*Disclaimer: I own nothing but my original characters and ideas….and the plot bunnies in the corner. Please don't sue, I'm a poor college student that has no life and way too many video games.*
"Reality is just a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs." – Robin Williams
Of Prologues and Bad Plans
The wind swept carelessly around the spires and towers of the castle, blowing shutters open and ripping shingles off the roof. Snape's robes billowed harshly around him as he threw curse after curse at the being in front of him. Before him stood the most feared Wizard in history, Lord Voldemort. Behind him the Magical World's last hope, their savior, Harry Potter, kneeled, gasping harshly.
Voldemort blocked his spells almost effortlessly before sending his own back at the younger wizard. The Potions Professor stumbled back several more steps as his shield started to fail around him. He dared not dodge, not with Potter behind him. He could feel the boy, just barely sixteen, as he laid a hand on his leg to steady him. Another curse crashed into his shield, nearly causing him to trip over the boy.
The Dark Lord smiled maliciously at them as he sent another barrage of spells and hexes. This time the Professor did not stumble, in fact his shield seemed to strengthen. His calf felt unnaturally warm where Potter's hand was still gripping it. Magic, Potter was feeding him magic, giving him strength, giving them time. Voldemort took a step closer, red eyes filling with triumph. Just a little closer now and it would all be over.
Below them, they could hear Death Eaters running up the tower to the roof. They had to keep stopping to break through the wards, but they were making alarming progress; soon they would overtake the tower. Hopefully their luck would hold out.
A Reducto sent Snape shuffling back in the strain to hold the shield. Potter gasped in pain behind him, but didn't move. He had nowhere to move to, for behind the Gryffindor was a 300 foot drop to the rocky coast below. This would be their last stand, neither of them would be getting out of this alive, but by Merlin they were taking that madman with them.
"Pr-professor," Potter asked between pain filled gasps. He had broken a rib, maybe two, and his left arm hung uselessly at his side.
Snape wiped at the trail of blood dripping into his eye as he pushed more power into the shield, willing it to hold. "Not yet, Potter," he nearly shouted as he bared his teeth in frustration. They couldn't hold out much longer.
Below them, they could see the fight continuing on the grounds of Hogwarts. The Dark Lord's forces outnumbered theirs, but the Light was still holding its own. An explosion sounded from behind Voldemort as the last ward fell. Any second now and the Death Eaters would be upon them.
"Professor?" Potter's voice shook as he grabbed Snape's robes and pulled himself up even as his legs nearly gave out beneath him.
"Not yet!" The boy tried to shuffle out from behind him, but an arm pushed him back quickly.
Voldemort advanced further, laughing at them in glee. "Severusss, I am mossst disssappointed in you," he hissed, stepping even closer. "Give me the boy and I will kill you quickly."
Snape could feel Potter gripping the back of his robes even harder, twisting the fabric in his fists, as if to keep him there, unsure of where the Professor's loyalties would lie. It wasn't much of an offer, either way he would die, but Voldemort was known for keeping his prisoners alive for weeks, even months, before he killed them. Snape's left hand reached back and latched onto the boy's elbow, his grip hard enough to bruise, but it calmed Potter's erratic breathing down some.
He moved further back, forcing the boy to cling to him or risk falling. Black eyes tracked the Dark Lord as he advanced further, behind him the Death Eaters swarmed up to the roof of the tower, wands ready. "Professor?" Potter whispered, desperate.
"Your anssswer, Sseverusss," Voldemort prompted. The Dark Lord was only several meters away now.
Snape stared directly into his crimson eyes and sneered. "I think I'll take my chance with the boy," he replied before he whipped around, and grabbed their savior. "NOW!"
An incantation left the pale lips before he wrapped his arms around the thin torso and dived off of the astronomy tower. An explosion lit up the night sky just as gravity took them, fiend fire consuming the tower. The Weasley twins finest work by far. Nothing could survive it, not even the Dark Lord.
