Harry knew…no one would say anything, no one seemed to notice, but Harry knew and he had definitely noticed.

Severus was missing, and the war was getting closer to Hogwarts.

They all thought the man was a traitor. That he'd only been a spy until he knew which side would win. Harry knew better. The man had trained him, and spoken with him. No one knew that, though. No one knew that "The Dungeon Bat" had rescued Harry from his relatives each night in the Summer before 7th year. Harry couldn't tell them, but he'd entrusted Snape with the knowledge of his life story…a desperate attempt to get the man to see something besides his father. It had started with a letter, and Harry had used a new owl to hide the correspondence. They'd written nightly for weeks, but Harry had stopped for a few days, too weak to rise from his bed after his Uncle's most recent beating. That's when Snape had started to secret Harry away to his home, training him during the night and making sure he was well fed before returning him to his relatives the next morning. Harry had an ally, one who wasn't afraid of Dumbledore's demands that Harry be left at his relatives until his 17th birthday, and he'd leaned heavily on that. Severus…Harry would take care of him, too. After his birthday, for the month he was to stay at Grimmauld, Snape would come to him after every meeting. They compared notes, Harry using his vastly improved skills in Occlumency to watch the meetings without being detected, but block out the pain and Voldemort from his mind. Dumbledore never asked why Snape's reports were more detailed, or why his wounds were healed after the meetings. They were pawns, soldiers, and now Harry knew for sure.

Snape had promised that he'd be at the school, but he wasn't, and no one knew, or cared, where he was. And Harry's friends, the school…even the teachers, with the exception of McGonagall and Remus…they weren't acting normal. Everyone had taken to treating him different, insisting that he spend every spare moment training or researching a way to defeat Voldemort. McGonagall and Remus tried to support him, letting him talk, but it was rare because, unlike the Potions Master, they were afraid of Albus. So yeah, Harry knew that he was only a soldier now, and not even Snape could negate it anymore because he was gone.

No one would address the missing man, not even when asked directly. Even McGonagall and Remus had taken to shrugging and looking away with guilt and sadness in their eyes. He'd been found out, Harry supposed. His mentor, his friend, was either in hiding or dead, and no one but Harry cared. He hadn't even told him how he felt, planning to wait until the war was over or he'd graduated, whichever came first. Now all he had left was a broken heart, and a million people depending on him to win a war without a friend in the world.

Sound the bugle now... play it just for me

He began ignoring the pleas for him to train, and study, and research. He locked himself behind the walls in his mind and searched for the connection to Severus, the path between minds they'd opened so they could be there for the other at all costs, so they could communicate when no other form of communication was available. The connection had been shut, though, and left a gaping wound as if something vital were missing. He gave up fighting. He had to know that Severus was okay, that he could tell the man he trusted above all others exactly how he felt, and the fight was not important without him there. As he searched within his walls, the world saw a soldier in a coma from the stress.

I'm a soldier... wounded so I must give up the fight

Harry didn't care. The world was nothing without Severus. There were a dozen paths in his mind, connections to people he loved, but they were dark and didn't lead anywhere, because no one cared enough to open up to him. No one wanted the Boy Savior to forge connections, afraid they'd be taken down to lure him out. Severus' path had been the light in the darkness of his mind, but the road to his mind was now the darkest of them all. Harry feared there was nothing at the other end anymore, and he worried he would stumble and fall without Severus there to carry him through the dark.

Sound the bugle now... tell them I don't care

Harry drew himself from his mind, but he still withdrew from any attempt to get him to focus on the war. He still felt broken, without Severus' sarcasm in his mind to keep him smiling and forcing him to go on. He'd taken to sitting on top of the Astronomy Tower, staring past the battlements at the world. It was empty without Severus in it, and he couldn't force himself to remember how he'd ever gotten on without the man. He was up there, sitting in the cold air as the sunset, when hope began to shine anew in the form of a raven animagus and a gruff, angry voice. The battle was starting down below, and Harry was supposed to be preparing for the final confrontation, and the voice he knew and loved gave him the hard shove he needed to do his duty.

Then from on high, somewhere in the distance

There's a voice that calls,
"Remember who you are...

Harry walked down the steps of Hogwarts, wand and sword drawn as he stood before his enemy. His body was covered in the Armor of Gryffindor, layered in protective spells he and Severus had woven and created themselves. He had a reason to fight. Severus had been in hiding, and had warded his mind from Harry to keep him away. He was locked away from the world, death his only option if he stepped foot outside his cozy prison before the Dark Lord was dead. So Harry would free him, his love, and give him a life outside of servitude. It didn't matter if he loved him back, either. It never had really, because they would always share a bond, and they both deserved this freedom.

To be free once more.
Yeah, that's worth fighting for