With Blood by Guilty Angels Shed

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Worksheet #13: Resolving the Issue

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He could do this.

She was right there.

He could do this. He'd just walk up to their front door -- bright red lacquer with a cut glass

window -- and ask for Lilly.

Her name would still be Lilly.

She'd be home, and alone, and willing to speak to him with no explanation.

She wouldn't worry that he was a wizard.

She'd know him on sight.

She wouldn't worry that he might be with Voldemort.

Or . . . Oh. Right.

Okay, maybe he needed a plan.

***

Worksheet #14: Final Stages of Disorder

***

He woke up.

It was anticlimactically peaceful.

Snape was a constant hovering presence beside his curtained bed.

"We have got to stop meeting like this," Snape said dryly as Harry yawned and sat up.

"Careful," Harry smirked. "I might start to feel unloved."

Snape froze for a moment, and Harry ran a hand through his untamable hair, mussing it

further.

"Feeling better this morning, are we?" Snape finally asked. Harry ducked his head in

response, and shrugged.

"Can't live on angst all the time," he murmured. Snape raised one coal-black brow.

"Odd, that's not what I recall from adolescence."

Harry's stomach growled.

"Ah," Snape said with an air of omniscience. "Now *that* I remember."

"What time is it?" Harry asked, pointedly ignoring his body's needs. "Have you been sitting

there all day?"

"Not at all," Snape returned smoothly. "I'd just returned to check on you not five minutes ago.

It's been dark for hours. Would you like something to eat?"

Harry stared up at his professor, feeling dried tears stretching the delicate skin beneath his eyes.

The world tasted of ashes.

"Yes," he whispered, clearing his throat. He'd need food, for when he left. Couldn't have a repeat

of London . . .

"Excellent," Snape said, levering himself to his feet in a rush of black robes, as though his legs had

gone numb. "I'll just alert the house elves, shall I?"

"When . . ." Harry started, pausing to clear his throat. He refused to meet Snape's eyes. "When

should I come down? When will they be gone?"

"Excellently reasoned, Potter," Snape said with something like approval. Harry looked up,

surprised. "Don't come down," he continued. "I'll return for you. In the meanwhile, I suggest

you bathe and change."

"Right," Harry whispered to the retreating back. His shirt did feel uncomfortably cold with old

sweat, and was definitely tear-stained. How humiliating. And then--

*Rush of a moon-dark wind.* *A girl's scream, muted by time or water, all blended together

in the night.*

--images flashed behind his eyes, and pain throbbed through his scar, bright and hot. His hand

flew to his forehead, a gasp escaping between clenching teeth. It *hurt*, and he could hear her

screaming, and there was nothing else, nothing but the dark, heavy and mired like mud at the

bottom of a lake, pitch-dark, cloying, heavier than air, heavier than silt, heavier than death . . .

He came out of it on a heaving breath, oxygen sucked into starving tissue like returning from the

dead. His eyes stared blindly at the underside of the canopy. Snape had not returned. He could

have died.

That's when he began to shake.

The connection to Voldemort was growing stronger.

Or Voldemort was getting closer.

He wrapped his arms around his middle and didn't think about it, very carefully didn't think about

the rise of the Dark Lord or the death of that girl, she'd died in the dark, suffocated or drowned and

Voldemort was there laughing over it all . . . Not thinking about any of it. He glared blankly at the

comforter for a moment. Then laughed weakly. Not thinking at all.

An unknown amount of time passed. His scar throbbed dully, steadily, slowly decreasing until it

barely hurt at all. Then Snape returned.

"You'll have to leave, now," Snape said urgently, beginning to speak before he'd even closed the

door. "She's been asking about you, she'll figure out that there's nowhere else for you to be . . ."

"Who?" Harry asked, lifting his head from his knees and following Snape's frantic progress with

apathetic eyes. "Who's looking for me, what are you talking about?"

