Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Harry Potter.
Note: So one story is ending and that means writing another story for me. I know many of you fear that this might be similar to what I have written but it won't be.
Summary: Returning for his seventh year might be hard for Harry Potter. How do you deal with the normality of classes, death eaters who want revenge and friends who suffered deep mental wounds to when you can barely cope with yourself? An unexpected survival of ex spy who might be the only one to understand you will be hard for Harry Potter as he learns to cope.
Warnings: Violence, languish, slash of course.
Title: Coping with hope
The messy haired, green eyed younger man stumbled hastily in the morning light that shone brightly over the ground of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The ground had been streaked with hexes only last night and the castle was partly destroyed but Harry Potter, arms full of various potion bottles couldn't care less.
He was only trying to reach the Whomping Willow, the only pass way to the Shrieking Shack and it was so important that he got there in time. Time was against him, he couldn't realize he hadn't send somebody sooner, though he had been a little distracted.
He staggered in his exhaustion but he pressed on. He was panting by the time he reached the tree which did its best to give him a wallop. Harry cursed at himself. Why hadn't he thought to bring somebody else along but he had to do this alone. He knew it.
He could be too late and the fact that he didn't know anything about healing was another fault but he had to try. He owed Snape that much. It had been terrifying to see the older man getting attacked by the snake, no matter how Harry may hate him.
"Oh, give it a rest, will you? I need to reach somebody in time and if I had my hands free I would have immobilized you." He managed to transfer some of the bottles as he waved his wand, his own holly wand, not the Elder Wand, that was safely hidden in his other pocket.
It might be foolish to walk here unaided, his arms full of potions and shrunken bandages when everybody assumed he had been up in the Gryffindor Tower getting some good sleep. But Harry had been unable to sleep; he had needed to see it. He needed to know if Snape was truly dead or if he could still save the man.
The big branch that was about to land on his head haltered and Harry darted forward to press the knot and the tree froze. Harry took a few steps towards the small hole in the trunk of the tree. It would lead to the Shrieking Shack.
He lowered himself into it, careful not to spill any of the potions. He had watched, to his horror, Snape being attacked by Lord Voldemort's snake, Nagini. The older wizard had clenched at his neck, giving Harry memories he needed to learn the truth at last.
Now, hours later, Harry was going back there to see what he could do to save Snape. He wasn't sure if the older wizard was even alive but he couldn't lose Snape now. He had lost everybody else and if it meant that one person he hated could live, then he would do what it took.
Remus Lupin and Nymphodora Tonks, Fred Weasley, Colin Creevey and many others had already died without Harry doing anything about that. He had to try, for his own sanity just as much as for the greater good.
He choked back a sob, it wasn't the time. There would be a time for happiness later when the people had been buried and Harry could think of this day with pride, though he wondered if he could ever think of his day with pride and without the feeling of hurt.
Perhaps in time he would learn to cope but it would be many days and perhaps months and it just hurt to think of it. Harry shook his head angrily, not caring for the way his head hurt or his glasses rattled a little.
He looked down at himself. His clothes were bloodied, his shirt torn but he hadn't had the peace of mind to change. He had been overcome by a sense of urgency when he had been in the Gryffindor dorm. A sense that he was forgetting something and then he had remembered Snape.
He had been so intent on the deadline Voldemort had given him and to finally end it to defeat the Dark Lord that he had not even thought of Snape. It had been bad of him, he knew but his mind had been overturned by all the events that were taking place and the sense that it was finally coming to a close.
Yet the worst of it was the fact that he had also died tonight. He had wanted to end it so badly. He had wanted Voldemort to stop hurting people and to end the prophecy that had haunted his steps since his fifth year, since he had learned it.
Harry rubbed at his eyes as he took quick steps towards the entrance of the Shrieking Shack. The smell of blood assaulted his nose and he nearly gagged. He stumbled again in his haste but he managed to keep upright.
His exhaustion was catching up with him and his body throbbed with pain that passed in waves through it. He shook his head when memories sought to flash before his eyes. He didn't want to think about them now; he didn't want to think about anything at all.
He spelled the crate away from the entrance and managed to pull himself up into the room he had been in hours before. He took care not to slide over the pool of blood but he froze at the sight that greeted him.
