Summary: Harry returns to Hogwarts for his sixth year more powerful than he left. Dumbledore is seeing frightening similarities between Harry and Tom Riddle. Fearful for Harry's soul, Dumbledore does the unthinkable.
Warnings: HP/SS, Non-Con, Snarry, Slash, Violence and some Swearing. (Not as dire as it sounds. Just be warned I've chosen the M rating for a reason.)
Disclaimer: No money is being made from this fan fiction. All rights are reserved to JKRowling.
We're victims of sedition on the open sea.
No one ever said life was free.
Sink, swim, go down with the ship.
Just use your freedom of choice.
A Perfect Circle- Freedom of Choice
It was very late when Harry crept silently passed the dark windows and into the hospital wing. Most of the beds were occupied. The Dark Lord and his Death Eaters may not have harmed any of the students on purpose, but the chaos of destruction to the town and its residence hadn't left all of the students unharmed. Still most of the injuries were superficial. They had been lucky.
Harry knew he was to blame. He may not have told Voldemort to come but he had been asking for it. If anyone had been seriously hurt or killed, it would have been his fault. He knew he had been stupid to call on the Dark Lord, but he was just so desperate.
He still was.
Harry paused as a student turned in their bed and mumbled something, but they didn't wake. Quickly Harry checked every bed. Of coarse it was the last bed in the ward that he was looking for.
Snape lay still on the bed, his chest gently rising and falling.
He and his friends had talked it over all evening and come to realise that Snape was just as much a pawn in this as Harry was. And after Snape's actions today, protecting Ron and Hermione for Harry, they knew Snape was a semi-decent man, if not a ruthless one. The man deserved a chance to make things right.
Harry crept up beside the bed and looked down at his bond mate. Harry had been so preoccupied on switching the bond and being angry at Snape and Dumbledore that he hadn't truly realised what the bond meant. All he had seen was the pain and humiliation. He had seen the whole situation as a battle to be fought. He hadn't thought about what would happen when he won, until now.
Hermione had been saying it over and over, but he hadn't grasped it. The bond wasn't going to go away, and nor was Snape. Even if he switched the bond and got his magic back, there was no breaking it. It was truly forever. It hadn't been until he saw Voldemorts fist wrapped around Snapes throat that he understood; Snape was his.
Harry sighed and Snape's eyes flickered open. It took the man several moments before he recognised who Harry was, but when he did, he slide away as far from him as the bed would allow. Harry leaned over and propped his elbows up on the bed looking into the man's sallow face.
"Go 'way Potter." Snape muttered, his eyes darting around for his wand in the gloom.
"I can't." Harry whispered in resignation.
"Do I need to take points? It's the middle of the night…"
Gently Harry ran his hand through the man's hair. Snape went still beneath him and Harry smoothed the dark hair down, watching his own hand disappear in the dark. "Isn't it strange?"
Snape huffed but played along. He was in no condition to fight Potter at the moment. He was hurt, exhausted and didn't have a damn clue where his wand was. "What is strange?"
"You being alive of course. Not quite what I had planned out."
"No?" Snape drawled incredulously. "Lucky me."
"Look I don't want to fight you anymore Snape. You are not my enemy."
"You could have fooled me." Snape struggled to sit up. His throat was scratchy and raw but he couldn't take Potter's pity party anymore. "You brought the Dark Lord to Hogwarts, Potter. Did you think you could control him? Did you think with him by your side I would break and your magic would come rushing back?"
"I won't deny most of what you say is true. But why are you surprised? You all knew Voldemort was courting me, why wouldn't I use that? Have I ever led you to believe I was going to give in? How do you think being a squib makes me feel? Good? Happy?"
"Albus thought you would understand eventually, apparently not."
"Understand what exactly?" Harry hissed.
"That he bought you time Potter; time to learn to control your magic safely, time to spend the last years of your childhood with your friends, go to school, date…whatever you pleased, before everything is gone. He loves you Potter, utterly and completely. He loves you so much he was willing to sacrifice your love for him, just so you wouldn't loose who you are."
Harry sagged back and curled his arms around himself, staring at Snape with confused eyes.
"Don't you see he is trying to save your soul?" Snape felt a pang of satisfaction; finally the boy saw passed his own small existence. He could see how he had put them all at risk, for his own self centeredness. "You may not want to think about it, but the rest of us can't help but notice how alike you and the Dark Lord are. Every time you encountered him you became a bit more ruthless and bit more jaded.