"The new DADA professor, that Umbridge woman," Snape growled, his black eyes, if possible,

becoming even blacker. "She's a damn Ministry spy, we should've moved you to headquarters,

why couldn't you have trusted Dumbledore, Potter?" Snape almost wailed, now throwing seemingly

random items into Harry's bag as he spoke. "She'll find you, she'll--"

"What?" Harry demanded, scooting to the edge of the bed to peer at Snape. "What does she want,

who is this person?" It was all dreadfully confused, he hadn't even gotten his Hogwarts letter before

running away, and his scar was hurting and "What do you mean, we have a new DADA professor?"

Snape stopped his frantic packing, set the bag down carefully, and turned to fix Harry with a steady

glare. "As I said before, Potter, the Ministry sent a witch named Umbridge to keep an eye on the

school, on Dumbledore, and especially on you. Don't you know what they've been saying about

you, boy?"

"What, the papers?" Harry shrugged, looking away from Snape's exasperated expression. "Sure,

but I stopped more than skimming them after awhile."

"Idiot boy," Snape growled, flinging the pair of jeans in his hands to the ground. "You didn't return

to school, and they're blaming you for all manner of things! There was a Dementor sighted in your

neighborhood, your cousin was admitted to St Mungo's for memory alteration. Ten Death Eaters

escaped from Azkaban, and *Hagrid*" he spat the name, "still hasn't returned from his mission. The

Daily Prophet has been blaming this all on you, Harry. When you didn't return, speculation began

anew that you . . ."

Snape paused, his hands white and clenching at one another like great spiders, his eyes furious.

"They think you're the next Dark Lord, Potter. How could you not know any of this?"

"I . . ." Harry stared at him for a long moment. His head felt light, like he might faint again. "I stopped

reading the paper," he repeated blankly.

Snape threw his hands up in a gesture of ultimate frustration. "Well, of course, what healthy teenager

would want to read the news, of all things . . ."

"I watched the Muggle news," Harry protested quietly, but Snape didn't hear him; already the older man

had returned to packing, and was muttering something about coming under suspicion for his frequent

absences. And Harry had to suppose that Snape, just this once, might actually be right.

***

Worksheet #15: Confronting Your Issues

***

All his attempts at planning this out, and in the end he was forced anyway, Aurors on his heels, magics

darting down Muggle streets as he limped to her door, wet with the rain. Her Muggle was out for the

evening, the children in bed, and he scratched desperately at her door during a crash of thunder, shaking

too badly to use the knocker.

She heard him in spite of the storm, and even that was like all his imaginings of fate, magical thinking, and

she opened the door to stare blankly at the young man dripping on her front step.

"Can I help you," she asked, all the humor in her voice leeched out by the escaping heat and the wand

thrust, all too visibly, through his belt.

"Please," he chattered, stiff fingers curling into the sleeves of his jumper in a blatant gesture of self-protection.

"Please, I'm Harry Potter." Shaking the fringe out of his eyes as proof, meeting her eyes with an identical jade

stare. "Your son." As though it needed saying. "I need your help."

Everything was still for a moment. The rain pattered down softly, and water trickled down his neck from the

soaked hair that was finally laying flat.

"I'm sorry," she whispered. The light from her hallway surrounded her in a honeyed glow, and because of

years of malnutrition he had to look up slightly to meet her eyes. "I can't help you anymore." And she shook

her head, tears brightening her eyes. "You can't ask me to go against Dumbledore, not after all he's done for

me."

'She's been keeping up with the wizarding papers,' he realized, and then 'oh', burst through him with the

sudden leadening of his heart. She knew. She'd known all along. 'She was supposed to have died for me,'

a smaller voice whispered. 'She was supposed to love me more than anything.'

Her face was sad, unutterably sad, Madonna with Child sad, the ineffable sadness of great distance and

greater time, like regret before his flickering gaze following her each movement in the warm yellow glow.

