Snape dodged yet another curse flung his way. He tried several times to get closer, but Aurora only sent more curses his way. He could understand her reaction, though. It wasn't as if he'd given her any sort of hint of what he planned to do once he reached her. However, he thought that she'd at least trust him enough to allow him to get close to her just once.
Unfortunately, Aurora's lack of trust in him wasn't the most unsettling part. The potion Snape drank earlier was starting to wear off, meaning his magic levels were dwindling yet again. He could feel the levels slip drastically. It wouldn't be long before he was without his magic, which was dangerous for the both of them.
After minutes of silently weighing his options, Snape finally decided on his next course of action. If she weren't going to trust him, then he'd trust her. The curses she sent towards him were easy enough to recognize. Aurora sent Incarcerous a few times, Glacius, Rictusempra, even a minor blasting curse once. He was rather glad that she hadn't sent any of his specialized curses towards him. Had he not been trying to conserve his magic, he'd have effortlessly waved her spells away. However, since he was conserving his magic, he wouldn't have been able to fight any of them, unfortunately. He drew in a breath.
Snape didn't trust easily. Too many times, he ended up on his face after someone broke his trust. He had trusted his mother once when she told him that Tobias had changed. The next morning he found a bloody countertop and his mother's broken body lying on the floor. He had trusted Lily once when she said she'd never break his heart. Seven years later, she married the one man who made Snape's life an even more living hell than Tobias did. He had trusted Black once and nearly lost his life because of it. He had trusted the Dark Lord to keep his promise of not killing Lily, but Snape still lost her anyway. He had even trusted Dumbledore to keep Lily safe, but even Dumbledore couldn't save her. Here he was again, trusting yet another person that would probably end up hurting him. However, he'd trust Aurora. And if he ended up on his face again, well, sadly, what else was new in his horrid life?
Drawing in a deep breath, Snape centered himself. After five years of saving the foolish boy, this had to be the result of Potter finally rubbing off on him. His attempt had to be truly Gryffindor in origin. He knew that the only Slytherin trait he exhibited with this plan was the brief weighing of his options. If this attempt worked, then he'd rescind one of Harry's numerous detentions, but just one. There was no need for people to think he was getting soft. The boy still was a bloody freaking menace and pain in his ass. So he deserved the detentions.
Slowly, Snape glanced towards Aurora. He had to get her out of her now. She was losing too much blood, and he could tell by the way her curses were missing him now by at least five feet that she too was close to losing her magic. The frightening thought in the back of his mind stuck with him. He knew she had to be in shock with that much blood loss. In addition, by the way that she was sending the curses at him, he speculated that she wasn't sure whom she was dueling with anymore. Her successful castings were much more powerful and much more frantic, as if she truly thought she was in a life or death duel with him.
They both needed him to trust her now. He knew he should trust her. He knew that he would trust her. He knew that at one point in his pathetic horrid life that he could trust her because he had trusted her once before. Here and now, all of the 'should, would, and could' needed to vanish. So inhaling once more, he obliterated all of his doubts. He trusted her. He trusted her with his life, just as she always trusted him with hers.
More curses flew at him, but Snape sprinted towards her. Briefly, Aurora's eyes widened as she sent more spells at him frantically. He did his best to ignore the pain from the curse that slammed against his left forearm. He even tried to push the pain back as a curse smashed against his abdomen. He leapt up and wrapped his arm around her before latching onto his black pendant.
"HOME!" he shouted. Dozens of various spells flew towards them, but the pendant took over and yanked them away before any of the spells hit them. As if something had vomited up a rainbow and shoved it in a blender, the colors from the spells swirled around them. However, soon, the colors disappeared and left behind only darkness. Green slowly swirled below them into the black, and Snape released his hold on his pendant. Unfortunately, he miscalculated the green to be his quarters when instead it was Black Lake.
Falling from at least a forty-foot drop, Snape and Aurora plunged into the freezing lake. When they rose to the surface of the lake again, they were both shivering. He grabbed his pendant again to take them both to his quarters as what should have happened in the first place, but his magic levels had dropped to zilch. He closed his eyes and muttered under his breath. It was just his luck that he'd get them back to Hogwarts, only just a few hundreds of feet short of the castle.
Snape wrapped his arm tighter around Aurora's waist. He could tell that she was fading rather fast as the cold seeped into her body. However, the cold seemed to help her at least know that she was safe. In fact, with her back against his chest, she leaned further into him.
"Severus," she shivered.
"I know," he whispered in her ear. His dark eyes saw the shoreline in front of them. It was about a half-mile away from them. He tightened his hold around her once more before attempting to swim towards the dark shoreline. He was rather glad that she didn't try to fight him, but he didn't think she would have. She was much too tired for that. They both were, unfortunately. He glanced at her briefly. He had to keep her talking. Though, he wasn't much of a conversationalist normally, and most of the topics wouldn't be exactly great for her to talk about right now. "List the constellations in alphabetical order."
"What?" she whispered weakly.
"Just list them for me."