Severus Snape lay in a pool of his own blood, thrashing a little with tremors that ran through his system with the venom that had been injected their when the cursed snake had bitten him in the neck. His hand was feebly clutching at his neck to stop the staunch of blood.
The thin, tall, dark haired wizard with the harsh face and the long hooked nose emitted a low keening sound. Harry was at his side in an instant, not caring that the blood was soaking his jeans and knees. He dropped the potions and the bandages, keeping one in his hand and he pressed it against the twin wounds in the pale neck.
Snape looked like all blood had been sucked from his face so white was he. The moment Harry's hand touched his neck, the older wizard twitched away, trying in vain to pull himself away. The dark eyes flew open, unseeing and unfocussed and the thin lips open to reveal bloody teeth as Snape choked upon his own blood.
Harry immediately cursed his mind frantic. He did the only thing he could do and as he continued to press down upon the wounds he managed to lift Snape up with the other arm, supporting the older wizard against his chest.
"Cough! Come on, cough, Dammit!" Harry realized he was chanting into Snape's ear, trying to keep the Headmaster alive. Snape spluttered, gasping for breath and Harry glanced around the room to look for something to use.
The black eyes opened again and driven to desperate state of mind he was already in as he saw the fear in those black eyes, Harry raised his wand and cried out. "Fawkes!"
Nothing happened and Harry glanced down when a fist held his shirt front. Snape was still struggling for breath and Harry did the only thing he could think of to buy him time. He held his wand against Snape's bleeding throat and banished the blood within that made the older wizard choke.
Snape drew in a rattling breath and some colour came back to his face, it was just a little bit and Harry knew it was only time before blood would gather there again to choke Snape. The older wizard was limp in his arms, his body shaking and his face paling.
"Hold on, I will make sure that you will survive," he whispered, not sure if the wizard he was holding could hear him.
"Fawkes! The headmaster needs you, come now!" Harry cried out again, shouting in the hopes that the bloody bird would hear him. With a loud plop and two feathers that dwindled to the bloody ground a big red, yellow bird appeared.
The beady eyes took stock of Harry holding up a trembling Severus Snape. The bird gave a soft shriek and then hopped closer, onto Harry's knee. "Hurry, Fawkes, he doesn't have much time. I don't know how to heal the wounds…"
The Phoenix looked at him, cocking his head to the side and trilled softly and Harry could feel the lump in his throat disappearing as he choked out. "Fawkes, please. I know that you were Dumbledore's familiar but we did so much for him. He owns it to us and especially to Snape that you have to help him. Please heal him. I don't know how to do it…"
Fawkes peered at him, still trilling softly and Harry felt tears beginning to form in his eyes. He couldn't face it if Snape were to die now. Regardless the older wizard had to survive, some way or another.
Fawkes trilled a third time and then lowered his head, eyes still locked with Harry's green ones and just as out of the green ones tears fell so did out of the black ones.
Snape had gone deadly still in Harry's arms and for a moment Harry feared that they were too late and that Snape had given up, given into the darkness but then the older wizard moaned softly, his voice harsh in the bruised throat.
Harry tightened his grip as he whispered. "Just hold on. Just a few moments longer and then you will be free of the pain. I wish I had something to knock you out but I don't. I have got everything else with me."
He fell silent as he watched the wounds heal, the two puncture marks fading. Fawkes hopped around, nudging Snape's side where a flash of his black robe could still be seen through the red and bloodied robe.
Snape breathed a bit easier but he was still deadly pale. Fawkes nudged Snape's side again as Harry waved his wand to transform a piece of wood into a stretcher. He laid Snape down, careful not to injure the older wizard even more.
He picked up a vial of the blood replenishing potion as he uncorked it, pushed Fawkes away with his other hand just as the phoenix went to nudge Snape's side again. "Stop that," he ordered, supporting Snape's head as he lifted it before he said in a softer voice.
"You have to drink this, Professor. It will help you." The dark eyes were trained on his face but Harry wasn't sure if Snape was awake and knew who and where he was. He tipped the vial into Snape's mouth, carefully stroking his neck to make sure the wizard didn't choke upon the helpful liquid.
