THE FOREST OF DEAN
Disclaimer: I don't own any part of the Harry Potter world...
I wrote this fiction right after reading Deathly Hallows, which must be the best book of the series. My only regret is that there wasn't more of an interaction between Snape and Harry. This is just a one shot to get me moving again!
7/23: I've read this again and corrected some of the errors.
It was nighttime in the Forest of Dean. The landscape was entirely silent, trees content to huddle beneath their blanket of snow, and a oval shaped pond was completely frozen over with a glaze of ice. It was completely silent...
...Except for the crunch underfoot of a set of black boots.
Severus Snape, now more commonly known as Headmaster Snape, trekked through the cold landscape and leaned against one of the many frosted pines circling the lake. Snape was clutching a silver sword incrusted with bright red rubies. The metal bit at Snape's fingertips through dark leather gloves, but still he held the goblin treasure closer... like it could give him some sort of sadistic comfort.
Dark eyes swept the ice of the lake and calculated what would be necessary for... Harry to complete his task.
"Now, Severus, the sword! Do not forget that it must be taken under the conditions of need and valor- and he must not know that you give it! If Voldemort should read Harry's mind and see you acting for him -"
Snape approached the lake slowly. It should be enough...
Withdrawing his wand, almost against his own will, Snape silently created a gaping hole in ice and carefully slid the sword into the deep waters. It shouldn't be too difficult to get it, Snape reasoned with himself, but just enough of a challenge to prove one's courage.
Snape waved his wand again and the ice reformed itself, leaving no evidence that there had ever been a hole in the first place. He leaned over the edge and saw the glinting rubies twinkling through the water. Harry would know what the object was.
Turning around, Snape pulled his cloak a bit tighter and reasoned with himself for the thousandth time why what he was doing was 'right.' Dumbledore asked him to do this. But was it still right? He had only started this entire spectacle to protect him... Lily's son. Harry. Keeping that boy alive, year after year... saving his life on many occasions was all done with the promise that Harry would be safe. Dumbledore had told him that Harry would be safe! And what was to happen? The boy would die for the 'greater good' and only when Dumbledore would deem it. It was amazing that even though the previous Headmaster was dead, he could still manipulate every single detail of this war.
Snape shook his head slightly and took out his wand again, fingering the handle. He swept back across the snowy plain and into the grove of pine trees, swishing his wand so that the footprints disappeared. He settled himself behind a thick trunk and then pointed his wand towards the opening at the end of the clearing.
"Expecto Patronum." He whispered.
The form of a doe burst out of the wand tip and trotted around in a circle to face it's owner, large doleful eyes gazed up at him. Snape had to swallow a lump in his throat and spoke lowly to his patronus.
"Find the Potter boy and lead him to the lake. Don't get too close."
The doe nodded and fluttered its eyes at him before running to gap in the trees, and disappeared.
Snape let out a long sigh and leaned against the tree to wait. Dumbledore had not told him what Potter needed the sword of Gryffindor for, a fact which made Snape sneer even now, and it sent his blood boiling. Manipulative old bastard...
The night was now very dark, and stars were popping into existence in the velvety darkness. It had only been three minutes since the sliver doe had gone off on Snape's orders, and yet Snape was still impatient... wanting nothing more than to disappear to the Headmaster tower of Hogwarts and have a cup of tea by the fire while Dumbledore's portrait calmed his frayed nerves.
Snape snapped his head up as a beam of light shinned into the clearing and watched as the patronus disappeared past him into the night. Harry Potter had come into the meadow now, wand aloft and Snape shifted slightly to the side out of sight. The wand light swung in his direction, searching for him... but Snape knew that the boy would not see him.
The boy looked awful. Cuts and scratches could be seen up and down his face, and the exhaustion was clearly evident in the way he stood beside the lake. Harry cast the light into the water and gaped comically at the sword that lay a few feet below the surface. Snape watched him as he pointed his wand at the sword.
Snape nearly snorted. Didn't the boy know one couldn't summon a goblin made instrument? Harry looked as though he hadn't expected the sword to move either, and he paced around the circle of ice once.
It seemed as though the boy had come up with another plan. "Help," he murmured.
Snape's heart gave an unexpected clench at this. He didn't understand why that word affected him so much. Snape pushed it to the back of his mind.
Harry seemed to have come to the conclusion that it would be necessary to retrieve the sword on his own, and started to remove the many layers of clothing with trembling fingers. Snape's gut clenched again but this time with fear and he nearly gasped aloud. Why wasn't the idiot boy casting a water repelling charm and a spell for warmth?! He would freeze to death the moment he hit the water!
Snape watched in horror as Lily's son now stood in nothing but his underwear, barefooted in the snow and his wand clutched in trembling fist.
