Title: The Boys Who Lived
Author: Shara Lunison
Rating for this Chapter: M
Pairings: Harry/Henry (OMC), several others—none of them canon
Warnings: SLASH, twincest, slightly manipulative!Dumbledore, grey Harry/Henry, OoC-ness, major character death
Summary: The Potter twins are attacked by Voldemort and somehow defeat him. Now the Dark Lord has returned and they have to choose between light and dark. SLASH, Twincest, rated M for later chapters.
Disclaim Her: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
A/N: THERE WILL BE VIOLENCE AND DEATH IN THIS CHAPTER. Please don't read if that upsets you. This chapter is dedicated to Atymer, who said in their review, "I do have to smile imaging Voldy's mug when the nearly empty train arrives. You think he will be upset?" Upset doesn't begin to cover it, darling.
Chapter Thirty-Six—The Mind of a Dark Lord
Severus' hand shook as he reached across the inches separating him from Tom and stroked one finger along his lover's side. They had won. Tom had the Ministry, and once the train of students arrived at Hogwarts in just a few hours, they would have the rest of the Wizarding world in the palm of their hand.
But somehow, it had all gone so wrong. Tom had not instilled doctrines intended to separate Wizarding society from Muggle. He had not removed Muggleborns from their families or created an all-magical orphanage to take them in. He had not, in fact, done much lawmaking at all.
And what he did create was monstrous. A Muggleborn Registration Committee that had yet to find a single Muggleborn to register, as though they had all vanished overnight. Had they been able to find a single one, Severus knew from Tom himself that they would be imprisoned in Azkaban and their wands snapped for stealing from rightful witches and wizards.
The Ministry had been reworked from the bottom up. Departments deemed useless, such as Magical Games and Sports and Misuse of Magical Artifacts, were destroyed and those that needed an 'upgrade' were renamed. This is how the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures because the Department for the Extermination of Magical Creatures.
None of the things Severus had been counting on had come to pass. None of the ideals he once thought Tom believed in were making any kind of appearance.
It was the final nail in the coffin of what had once been love. At least, it was love on Severus' part; he was no longer sure that Tom felt anything at all.
With a soft exhale, almost a sigh, Severus withdrew his hand and rolled over to get out of bed. Barty's confession had played heavily on his thoughts the past several weeks. The devotion the other man had shown him was near equal to the devotion Severus himself had once owed Lily Evans. It was overwhelming and intoxicating all at the same time. Terrifying and bewildering, yet the temptation was there.
Severus Snape had been lucky enough to fall in love twice in his thirty-four years. He had no hope of a third time. But it would be so wonderful to just let someone love him for once. It did not help that Barty had been wearing him down little by little. Severus had little energy left to resist.
"Ssseverusss…" came the sibilant hiss from the bed behind him.
Severus stiffened in the act of pulling on his robes and turned to look at Tom.
"Leaving so soon?" Tom asked nonchalantly. But there was a dangerous gleam in his eyes.
"Not if you want me to stay," Severus said with effort.
"I have need of you. An experiment I have been working on."
Severus cocked his head to one side. This was the first he had heard of any such thing.
"Lucius attempted to assist me and, well…"
The potions master swallowed and folded his robes closer about him. Lucius had first gone missing and then turned up in the psych ward of St. Mungo's.
"He was weak," Tom finished. "But you are not. I'm confident that you will be able to help me. Come here." He beckoned with one pale, long hand.
Shivering with nerves, Severus approached, crawling back onto the bed at Tom's bidding. "What would you have of me?" he finally asked.
Tom gently peeled back the layers of cloth covering Severus' dark mark before he picked up his wand from the bedside table. "A simple spell," was his answer. "Duo universus."
A black nimbus of magic swamped Severus' form and he screamed as it came for him.
Then all he knew was madness.
Draco and Ron were hiding in the Black Academy's Astronomy globe, as it had been dubbed. The students who had been safely transferred to the school were being shown around and introduced to their dormitories. They hadn't felt up to playing tour guide.
