Hi! I love this story but I started it 6 years ago! I am currently working on a rewrite of the first 15 or so chapters. I owe that to the story and all of you! I'll be replacing old chapters with their edited versions as well as new chapters to this story. I won't be changing any major plot points but there is expanded information in the edited versions of the chapters. I hope you all enjoy the higher quality of writing (though this story is still un beta'd so if you're interested let me know) and more information on our boys. I'm just looking for the story to be more detailed overall. This chapter was 3 pages before it did the rewrite compared to the 12 page chapter I added last night! Time for an overhaul :) If you have any questions please feel free to PM me.
Nakhti- Ancient Egyptian meaning 'Strong'
Caelius- Roman meaning 'Heaven'
Makawee- Lakota Sioux meaning 'Earth Maiden'
Zokaya- Mano tribe in Liberia and Guinea meaning 'The heart should be patient'
Menachem- Ancient Jewish name meaning 'to comfort' or 'comforter'
Chapter 1: The Old Ones (Edited 3-15-13)
Harry awoke with a start. He didn't hurt. There were no sounds of the deadly battle that raged around him. Harry shook his blood and mud matted head, trying to gain some semblance of focus. What had happened to him? He lay in the middle of a circular stone room. Harry was alone. The walls of the circle held no doors or windows. The glowing marble seemed to dance with light. The air around him was warm and welcoming and filled with soul piercing white brightness. The light seemed to emanate from every surface. Harry appeared a strange contrast to the purity and cleanliness of the space. Where was Voldemort? Had they won? Had Voldemort spelled him into this place? Or was he dead? Is this where wizards went when they passed?
A familiar voice pulled Harry from his ever-rapid train of thought. He found that he had not been startled by the sudden companionship. "Stand up my boy." There above him were the shining blue eyes he had been longing to see for months. The one man Harry had needed desperately as an adviser during the battle. Harry couldn't count the nights he'd spent talking to the man who would never again be able to answer.
"Dum?…Wait…Oh god…I am…" Dumbledore wore light gray robes. His body seemed to be surrounded by light as well. Harry noticed that the old wizard looked well-rested, a sight Harry had never seen at Hogwarts. The lines of stress in his forehead had vanished. There was no sadness or regret in his eyes. His smile was hardy and full of joy.
"My goodness, I can't be expected to counter a rant like that." He gave a soft chuckle. How he had missed this boy. In all of his years Albus Dumbledore had never come across someone as determined as Harry Potter. Yes, the boy had found a place in Albus's heart as soon as he took up residence at Hogwarts. The older man was more than giddy that he was given the honor of meeting with Harry today.
"Sir? Where am I? If you're here then…" He had died. Maybe he had been lucky enough to take Voldemort with him. Harry had expected this. He'd never once let himself truly entertain the idea of making it through the battle. He had been aware people would be lost. He always knew that he would be amoungst them. "Did I get him? Did I kill Voldemort?" Harry prayed desperately.
"Slow down Harry. All of your questions will be answered, you have my word. Now, you, Harry, are not anywhere…and everywhere." He gestured around the room and laughed joyously. Harry was glad that his Headmaster was happy, wherever they were.
"I died." Harry stated the obvious. "Who else..." He needed to know anyone else they'd lost to this pointless battle with a power hungry monster. His sentence was interrupted.
"You're in the process. But, not quite there. We're in the congregate of the Old Ones." Dumbledore said this matter-of-factually. As if it were something he should know.
"The…huh?" Potter was dumbfounded. He had no idea where they were. It was a name he had never heard before. There were times that Harry still felt like a stranger in the wizarding world.
"My…I should have assessed the syllabus for 'History of Magic'." Albus clicked his tongue and shook his head. He would admit that with the amount of time he had spent dealing with the war the academics at the school had not been a top priority. He had left the professor's to develop their own curriculum. Obviously, some had failed. "The Old Ones Harry. Wizards who have looked out for our world from the beginning of time. They see everything, know everything. They serve many purposes, which we can discuss at a later time. But, two of the most pertinent are of course guiding the dead and keeping balance on earth, which I dare say they have been rather lax on." He whispered that last part and patted Harry on the shoulder. Harry was happy to see the headmaster still making jokes.
