Severus took his place by Harry's side, barely taking notice that Sirius stood just two feet away. He held the heart stone out just above Harry's chest and spoke the spell, "Reportat quod perierat" and at once he felt the heavy drain on his magic; he knew that drain wouldn't have felt quite as heavy if he had allowed himself to heal, but by then it might have been too late. He nearly fell to his knees as the strain took its toll and was surprised to find himself caught by Sirius.
"Harry needs you now." Sirius said in a sever voice. "You are not allowed to be weak." He hoisted Severus back onto his feet who only nodded and regained his footing. They watched the heart stone for a long time before Sirius finally released Severus to stand on his own. Madam Pomfrey standing by at the ready took a sudden intake of breath quietly when she saw a sudden change in Harry's expression. Sirius watched Harry's expressions change; displaying terror, confusion, pain and all together suffering. He could barely stand seeing him this way and when he looked to Snape he could literally see the strain that Severus was putting into the spell; and he wished for the thousandth time that there was something he could do.
They didn't have to wait long to notice a change in the heart stone itself. They watched in amazement as it seemed to grow darker and darker until the whole thing was nothing but a black stone. Sirius turned to Dumbledore the silent question was written clearly on his face. But he received no reply only a gesture, from the headmaster, to continue watching the stone. As the stone slowly began to regain its color Harry's expression softened and everyone's attention shifted as relaxation seemed to take over the young man. The only one paying attention to the stone now was Severus, who was concentrating hard on bringing his bond-mate back to him. He watched as the darkness with in the stone settled deep within it; swirling about like the dark memory he had helped Harry extract not so long ago, and yet it seemed like an eternity had passed to him.
Severus did not move at inch as the atmosphere around him seemed to change. The energy in the room should have alerted him to the change but he did not want to face it if it meant he had failed; he was so focused on the stone he couldn't sense the jubilation. But the hand that was suddenly there on his face was so gentle and so familiar. The voice that spoke his name was so sweet, so alluring that his concentration wavered. His eyes darted briefly from the heart stone to Harry's beautiful, green eyes and back again; refusing to believe it. He had dreamed of Harry looking at him like that for so long he could have easily imagined it. But the hand felt so real. He looked at Harry again and there he was sitting up in his bed leaning toward him with so much emotion pouring from those amazing eyes and Severus's breathe hitched as he gasped in realization.
This was no dream. Harry really was awake! And he was touching his face and looking at him as if he mattered, as if he were the only one that mattered. Severus couldn't help his next actions, he plunged himself into the young man's arms pulling him into a fierce hug. His elation was such that it took him a moment to realize that Harry needed to breath. He loosened his grip and made to move away but was suddenly caught by arms he had not realized where around him. Harry had quite literally buried himself in Severus's chest and was most obviously not willing to let him escape. This was perfectly acceptable to Severus but he began to feel the effects of the magical drain and could barely hold himself up. Harry was supporting much of his weight before Sirius and Madam Pomfrey lifted him off of him.
Harry watched as Severus was gently placed in the chair beside his bed. Severus' eyes never leaving Harry for a second; but the magical drain was apparent and something inside Harry caused his heart to ache; he knew the man was suffering and he knew it was his fault. But as Severus lay in the chair, practically draped over it Sirius pulled him into a bone crushing hug, bringing to Harry's attention, for the first time, that there were others in the room. He felt himself blush furiously as he realized how focused he had been on Severus; but now that his focus had shifted he felt his own exhaustion catch up to him. He looked up at his God-Father; exhaustion etched all over his face and promptly fell asleep.
Sirius held Harry as he slept. He had been surprised, though now that he thought about it he shouldn't have been, when Harry was suddenly breathing deeply and peacefully in his arms having fallen into a much needed deep sleep. He had wanted Harry to confirm that he was truly back but the peaceful look on his face halted any attempt he might have given to wake him; and Madam Pomfrey had confirmed that his condition had stabilized and though she refused to remove glove until the chemicals in Harry's blood had sufficiently cleared she was confident he would be fine. And Dumbledore transfigured the chair; Severus was laying on into a bed as to accommodate him more easily.
"It may be time to let them rest, my boy." Dumbledore said as his gaze came to rest on Sirius. He looked up at the Headmaster and opened his mouth to protest then he thought better of it and nodded.
"I need to find Remus and tell him the good news anyway." Sirius mused when a sudden realization hit. "Dumbledore," his voice an octave higher in severity, "was Remus with you when Snape went to fetch you?" Dumbledore looked at him confused for a moment but shook his head.
"No, he would be here if he was wouldn't he?" Dumbledore said sounding curious. "Should he have been?"
"Yes, he was going to check in with you before he came down to see Harry." Sirius informed him looking quite perturbed and slightly worried. "I haven't seen him sense."
"Perhaps he was recruited by the students to help with the Muggles on his way." Dumbledore suggested. Sirius nodded distractedly and then looked at Harry.
"Why does he have to be so magnanimous?" Sirius asked in a tone suggesting exasperation as he watched Harry sleep. When Dumbledore offered no reply, Sirius looked at him and Dumbledore could see the many emotions lingering in his face. Hurt, sadness, confusion, wonder and fury all played a part in making up his expression and Dumbledore knew Sirius was referring mostly towards the Dursleys. And when Dumbledore could offer no words still, Sirius stood. "I'm going to look for Remus." Nodding his departure to the Headmaster, he disappeared through the doorway.
In truth Dumbledore did understand to a point as to why Harry forgives so easily and he knew that the Dursleys where still important to him. What he didn't understand, however, was why. They had abused poor Harry for 16 years of his life and still he knew Harry had done everything he could to save them. As benevolent as Dumbledore had always tried to be he knew if he were in Harry's shoes he would not have been so forgiving. Dumbledore stepped closer to Harry and placed a wrinkled old hand on his forehead, brushing his bangs aside, to stare at his scar. Dumbledore frowned as his eyes lay upon it and then turned before turning to leave he said, "Get some rest Severus, staring at him won't make him wake up faster." And then left to help Sirius find Remus; Severus would have sneered had he the energy.
"Authors" Note: My chapters are a lot shorter than Miss. Darcy's chapters, I know. But that's how I roll. If they get to long I become intimidated and edit it until it's unrecognizable. So though the chapters maybe short the story will remain as true as I possibly can make it. Please feel free to correct me if I get something wrong or if my grammar is off or something. I'm doing this unbetaed so if anyone would like to offer assistance I'll greatly appreciate it.
I would like to thank Puzzle Me This for her kind offer of assistance. 3 Thank you.