Ron's head was lying in Draco's lap. Draco was slowly carding his fingers through the coppery locks on the other boy's head. They were both still otherwise, simply enjoying the moment of alone time.
"Have you heard from your mother?" Ron finally asked.
Draco sighed. He had met with his mother on the morning of the Quidditch World Cup. She had readily agreed to help their cause, and said she would send Draco a letter when she had any kind of news.
"Nothing so far," he admitted. "But it hasn't been long. I'm not sure how much access she has to Severus or any of the other Death Eaters anyway. Mother is our only option, though."
Ron reached up one hand and entwined his fingers with Draco's, gently tugging them free of his hair. "Everything will work out."
Draco smiled down at his boyfriend. "I know."
They both craned their heads to see Hermione's form paused at the top of the stairs into the globe.
"I-I'll just…" she made a motion over her shoulder and turned to go before Ron called out and stopped her.
"Wait! Mione, please join us!" The redhead sat up, trading the hand he had joined with Draco's so that he could reach the other one out to the brunette girl.
She nibbled her bottom lip. "I shouldn't…"
"We won't bite," Draco teased. "Much."
Her lips twitched, but he had called on her Gryffindor bravery, so she moved closer to them with cautious steps.
As soon as she was close enough, Ron snagged her hand and tugged her down to sit beside Draco.
"That's better," he sighed, wriggling to get comfortable again. Their position was such that Hermione and Draco were pressed tightly together along their sides, with Ron lying across both their legs so his head could rest in Hermione's lap.
"Um…" Hermione said, blushing brilliantly.
"Shush," Ron said firmly.
Hermione turned even redder, somehow.
Draco smirked down at his boyfriend, impressed despite himself. "Hermione?" he said. As soon as the brunette turned her head to look at him, he leaned in close and stole a kiss. She pulled back with a gasp, touching her lips with trembling fingers.
"Now you're ours," Draco said with true satisfaction.
He probably deserved the slap she delivered on the back of his head, but it was worth it when she cuddled into his shoulder a moment later.
Barty was waiting in Severus' favorite potions lab, nervously pacing and licking his lips every few minutes as he tried to figure out how to do this. He had to convince Severus to leave the Dark Lord. It was obvious now that they had picked the wrong side. And his friend's relationship with Voldemort was becoming ever more abusive. It wasn't as simple as walking away, though. The Dark Lord had found him just from the mark alone. Leaving meant constantly being on the run until or unless they could find a true safe house to hide.
Not to mention Severus could be incredibly stubborn. Barty couldn't tell if anything he was saying to the man ever got through that snarky exterior. It was damnably frustrating.
He turned to the door, tired of waiting and wanting to see that the man was all right. But just as he reached for the doorknob, it began to turn. Backing away, he looked up, expecting to see dour Severus Snape darkening the doorway.
Instead he came face to face with Narcissa Malfoy. She appeared unkempt, as she had for quite some time, even before her husband disappeared and ended up in hospital. Their eyes met and neither looked away for several long moments.
Finally Barty remembered his manners, tongue darting out to wet his lips as he made a half-bow to the Malfoy matriarch. "My lady."
"Mr. Crouch," she answered haughtily. "Where is Snape?"
Barty gave the room a cursory glance and shrugged. "I haven't seen him yet today."
Her lips thinned. Barty could not tell if it was with annoyance or something else.
"Why do you ask?" he hazarded.
She sniffed, straightening from a posture he now realized had been covert, and finally releasing the doorknob from a white-knuckled grip. "I require a potion, of course."
"Of course," Barty said drily. He rubbed his chin, scratching at the stubbly growth there. "I believe he is with the Dark Lord."
She nodded jerkily, not making eye contact. "I see. Thank you for your assistance and tell him that I would like to speak with him when you see him next."
"Of course," Barty said again.
She was gone before he could study her further. That had been…odd.
Sighing, Barty cast Narcissa Malfoy from his mind and stalked out of the room himself. He still needed to find Severus.
