Firesword: The last chapter...
Chapter Sixteen: Returning Point
It was mid-morning. They were standing in the middle of a forest of elder, oaks, and yews. Sunlight was shining through, and had cast an almost ethereal glow on the ground. But this peaceful scene was nothing but an illusion. Harry wondered at the contradiction. It seemed that everything in the world was all right. Then why was Severus pointing his wand at him, looking confused?
He knew it was just a dream, but he could not explain the calmness within him. It was just at that moment, he was willing to give all of him to Severus, including his life.
'That didn't happen,' Harry told his subconscious self. 'That's not how it happened. I'd injured my leg, so I wasn't standing still like that.' For some reason, he felt amused. 'If I can think like this, it means I'm not dead yet, right?'
"Don't forget me."
'What the hell is up with me?' Harry muttered, but his dream-self did not react to his words. 'Severus took my hand, damn it.'
"Don't do it, Severus. You will regret it," a voice rang through the woods.
They turned on their heels immediately at the voice. At some distance away, Harry saw a shining figure. He squinted his eyes to make out the man's form, but the sun was shining too brightly. Then he felt it in his gut.
'...not a dream,' he whispered. He felt a sense of déjà vu. 'I know what this is ... I've felt this before.'
"Put that wand away, Severus."
Severus stood motionless, his expression slack with disbelief. His hand fell limp and his wand dropped onto the soft grass. Little by the little, the light grew brighter and brighter, until all was covered with whiteness.
'Someone had used a bloody Time Turner.'
The light faded away to black, but slowly the black lightened and revealed shapes. Someone was standing before him, and he knew that it was a dream.
His godfather, looking the same as he had during the last Christmas that Harry had seen him, smiled at him.
"Hello, Harry," Sirius greeted him cheerfully and reached out.
Harry jumped at the feel of solidity and warmth from the apparition. Sirius squeezed him lightly, and stroked his hair fondly before releasing him. Then he stepped away, as though making way for others to greet him. Harry felt his throat constrict at the sight of his parents, shyly coming forward.
'Mum ... Dad?'
"My darling baby."
He gasped, suddenly crying.
"I'm so proud of you, Harry."
"You've grown, my dear." Lily cried softly. She kissed his cheeks soundly and gave him another hug.
"So ... Sirius, what do you think of my son?" James looked toward the side, at the black sheep of the Black family.
"He's better than his father, James. And he is certainly prettier than his old man. Thank Merlin he takes on his mother more."
"Sirius!" James gave his best friend a sour look. He sighed and looked back at Harry, who stared at his parents, and guardian, in confusion. "You've grown into a splendid wizard, Harry. Although we weren't there to help you grow."
'That's ... that's not true. You still did.' He stared at his parents, though tears blurred his vision of their features. 'I love you,' he blurted out.
"We know, dear. And we love you, so very much."
His father's hand patted his head. "We have to go soon, Harry."
'Where are you going?' Harry grew alarmed. 'Don't leave me.'
Lily shook her head and caressed his cheek. "You can't come with us, Harry."
'But aren't I–'
"You're not dead, lad," Sirius interjected. "You can't follow us. Think about those people you'd be leaving behind. Hermione, Ron ... that greasy bastard..."
"Sirius." Lily frowned at him. "It is not your time."
Harry looked at his father. James' appeared troubled, as though he had some misgivings over something.
"What are you apologizing for, son?" James shook his head and smiled ruefully. "I cannot say that I like the idea that you love Severus Snape. But he returns your love. That is all that matters."
His dream world quivered suddenly. Harry knew that this dream would be over soon, and quickly hugged his parents, and Sirius for the last time.
'Sirius, your brother Regulus...'
"I know. I hope to find him later." Sirius smiled.
"Harry." An old voice reached his ears.
"Professor! You're late!" Lily said admonishingly.
"I know, and I humbly beg your pardon. I got lost wandering around trying to find the right subconscious mind." A pair of azure, blue eyes twinkled merrily. Albus Dumbledore surveyed his surroundings and quipped, "Well, it seems that I have to hurry."
The old wizard laid his hand on Harry's temple. Within those few seconds, Harry learned how to remove a coercion spell. It was also within those few seconds, that he understood why Severus had hated the old professor.
"Severus knew that it had been necessary. But that was in the past. He doesn't need that oath hanging over his head any further." Dumbledore took a deep breath and wore his cheerful mien once more. "Please take care of dissolving that curse for me, and tell Severus I'd said 'Hello'. Oh, and Fawkes. He'll be coming along to choose his new master, so warn our dear Severus not to be too surprised when he comes."
