Black Phoenix

Chapter 1

AU fic of the final battle and beyond. Takes into account up through HBP except the canon ending. Dumbledore is still alive and Snape has still been a spy for the Light.

The final battle had been fought. It had ended as everyone had hoped, with the light victorious. Harry Potter had faced down Voldemort, who had drawn a wand made of yew and the feather of a black phoenix, one he had forced the captive Olivander to create especially to oppose Harry's.

The black phoenix feather had at first appeared to overcome the fiery phoenix feather core of Harry's wand; the streams of magic meeting and the resultant concussion knocking Harry back off his feet. But Harry kept his wand steady, fighting his way back to standing. The flash of light from the meeting streams had drawn the attention of all the nearby combatants. Voldemort's followers felt a moment of exhilaration when Harry fell. The supposed victory was brief, for when Harry stood up, he let out a cry of desperate fury. The power in the streams wavered and the golden stream from Harry's wand pushed against the green of Voldemort's, gaining ground, forcing its way towards its target.

Voldemort snarled, gripping his new wand in both hands, trying to put all his energy into the Avada Kedavra that he had thrown at the eighteen-year old.

No one breathed as the two stood locked in a war of wills. First one stream seemed to dominate, and then the other.

Now Harry held his wand in both hands. His dark hair flew around his face as if he were caught in the midst of a raging storm. With a surge of electrifying energy, Harry's power shoved Voldemort's magic down the stream until it exploded through the black feathered core, through Voldemort's arm and into his body.

For a few seconds, the madman's body seemed to light up from within as beams of light shot out of every orifice, his fingertips, and then from where his black heart would have been. The explosion of his body covered anyone nearby in gore. The energy from the explosion rebounded back down the stream of magic and flung Harry backwards ten yards. He lay unconscious as the world around him came to the stunned realization that Voldemort had been destroyed.

Severus Snape had managed to fight his way to the center of the battle, expertly making it appear as if he were fighting off The Order and the Auror Corp even as he struck down Death Eaters when they turned their backs to him.

When the wand streams met, he ceased fighting along with everyone else, his heart in his throat as the magical surge pulsed between Harry and Voldemort. He had not known about the black phoenix feather core until just before the Death Eaters fell on Hogsmeade, drawing the entire Auror Corp and the Order of the Phoenix when they began a systematic destruction of the wizarding town.

He had raced from his Apparition point to the headmaster's office. Dumbledore was already summoning help via the floo, because the falling wards in Hogsmeade had set off proximity alarms in the castle.

Harry had run up into the office, followed by the DA. The Potions Master had seen the pain in the boy's face and known that Harry felt Voldemort's presence in his scar. For a moment, their eyes met and the emotion in the green eyes seared him. Years of habit had the shields in his own eyes up before Harry could do more than briefly wonder at what he thought he had seen in them.

"The Dark Lord has a new wand," Severus said, his voice grim. "The core is black phoenix feather."

From his perch, Fawkes let out a shrill caw of dismay. Dumbledore stepped over to the bird and soothed him with a stroke of his chest feathers. Fawkes's eyes were fixed on Harry, and he too stepped up to the fiery bird, to stand beside the perch. A single glistening tear fell from Fawkes to land on the hand that Harry extended to him. Harry felt it soak into his skin, a tingly warmth spreading from there to the rest of his body.

Dumbledore turned from the perch to his window and all the attention in the room was drawn there. Billows of smoke were beginning to climb into the sky from the direction of Hogsmeade.

Dumbledore laid a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Please be very careful, Harry."

Somehow, Harry had always imagined that the parting advice from the Headmaster would be more … substantial, on this of all occasions. There was a momentary feeling of hurt and disappointment that he shoved aside almost as soon as it made itself known in him.

He turned to lead the way out when another hand fell on his shoulder. Turning his head, he looked in surprise at Snape. The black eyes were expressionless, but his long fingers gripped Harry's shoulder firmly. "You are not alone, Potter."

Those five words strengthened Harry as the five spoken by Dumbledore had not. He could not help but give Snape a brilliantly grateful smile, before turning again to lead those crowding the office off to war.

SSSSSSSS

Severus ran towards the fallen destroyer of Voldemort, throwing several curses at Death Eaters who sought to make sure that Potter died, too. Standing over Harry's body, he looked like a black avenging angel, his robes snapping about him as he kept any other attackers at bay.

A wounded Ron and Hermione finally fought their way to sit on the ground beside Harry, keeping watch enough for Snape to finally kneel down and check him for injuries. He used several small vials of potion, holding Harry up with one arm as he carefully poured them into his mouth. He grimaced at the blood tracks running from Harry's eyes and ears.

A seizure began to jerk Harry's body and Severus tightened his hold, to prevent the boy from further injury.

After an eternity of waiting for Aurors and Order members to make their way to ground zero, he was relieved to see Dumbledore appear with Pomfrey at his side.