Fire licked at his heels, even as the plummeted head first towards the broken jagged rocks. Potter clung to him tightly and Severus could feel the heat of his magic as it tried to save them. But there was nothing they could do, nothing anybody could do. The Golden Boy's wand was burnt to a crisp hours before, and the Potion Professor lost his during the explosion.
The wind whipped past them at incredible speed; even still he could hear the boy screaming as the ground became closer and closer. Severus pitied the boy, to kill the Dark Lord and then fall to his death seemed unfair and cruel. He had promised Lily that he would protect her son, promised her he would keep him safe, no matter what. But there was nothing he could do…unless?
Severus had sacrificed everything for the war, for the Light, for Harry. What was one more? Words left his lips as magic began to build. It wasn't a spell, it was a prayer. "Dear Merlin let this please work."
And then agony.
Harry choked on his scream as his ribs shifted painfully in a very incorrect way. Tears stung his eyes even as the wind dried them instantly. He never thought that the cliché of your life flashing before your eyes was true, but now, as he fell to his death, he remembered what had brought them to this point.
After Sirius death, it all went to hell. Voldemort was now officially back, as announced to the public, and he was ruthlessly building his army. The Ministry of Magic had spent the last decade in his absence putting restriction after restriction on what they classified as 'dangerous' or 'dark' creatures. In the end, they only had the Dark Lord to turn to, and turn they did.
Barely a month into the summer hols the Ministry declared the Wizard World in Red Alert. No one was to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary, everyone was tagged and tracked. Wands were examined and tracers were applied. Everyone was in suspicion of being a Death Eater. It was no wonder that even Witches and Wizards revolted.
Diagon Alley fell first, under a hail of fire and chaos. Saint Mungo's was next, followed quickly by the Ministry itself. No one was safe and panic overtook the populace. They flocked to the only safe locations, the schools. Durmstang was not one of them, since it was naturally a dark school, but Beauxbatons was flooded with refugees. Well, those who could get out of Great Britain at least.
Those who weren't fortunate enough fled to Hogwarts. They numbered in the hundreds. Tensions were high as everyone was checked and rechecked for allegiances. Veritaserum was handed out like candy, and anyone who had even a miniscule talent in brewing potions was recruited.
It was there, in the dungeons that a bond began to form, between Professor and Student. Severus Snape and Harry Potter barely tolerated each other on the best of days, but that was before food shortages made them hungry, sleep deprivation made them tired, and the daily death count was announced before each dinner. Their toleration turned to begrudging respect as they stood before simmering cauldrons in the early hours of the morning for the tenth day in a row without rest. Respect turned into acceptance when months passed by and no end was in sight. From there grew a friendship.
It was mid-September when the siege upon Hogwarts began. It lasted for two months, nineteen days, and four hours before Death Eaters ripped through the last of the wards and swarmed the Castle. Harry had been separated from his friends mere minutes into the fight. An overpowered hex destroyed his wand, and if it hadn't been for Snape, he would have died right then and there.
Their plan had been reckless at best, but it was the best they could come up with. Rigging the astronomy tower to explode and releasing a dormant fiend fire spell had been their backup plan. Plan Z…their last option. Harry had hoped it wouldn't have come to that, and he prayed that his friends would survive the battle. As they plummeted through the night sky, Harry wondered what his funeral would be like. At least they took that bastard with them.
Harry gripped the Professor's robes tighter and buried his face into them. He didn't want to see the quickly approaching rocks…except it wasn't fabric he felt against his cheeks, and his hands were no longer fisted into cloth. He felt what could be leather, broken into sequential shapes. The grip around him vanished, and for a moment he was free falling alone.
Snapping his eyes open, he only saw black, and then there was a painful grip around his torso, crushing his bruised and broken ribs. He heard the flap of wings, the wind seeming to quiet as something pulled him up. He gasped painfully, vision fading rapidly as his heart pounded in his ears and his magic soared through his veins.
And then he saw nothing.