But the next person he came across was the Dark Lord himself. The man was practically crackling with manic energy, his red eyes wild and excited as he walked briskly down the hallway.
"Barty!" the Dark Lord called. "With me!"
Barty altered his steps to follow the man obediently. Where Voldemort went, Snape usually followed.
"May I ask where we are going, my lord?" Barty quietly inquired.
"You may," Voldemort said, leading the way to the manor foyer and the floo connection there. "We are going to Hogwarts to welcome the students back to school. I have an especial interest in seeing the Potter twins once more."
"Yes, my lord," Barty said, bowing slightly as they walked. "And Severus…?"
"It pleases me that you take your duties in protecting him so seriously," Voldemort said, stopping to address Barty directly. "But for now I want you to follow me."
They reached the foyer and Barty preceded the Dark Lord, intending to make sure that the way was clear for his master to enter the ancient castle.
When he arrived in the Great Hall, he was shocked to find it empty. Not only was the Great Hall empty, but the entire castle seemed to echo silently as he took a few steps away from the fireplace.
The whoosh of the fireplace behind him filled Barty with trepidation. If the castle was truly empty…the Dark Lord would not be pleased.
Silence reigned between them for several moments as the Dark Lord assessed the room. "Where are they?"
"Perhaps the staff are at the station preparing to greet the students?" Barty said, hoping this was the case.
"Perhaps," Voldemort said tightly.
Barty cautiously followed the Dark Lord out of the castle and they traveled quickly down the path toward Hogsmeade and the train station. The smoke from the train could be seen in the distance, and they waited as the scarlet engine pulled into the station and each emerald green car lined up behind it.
Something was wrong. Barty wasn't sure what, but something was very, very wrong.
It took perhaps five minutes before the doors of the cars were thrown open and students began to disembark. Those students were clearly nervous and when they spotted the Dark Lord most of them stopped where they stood and did not come any closer.
One particularly stupid child, in Barty's mind at least, stepped right up to the Dark Lord and started babbling about the Potters and their friends using some kind of potion on everyone on the train. Those who were exiting the train had woken up halfway to Scotland and discovered all of the other students missing.
Barty quickly backed away when the child got to that part of the story. The rage from the Dark Lord was rolling off of the man in palpable waves of fury. Small crackling black lightning bolts were jumping from Voldemort's wand.
The child, finally realizing the danger, tried to back away.
"Reducto!" Voldemort snarled, striking the boy in the chest with a super-powered explosion hex. The poor child didn't stand a chance, and Barty looked away quickly to be sick as the remains of the child's head and torso splattered across the platform.
It was pandemonium. The children tried to run, and Voldemort doggedly pursued every one, striking them down with whatever spell struck his fancy in that moment. The stone of the platform was painted red within moments. The shiny emerald paint of the nearest car became coated with a sheen of wet blood, turning the color to a muddy brown. Still Voldemort continued cutting them down. Barty continued to look away, unable to bring himself to witness such genocide. He was just thankful that there did not appear to be a child below the age of thirteen there that day.
Those that he had recognized as they initially emerged were either marked death eaters or children of such. Barty wasn't sure what the Dark Lord intended to tell his followers about the deaths of their children. He wasn't sure the Dark Lord had thought that far ahead, if at all.
The unnaturally loud roar of fire made him look back just once. He saw a great fiendfyre dragon eating through the train, devouring those children who had taken refuge there. Barty was thankful that the screams were short-lived.
Finally it was over. A few bodies were moving sluggishly, the poor souls that occupied them not quite dead. Barty had to be sick again when he finally looked at the carnage. There was not much there that resembled a human being. The fact that the recognizable bits were too small to belong to an adult…
He dry-heaved for several minutes into the blood-stained grass beside the platform. Thank Merlin Severus hadn't been subjected to such a sight.
Barty looked for the Dark Lord at last, and stared at what he was seeing. The man was doubled over, clutching his chest as though in pain.
