A/N: Hello, sorry it's taken so long for me to update (I had to re-read everything, it took me hours!) - But I've editted Chapters 29-33, there aren't that many changes, but it flows a little better now I think. Have a great Summer break everyone!
WARNING: This fanfiction contains swearing, malexmale, violence, child abuse
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Characters ©
Emptiness, the hollow feeling inside when there is nothing left…
"Aren't they coming?" Hermione glanced at the clock, before turning back to the headmaster calmly sipping his cup of tea.
"Be patient, my dear."
Hermione sat quietly ignoring her floral porcelain teacup, the comforting tone of voice did little to ease the tension in the air, and the brooding Remus didn't help either, especially how every now and then he would shiver, glaring in the direction of the bedroom door, nostrils flaring.
She was worried about Sirius, the man had been through too much these last few days, and this latest shock must have really taken it out of him. He had been out for the last twenty minutes.
"What happened in there? Will Sirius be alright?" She glanced at the unconscious man on the couch.
"He'll be fine in due time." The headmaster smiled cheerily, and Remus threw him a dark glare.
"It'll take more than time."
"Don't be so pessimistic boy, this is a cause of celebration. Now cheer up and smile, we don't need Harry coming out here and thinking someone's died."
"What's a cause of celebration? What's wrong Professor Lupin?"
"My girl, Remus no longer teaches at Hogwarts, so no need for formalities. And I do believe-"
The air crackled violently, and Hermione let out a surprised squeak. Tea sloshed over the table as the tea cups rattled on their saucers, the walls trembled and there was a crash as a vase fell to the floor in the living room.
"What's going on?" Her question suddenly loud in the silence.
Dumbledore merely smiled and sipped at the tea still left in his cup.
Harry stared at the ceiling, he couldn't breath.
Everything felt so cold.
Life seemed to have been brought to a stand still by the fire that had burnt straight through him. Everything within him had been reduce to ashes, razed to the ground and all he could do now was silently weep.
The magic inside him was spent, even the background hum cut off. He felt disconnected from everything, unsure he was even conscious, not caring if he was.
Tears ran down his cheeks, he could feel each individual one following the trail left by the one before it. The warmth that had been sitting just below his heart had withered and faded, leaving only a cold dull ache.
He felt shattered inside. No, that was too violent a word, he felt like everything had just vanished. Disappeared into thin air, leaving him with nothing. Grasping at something he didn't even know he had possessed, hadn't known he needed, but was gone none the less.
The weight on top of him was heavy, still, almost as if it was also waiting for life to return.
A deep breath.
Chests heaving in unison.
And it crashed into them.
The pressure, magic forcing it's way back into every cell.
Screaming and howling as it tore them to pieces. Scattering fragile and delicate scraps of soul in it's wake. Harry felt tears splash on his cheeks, mingling with his own, as he clutched the man above him. Not daring to move, not daring to speak, as it spiraled and twisted within them both.
It was over.
Severus held him.
Hermione tensed as Remus stood suddenly, a look of uncertainty on his face.
The headmaster cocked his head a little, and Hermione caught the look of confusion on his face, before it was masked.
"What's going on?" She stood from her chair, facing away from the bedroom door that the two men were so intently staring at.
"Is Harry alright?" She knew she shouldn't be worried, but the way the Professors were acting scared her. "Lupin, please?"
The werewolf turned to her, almost as if surprised to see her there. "Perhaps Albus, Ms Granger should come back to visit Harry another day."
Hermione frowned in frustration, she had worked hard to cajole the Order into letting her see Harry and she wouldn't let this opportunity go to waste. Especially as they had mentioned the Dursley's in a hushed whisper.
"No, if Harry's upset, then it's best if he talks to me." Hands on her hips, "We're all worried about him. We need to know he's alright."
"Mr Potter, is… quite fine." The headmaster twinkled at her and she frowned. That old man had been playing the same tricks on her for years. However it wasn't just anyone who could convince him to hand a third year student a time turner. And she had had quite a few run-ins with him before, regarding Harry.
"I want to see him before I go back."
The old man sighed, setting his tea cup down. "Of course my dear. It would do no harm." He glanced tiredly at Remus who also relaxed from his tense position. "You are right Remus, today would not be the best day, but perhaps it is the only day."
