They hit the ground with a soft thud, Severus maintaining his balance with ease. Moments later, both Remus and Madam Pomfrey appeared beside him. He walked quickly towards the distant castle, regretting the distance he had to travel with the still form in his arms. The boy felt too light; he had not needed any spells to make him so. Potter had always been thin while attending school, but thinking back on it, he had eaten infrequently and sparingly. Remus opened doors from him, silent and absorbed in his task, while Madam Pomfrey was silently pointing her wand at the boy, monitoring his life force, no doubt.
"Lay him on that bed," Pomfrey commanded as the entered the Hospital Wing at last.
Severus did as he was bid, laying the boy carefully on the bed. He immediately took some of the already prepared potions from the shelf, waiting until he saw the sign he was looking for.
"What happens next?" Remus asked nervously beside him. "How will we know when the Stasis Potion wears off?"
"Trust me, Lupin, when it happens you will know about it. I ensured around ten minutes leeway, in case something prevented us from reaching this room in time,"
As they watched, a golden light seemed to surround Harry, and he shrieked, unconsciously arching his back.
"What's happening? Is he awake?" Remus moved as if to touch him, but Severus blocked his arm.
"Out, Lupin. You don't want to see this," Severus snarled.
He and Madam Pomfrey were gently holding the child down, forcing a potion down his throat. Severus ran his fingers down the bruised throat, forcing the liquid into his system.
Remus paled considerably and fled the room. Harry shuddered, and seemed to relax all at once. His face schooled in calm, Severus stood back and let the Healer do her job. He wordlessly handed her potions when she reached for them, before moving back to let her work. After hours, the boy was still in the relaxed state, but his body seemed largely healed. They both stood back then, watching him with similar expressions.
"You could do nothing for his eyesight?" Severus said softly, the first time he had spoken for hours.
"He already had such poor eyesight, and it's been too long. There are potions, spells, but none I would trust to use when he's in this state. He's barely breathing on his own as it is," She replied stiffly.
Severus knew she was disappointed that she could not do more, but merely said, "You should send Lupin in to watch him. If you don't sleep you will burn out your magical core and the boy will never heal," She nodded and swept from the room, and Severus could hear her explaining the situation to Remus, and Albus also by the sound of it. He reached out tentatively and brushed a stray lock of hair from the child's sweaty forehead. The scarring around his eyes was horrendous, with deep lines crisscrossing at random angles. Severus hesitated, and gently ran a finger down the scars. Beneath them, Lily's eyes would be forever trapped.
Remus had agreed to watch the boy, and fire call Madam Pomfrey if there was any change. Severus knew there was nothing else he could do, but sitting in his quarters made him feel inadequate. They had done everything they could when they brought Potter to Hogwarts, but his injuries were still severe. The damn boy had looked so fragile, lying lifeless and unmoving. Potter should be awake, annoying him with his resemblance to his father, not causing him, Severus Snape, this distress.
"You took good care of Harry, Severus," a voice behind him said.
Severus jerked his arm in surprise, knocking the inevitable drink from his hands. He had intended to have a Firewhiskey and fall into bed, blissfully unaware of the boy upstairs.
"Of course, Albus," he said irritably mopping the liquid up. "What else did you expect?"
"Nothing else, of course, dear boy. I know how much you cared for Lily, and would do no less for her son,"
"Potter is NOT Lily, they have nothing in common," Severus snarled, feeling the uncontrollable urge to throw the cloth he was using at the Headmaster.
"He's not James, either. He's Harry, and he's hurt. He has survived a terrible accident, one that he should not have lived through. His magic protected him that much is evident. His own Aunt tried to kill him, and I saw some disturbing memories in that woman's mind," Albus shook his head, as if trying to forget what he had seen.
"He does not need your petty hatred, Severus,"
Severus whirled around to face him, fists clenched.
"And what about me, Albus? When am I going to get justice for what those thugs did to me? They tried to kill me-" he stopped, realizing he sounded petulant.
"James and Peter are dead, and Sirius is locked in Azkaban for the rest of his life. Remus lives a miserable existence, refusing any financial help and being shunned from Wizarding society. When will it be enough, Severus? I can't change what happened, no more than you can. But Harry has done nothing to deserve your hatred, except for an unfortunate coincidence in parents. He will need you, especially when he wakes up. You're the only one who can procure potions for him after all. You are more alike than you know," Albus said the last gently, knowing the reaction he would get from the other man at the words. But Severus seemed to slump, and closed his eyes.
"What else do I have, Headmaster, save hatred? I don't know anything else," he whispered almost inaudibly.
"That is an answer you must find for yourself, Severus. Remember, Marge Dursley was driven mad by first love, and then a terrible hatred. I know you are stronger than that, and I know you can forgive. Forgiveness is what you want most of all for yourself, after all,"
Severus opened his eyes, but the Headmaster was gone. All that remained was a terrible ache, and a feeling of realization.
Remus had his hand over the boy's, fingers gently running circles his palm. He was talking, but the subject was not one Severus wanted to hear.
"That year, as a treat, Dumbledore organized a Yule ball. It was dark times, and people were disappearing, but somehow the idea that we had something to look forward lifted everyone's spirits. Your parents went together of course. Your mother- well I've never seen another girl so beautiful. Her hair looked like it was spun from garnets, and her green dress was the envy of every girl there. But it wasn't just that, it was the way she looked at your father. I knew, even then, that she loved him, and he loved her. They both loved you, Harry, with all their hearts. I know they would be so worried to see you sick like this, so you need to get better. You need to get better so you can see some of the pictures I have of that dance…"
Severus slipped back into the shadows. He should not have come back. The image was as fresh in his mind as if it had happened yesterday. Lily, vibrant and beautiful. Lily, happy without him. Lily, who did not need him. Why would her son, the son who shared the same damn eyes, ever need him either?
Harry danced among the stars, with a beautiful red haired woman in a green dress. A man touched his shoulder and he stood aside. He smiled at the other bespectacled figure.
"May I take this dance with your gorgeous mum, Harry?" and they twirled away, two bright figures dancing away from him, but Harry could only smile. His mum was as beautiful as the voice that haunted his dream described.