"The Dark Lord is turning you from the Light from the inside out. He always has been.
"Albus was sick with fear to loose you, to slowly watch you slip away. He couldn't stand by and wait until it was too late. Even if it meant that the Dark Lord would never be defeated, so long as you were safe, alive and whole.
"Albus just wanted to protect you."
"No one can protect me, which is sort of the point." Harry puffed out a sigh. "I understand alright, I do…but this," he motioned the space between them, "was not his or your choice to make. You had no right!"
"Hush boy, do you want to wake the whole ward." Snape hissed. "Did you even put up a silencing spell?"
Harry sneered bitterly. "You think I still can?"
Snape grimaced, but his wand still did not appear. He just hoped the Dark Lord hadn't snapped it in half.
"No one ever talks to me. They just expect I know what's going on, or worse expect me to sit by and let someone else do what needs doing. How can I when everyone is out to get me?" Harry leaned over, his lips flitting over Snapes closed mouth in the semi dark. From this close Snapes eyes were nothing more than black pools. "So I am sorry for all that you've done, because you do have a good heart and I kind of like you. But if you don't relent the bond, and give me my magic back, I am going to join the Dark Lord."
He pressed his mouth against Snape's unyielding lips pulling back just enough to whisper. "Please don't make me do it." Then he slipped behind the curtain and out of the hospital wing.
By Rita Skeeter
Yesterday morning in an unprecedented show of force and destruction, You Know Who and his army of Death Eaters entered Hogsmead in an attempt rescue Harry Potter from Albus Dumbledore's clutches. While the attempt failed as Potter had been bound by his word not to cross the wards, they talked in pasrseltongue, the language of snakes that only they can understand. Has young Potter finally cracked and joined forces with his unnamed foe? Have enemies become allies?
This reporter delved into these question and learned from several sources, including Harry Potter's closest friend Hermione Granger, that the celebrated Albus Dumbledore has had Harry Potter un-consensually bound to Hogwarts Professor and Potions Master Severus Snape after Potter's magic maturated on his sixteen birthday with unexpected power.
Other sources say that the binding was consensual, as there is no other kind and that Dumbledore's reason's for such drastic actions was with the best of intentions. Namely the boy's own well being and the safety of the rest of Hogwarts populace.
From the Ministry of Magic, the Head of the Department of Mysteries disclosed this morning that sixteen years previously a prophecy had been added to the Hall of Prophecies naming the Dark Lord and(?)Harry Potter. The actual prophecy was not disclosed but one can only draw two conclusions after yesterday's incident: The Dark Lord and Harry Potter will fight, but it remains to be seen if they will fight as foes or allies. Does the outcome of our society rest in the hands of one sixteen year old boy?….
Harry walked nervously up the spiral staircase to the Headmaster office. Hermione was just ahead of him and Ron just behind. He hadn't had to ask them to come with him. They were never going to let him go alone. He was glad they were there with him. When he thought about it, they had always been there.
They paused at the top of the stairs, standing before the heavy door. Hermione looked at Ron then at Harry. Her mouth was set with grim resolve, her wand tight in her hand. "Ready?"
Harry nodded and Hermione knocked twice before pushing the door open.
Harry took in the Headmaster's office. Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk as usual. Professor McGonagall was sitting on one side of the room beside Snape with her wand in her lap shrewdly pointed at her colleague. Three chairs were on the other side. Harry snorted. It was almost like they were preparing for a debate rather than a ceasefire.
Stiffly Harry sat between Ron and Hermione.
Dumbledore smiled. "Thank you for coming. It is my dearest hope than we can reconcile this situation I have put you all in."
Harry's jaw almost dropped off. Did Dumbledore just take responsibility for this mess?
"I know you are all angry with me, and rightly so. I just…" He looked at Harry regretfully, "I wanted so much more for you. It tore my heart to pieces to see what was happening to you Harry, to see the life that was laid out for you. I had spent so long working against dark forces, working for the Greater Good, that when the prophecy came I thought there might be hope yet. Then miraculously you survived the killing curse and I knew you were the one. It wasn't until you came here to Hogwarts that I realised what I had done.
"I had laid the burden at your feet and hoped you would take it upon your mantle and I would teach you to be the sword we so desperately needed. But you were so small and innocent, and I found I couldn't do it. You were all the things I was trying to save, and I found I couldn't sacrifice another innocent for my cause. I tried so hard to keep you from that destiny. No matter how hard I tried, nothing I did seemed keep you safe.
