Chapter 30: Bring Me to Life
Severus could do naught but stand there as if he had been petrified. The memories would not leave him. Slowly they dragged him down into their dark abyss. He was 5 and Tobias was whipping him with a belt. He was 11 and he had just received his Hogwarts letter. Tobias found it and burned it. Then Tobias took the fire iron and burned Severus, calling him an unholy abomination. It was his duty as a father and a Catholic to burn the demons out of Severus. He was 14 and his mother lay dead and beaten in front of him. He is screaming now. Screaming for her to wake up. She can't leave him alone like this. He needs her. Faster and faster the memories come. They are overwhelming and all consuming. Severus is afraid that they will never stop that he will be lost in them forever.
Harry did not realize what was happening until it was too late. He had thought that Severus was just taking a break to see what he wanted to do next. However, he noticed that Severus seemed to tense up and he decide to check if everything was okay.
"Severus? Sev, I need you to talk to me. Is everything okay? Do you need a moment?"
When no reply was forthcoming Harry decided to intervene. First he blacked out the cell. Now Tobias could not see them and they could not see him. Then Harry stepped in front of Severus. As soon as Harry looked at Severus' eyes, he knew that Severus was no longer present in the here and now. Instead he was someplace far away. This was not like the times when one of them woke up screaming from a nightmare, no this was much worse. When you wake up screaming from a nightmare you are becoming more aware of reality but now Severus was falling further away from reality. Harry had never dealt with this type of situation before. He decided to let his instincts take over.
Harry's first order of action was to place a cheering charm on Severus. He hoped that the induced happiness from the charm would help keep Severus from falling deeper. After the charm, Harry cast Morbilicorpus to get Severus to sit down on the dungeon , Harry summoned a house-elf and had it fetch him a calming draught. When the house-elf returned Harry placed the potion on the floor and started to figure out how to get the potion into Severus. He was worried that touching Severus would cause more harm than good. He knew that there were ways to spell the potion into Severus but he had never done so before and he wasn't sure that he would be able to do it correctly. After a moment of deliberation Harry decided that the potion was absolutely necessary and so he would have to touch Severus.
Harry slowly reached out his right hand to touch Severus' cheek, all the while he was offering encouraging words in a soothing tone of voice. When Harry's hand approached his face, Severus flinched away. However, Harry continued to slowly move forward until his hand was gently resting on Severus' cheek. At first Severus stiffened up at the touch, but then he seemed to relax and even lean into the touch. Harry was encouraged by this and pressed his hand a little firmer onto Severus' cheek. When Severus did not have an adverse reaction to the touch, Harry used his free hand to pick up the potion and started to slowly move it towards Severus' face. Severus allowed the potion to be pressed against his lips but he would not open his mouth. Harry slid his right hand down towards Severus' mouth and used his thumb to wedge Severus' mouth open. Once Harry had poured the potion into Severus' mouth he used his left hand to massage Severus' throat and make him swallow.
Since Severus was allowing Harry to touch him, Harry decided that he would try to use touch to ground Severus in reality. Slowly Harry slid his body across the dungeon floor until he was sitting with his side pressed up against Severus' side. Then Harry slowly wrapped his arm around the traumatized man and pulled him closer to his chest. When Severus was fully resting on Harry's chest, Harry started to rock softly and slowly.
"It is going to be okay. We are going to make it through this. We just have to hold on. I am here for you and I will not let you fall. All I need from you is willingness. I need you to be willing to trust me and lean on me. I need you to be willing to tell me when something is wrong."
Harry knew that Severus probably could not hear him but he felt better for saying it and he realized that everything he said was true. They would be okay. Harry decided to sing softly as he waited for the calming draught and cheering charm to help pull Severus back into reality.
"Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows
Harry stopped singing when he heard Severus whimper. Harry tried to pull back and see Severus' face but Severus suddenly sprang forward and clasped onto Harry with all his might. Harry went rigid in surprise. He could feel Severus shaking and knew that he was coming back to awareness. Harry held onto the trembling man as hard as he could and simply sat rocking back and forth while whispering words of affection and reassurance. After a long hour or so just sitting there, Severus started to calm down and relax against Harry. When Harry pulled back to look at Severus' face, Severus refused to meet his eyes. It seemed as if they had gone back to the first morning all over again. Harry wanted nothing more than to see his submissive smile.
"Hey Sev, are you feeling any better? I was worried that this had become too much. If you want to talk about it, I am willing to listen. Most importantly I want you to know that I care about you and that this has changed nothing. You are still my sub, I will still take care of you, I will not leave you, and most importantly YOU are NOT a BURDEN."
Severus remained quiet and did not move from his position resting on Harry's chest. Harry decided to let him rest for a little longer. Just as Harry was getting ready to suggest that they move back to Severus' room, Severus sat up with a determined look in his eyes. Harry then received an even greater shock when Severus spoke.
"Will you help me finish this? I have one more spell that I need to cast. Then, I don't care if I never see that monster again."