"So…I'm here…to be guided?" Harry was growing displeased. If he wasn't really dead than he needed to get back. They were wasting precious seconds.
"I have been assured that, that is not the purpose of this meeting." Dumbledore answered, he held Harry by the shoulders, looking him over. The boy looked battle worn. He had grown since Albus lost saw him. He was taller and more muscular, no doubt because of training. He wore the same tired expression the Headmaster had seen take over everyone of his soldiers. It pained him that he'd been forced to implore so many young men and woman, mere children, to join his ranks.
"Meeting? With the Old Ones?" Why would they want to see him? He was doing everything he could possibly think of to stop Voldemort. If they could see everything why hadn't they stopped all of this? Why hadn't they tried to help them instead of placing the outcome of the war on the shoulders of eleven year old's? Harry was growing visibly agitated.
"Harry." Dumbledore used his calmest tone of voice, wanting to provide Harry with some reprieve, he gestured behind him. "Some familiar faces should soothe you." Harry gasped. There in front of him stood his parents and Sirius. They'd been born of the ever present blinding light. Harry couldn't breath. He couldn't think. There was his family. His heart raced, a grin spreading quickly from ear to ear.
"Mom? Dad? …Sirius? What?" His words tripped over one another as they left his lips. They looked good. All of them happy. His parents were the exact replica's of their pictures. His mother was beautiful, a warm smile had overtaken her refined face. James Potter was a small man, smaller than Harry. He could see the resemblance to himself. The older man seemed much more graceful in his movements. Sirius. Sirius looked wonderful. He looked younger and more full of life than he'd ever been when he was alive. He was clean and well groomed. The darkness had been lifted from him. His eyes were bright, his smile seemed untamed, acting on it's own.
"Harry." His father stated simply and pulled him into a tight hug. "My brave, brave boy." James looked over his son, feeling more pride than he ever thought possible. Harry was a good man. James had made a son and that son was kind, loyal, compassionate and forgiving. Thank Merlin he'd turned out like his mother. Harry was in a shocked daze as he was passed between his family members.
"Takes after his Godfather no doubt. Come here." He wrapped Harry in strong arms. Sirius hugged Harry ferociously. His hands held tightly to Potter's dirty clothes. "I'm so sorry pup. I'm sorry that I left you to face all of this. I meant to be by your side." His voice brimmed with regret. "I'm so sorry." He'd rested his chin on Harry's head.
"Sirius you didn't leave. You were killed. You couldn't have changed that. You left me with good people, really good people. Remus... he... he took over for you." Harry tried to comfort his Godfather although now it seemed like slight tears threatened the corners of his eyes. "And Dumbledore..." Harry began again. "All of the Weasley's, they're like family. Even Snape..." Harry begged, imploring them to see that he was alright. "He taught me last year, things that I needed to know, things that saved my life. You know he sent me the sword while he was Headmaster? He tried to teach me Occlumency... He's dead." Harry's eyes fell. "He died. Is he..."
Lily put her hands on either side of Harry's face and placed a soft kiss on his forehead. She couldn't bear the sadness on his features.
"You, Harry, are more then any Mother could have hoped for. Just look at you." His mother was proud. Her son had become exactly what she'd hoped for him. He loved. He loved fully while surrounded by sadness and evil. Despite the pain inflicted by her sister he still searched for the good in people. He fought bravely and with consideration and compassion for those around him.
Harry looked at his Mother frantically. "I'm sorry but, my friends, the battle, I have to go back. I have to finish it." Harry had to find a way out of here. He needed to end this so that all of these lives meant something. He couldn't let this all be for nothing.
"Worry not my son. Time passes differently in this place." Lily hugged her son for the first time since he had been a baby. She basked in it. Her little boy was becoming a magnificent man. She never wanted to let him leave her arms. She'd always wanted to protect him from all of this sorrow. "No time has passed back home. You're friends are safe now. You need to focus on your meeting with The Old Ones." She smiled up at him.
"Do you know what they want?" The sooner Harry finished this the quicker he could get back into the fight. Maybe today could be the day that he finished it. He wouldn't allow himself much hope but just a bit wouldn't cause any harm.