"No," Voldemort muttered. "No, he was perfect. It should have worked." The Dark Lord's magic rippled over his form for several moments before it nimbused into an orb of malevolent black that obliterated his form entirely.
When it cleared and Barty could finally make out what had happened, his heart lurched into his throat at the sight of Severus Snape lying sprawled on the ground in the blood and guts and bones that remained from the children. How had he come to be there? How?
With a scream of rage, Voldemort slashed his wand at Severus, opening a large gash from shoulder to waist across his body. Then with a thundering pop, the Dark Lord disapparated from the scene.
Barty flew to Severus and set about healing the gash with his wand. He sang the edges back together, willing the man to heal and be well, heal and be well. Belatedly, he realized he was sobbing as his own tears mixed with the blood on Severus' chest and that of the children massacred around them. The wound closed, though the work was clumsy at best. Leaning over, Barty touched Severus' face and looked down at the wildly staring eyes.
There was no response, just rapidly shifting pupils in eyes blown wide by fear or pain or something Barty knew not.
They couldn't stay there. This might be his only chance to get Severus away. Barty pulled Severus up part way and slung the other man's arm over his shoulders. He managed to stand with the dead weight at his side, and spun on one foot as he sought the only destination he could think of that might be safe.
Black Academy was settling down for the evening Welcoming Feast when a surprise edition of the Evening Prophet made its way into the hands of Headmistress McGonagall. Her uncharacteristic barely muffled scream and the immediate tears on her face caused total silence to fall in the Great Hall.
Sirius gently took the paper from her and though his face was shocked, he stood to address the room and explain the situation. "It's…the Evening Prophet. They report that the Hogwarts Express arrived at Hogsmeade Station with only about fifteen to twenty students on board. They are unsure of the exact amount because…because…"
The other professors, who had gathered closer to read over his shoulder, gasped and started to cry as they got to the part of the article Sirius was having trouble vocalizing.
"The Dark Lord was waiting at the station, and when he realized that most of the students were missing, he…attacked," Sirius finally finished. "Most of the bodies are too damaged to identify."
There were gasps and screams from the students at the tables below. Those perhaps the most affected by this were the Potter twins, Ronald Weasley, Draco Malfoy, and Hermione Granger. The Muggleborn witch had promptly vomited into her plate upon realizing the implications. After all, they were the ones responsible for those few students still being on the train. They should have taken everyone. They were just children. They might have been able to help them.
Harry and Henry were openly crying, clutching one another's hands desperately.
At the head table, Professor Sprout had taken McGonagall's hand and was gently escorting her from the room.
"I think it best if everyone adjourns for the evening," Remus told the assembled students. "I'm sure the Headmistress will address this matter in the morning. And don't worry about classes, either."
Most of those present departed from the tables in silent agreement. Only the group including the Potters and their friends remained.
"What have we done?" Hermione sobbed.
Henry took her hands gently in his own. "I know how you feel, Hermione. I was the same way after Colin died. But we had no way of knowing what the Dark Lord would do when that train came in. We assumed, naively, that since they were his followers he would not harm them. We are not responsible for the Dark Lord's actions."
"But we might have been able to help them!" Hermione wailed. "If we'd just been willing to take the chance!"
He bowed his head, unable to argue with her.
"But it wasn't a chance we could afford," Harry said, trying to console her as well.
Ron and Draco both wrapped their arms around her and shook their heads at the twins.
"We'll take care of her," Ron promised.
Reluctantly, the twins nodded. They stood and left the remaining trio sitting at the Gryffindor table to return to their dormitory.
"Promise me we'll make him pay," Harry said softly once they were out of the Great Hall.
Henry nodded almost imperceptibly.
Severus was trapped. Before his eyes he kept seeing the carnage at Hogsmeade station replay over and over again. No escape. Nothing but the Dark Lord's mad thoughts to accompany the terror and helplessness he felt. Nothing but pain and blood and death.