It brought some colour back to the sallow cheeks and Harry tipped another blood replenishing potion down the scarred and bruised throat. Snape's eyes were glassed over and Harry cursed at himself. He was at a loss of what to do.
The snake venom must surely still be in Snape's body but how to get it out? He feared that if he would levitate Snape to the castle now he might be in danger. Not only from the other students there who still thought he was a Death Eater and of course he had murdered Dumbledore but even a wounded man, especially this man, deserved treatment.
He was more afraid that Snape might not survive the journey unless Harry made sure he was stable first. "Fawkes, stop that!" He got annoyed at the bird which was nudging Snape's side again.
He tried to wave the bird away but when Fawkes picked at his hand and then nudged the older wizard's side again, Harry got angry. "Alright, I will check."
He went around to Snape's side, to the place Fawkes had kept nudging with his beak. He glanced up at the older wizard. Snape had lost consciousness or had at least closed his eyes. Harry's hand went into the pocket which had remarkably been spared from all the blood.
His fingers brushed a vial and he snatched it out, reading the spidery handwriting on it. Antidote to Nagini's venom
That had been the thing he needed. He uncorked the vial, beaming up at Snape who didn't see it of course. The already pale skin had a grey tint to it right now and a small band of sweat had erupted over the wrinkled forehead. The thin lips were pressed together in obvious pain and Harry's heart sank. He needed to move and quickly.
He picked up his wand and said, focussing upon a happy memory which was hard. "Expecto Patronum."
There was a blinding flash of light and then a huge stag was standing in front of him. The lightened beast waited until Harry spoke to him, choking out the words. "Go to the castle and tell them that I will soon be coming to the castle with Severus Snape. He is wounded and in need of aid. Tell them to come and help…I don't think I can move him all by myself."
Harry focussed his attention back to the man lying unconscious before him. He bent over Snape and said, "Please, sir, just hold on. It will just be a little while yet and then you will be out of the woods. Just hold on."
He received no a response and he carefully darted with bold fingertips over the bloodied lips. They opened in a soundless gasp and Harry, supporting Snape's head in the crook of his arm tipped the vial back. His fingers once more carefully stroked the neck, mindful of the bruising that the sheer force of the bite had left behind.
He hoped one vial would be enough. Somehow Snape had survived the crucial hours and Harry knew he might be too late. There could be damage done to the delicate nerves because of the venom and that it had taken him so long to get here.
He really should have sent somebody to get Snape. It would have been the honourable thing to do. The man wouldn't have deserved such a death and now that he was alive…well Harry wasn't sure how he felt about Snape but it was important for the older wizard to survive.
Regardless of Harry's hatred towards Snape, and he didn't know what his feelings towards the other wizard were now but he couldn't allow Snape to die, he just couldn't. He had seen the older wizard's memories and Harry had questions, many but he would be damned if he would ask them now.
He shook his head to force himself back to the present. All the vials he had taken were empty and Fawkes had settled against Snape's arm, beady eyes focussed upon Harry's face as the thin chest rose with each shallow breath Snape took.
"I don't know what else to do. We should get him back to the castle; I have done everything I can do." Harry realized he was speaking to somebody who couldn't answer him but he couldn't care less. His head was aching, as was the rest of his body and his eyes were heavy lidded with grief and exhaustion.
A flick of his wand had Snape following him and Fawkes was beginning to sing softly, a haunting tune and Harry felt his heart echo that tone. He was the first to exit the small entrance and then pressed the knot when the tree began to stir, it wouldn't be any use if he was beaten unconscious by a tree at the moment.
He turned to levitate Snape out, careful to keep the stretcher from jostling too much. Snape's face had relaxed a bit and a little more colour had returned to the sallow cheeks. The lines around the eyes and mouth had tightened in pain again and one balled up fist was trembling ever so faintly.
Harry reached out, loosening the tense fingers and he slipped his hand inside as Snape curled his hand around Harry's. They proceeded up the castle in this fashion, Harry levitating the stretcher with his wand while his left hand tightly clasped in Snape's hand, allowing the older wizard to draw whatever comfort he could from Harry's presence.