His mother answered him with kindness, she was starting to learn just how stubborn he could be. Dumbledore had shared many stories with her since his arrival but to see her son in person, there was no better gift. "We do Harry but it is not for us to discuss with you. We'll be by your side…We've always been by your side. Come now. It's time." Lily silently worried about the outcome of the meeting. Either choice he made would effect his life forever more. She loathed giving her boy anymore burdens to carry.
Harry quickly felt like he was floating through the light. It was breathtaking. It wrapped his body in warmth and comfort. As soon as it had started the feeling vanished. Harry found that he was suddenly seated and was staring at five people sitting behind a large stone slab. His parents were to his left, his mother's hand held tightly to his, her thumb rubbing the back of his hand, gently. Her smiled had not faded. Sirius and Dumbledore were to his right. His Godfather's hand rested on his shoulder. "Relax Harry." Black commanded. Harry did feel relaxed. A calmness that he hadn't been privy to in years. This room was the same as the other, with the exception of the chairs and the rounded marble desk that stood in front of him. The five wizards before him smiled peacefully, almost gratefully.
"Harry Potter it is a pleasure." The woman in front of him seemed to have light bursting from inside her tiny frame. Her hair was long and dark, falling impossibly straight over her shoulders. Her skin was the color of light copper. Her white robes were simple in their design, a thick collar of white, clear and pearl bead work adorned her shoulders. A silver headpiece dropped strands of jewels throughout her hair. "My name is Nakhti. I thank you for joining us today."
"We are truly sorry to inform you that the war, for you, is far from over. You will not join your family this day. You must keep fighting. It is not destined that the man you call Voldemort will die by your hand at this time. We must engage ourselves in another matter." Said a man that could be a relative of Dumbledore before Harry could interject a question. "Where are my manners? I am Caelius. It is an honor to meet a wizard as just as yourself Harry Potter." His robes wrapped around him in the fashion of a toga. Harry guessed roman. The man looked like the pictures he'd seen of ancient Rome while he was in muggle grade school.
"Thank you all but please... why am I here?" Harry pleaded. None of this made any logical sense.
"You and your people are a true asset in the balance. To let any of you die, as of now, would dramatically throw off symbiosis in your world. And as your headmaster has pointed out we have not watched as closely as the situation required of us. Our side has lost a great ally tonight. While it is true that he was supposed to die when he did, we did not see the strength that the other side was retaining. We feel it pertinent that he be returned with you to continue to fight. Nature only survives with balance. The world needs you to repair this great imbalance. Our magic comes as a gift from Mother Nature Harry, she's suffocating in all of the dark magic" This woman spoke like Luna. Harry needn't guess her heritage. By the darkness of her skin and long hair, the fringe that ran along the hems of her garments, she was most certainly Native American.
"That's Makawee." His mother whispered. "She was born in the America's in 1296. She's very very kind."
"Harry it is a treasure to meet you in person rather than watching you from the sidelines. I am known as Zokaya. I know that all of this must seem strange to you. I am humbled by your patience with us, You see, there has been a conflict as to whom this man's soul belongs. We know it's us and The Others…that is to say our dark counterpart, believe that it is them." The African man spoke with a heavy accent. His robes were loose fitting with a bold geometric print of white and silver. A rounded hat sat atop his head. "There is a way however that there will be no doubt. If you…our greatest warrior agree to undergo a practice older then time, Iugum Animus, or a bonding of souls. You would be part of each other from now into eternity. You would guide him into light; he would keep you grounded into reality. That is all the information I can give you. You must make this sacrifice without further knowledge."
Harry spoke at last. "I can save his soul and go back? Finish what I started?" Finally, maybe now they would listen to him. He had to bind with someone and then he could go back. They should hurry.
"That is correct." Zokaya answered with a friendly grin. It was a pleasant change to see a young person so eager to help those in need. Zokaya was beginning to lose faith that such people existed after his 3000 years.
"Do I get to know who this man is?" Harry didn't care. His aunt and uncle had taught him about Christian Heaven and Hell. The Others that Zokaya spoke of sounded like Hell. Harry wouldn't send anyone to such a fate.