Hermione frowned at the words, and glared out the window. There was a war brewing and Albus Dumbledore had just taken of his half moon spectacles and wearily rubbed his eyes.
The man looked tired.
He looked old.
They had sat until the cold tiles had bit into their skin and Harry's heart had stopped aching. His teeth chattered, and his eyes still held tears, but he felt strong enough to stand.
They had dressed without touching or looking at each other.
All need and wanting had been spent.
Turning as one they made their way to the door.
A short pause and a brief brush of hands as they walked through.
Severus paused as he took in the occupants of the room. Sirius was still unconscious on the couch, Remus shot him a wary stare and Albus gave him a tired smile.
"Mione." A whispered plea, from by his side and Harry was out of his reach before he had time to register the brunette standing by the werewolf.
"Harry." The girl caught Harry in a tight embrace and the boy was weeping into her shoulder, clutching at her like she could save him. Severus felt the pain slice through him, but ignored it, turning instead to face the headmaster.
The boy didn't need him, not any more. Nothing was left. Everything had ended and he didn't know why he felt so empty.
"Albus." He greeted the bearded man, taking a seat beside him. Remus sat down at the opposite end of the small rectangular table. "Lupin." The werewolf averted his eyes, a frown on his feature as he turned to regard Harry and Hermione. Severus shrugged off the dismissal.
"Severus, my dear boy." The old man magicked his spilt cup of tea away and Severus noticed a broken vase at the opposite side of the room, reform itself and place itself back on the shelf. He lifted an inquisitive eyebrow.
"I thought there was to be no magic within this household."
The headmaster coughed.
"Well, with your recent activities. One can say a little magical cleaning is the least of your worries. You two should really work on your magical restraint." The headmaster grinned, but had the decency to look away and not meet his eye.
Severus fought the blush and paled when the comment registered.
"We've been found?"
"Oh no, no dear boy." Albus smiled. "I thought something like this would happen, so I came by earlier to charm the house and strengthen the wards."
This was too much. He was emotionally exhausted, his magic drained, Black was in his house, he was going to loose Harry, he could feel it. The last two weeks were catching up to him, everything came crashing down.
His eyes narrowed.
"You thought something like this would happen." The hiss in his voice barely human. From the corner of his eye he saw Harry's head lift, wide, teary eyes watching him. He noticed Sirius stir, and Hermione and Remus watch him worriedly.
"My dear boy." A chuckle. Severus bit back a snarl, he hated being called that and Albus knew. He only did it to rile him, when he wanted something, this was Albus Dumbledore at his worse, when he was revealing exactly what he knew, exactly what he had manipulated you into doing, then using this knowledge, this anger to force your next move.
Severus sat still and silent, waiting.
"Severus." The soft voice called him, calming him and he turned his head slowly.
The boy blinked owlishly from behind his silver rimmed glasses.
Those clear emerald eyes, so much like his mothers.
They still seemed so innocent when he looked into them, like all the terror, the pain, the betrayal could be washed away with a few clean tears.
And when he looked deeper he saw the jaded shards that cut, and sliced the very soul he had promised to protect, and now knew he would try and protect for the rest of his days.
It didn't matter if this emptiness consumed him, that the connection he had felt with the boy was suddenly lost. He would always be there for him.
He felt himself deflate. Leaning against the table he covered his eyes tiredly with his hands.
"Will I never be rid of you, Harry Potter." Voice muffled, defeated.
Hermione watched the exchange between the two, worried at first, then curious, until it all slipped away into a soft sad silence that covered the whole room.
Harry sat beside her, his eyes half lidded with an emptiness she hadn't seen in them before.
"What happened?" Her fingertips brushed his cheek and he turned to look at her, his eyes lifeless.
"I don't know." He leant into her touch and she felt tears swell in her eyes as he closed his. What was wrong with her friend? He looked so lost, so hurt.
"It is the aftereffects." The headmaster sat in his chair, staring intently at the small pouch and the drawstrings he fiddled with. "Severus has been bonded with Harry for so long now that there would bound to be some rather strong aftereffects once that bond was broken."
Hermione noticed everyone's attention had snapped to the bearded man.
"Whaa?" Hermione blinked as Sirius lifted himself groggily to sit swaying on the edge of the couch.
"Welcome back to the land of the living." The old man twinkled at the Animagus.