The remaining Death Eaters were being stunned, bound and Apparated away as Pomfrey waved a scanning wand over Harry. Snape gave her a curt report of what he had witnessed as causing the injuries and what he had already done. When she conjured a floating stretcher to transport him back to the castle, Snape stood and lifted Harry in his arms. Pomfrey was left to levitate an insistent Ron and Hermione onto the stretcher and follow Snape's ground-eating strides.

SSSSSSSS

Severus remembered the urge to reassure Potter after the feeble words that Albus had intoned. When Harry had smiled at that small gesture, he suddenly knew that he had been so wrong about the boy all these years; the degree of bright gratitude for such a small assurance told him how much such assurances had been missing. In that moment, he knew that he would defend the Boy-Who-Lived with his own life if it proved necessary.

Before, he had believed that Harry Potter was indeed the one who would defeat the Dark Lord. But he also believed him to be arrogant and as full of himself as his father had been.

How much more had he been wrong about? He had seen glimpses of the boy's home life—how much more had he actually shielded away, locking even more shameful memories from Snape's view? There had always been more underneath what Severus had seen during Occlumency lessons. He had derided and ridiculed Harry into rages not because he was doing as badly as he claimed, but because there had been more under the surface that he wanted to see, and it was denied him.

What he could not deny was that Harry had been stronger and more adept at Occlumency than he had ever told him. To his way of reasoning, the stronger Potter's shields against the Dark Lord's Legilimency, the better. Depending on how this all turned out, he had not relished the thought of the madman being able to pluck out scenes of Severus's active betrayal from Potter's mind.

When Severus had witnessed the end of the Dark Lord, he felt the Dark Mark on his arm blaze for an agonizing instant. There were a few moments of stunned silence before other Death Eaters turned from their opponents and targeted the fallen Potter. Severus had sprinted to the young man, and stood straddling his prone body, firing curse after curse at anyone approaching who wore the garb of a Death Eater. Weasley and Granger had dragged themselves, both bearing grievous injuries, to Harry side, trying to protect both him and Snape.

Now, he laid the too still form of the Boy-Who-Destroyed-the Dark Lord on the glaringly white sheets of an infirmary bed. Other mediwitches and wizards had been called in from St. Mungo's and a coordinated triage was occurring. Injuries were being healed immediately if possible, stabilized if not, and the victims sent on to waiting hands at St. Mungo's. Some did not need the high level of care at St. Mungo's, but would have to wait for their serious but not life-threatening injuries to be seen to in due time.

Severus summoned a wet cloth and gently began to wipe away the blood that had run down Harry's cheeks. Small trickles of bloody tears still oozed from beneath his lashes. He cleaned away more blood that had run from his ears and into the dark hair.

When Madam Pomfrey arrived, she settled Ron and Hermione in nearby beds and then bustled over to Harry's.

Severus remained seated on the bed. "I was reluctant to use magic until the extent of his injuries could be determined."

"Good thinking, Severus. His own magic is quite depleted. Unnecessary magic may cause more damage than good." She continued with her diagnostic spells. At last, she straightened with a heavy sigh. "At the moment, it does not look good; perhaps after he rests …"

Severus looked up at her sharply. "At the moment, what exactly can you tell?"

She looked at him, and then at Dumbledore and McGonagall who had followed them all in. She looked at Harry's two best friends, who were leaning towards them from their beds.

"My scans show that the bones in both of his inner ears have been shattered."

Severus looked down at Harry. "The magical surge from Harry's own wand rebounded after it destroyed the Dark Lord. He was thrown yards backwards. I suppose the concussive effect of that could have done that kind of damage."

Pomfrey nodded. "I'll have to wait to see when his own magic returns to normal before I can use magic and attempt anything to correct it."

"So, he will be deaf until then," Severus stated.

Pomfrey nodded again. "He will be completely deaf, now, and maybe forever, if it's not possible to heal those bones."

Severus continued to gently swab at the blood on Harry's face. That in itself, was a bizarre sight: Snape being gentle, and with Harry Potter, no less. He gave another light wipe of a bloody tear.

"His eyes? What of them?" Severus's voice was soft, but he was determined that they all hear the truth. Somehow, he sensed that it would not be easy.

Pomfrey's face crumpled a bit before she drew herself up. Seeing that, the rest of them knew that what the usually stoic witch had to say would not be good. "His retinas are totally detached. He will be blind as well."

Gasps from everyone in the room caused Severus to look at them all in turn before asking, "Permanently?"

"Unless there is a specialist, a spell, a potion, or a procedure that I don't know about … yes. It will be permanent." Tears trickled down her face as the words left her mouth. "I will ask for all available resources from St Mungo's to consult on his injuries. They may know of things elsewhere …" Her voice trailed off and she turned away from them. She was obviously trying to keep her voice steady as she continued. "I believe that we should keep him in a healing sleep for a time, so that perhaps he will regain his magical strength before he has to face this."