'They always said she died for me,' and everything sinking in him firmed to ice. She began to close the

door, murmuring her regret, and he slammed the open of his palm against the red lacquered wood. He

smiled, and it was terrible to see.

"Wrong answer." His voice felt very far away, which perhaps accounted for the eerily cheerful tone that

froze her limbs and widened her jade eyes.

"What do you mean?" she demanded, her voice breaking on a hoarse whisper and Harry began to think

that she might be afraid of waking the children she'd decided to keep.

"You were supposed to say that you love me," he instructed gently, moving closer with a disconnected

wooden grace. "And that you would do anything for me."

"But I . . ." she stammered, stepping back away from him into her hallway, hand darting for a wand she'd

long-since stopped carrying. "Things have changed, Harry." Her glance strayed toward the stairs. To her

children. "I've changed."

"You certainly weren't as expected, mother," Harry agreed blithely; power began to crackle up within him,

dampening the golden light as though he carried the storm with him, crawling in slow swamp lightning

through his smiling eyes. "I think we should remedy everyone's misconceptions, yes?"

And he laughed, careless as a child in summer he laughed.

***

Worksheet #16: Aftermath of Illness

***

An arm, held immobile near the heart or curled beneath a splintered rib, begins to atrophy within two

days. It was something to keep in mind, and if horrified visions of wasted, useless limbs flickered behind

his eyes it was at least a distraction from this barren world.

He couldn't breathe.

It had seemed like a good idea, such a good idea, and his knife had been too sharp, maybe. He'd a feeling

Snape wouldn't forgive this one. None of them would.

Better to run.

A wind whistled down and rattled the dying branches with early winter-kissed fingers, showering gold and

russet leaves to the forest floor. It wasn't much of a forest, a park, really, with woods and a small lake and

an old, overgrown cemetery; he appreciated the irony, but more importantly it was isolated enough for the

season and his purpose. Not that any of that mattered, now.

She'd screamed so.

The sunlight was warm, at least, thick yellow banners that gilded his white skin; his blood glimmered wetly,

almost black in the clean light. He coughed once, raggedly, the motion shedding crimson gore and a nearly

purple gobbet of lung tissue. "Oh god," he groaned, falling to his knees. One hand planted in the thick loam,

the other stayed clamped to his side. The blood flow was thicker now, darker, a more vivid color of his life.

He was splashed with it, bright down the front of his jeans, dried brown and gummy in places. Not all of it

was his own, certainly not the black gumming his teeth.

He was smiling.

Grinning really, an overjoyed grimace that didn't falter as he collapsed slowly onto his side. It had been good.

Exactly as it should have been. It had been good.

And nothing more.

***

A figure approached in the dark, tall, cloaked, hooded. Alright, *something* more, it seemed. He panted against

the tree, the Boy Who Couldn't Just Fucking Die, eyes very green in the moonlight. Harvest moon, full, increasingly

the color of old bone or antique lace as the dying night faded into dawn. "Harry Potter," in a hiss, too familiar, and

he suddenly knew what he faced.

"Voldemort," he returned calmly enough, voice a gurgle in a bloodied throat. "What do you want?"

The hooded figure laughed, honest amusement, the moon striking off something dark and wet beneath the hood.

"I want to make a deal," Voldemort purled, raising one hand slowly in the universal gesture of parlay. A grin

twitched the corner of a dying mouth.

"A deal?" Harry asked, resettling himself against the tree amid the wet, sucking sounds of his splintered ribs

pulling against the flesh. "What kind of deal?"

Again the figure laughed. "You interest me, Harry Potter. You have always interested me."

"Then perhaps we should talk," Harry gasped. Black swam before his eyes. He was fading.

"By all means," Voldemort said. Clouds scudded over the moon, covering them in darkness.

After a moment the insects of the small wood began their night chorus once again. The clouds broke apart and

drifted away, shining moonlight silver to the patched and puddled blood drying against the tree.

***

A/N This is ostensibly the end. Thanks to Scribblemoose for her work as cultural beta and first-reader.