and still is) my first fic, it has some flaws. I corrected some of them with the translation, but some things I couldn't (or didn't want to) change. Sorry! If you want pure canon-Snape, I invite you to read my one-shots, they are better, I guess…
And since I am no native English speaker, my language will not be very sophisticated, I'm afraid… Please don't be too nitpicking :-)
Beta: Persephone Lupin and Ermione for the original version and lucidity for the translation. I owe them a great deal! You certainly all know of their great stories, don't you? If not, go on and read them, they are truly worth it!
One last word: enjoy!
The final Atonement
"Severus!" Minerva McGonagall called out, trying to drown out the noise of the fighting. "Hold your position! Can you hold them at bay here and provide us rear cover? I've got to aid Albus in helping Harry!"
Without waiting for an answer she hurried up the hill and behind some trees out of sight.
Before Snape found time to wonder how in Merlin's name the elderly witch - given her age - still managed to sprint in such a way, another flash of light passed before his face, missing his head just by inches. In an instant he turned around, catching the sight of Kingsley Shacklebolt, who desperately tried to fight off Bellatrix Lestrange, while the other Death Eaters had disapparated again, apparently to re-apparate and strike back in a surprise move soon. Snape aimed his wand and sent a curse towards Sirius Black's cousin, which at least diverted her attention away from Kingsley.
"The traitor!" she shrieked, aiming her wand towards Snape, but the Potions Master was on alert and his quickly cast curse took her out and gave him and Kingsley some minutes to breathe at least.
As strange as it seems, there had been something developing between Snape and the Auror lately, which nearly even resembled a kind of friendship. In recent times the two of them got along better and better, given the fact that Kingsley tended to side with Snape in arguments within the order. And after the spy's cover was blown and the Auror had been the one to rescue Snape from the fangs of the Death Eaters, the respect of the usually misanthropic Slytherin towards Kingsley had grown considerably.
"Incarcerus," Snape mumbled and thin ropes emanated from his wand, binding the unconscious female Death Eater.
"Thanks, Severus," panted the Auror. "That was really close now, that fury almost got me."
Snape nodded curtly, fingering gently at a deep wound on his forehead, from which blood was streaming down into his eyes. "Minerva went to catch up with Albus up the hill," he explained. "She said to aid Potter. Seems like the big showdown is not too far out and she ordered us to stay here for rear cover. Where is Moody?"
"I lost sight of him at the bridge. He didn't seem to have any grave difficulties, though – you know Moody, he's rather imperturbable. Filius on the contrary…" A sad expression dawning on his face, Kingsley dropped this head.
The Slytherin didn't stop keeping an eye on the slopes of the hill around them, where any second other Death Eaters could be apparating. "What happened?" he asked shortly.
"It was a trap," Kingsley told him, head held low. Obviously he tried to hide the shimmer of tears in his eyes. "He had been at the bridge with Dung, when suddenly five Death Eaters apparated around them. Merlin, Severus, they didn't have a chance!" he burst out. "Dung was able to dispparate in time, but Filius…" Now there was a tear at last, finding its way down the Auror's cheek and he became silent. Snape's facial features showed no change in expression, but there was a slight sting in his heart. There had been almost no one, who hadn't liked the tiny charms professor, and even Snape had got along with the ever-cheerful Flitwick rather well. He almost felt the exceptional sensation of comforting his friend. However… Flitwick would not stay the only loss, this was to be expected.
„Plopp!"... „Plopp!".. „Plopp!"... ... „Plopp!"... „Plopp!"
The sound of apparating wizards pulled Snape out of his musings in an instant. He turned around, realising that Kingsley had already defended himself against Avery and Rookwood, while Nott cast a curse towards him, that he dodged at the last moment. While sending another well-aimed Impedimenta in Nott's direction, a green flash of light grazed his shoulder, ripping open a deep gash. A short gasp of pain escaped him, but he was quick-reacting enough to pull up his wand and cast a protective charm – just in time, since two more green flashes bounced back from an invisible wall just before his face. While gripping his injured arm, with blood dripping over his slender fingers and soaking the edge of the ripped-open robe, he caught a glimpse of Kingsley being hit by a curse and sinking to the ground.
"Oh joy… the traitor…" MacNair sneered, while Nott beside him shook off the last remaining after-effects of Snape's curse and rose slowly. Antonin Dolohov aimed his wand at the injured Potions Master, while Avery and Rookwood let go of Kingsley to come near as well. Slowly they began to circle Snape, who struggled not to pant too obviously.
"You have no chance, you fools," Snape ground out through clenched teeth. "This very moment Voldemort has to face Dumbledore, Potter and his predicted fate."
The Death Eaters flinched at the name of their master, Snape noticed almost with satisfaction. While he evaluated potential means of escape, the circle of the Death Eaters drew closer and closer. Disapparation was out of the question, as his enemies had their wands at the ready to strike at the least motion on his part.
Avery woke up Bellatrix with a brief Enervate and helped the woman out of her bindings. Clutching his shoulder, from which an unusually thick stream of blood was pouring, Snape cursed inwardly. That blasted curse had not been one with which he was familiar. Apparently the Dark Lord had been inventing some new dark titbits for his minions lately. He thought of Albus, Minerva and Potter, hoping to be able to at least buy them some time here.
Suddenly MacNair fell to the ground, screaming out loud. The unguarded and obviously awoken Kingsley had cast a curse on him from behind and was just sending another one in Nott's direction, while Snape took advantage of the general confusion and stunned Rookwood with a quick spell.
He just realised Dolohov and Bellatrix casting simultaneous curses, as the flashes already hit him and severe pain seared through his body. Screaming out loud, Snape sank to the ground and while still falling, his body was hit with another curse. Out of the corner of his eye he saw that Dolohov and Avery had fallen down themselves, and his wand slipped from his infirm fingers.
Blood was drowning the grass around his body, while he heard distant voices calling his name. In vain Snape tried to keep his eyes open, and eventually darkness embraced his consciousness.
That's it, we are done with action. Next chapter will be hospital wing, harhar :-D
Thanks for reading! And please always keep in mind: reviews make writers happy… :-)