He didn't know how long they walked as the sun continued to shower them with rays of light. He nearly stumbled in his exhaustion but Fawkes trilled and Harry forced himself to keep upright.
Shouts went up when he approached the castle and he was sure that they had seen him. People were running at him and right before he stumbled and tripped, feeling his magic waver as he finally fell prey to exhaustion.
His hand slipped from Snape's slack grip but the stretcher was stable and Harry struggled up from his knees. A large hand was held out to him and he accepted it, allowed the tall red-haired wizard to help him to his feet and to steady him.
Ronald Weasley was standing beside him, his best friend and Ron softly said, his blue eyes concerned. "What were you thinking? I thought you made a joke, mate when Prongs said that you were trying to save Snape but I guess I was wrong…"
"Is he?" Harry choked out, his teeth clenched against the pain from the fall.
"Hermione got him. Don't worry about him. We will get him up to the Healing Wing and get you settled into bed," Ron's voice was calm as a feminine voice cut in.
"Perhaps we can take Harry up to the Healing Wing as well. He is suffering from shock I suppose." Hermione Granger's voice was soft and hoarse, thick with grief as the muggleborn witch easily kept Snape's stretcher steady and Harry gave a nod, allowing them to take care of him.
The Healing Wing was extremely busy, healers bustled back and forth, and many were portkeying to St Mungo's with patients who needed better care than they could provide here. Harry was sitting on a bed, allowing the mediwitch Madam Poppy Pomfrey's wand to perform a diagnostic charm on him.
He sat still, enjoying the gentle peace that hung here despite everybody bustling about. His eyes were fixed upon the curtained bed where various healers were trying to stabilize the wizard lying there.
"A good rest is what you need, boy. Don't you dare sneak out of here." Madam Pomfrey waved her finger at Harry and he allowed himself a brief smile at the humour in the situation.
She had known him too well. He had spent many times roaming the castle at night, trying to sneak out of the hospital wing when he had been there but he had never succeeded. "I won't, Madam Pomfrey, but can you perhaps tell me what will happen to Professor Snape?"
She hmphed and then said. "He will remain here, under the protection of Minerva McGonagall who is acting headmistress since our headmaster is lying in an unconscious state. I will put him in a deep sleep soon so that he may heal. He has gone through serious trauma and I am glad that you went back to help him."
"I had forgotten about him. I can hardly imagine what would have happened if I hadn't gone back."
"That is alright, dear. You couldn't have helped it. You have just defeated He Who Must Not Be Named and you are exhausted," Madam Pomfrey tried to console him but Harry shook his head.
"It isn't alright. I should have…." Tears were in his eyes again and Harry felt the mediwitch's arms reach around him, pulling him into a hug.
"You did the best you could do, Harry. Within time he will be punished for his crimes of murdering Albus."
Horror struck and Harry drew back and said. "No, Dumbledore's death was arranged between them. It wasn't Snape's fault and the Wizengamot has to know that. I have to tell them!"
"When you have rested."
"You can pledge your support for Severus, Harry, if you want…." The stern voice of his former head of house made Harry glance up. Professor McGonagall was a little shaken and there was a gash and bruising on her cheek but she still stood strong, a pillar for all those who needed it.
"Will that keep him out of Azkaban?" Harry relaxed back against the pillow, suddenly exhausted as he struggled to contain the tears inside. Madam Pomfrey was standing beside him and she had taken a vial out of her pocket, Dreamless Sleep Harry recognized it from his Potions class.
"For the moment, yes, until his trial starts. But that is of no matter now, Harry, rest now. You have need of it." Her voice was stern but her eyes were kind and Harry took the vial offered to him. To make the pain and the horror he had seen disappear to sleep for a night without dreams and only rest.
It was something that he needed. He needed to sleep and to replenish himself because the next few days would be hard and as Harry slipped off to sleep, he never anticipated how hard it would be.
Wow, that is the first chapter. I do hope that you liked it. Review of course and send some ideas.
Next chapter: Severus Snape wakes up. How will he learn to cope with surviving Voldemort's downfall, something he thought he never would? Harry will try to deal with the funerals that must be attended. That and more in the next chapter: The next day.