He couldn't believe that he thought recombining Tom's soul would make him whole again. It was obvious to him now, as an inside observer, that there had never been anything to make whole in the first place. Tom's mind was all manipulation and power and magic. No emotions, nothing but angry, violent thoughts and aspirations. No desire for anything other than ruling others and preventing his own death.
He was mad.
Something pierced the madness, then. Severus tried to grasp it, desperate for something else to grab onto in this void. A voice trickled through to him, and he heard his name.
He knew the voice, could not place it. All that mattered was that it was not the Dark Lord. It was not Voldemort. It was not Tom.
He reached for that voice with both hands, uncaring of the pain as he mentally clawed at the cage built around him. He reached and reached, and just when he thought he would have to give it up as a lost cause, the voice reached back.
"Severus, wake up."
Narcissa Malfoy shivered with fear as she tiptoed through one of the many hidden passages in the Manor. Not even the Dark Lord knew of them. After hearing what had transpired at Hogsmeade, she had decided it was time to disappear. Since she was not marked, and Draco needed her right where she was, hiding in her own home had seemed the only logical choice.
Those Death Eaters who had children amongst those at the station had appeared to the Dark Lord en masse, demanding to know why their son or their daughter had been slaughtered like so much cattle. Voldemort had been caught in a moment of weakness, his magic apparently too weak from murdering children to punish his followers and bring them back into line. They had defected, every one of them. Narcissa had heard the Dark Lord screaming bloody murder from across the Manor.
She had no illusions about those defectors. They would be hunted down and either cowed or killed. It hardly mattered.
What mattered was that she had not seen Severus Snape since the day before. And it was absolutely imperative for everyone involved that she find him.
Moving a little further down the passage, she came to the spyhole that would allow her to see into the Dark Lord's private chambers. Sliding the plate aside as slowly and quietly as humanly possible, she pressed one eye to the hole that was revealed.
There was Voldemort, lying exhausted across the bed in the middle of the room. What surprised Narcissa was the sight of her sister Bellatrix present in the room as well.
"It's all right, my lord," Bellatrix was babbling inanely, her childish voice soft and gentle as she stroked Voldemort's dark hair. "I'll take care of you."
"You were always my most faithful," Voldemort murmured. "Not even Severus…" he trailed off and Narcissa nearly screamed with frustration.
"And where is he now?" Bellatrix asked, scorn clear in her voice. "He was never worthy of you, my lord."
"Severus will return," Voldemort said dismissively. "Though if he ended up like Lucius he may well be useless to me now."
Narcissa's ears perked up. Had the Dark Lord done to Severus what had been done to her husband? None of the Healers had been sure what plagued Lucius, but perhaps this was a clue.
"What did you do to them?" Bellatrix asked with evident delight. "Was it deliciously painful?"
"An experiment. Symbiotic spells. Perhaps I will try with you next."
"I would be honored, my lord!" Bellatrix exclaimed.
Voldemort finally moved, rolling over slightly to stare at the eldest Black sister. He reached up one pale hand and grabbed Bellatrix by the hair in a painful grip. "Will it work with you? It is faith that I lack in those I choose? Or is it merely power?"
"No one is more faithful than I," Bellatrix declared. "Nor stronger in magic. I would die for you, my lord."
"Duo universus," Voldemort snarled, brandishing his wand at Bellatrix. A black nimbus of his magic formed and snapped together a moment later. When it cleared, Bellatrix was gone and the Dark Lord was laughing maniacally at the empty room.
Shuddering, Narcissa closed the spyhole and dashed back down the passageway, almost not caring how much noise she made as she tried to get away from the madman occupying her home. Draco needed to know all of this. Perhaps it was not Snape himself, but it had to be news they did not have all the same.
A/N: Two more full chapters and the epilogue to go! This fic is now completely finished, and I will be posting the next chapter 5/22 and the last chapter plus epilogue on 5/29. I'm also running a little contest. Whoever posts the 500th review on this story can request to read everything that's left (keep in mind it's un-bataed at the moment) before I post it.