"Come on, Aurora. Let me hear all of those constellations of yours." He felt her grip on his arm loosen slightly. He couldn't tell anymore if his trembling was because he was cold or because he was concerned. Not knowing what else to do, he decided that he'd use any means necessary to get her to talk. He hugged her even closer and tightened his left arm around her. "Please, Aurora," he whispered in her ear. "Let me hear those constellations that you're so fond of." He then gently pressed a kiss against her neck, which got an immediate response from her. She gasped softly, but he continued. "Your eyes always light up when you recite them. Please, Aurora. Let me hear you list all of those lovely constellations of yours."
"Andromeda," she said weakly.
"That's right," he replied quickening his pace towards the shoreline. He needed to get her up to the castle fast. "What's the next one?"
"Aqua . . . Aquarius and Aries," she whispered before shivering more violently. "Canis Major and Minor, Capricornus, Cassiopeia, um . . . Centaurus," she moaned. "Dammit, Cancer, I forgot Cancer."
"That's all right. I hadn't notice." He had noticed, though, but as long as she kept talking, he'd let her.
"There's . . . um . . . Cepheus, Cetus, and Corvus."
Snape nodded slowly before gently picking her up and carrying her out of the freezing cold water. He ignored the terrible pain that he felt in his left arm. The castle loomed ahead, and he felt his heart warm slightly. They were almost there. They just had a bit more to go. Then they'd be home.
"Crux, Cygnus, Draco, um . . . Equuleus and Eridanus," she whispered, shivering horribly in his arms. "There's Gemini and Hercules, Hydra, um . . . Leo and his minor. Libra, Lyra, Orion, and Pegasus, Perseus, Pisces, and Sagittarius," she recited. "Um . . . there's Scorpius, Taurus, Ursa Major and Minor . . . and Virgo."
The warmth from the castle's lights danced across his face. The entire walk from the edge of the lake to the castle hadn't really taken that long, thankfully. Though, that could have felt like it because it had taken her a few moments to recite the constellations or it could have been because he focused solely on getting her up to the castle. He gently pushed open the front doors and nearly collapsed when he entered the castle.
"Dear Merlin," Minerva exclaimed, a few moments later, when she quickly walked down the stairs towards the two drenched pale figures in the Entrance Hall. She summoned several blankets before she and Albus quickly wrapped them around Severus and Aurora once they reached the younger couple. Both looked extremely drained and bloodied. Their injuries didn't leave much to the imagination.
"It's all right. You're safe. You're both safe, my boy," Albus said as he gently cupped the younger wizard's chin. He flashed a brief reassuring smile when Severus released his hold on Aurora. The older wizard glanced towards Hagrid, who understood and picked Aurora up gently. Albus wrapped an arm around Severus and helped him as they followed Hagrid and Aurora up the Grand Staircases towards the hospital wing.
Once each had settled down on their respective cots, Albus turned his full attention on Severus since the man seemed to be the more alert of the two. He could tell that Severus didn't appear to be too badly injured. However, that didn't mean that he thought that Severus was all right either, though. No matter what Severus claimed otherwise, Albus knew that the man did at least partly have feelings for the young witch lying on the nearby cot. Just the mere look Severus was giving her spoke volumes of it.
"You will need to find yourself a new spy, Albus," Severus quietly spoke, still staring at Aurora.
"I understand. It is perhaps for the best in any case, Severus." Albus then glanced towards the bustling mediwitch who was quickly healing Aurora. "Madam, I apologize for disturbing you at this time, but perhaps you can inform us—"
"She has numerous broken bones. In fact, her arm is practically shattered, Albus." She then scoffed before spelling another potion into Aurora's stomach since the witch had succumbed to her exhaustion. "What in Merlin's name happened to her?"
"The Dark Lord wished to learn her secret," Severus softly answered.
"Wonderful, did he learn it?" Pomfrey grumbled as she wrapped heavy gauze around Aurora's arm.
"No. He only learned that she's skilled in wandless magic."
"She's going to need daily doses of Blood replenishing potion for a good month." Pomfrey then shook her head angrily. "We're lucky that girl's still alive after the day she's had."
"Dolohov then did hit her with his curse?"
"Well, I don't know if it was him, but it's definitely his curse." Pomfrey glanced towards Severus. "She'll heal. It'll just take awhile." She then walked over to him and waved her wand over him expertly. "What is it about you two?" Gently, she grabbed his left arm before casting a healing spell. She then started to wrap gauze around his arm until she caught the angry red blisters around his Dark Mark. Her eyes glanced up at him.
"He doesn't take kindly to those who leave before he's done being entertained," Severus responded.
"Would you like a Pain-Relieving Draught?"
"It wouldn't work. I'll put something on it when I get down to my labs, though."
"Well, you're going to need to rest to replenish your core, but other than that you should be fine." She then handed him a potion, which he silently took. "Now, Professor, I don't want to see you in here for at least twenty-four hours. Is that understood?"
"Perfectly," Severus replied, inclining his head. He pushed himself up off the cot he had been on before gently pressing a light kiss against Aurora's forehead. He then walked out of the hospital wing. She was safe yet again, which was all he could hope for now. He'd wait to see where life took him later. If that was him finally admitting his feelings for Aurora, then so be it.
A/N: Thanks for sticking with me until the end. You get to decide if he admits it or not. :D