Harry sat on the cold tile floor and stared blankly at the far wall. It would be so easy he thought wearily. Just a little bit deeper than normal. All I need to do is position the blade in the right place and push; it could all go away.
Who would care really? Of course there would be tears; I mean everyone would have to look to someone else to save them now wouldn't they. But no-one would really miss him. He didn't have any family and no one in Gryffindor was talking to him.
The professors would just be angry and Snape would think it was a bid for attention but what did that matter? At least it would all be over.
He laid the blade across his wrist and gently applied pressure, watching with a familiar sense of release as the blood bobbled around it's sharp edge. He hadn't even felt it. Could he really do it? He pressed a little harder and was rewarded as the blood started to flow lightly down his palm and over his fingers. He could feel the pulse now just below the surface. Just a tiny bit deeper and he would hit the artery.
Harry took the pressure off the blade and let the cut he had made sooth him whilst he tried to think. Was there any reason not too? Was their anything that could persuade him to stay in this world? He thought of what was waiting for him upstairs. A tower full of people who hated him and thought he was either mad or the next dark lord; a best friend who hadn't spoken to him in weeks and somewhere, a dark lord who wanted to do nothing more than torture him to death.
He took a deep breath and with a sharp jab, forced the blade into his wrist. There was an immediate gush of blood and Harry let his hand and the blade fall to the floor as he watched the rapidly spreading puddle flowing away from him.
Tears of release flowed down his face. He could sleep now; he could finally sleep.
A glitter of reflected light drew his eye and he glanced sideways, only to feel his heart leap in shock. Knelt beside him, a ghostly white spectre appeared, it's eyes watching him sadly.
'Si...Sirius,' he whispered hoarsely and the spectre nodded.
'I'm here Harry, it's all right.'
'Take me with you,' Harry whispered and the ghosts eyes glimmered with unshed tears.
'Harry, you have so much to live for. So many joys ahead of you; just hold on a little while. I promise things will get better.'
Harry shook his head as the light around him started to dim. 'No, I can't; it's too much...I miss you Sirius...please take me with you.'
A light hand settled on his shoulder and he sobbed at the touch.
'Hold on Harry, everything's going to be all right.'
Severus capped the last vial of the days potion in satisfaction and turned to place it on the shelf only to freeze as a ghostly figure appeared in front of him.
'You,' he hissed angrily. 'What do you want?'
James Potter stood before him; his face calm as he looked steadily at his old nemesis.
'Hate me if you must Severus, but please don't kill my son.' His voice was a soft whisper, barely heard across the large cavernous classroom.
Severus snarled. 'I'm sworn to protect your brat Potter. I have no intention of killing him.'
James regarded him a moment before calmly answering.
'...and yet everyone has a breaking point Severus. At what point does a fifteen year old break? When his family dies? When his classmate is murdered in front of him? When his godfather falls a few feet out of reach? When his uncle beats him unconscious? When his bones are broken? When he is held down and raped? When the worlds fate is placed on his shoulders? When all his house mates have turned against him?Or perhaps when his potions master calls him worthless and kicks him out of his class? Where is the breaking point? When does a child say enough and seek release?'
The potions professor had been steadily growing paler as each of the spectres words sank in. Rape! Beatings? What the hell?
And then there were realizations; his colleagues mutterings at the breakfast table this morning that Potter had been estranged from his friends; that the Weasleys' were forbidden from mixing with him after the fiasco at the ministry; and this afternoon...this afternoon Severus had ejected him from his potions course for good.
He glared at the ghostly figure that had been the focus of all his rage for years.
'What are you saying?'
'There's very little time Severus. He has less than three minutes before we must take him.'
Severus's eyes widened in alarm.' Where?' he hissed
'The bathroom on the fourth floor, opposite the charms classroom.'
Without acknowledging the man's words the dark professor strode to his floo and jumped directly to the correct corridor, his strides long as he burst through the large door into the bathroom that no one used.
The room long known for it's ghosts.
He paused as he took in the sight before him, framed dramatically in the evening sunshine. A small boy, so much smaller than he had seemed just those few short hours ago; slumped on the floor and bathed in crimson. Beside him, another figure, barely visible but instantly recognised. The figure raised its head and gave the frozen man a long look and a then a short nod.
Collecting himself, Severus hurried to the child's side and pulled the boy flat. Raising his wand he sent his Patronus racing out of the room and along the corridor, bidden to fetch the headmaster and mediwitch. He tried to focus on the wound and not look at the boys face, so pale and vulnerable.
He felt Black's ghost moving away, knowing exactly where it hovered in the small room and when its friends came to join it.
Please don't kill my son, the ghost had whispered.
Severus tried not to think of the implications of that plea; that he may have been the one to do this; the final blow that crushed a delicate plant still growing into bloom. The wound closed as he chanted over it, no pulse of blood or heartbeat to hinder the flesh knitting together.
He moved his wand to hover directly above the boys chest and pushed all of his will into the short incantation that he hoped would restart the small heart.
'Severus!' The headmasters shocked exclamation sounded behind him and he knew it was as much shock at the necessity of the spell as the bloody scene before them.
He felt as the spell did its work and Harry Potter's heart spluttered into life and he moved aside to allow the school healer access to the child, her hands quickly moving to replace blood, counter shock and fill the child's collapsed lungs with air.
'How long?' Albus asked gravely. 'How long was his heart still?'
Severus glanced away from the still form for a moment. 'We have time,' he stated quietly, locking eyes with James Potter.
The man gave him a small smile and then faded from view, his friend hesitating a moment as he gave a look of heart aching longing at the boy lay coldly on the tiles. He faded and the sense of unreality that had settled over the potions master left with him.
Severus felt his knees buckle and he landed hard on the tiled floor, aware of the headmasters hand settling on his shoulder.
'You did well Severus; how did you know?'
'James Potter made a house call,' he whispered and he heard the sharp intake of breath from the older man.
'They really are nothing alike,' Severus stated in a numb voice. 'Nothing alike at all.'
And for the first time he realised that was true.
A/N – This was a random idea I had on the bus. A bit grim but wanted to be written so I obliged.