The ice cracking sounded like a bullet in the surrounding silence. Harry took off his glasses and dropped them on the pile of clothes by his side. Snape watched shrewdly, thinking that the brat was beyond foolish and would deserve whatever illness he'd acquire from the freezing waters. The idiot should have at least cast a warming spell on his person.
Harry eyed the water one more second before plunging into the icy waters. Snape held his breath as he watched this. It would only be moments before the boy resurfaced, surely it wouldn't take long to retrieve the sword. It wasn't that deep...
Snape watched surprised and a bit worried as the water sloshed against the ice. It appeared the boy was struggling beneath the water! Snape edged out from the tree a bit and eyed the water critically and jumped back when a dark head broke the turbulent surface and started gasping for air. The sword was flung haphazardly onto the snow, but Harry thrashed wildly as what appeared to be a chain strangled him, closing tightly against his windpipe. Harry slipped beneath the water again, still struggling even below the surface. Ten, fifteen, twenty seconds passed before Snape snapped into action and bolted towards the lake.
It seemed to take an age for Snape to reach the dark hole in the ice, and even longer to spot the boy now fighting feebly, strength nearly gone, below the surface. Snape plunged an arm into the numbing waters, grasped a bony arm, and yanked Harry out in a shower of freezing water.
The boy was hardly conscious, but was still convulsing weakly with what looked like the chain of an antique locket around his neck. Snape took his wand out and swiftly severed the chain. The locket fell into the snow with a thud and Harry was now laying limply and soaking wet in the freezing snow.
This wasn't part of the plan!!! Snape snarled inside his head, and quickly shrugged out of his robe and wrapped it around Potter, who seemed to be unconscious... from the water or lack of air, Snape wasn't sure. What was he going to do with the boy? Snape hefted the boy into his warms and didn't miss the dark blue tinged lips and skin as his head limply settled against Snape's chest.
Harry was shivering, nearly convulsing, violently in his arms and Snape knew that the boy was in shock and it wouldn't be long before he froze to death in this godforsaken clearing. He briefly thought of dropping him at one of the Order houses, but cast the thought away at once... it was too far a trip. Snape glance once more at Harry, who wasn't thrashing anymore, but was completely still in his arms. It wasn't a good sign.
Snape set off quickly for the opposite edge of a clearing (being sure to spell his shoes not to show foot prints in the snow) and was just in time to disappear into the darkness before a red haired boy came into sight and crouched by the lake, taking up the sword of Gryffindor and not missing Harry's abandoned clothes. He looked around briefly.
Shit. Snape set off quickly into the woods and came upon the lone cabin that he had apparated to earlier that evening. At Dumbledore's urging, he had rented it for the entire year not but a few months ago. He fed the owner of the house some crap about ice fishing, whatever barbaric sport that was.
Snape shouldered the door and slammed it, quickly enacting the wards that would hide the house from prying eyes. He deposited his bundle on the moth-eaten couch in the corner and took off the cloak. Snape aimed a crude drying charm at the boy's soaked underwear. The garment dried instantly, and Snape spoke some quick spells and the cloak that Snape had been wearing was now comfortably warm, like a shirt left out the sun for the entire day.
Taking the cloak, Snape started to vigorously rub the cloth against the boy's skin, being sure not to miss one inch of the body. Harry's eyes flew open and tried to push at the robe.
"Too hot!" he gasped, shivering uncontrollably.
Snape persisted, ignoring Lily's delirious eyes on him. It was imperative the boy got warm again, no matter how painful the boy's eyes were for him to look at. It wasn't long before the boy stopped struggling and fell limp again, Snape continued to chafe at every inch of Harry before he was satisfied that there was no blue tinge about him and his skin was a flushed pink red.
Snape let the boy lay back on the couch and tapped his wand against the boy's throat, raw from the chain digging into him. Crisp white bandages sprung around the neck and snapped Harry's head in place.
Feeling satisfied that Potter would not die from pneumonia, Snape stood back and observed Harry briefly. He looked far too young to save the world. Snape step forward again and bundled Harry in the cloak once more. Harry seemed to be sleeping soundly now, and Snape lifted him again.
He made his way back to the clearing and saw that the Weasley boy had gone... probably in search of missing Granger, and that the sword of Gryffindor was gone. Harry's clothes were still lying beside the lake. Snape knelt down and deposited Harry by the pile, also putting a slight warming spell on the clothing.
Snape stared at the boy he had protected for the sake of Lily Evans. He swung his cloak round his shoulders.
"Good Luck, Potter." Snape whispered, "You better make your mother's sacrifice worth while."
With that Snape, stood up and put his wand on his throat.
"POTTER!!!!" echoed throughout the forest, and he heard the screams of 'HARRY' approaching the clearing.
Snape glanced once more at The-Boy-Meant-to-Save-Them-All before apparating away into the night as Harry's two companions burst out of the trees.
I hope you all enjoyed it! Please review!