Snape narrowed his own eyes and returned to his ministrations. It would be impossible to immediately communicate with Potter if he woke up. Without the senses of hearing and vision, his perception of what was around him would be a void. Would he panic, or would he face it with typical Gryffindor bravery?

"What of his other injuries?"

"He has a few fractures, cuts, abrasions, blood loss. All those are easy to mend. As I said, his magic is quite depleted, so the mending will be slower than usual until that rights itself. Without intervention, he will probably remain unconscious for a couple of days. After that, I can administer a sleeping draught. We need to decide if that is what's best."

Severus vanished the wet washcloth and stood up. "I will be in my lab and my personal library. There may be contacts amongst the Potion Masters of the world who know of experimental theories." He glanced at them all before heading for the fireplace. "My floo will be accessible if you need me." With that, he swept away, leaving behind a room full of people who didn't know which emotion was stronger, the grief over Harry's injuries, or the disbelief over Snape's attitude towards the whole thing.

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Dreams of Voldemort, Death Eaters, and Morsmordre hanging heavily in the sky spun relentlessly through his mind. The cries of the wounded, the screams of the tortured, along with the bright flashes of light from spells and curses splashed across the eyes and ears in his mind. The battlefield before him was blood-soaked and smoke rose from the grass in acrid clouds. He could smell scorched earth and the burned flesh of combatants. He could even smell the fear from those fighting on both sides. He could tell this was just a nightmare from the way his scar did not hurt.

Another scene played itself out; two streams of light meeting in cataclysmic force, his power being drained as he used every ounce of it to make his stream overcome Voldemort's … his force finally surging towards Voldemort's with explosive results. He remembered feeling rapturous as the man disintegrated, and then he saw the backlash of the stream as it returned to him. He was suddenly flying backwards. He was on the ground and he tried to get up, but could not make his body obey him. He could not see, so he must have been unable to open his eyes. But he felt someone come near, and sensed their legs next to his body as he lay there. He could feel shockwaves though the earth as spells were cast and reflected … odd that he couldn't hear them, though …

Now, he felt as if he were awake, but there was a curious absence of anything within hearing. He automatically catalogued his injuries, remembering that he had been in a battle. He was sore all over. His head ached, but not in his scar where it would have if Voldemort had won.

He lay there struggling to make sense of the way things seemed. He could feel the sheets under his fingers, he could even smell them. Even though he had never put a name to it before, he knew that he was in the infirmary just by the smells alone, with all the medicinal potions, and the aroma of starched sheets.

It was weird, though … he could feel the sheets under his face and fingers, feel a cool breeze fan across him as if someone had walked rapidly by. But he didn't hear their steps, or the usual noises he associated with waking up in hospital.

Opening his eyes, he saw that it was dark. Maybe that's why it was so quiet, then. Usually, he awoke to overwhelming brightness and had to squint against it, making his aching head lurch all the more. This time, there was no brightness. In fact, there was not even a glimmer of dim torchlight. Madame Pomfrey always kept at least a candle burning for him at night, and most often a torch on a far wall, so that he could see his surroundings when he awoke.

This complete darkness was disconcerting and he laid there, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, waiting to hear the faintest sound that would tell him that Madame Pomfrey had fallen asleep watching over him and had simply forgotten to light the candle first.

The longer he laid there, sure that his eyes were open, but unable to see anything, the faster he felt his heart beginning to beat. He wanted to raise his hand, to put it in front of his face, to wiggle his fingers and try to discern their shadows in the darkness, but he was suddenly afraid that he wouldn't see them at all. He strained his ears for clues. It was when he turned his face on the pillowcase that he realized that he didn't hear that, either. A sound that he had always taken for granted, the rubbing of skin against the cool starched cotton, and he couldn't hear it.

He took a deep breath to try and calm his nerves. He was still dreaming, that was it. He stilled again with the realization that he had not heard the noise that air makes when one lets it out between pursed lips.

He jerked in surprise when he felt a gentle hand on his own. He knew his eyes were open, weren't they? He put his own hands up to his face and felt for bandages blocking his view. There were none, and he still could not see his hands, even though he confirmed with his fingers that his eyes were indeed open.

The hand on his gently pulled his hands away from his eyes and he pushed them away impatiently. Why didn't they say something? He opened his own mouth and he thought that he was asking that question, but he couldn't hear it.

The feeling of panic began to bubble up again and he knew that deep breathing was not going to stop this. If this was a nightmare, it was unlike any he had ever had. If it was reality, it was a nightmare come to life and he had been consigned to a living hell devoid of sight and sound.

He could not stop himself from taking the deep gulping breaths, and they only got deeper and more alarmed when he could only feel them, but not hear them. Hands were on his shoulders now, shaking him lightly, patting him. He felt the press of cold glass against his lips and he flung out his hands again, shoving it away. Struggling to sit up, he fought against restraining hands that were trying to prevent him. With a final deep breath, he expelled it in what he knew was a scream. Even though his throat burned raw with the force of it, he still could not hear it.

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