The Highest Tower
Summary: Snape stumbles upon Harry at the top of the Astronomy Tower just a few nights after Sirius' death and the revealing of Harry's fate. With Harry standing on the wall, arms outstretched and rambling on about normalcy and destinies, perhaps Snape has reason to worry.
Thank you to lifyndra for beta'ing!
Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a wise old wizard, an evil villain, and a hero who was meant to save the world. There was a castle in this far away land, and atop the highest tower was not a damsel in distress, but the hero who'd just learned of his destiny.
Harry Potter had already been standing on the ledge for ten minutes. He had already made his decision and yet he was unable to move, still staring out into the darkness. The tower really had a fabulous view that was often overlooked, one much better than that of the Gryffindor Tower. From it, he could see the Black Lake, brilliant moonlight glistening off its unbroken surface. He could see the Forbidden Forest, which seemed to stretch on forever. It, too, seemed still, undisturbed. But underneath the surface of the lake, below the treetops of the forest, life was teeming, flourishing.
The same was true for Harry. Though he was unmoving, standing in the same position he had come to be in when he had climbed onto the wall – arms outstretched, fingertips reaching toward the ends of the earth – his heart and mind were flourishing with life.
Yes, Harry Potter had already been standing on the ledge for ten minutes, decision made, when the door to the tower creaked open.
There was a sharp hiss and his name was spoken as almost a warning, tense and commanding. And, perhaps, worried.
Harry didn't turn around, didn't move at all, just continued to stare out over the grounds. After a short moment, just as he heard the intake of breath indicating the man was going to say something, Harry spoke.
"You know, Professor… I've never been normal," Harry said. His voice seemed much too calm for a conversation with Severus Snape, if not the situation itself. But atop the tower, the air was clean and sharp, and it cleared all the usual stresses from his mind. He felt as though the world was revealing itself to him.
"I'm sure you've heard the stories," Harry continued. "Dumbledore really does trust you, you know. He must have told you."
He paused, dropping his arms to his sides as his muscles began to scream at him. He flexed his fingers against the chill of the night.
"I'm sure you sneered when he did, said I was a spoiled, pampered prince and was making the whole thing up. The hero of the wizarding world, hated by his relatives? Pushed and slapped around? Living in a cupboard?" Harry gave a quiet laugh. "It really does seem very unlikely when you think about it, doesn't it? I doubt even Voldemort lived in a cupboard."
Behind him, Snape hissed almost inaudibly at Harry's casual usage of the feared name.
"My aunt and uncle know me for what I am, though… and they're right, Professor. I am a freak. Even in the wonderful, better-than-Muggle Wizarding World, I'm a freak. Never normal."
Harry tilted his head to the side, studying the mountains in the distance. "Do you know what my destiny is, Professor?"
There was silence for a heartbeat. "Yes," came the stiff, terse reply.
Harry nodded, turning his attention back to the scenery before him. "Interesting, isn't it? Kill or be killed. Murder or be murdered."
"Potter.." Snape began warningly.
"I use the word 'interesting,'" Harry continued as if there hadn't been an interruption, "because I can't even cast a Crucio."
The professor took a quick step forward, his robes rustling and vials clinking quietly together in hidden pockets. Harry had shifted his feet. But, once more, the boy disregarded the reaction. He lifted his eyes, searching the stars for the one that now meant the most to him.
"I wonder how many more people will die because everyone expects me to fight for them."
He sat carefully, dangling his feet over the edge of the wall and wrapping his fatigued arms around a parapet. He chose to ignore the shield that had manifested in front of him with a shouted "Protego."
"I will fight for them," Harry said determinedly. "If I have to, I will fight to the death."
There was a long silence. Harry took the opportunity to breathe in the cool night air, watching the grounds for the hidden signs of life. A shivering bush here, a ripple in the lake there, small dark shadows darting from tree to tree, bush to bush.
The professor sighed, sounding exasperated. "Just don't fall to your death, Potter. I have better things to do than to babysit rambling Gryffindors tonight."
The door creaked open again, accompanied by the rustling of fabric, then shut once more with a heavy clunk.
Standing on the other side of the door, shaking his head, Severus Snape muttered, "Ten points to Gryffindor for a surprisingly strong will to live."
Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a wise old wizard, an evil villain, and a hero who was meant to save the world. There was a castle in this far away land, and atop the highest tower was not a damsel in distress, but the hero who'd just learned of his destiny and was determined to save the world.
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