"And look where my failings have got you."
Dumbledore looked at Harry, sorrow and regret swimming in his eyes. "I'm sorry Harry. I am so sorry."
Harry looked away as he felt tears welling up in his eyes. He had waited for so long to hear those words. Not just for the bonding, but for everything else, for having to live with the Dursleys, for being kept in the dark and ignored, for the loss of his parents. No one had ever told him they were sorry. And it meant more to him than he could admit. He glanced up at the Headmaster and nodded silently before looking back down at his hands.
Severus cleared his throat uncomfortably and Dumbledore continued. "Severus, you are the most loyal and honest man I have ever met. I have asked more of you than was my right, and you never once wavered and balked from the responsibilities no matter the risk. I have wronged you just as greatly as our enemies would have. For that, I am truly sorry.
There was a long moment of awkward silence as Dumbledore wiped his eyes.
Professor McGonagall broke the silence with what everyone wanted to know. "And the bond Albus, what have you decided?"
"That decision is now up to Severus and Harry. As is should have always been."
Harry looked at Snape with eyes bright with unshed tears. This was it, either Snape would back down or Harry would betray everything he believed it, for his freedom. He knew it was selfish of him, because the bond would only allow one of them to be free, but he had long ago decided on his choice and if Harry was one thing, he was steadfast.
Liquid black eyes met emerald green ones.
Finally Snape spoke his voice low and deep. "I'm not a lucky man, I never have been. I know how this will end if we remain on the path we are set. And I didn't trade the Dark Lord for the Light just to be dragged back to him by you, so…" He shrugged. "If it's me or the Dark Lord, I choose me."
"You have to say it." Harry whispered firmly. Hope rising in him so thickly he could taste it on his tongue.
"I want a few assurances first. An unbreakable oath."
"What kind of assurances?" Hermione asked shrewdly.
Snape glared at her. "I am handing over my life into the hands of a sixteen year old Gryffindor! I am entitled…"
"She's not berating you." Harry snapped angrily, and then he smiled. "She's just looking out for me."
Snape sneered but let it go, which surprised everyone. "I want you to swear that you won't restrict or inhibit my magic and I want promises that I am not your new house elf, or slave…"
Harry raised his hands. "The only thing I want from you is my magic, everything else is yours."
Snape looked at him for a moment longer then nodded.
Harry stepped passed the wards and into the chamber. He didn't look too closely at how he could break through wards, curses and other spells with no effort. He just did and tried not to draw too much attention to himself.
The room was thrown into shadow, the only light coming from the dying fire in the hearth. Snape's sharp outline could be seen from his wingback and a large glass of amber liquid in his hand, the bottle resting on the side table.
Without looking up Snape addressed him. "It's after curfew, Potter. Do I have to ask McGonagall to dock points?"
"If you like." Harry said as he tentatively sat on the end of the couch.
Snape glanced at him then back to the fire. "Did you have a purpose for breaking into my quarters, or were you just bored."
"Well, both really." Harry fiddled with his thumbs looking awkward as Snape turned to look at him again. "So, um, can we have sex?"
Snape was clearly surprised before his sneer fell into place. "And what makes you think…"
"You never took the lust potions." Harry said baldly, and then he smirked and came to stand in front of the dark haired man. He leaned over and whispered. "So fuck me already."
Snape debated with himself for a minute before he pulled Harry into his lap. "As you wish, my Lord."
Well, what did you think? A hopeful ending for Snape and Harry, after all their fighting they deserved it.
I really do love them as a pair. I couldn't just let them be unhappy for the rest of their lives. And I love that Snape already had 'feelings' for Harry, in his twisted self-denying kind of way. I mean it's not like he could have acted on them in any too many circumstances;D
Let me say a few things about Dumbledore. He sort of backed out at the end and handed over his ruined plot to Harry and Snape. He did this for several reasons, 1) He really did mean to save Harry, in his misguided omnipotent ways and 2) He needed to keep Harry on the Light side. He knew Snape's self-preservation would keep both his boys out of the Dark Lords hands. So he's still a manipulative old man, but one with a heart. This is exactly how I see him anyway!
And though Harry was a bit of a pansy for being manipulated again into staying on the team, he knew what he was getting into and he chose it, which was the theme of this last chapter; choices… and Harry's mentors finally making the right ones.