His dream world jiggled vigorously that everything seemed distorted.
"And now it's time for you to wake up, Harry..."
"...be fine. He hasn't sustained any grave injuries."
Harry could hear voices around him, and he could feel someone bandaging up his hand.
"Now, please let the young man rest. He will be all right, as long as he doesn't try to light up a candle for the next few days. He is merely suffering the consequences of unleashing too much magic and performing more than what his body was able to handle. Do ensure this ... he may fall into a coma if he tries."
"Madame!" someone called urgently.
"Bring him over to Guilbert immediately. He is the best when it comes to internal injuries." The gentle hand that had wrapped up his arm left him, and Harry felt the space that the person had vacated occupied by someone else.
Tiredly, he opened his eyes. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the light, and for him to make sense of his surroundings. In a tent ... a healer's tent, he thought. A shadow passed over his face, and seconds later, he felt fingers thread through his hair gently. Green eyes moved and finally saw Severus, who sat on the edge of the cot.
"Seems like I'm at the receiving end this time," Harry said jokingly after studying Severus' calm face.
"You damned ... foolish brat," Severus muttered.
"Perhaps." He smiled crookedly. Then he grimaced when his temples pounded suddenly. "Damn it. Blasted headache."
"What did you expect after releasing so much magic?"
Harry lifted his left hand and grasped the fingers combing his hair. "Is everyone all right?" He studied the older man's face. The pair of obsidian eyes gazed sadly at him.
"Professor McGonagall's heart gave out after she took on too many Stunners," Severus spoke slowly, as though he had been reluctant to tell Harry.
"What?" Grief suddenly overwhelmed him.
"Alastor Moody went down with the Hebridean Black." Severus continued to speak, telling Harry of the persons who had been killed in the final battle. Excepting Professor McGonagall and Moody, the other victims he had known but had not been close with. Finally, Severus stopped reciting, and tenderly, he wiped the tears away from Harry's face.
"Ron? Hermione?" he asked in a raspy voice.
"They are in the next tent. Weasley is unconscious due to exhaustion. The healers are trying to retrieve a shard that had pierced Granger's left eye, but her condition is stable." Severus stared seriously at him. "When you are well enough, you should have a talk with Weasley. He had killed for the first time."
"Although that task would be better left in the hands of someone older and had as much experience..." Severus fell into an awkward silence.
"Is Malfoy all right?"
"I doubt his Weasley lover would let someone else's shadow fall over him. He had protected Draco well. Although I do not think Draco appreciated having to work far from the battlefield."
Harry smiled crookedly. "And you?"
Severus leaned over and kissed him chastely on the lips, much to his pleasant surprise. Harry kept his eyes shut when they parted. He wondered what warranted such tender behavior from Severus, that he would do something like this where others were present. As his blush grew hotter, he heard the hushed whispers from the other end. He felt Severus' smile as he planted kisses along his jaw, his cheek, and finally his temple.
"...take care of..." The ghostly voice in his head jolted him. Black eyes looked at him inquiringly.
"Professor Dumbledore had said 'hello'," Harry said quietly and waited. Severus merely stared at him. "He had also asked me to warn you that Fawkes is going to choose you as his new keeper."
"What?" Severus paled and attempted to back away from Harry. He could not, as Harry was holding on to his arm tight.
"He had also passed on the key to remove the spell that he had placed on you when you had become the Potions master of Hogwarts." He smiled with sympathy at the expression on his lover's face, which looked torn between disbelief and hope. "I can remove it now if you want."
Within an instant, Severus' mercurially changed expressions. Harry found himself trapped by the dark, fierce gaze.
"No," Severus said firmly. "I have waited for over two decades. I can wait for another week." The wizard cupped his face. "And you will not do any magic without my permission for the next several days."
"I don't think I can promise you that, Severus," Harry said with a faint smile. "It's not over yet. We still have much to clean up."
"I will stay with you, and take care of it for you," Severus said with finality.
Harry felt happy, and nodded. "Thank you." He did not take his eyes off Severus' face. I'd told you I'd be patient with you. But knowing that you care for me, it makes me happy. "I love you."
"I know," Severus murmured, sweeping his thumb along his cheek.
Firesword: Thank you so much for reading 'Irrevocable Oath'. Sadly, it has to end here. Hehehe. I have a small sequel coming up soon. Hopefully.