A/N Written for a request by LibbyLooLynne. "A crippled!Harry/Severus story set after HPB." This story also overlaps with a challenge fic that I am writing (Prisoners Of the Moon.)
Once Upon A Broken Heart
Chapter 1: Fate
It was all over. The savior of the wizarding world was lying face down in the mud bleeding. He'd lost far too much blood to care that he had killed Voldemort. At the moment, the world was dim. All he knew was pain and the vague sensation of rain falling on his lifeless body. His eyes were open but he really didn't see anything beside the ravaged corpses around him. There was a sound. Someone was speaking, calling his name. He knew that voice, or he thought he did. Everything went quiet and dark. Was he dying? He hoped he was.
Severus Snape sat against a dungeon wall in chains. The most sardonic of smiles touched his lips. He had always known it would come to this. Despite what Dumbledore had told him, there had never been a time when he had held any real optimism for their plan. He had killed Albus Dumbledore, and there was nothing that could exonerate him from that simple fact. The Ministry had scheduled his execution for two days from now. With the loss of the Dementors, the practice of beheading was back in fashion. Those who called it barbaric knew nothing of what the Dementor's Kiss had been. Snape's only comfort was in that he had at least escaped that fate.
Being slated for execution wasn't a surprising event in Severus' life. Every good deed was deserving of some form of gruesome punishment. Spying for the light had earned him a life of solitude and frequent torture. Saving Draco Malfoy had cost him his one and only true friend. Lastly, carrying Harry Potter's broken and bleeding form to St. Mungo's had gotten him arrested. And people wondered why he was a heartless bastard!
"At least things can't get any worse," he murmured sarcastically. He was safe in saying that, because at the moment things really couldn't get worse. With Voldemort dead, this was the most horrid scenario he could envision. Though he hadn't been outright tortured or even beaten, the Ministry officials hadn't been delicate with him. He was certain he'd broken ribs when he was unceremoniously tossed into his cell, and he wrists and ankle were oozing blood and puss from beneath the manacles. They did feed him, but it was barely enough to keep him alive until they could kill him. As the murderer of one of the most beloved wizards of all time, he did not expect to be treated kindly.
He could have escaped. The thought of leaving Potter to die, and getting the hell out of there had crossed his mind. After all, Snape had done his good deeds. He had been pivotal in Voldemorts downfall. If he hadn't stepped in front of Harry and taken the crucio curse meant for Potter, the boy never would have reached his wand and cast the curse to end it all. But he couldn't do it. Albus' spirit was there with him, telling him to save Harry. The boy had a life to live, a life that he had earned. In the end, he couldn't leave Potter there. The irony of this all wasn't lost on Severus, and he was a man who respected irony.
Down the hall came a shuffle of footsteps. Even in deepest dungeon where they had put him, there were guard patrols, and he didn't look up until he heard the harsh screeching of the cell door. It hurt to lift his head, but soon he was looking up at Kingsly Shacklebolt who was flanked by several guards. "Severus Snape, some things have come to light, and I have some questions for you."
"Make it fast. Can you see what a busy man I am, Shacklebolt?" Snape remarked with some of his former wryness. Being in this rat-infested hole hadn't improved his social skills in the least.
"Harry Potter has woken up in St. Mungo's."
"After only three weeks? The boy really is a marvel," Snape quipped. Trust Harry Potter to turn waking up into an event.
Shacklebolt remain stoic. "His story has caused us to reevalute your case. Mr. Potter has told us that you were instrumental in You-Know-Who's demise. That you destroyed two of the Horocruxes yourself even, and then put yourself in between Mr. Potter and a curse." Shacklebolt's face contorted as though he were having difficulty saying what he must. "He also claimed that Dumbledore's death was planned by none other than Dumbledore himself to get you closer and keep Mr. Malfoy safe. Is this true?"
"And if it is? Does that change the fact that I killed him?" Snape's eyes were no more that onyx slits in his pale face.
"Answer the question."
Shacklebold lowered his head slightly in what could barely be called a nod. "Release him. See that a medi-witch tends to his wounds," he told the guards as he turned on his heel.
"Is that all?" Snape called after him.
The other wizard paused just long enough to answer. "From what evidence we have gathered from Harry's pensive, and records left by Dumbledore, we know enough to let you go."
Oh, Fate was a fickly mistress.
Harry Potter's prison was decidedly brighter than Snape's. Rather than stone walls and steel bars, he was surrounded by a myriad of flowers and gifts. An adoring public had showered him with all sorts little tokens of their appreciation. His room was the most colorful place in the entire hospital. It was so crowded that Dobby had begun taking a large portion of the gifts to Godric's Hollow for storage. It seemed the wizarding world would never stop sending more and more useless junk to his room.
He wanted to rip the flowers to shreds. He wanted to throw things and scream. He wanted to tell them all how much he hated them. More than anything, he wanted to get up and run out of this place. But he couldn't. All he did was lie there placidly with a blank stare. If someone asked him a question, he would answer politely. If someone gave him something, he would thank them. The Boy Who Lived was now nothing more than a doll.
It was a miracle he had survived. Everyone agreed that if Snape hadn't gotten him to the hospital so quickly, he would have died. As it was, he had just barely made it. A large portion of his bones had been crushed to a pulp by the sheer force of his own spell. Combined with the injuries he had sustained fighting the Death Eaters, almost no one had believed he would live through it, let alone wake from his coma. Magic had done all it could do to repair his body. He would live, they knew that now, but he would never be the same. Potions and spells had mended his bones, and replenished his blood. They repaired his internal organs, and reinflated his left lung. Even the majority of his scars had been healed. To look at Harry Potter, one would think that he was well on his way to being back on his broom. The problem lied a little deeper than that. His nerves had been destroyed as well as his bones. Again, potions and spells could only take things so far. Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, could not move his legs.
Harry knew that from the bowels of hell Tom Riddle was laughing.
From his bed, Harry could see that it was a bright and sunny day outside. He suspected Hermione would be along to ask him to go for a "walk" with her shortly. In the two weeks since he's been awake and "healed," she had made an annoying habit of doing things like that. It made her feel better to push him around and talk to him, all the while telling herself what a good friend she was. He could almost hate her for it. Hermione wasn't his only visitor. His room had been made charmed so that only a select few people aside from the hospital staff could find it. Remus, the remaining Weasley's, and Neville Longbottom had all been coming to see him regularly.
By lunchtime, he had assured himself that Hermione had found something else to do that day, which suited him just fine. The nurse that came in to feed him was named Elsa. She was a no-nonsense witch with an air that reminded him of Madame Pompfrey. Setting a tray down before him, she began the routine of helping him sitting up to eat. "I hope you are going to eat more today than you did yesterday," she commented.
"I'll try," he replied. In truth, he had no desire to eat anything. Having people do the simplest of tasks for him was so degrading that it made him want to break down into tears, but those tears never came. All he had was this odd calm.
When she finished, she set the tray over his lap. "You'll be starting your therapy tomorrow," she told.
"Am I? Will I be staying here still?"
She shook her head. "I'm afraid not. You'll be transferred to another center."
Harry nodded. "I'm not hungry anymore," he told her swallowing the lump in his throat. If he did eat more, he was liable to throw it back up.
His life had been so promising once, and now here he was. Fate was a fickle mistress.