Zokaya looked to the man to his left. "Menachem I'm sure you'd enjoy a conversation with the famous Harry Potter." Harry cringed. He didn't want to be famous. He wanted to be Harry. Just Harry.
"Of course dear boy." The fifth man spoke. "Firstly I would like to take a moment to give you my gratitude. There are not many that would sacrifice their own future to save another. Although there have been a few."
Sirius whispered excitedly. "He knew Jesus and Abraham. They were real! Did you know?" Harry shook his head. That would make the man thousands of years old. Harry would find all of this fascinating at another time.
Menachem continued. "The man that you would be bound to is Severus Snape." He said this as if it weren't supposed to knock the breath from Harry's chest. Forever with Severus. Harry was sure the man would kill him within a week.
"Snape? I… but…bound? He loved my mother…He hated…" Potter stammered haphazardly through his questions. All of his memories about Snape flooding back to him but what invaded his mind the most was his Professor's eyes as he lay dying in Harry's lap. It was a life wasted. A man who had never known kindness. Harry could repay him with this deed. He could pray to be a joyful presence in Snape's life.
"He felt a pull to Lily, that much is sure, but it was you that his soul craved. It was you. It knew you could be his savior. Surely he felt a connection to you, which caused the animosity. You must make your choice." Makawee spoke again. "We cannot influence your choice. It must be done with free will."
Harry looked to his parents. His father squeezed his hand. His Mother smiled sweetly and gave a small nod. Forever? He would be bound to Snape forever.Their gestures of comfort were kind however they were of no assistance with this decision. What the hell was he doing? He and Snape barely made it through a few hours of class without throwing hexes at one another. How would they survive bound?
"Does he get a choice?" Harry ordered an answer.
They remained silent. Harry found it irritating. They pulled him out of battle with a question the already knew the answer to. The least they could do was provide him with a few answers. "They can tell you no more." Dumbledore assured him. His heart felt sadness for Harry. It was impossible to count the burdens that the child had been forced to accept. He prayed that this request not be the one to push him to his brink.
"Do what you feel Harry." Lily kissed her son. "It's up to you Son." Harry could feel the love of his family. His father's hand rested on his knee. Sirius hadn't removed his arm from Harry's shoulders for quite some time. He had to make a choice. He had to get back to the fight. He had to do what was right. Harry closed his eyes and after a long breath he answered.
"I accept." The words echoed with repercussions Harry did not yet understand. All in the room smiled. Sirius ruffled his hair playfully and his mother whispered a soft 'thank you.' Harry felt sick.
"You have our gratitude Harry. He will arrive shortly." Caelius thanked him.
"Can you tell me what he decided?" Harry's voice was quiet. The implications of the bond just beginning to force their way into his mind. What would he say to Snape? What does one say in this situation. Potter found himself yearning for the simplicity of the war he was fighting back home.
"He was willing to go where we saw fit. He didn't wish to be a burden on someone so young." Nakhti sighed sadly. "I was married to a Pharaoh at 14. It was the way of my people. I know that it is frightening right now Harry. But, once I defeated that fear I had 200 wonderful years with my King." She tried to offer him hope for happiness. She had met with Severus. She didn't find him to be a pleasant man. She had not put up a strong fight to keep Snape from The Others. She was unconvinced that he didn't belong there.
"But it was his soul…" Harry shook his head in confusion. Snape wouldn't make him unhappy even to save his soul? Harry didn't know this man at all. It was at that realization that Snape seemed to appear off to Harry's left. Standing slouched in his black robes. He was very out of place against the brightness of the room.
"He was agreeable Severus." Caelius declared proudly.
The look in Snape's eyes surprised Harry. Regret? Sorrow?
"Foolish boy." Snape kept his gaze down. What had that stupid child done? He must not realize that his life has come to an end. What a very Harry Potter thing to do.