Sirius winced and shook his shaggy head. "Whose Bonded? Because I thought I heard you say Harry and the snake… but that's impossible." He glared at the Potion's master. "Right?!"
"Well, it so happens they are no longer bonded." The man smiled happily to himself, unsticking his lemon drops. "And with such convenient timing."
Hermione felt suddenly sorry for Severus as the man turned tiredly to regard the headmaster.
"Albus, please. No more riddles. What is going on?"
"You don't remember Severus?"
He received a half-hearted glare in response.
Harry shifted beside her, and she saw the same confused look that everyone was directing at the old man.
"Ms Granger." The twinkling blue eyes turned to her and she felt her face light up a brilliant red at the intensity of the gaze. She hadn't done anything wrong.
"The book you brought for Harry."
She jumped, suddenly remembering.
"Oh yes," Bending down she rummaged through her bag and pulled out the large tomb she had tried to show Severus a few days before. When she had been convinced that Harry had bonded himself to the potions master, not realizing instead, that they had swapped bodies.
She noticed Severus flinch as she handed it to Dumbledore.
"You've seen it before." The headmaster stated calmly to the shaken looking man, who merely frowned.
"It was your mothers', Harry."
Harry simply stared, almost as if he couldn't see the tomb held in the others hand. Hermione, pulled him closer to her, nestling him in her arms. He made no protest and she was shocked to feel that he was so cold to touch.
The headmaster flipped to the earmarked page.
"Your mother cherished the Goddess's magic. Ancient magic." He spoke to Harry as if he was the only one in the room. "but it is fickle and often uncontrollable. Maybe that was why it attracted her, you two were very much alike, with your fondness for trouble." He stroked the page that held the spell. "It was a similar spell she used to protect you from Voldemort all those years ago. That was to keep you safe from harm at the Dursley's."
A low growl from Sirius on the couch and everyone had tensed at the mention of the name. But Dumbledore kept telling the story.
"But then she always did put so much trust in others. That was why she asked you Severus. She trusted you to protect her child."
He could only stare at his hands. His long, potion stained hands, cold and numb as the words washed over him. He could see her face, that secretive and determined soft smile that she gave him before making him promise, as she held his hand over her stomach.
And he'd failed.
"And you agreed. And you have." A old hand placed over his own, and he looked up into the encouraging eyes before his glanced flickered over to Harry, who sat staring at him vacantly. "But I remember when you woke up in the hospital wing. You had no recollection of the ritual, the days of preparation before it."
He frowned, the destroyed dungeon room from his dream.
Lilly's concerned eyes.
By My Lady, are you alright Sev?
He couldn't remember.
"There was a problem with the incantation, you didn't recite it wrong, but the simple protection spell that would have allowed Harry blood protection under your care turned into something much stronger. You weren't bound by blood but by the soul." A small chuckle. "Lily altered it a little, as well as adding both your names, believing it would be more poignant, more powerful. I do not know the details, but I suspect you would know less."
"I- I can't remember." Severus tried to recollect, Narissa had said something about this after he had woken, but it wasn't too long after, that, they had stopped speaking. "Narissa. She knows."
"The Malfoy's are in on this as well?!" Sirius had leapt from his seat
"Mr Black, calm yourself down." Dumbledore's authoritive tone of voice forced the mutt back onto the couch and Severus fought the urge to sneer.
"Yes, I had forgotten she was involved as well."
"I… I don't know what's happening." A lost voice and emerald eyes broke the conversation. Severus looked up and caught the searching eyes. "I don't know."
He felt his heart ache at the emptiness it now held within it. The place where Harry Potter had sat for longer than the fifteen years he had been alive, bonded before he head been born.
He could see the loss just as clearly in the other's eyes.
"You have forgotten your sixteenth birthday, my dear boy." The headmasters voice swept between them and pulled them away.
"It was yesterday." He turned to the long raven haired man. "Your bond was broken the day Harry turned sixteen, but you were also caught up in the exchange of bodies. Your magic's had trouble re-aligning, reconnecting after so much confusion."
"Confusion would not have been my choice of word." Severus pinched the bridge of his nose. So much information, so many answers to question he didn't even know he had asked. And the clearer everything became the more twisted and baffling it all turn out to be.
No, confusion, didn't give it justice.
To be cont'