"All that has been said is all that needed to be said. Iugum Animus!" Makawee announced loudly. She had risen to her feet along with her four colleagues. Their arms outstretched. Harry stood as he watched the light generate around them. He couldn't help but twist about rapidly, trying to understand what was happening. His senses began to fail him. He was caught in a brilliant whirlwind. The tunnel of air sparkled and glistened around him. It twisted with great speed. Harry only saw white when he looked up, below him was only glittery gusts of air. Harry reached his hands out wildly, unable to see his family or The Old Ones. Potter spun frantically searching for anything but light and air. He couldn't find his voice. Harry gulped down the panic rising in his chest. He felt a strong arm pulling him to a stop. Harry looked up to see Snape's serious face staring back at him. Severus's long hair blew violently untamed. His cape wrapped around them. Snape held them still.
"What's happening?" Harry yelled over the noise of the illuminated twister. His eyes searched Snape's face desperately for an answer.
The professor felt a small twinge of empathy for the terrified boy. What a odd day he must've had. "It's the spell Potter. The Bond has to be born." Harry still clung to him frightened. Snape breathed heavily. "Just hold on to me boy. It'll be over soon." Harry did as he was told. He stared mesmerized as two streaks of white light drifted up, one born of Snape, one of Harry. They twisted and moved in a shimmery dance until they were one. Both men watched as the bond then braided back into two separate streams. These ribbons of light wove and threaded themselves until they were surrounding the two men. Harry felt the tight grip of the bond. He wouldn't have been able to step away from Snape if his life depended on it. The glowing ropes squeezed both men tighter before dissolving into them. The wind began to slow, the light faded. Harry felt dizzy. He didn't let go of Snape as he took in his surrounding. Harry found that he and Snape where in a cottage…his parents cottage. Harry had seen it in pictures, he'd been in the rubble but this replica was amazing. They were not alone. Makawee stood before them, smiling quietly to herself.
"You are bound. Your souls and lives are now one. Thank you Harry, for taking on this challenge and Severus, use your second chance to prove us right. Enjoy eternity. It is a gift. We've enjoyed getting to know you but your time with The Old Ones is over. You will have thirty days here," She gestured around the house. "... which will pass in the blink of an eye in the battle. Get to know one another. Harry, use your family as a guide. Severus take care of your bond mate. He may have saved your soul but you are the older, stronger wizard. He is your responsibility. We are trusting him to you. Do not make fools of us. At the end of that time you will return to fight, united. Rest now boys." With that she was gone. She left behind two confused men. Potter hadn't yet let go of Snape. Upon realizing this he stepped away slowly. Severus looked as he always had, black hair hung to black billowy clothing. His onyx eyes were blank.
"So…forever huh?" Harry tried to break the ice. Severus's head dropped to his hands.
"Do you know what you've done?" Snape's voice was a defeated whisper. "Eternity Harry, you'll be saddled with me for eternity." Harry had never heard this voice from his teacher. It was... sad. His professor was feeling sorrow not because he had to spend eternity with Harry but because Harry had to spend eternity him. "The bond will never let you leave me." Again the older man sighed.
"I…I had to do something…What if The Others…" Harry tried. He begged that Snape see reason. This was the only choice. "I couldn't let you go... there." Harry stated. "Not after everything... everything that you've done for me and everyone. Your soul is good professor." Harry asserted.
"It's where I belong…the things I've done." He shook his head. "I am not a good man Mr. Potter. Therefore, I find it very doubtful that I have a good soul. The man you saved..." Snape's voice cracked as his eyes met Harry's. "The man you bound your soul to... I've tortured and killed. I've lied and manipulated. I, Potter, am an evil man who should have consequences and now you've paid for all of it." Harry felt an urge to comfort the other man. His hands were shaking, his voice breaking on every word. The man in front of Harry was broken.
He took Snape's face in his hands, just as his mother had done. "I would do it again." Harry held the older man's face still, forcing him to maintain eye contact. "I've seen your memories. You're a good man Severus Snape. You have a good heart and got sucked into this war with the lot of us. You've saved countless lives and my life countless times. We have to fight, even if it is next to each other on the front line."
Severus couldn't believe these words were being spoken from the mouth of Harry Potter. He couldn't comprehend how Potter could see any of that when he looked at his potions professor. The man who helped kill his parents, murdered the headmaster and made his school years hell. How was it possible that Harry was seeing any good? It was at this moment that Snape gave up. He'd had enough. It was too much for even the strongest man to bear. It was that moment the older man collapsed into the other and began to weep.