Chapter 1

Beta Read by optimisticrealist72

Though lovers be lost,

Love shall not;

And death shall have no dominion.

-Dylan Thomas-

Severus sat down heavily in the armchair closest the fire, fingers massaging his temples. The skin beneath his shoulders was riddled with tight knots, and a foul taste burned in his mouth after another night of running with Greyback and his pack.

Clicking his fingers, a house elf appeared, offering him his usual drink of brandy before disappearing again. It was in these brief few moments alone that he allowed his mind to wander, safe within the comfort of Spinner's end. His secret of his lycanthropy was safe for the moment, Greyback agreeing to keep his secret in exchange for Artemis's help locating stray wolves and convincing them to join.

The Dark Lord had them in meetings every spare moment of the day, discussing plans concerning the ministry, his werewolf army, and finding the boy who lived. When Severus wasn't protecting his memories or being tortured for sheer torment, he was here, in his library, attempting to find any sort of resources to help him locate the remaining Horcruxes.

He knew they had to be of importance to the founders of Hogwarts, specifically Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Slytherin's locket had already been found and Severus knew that the sword of Gryffindor was integral to their plans to destroy Horcruxes.

"Once you have taken Hogwarts under your protection, as Tom will no doubt have you do, you will need to find a way to get Gryffindor's sword to Harry. It is crucial to my plans.' The whisper of reminiscence was loud in the silence.

He stared into the amber liquid which did nothing to stop the memories of Albus falling to his death, of Harry staring at him, hatred in his eyes.

Severus's fingers tightened around the chipped glass. Two full moons had passed since that night and he was no closer to any information to help his former mate. His teeth ground together as he remembered how they had parted, how Harry had refused his kiss.

The glass exploded against the wall.

"Damn you, Albus," Severus growled, getting up to pace the dusty floor.

Their magic was still tied, as was the nature of their previous bond, but Severus could no longer feel Harry's presence, no longer sense if his mate was in danger. Artemis had remained silent since that night, furious of what had happened.

"I should have taught him while I had the chance," he told the stone wall. He believed that the only way Harry was still able to draw on his magic was to be within close proximity of each other.

Severus moved to the window, watching the July sun sink towards the ground. "It's his birthday soon." He was speaking to Artemis, as he had done for the last two months, hoping the beast would respond. It felt like it was the only link he had to Harry.

"And there is nothing I can do for him." His dark, unwashed hair fell around his face as his head dropped forward.

The mark on his arm burned, signalling his time of lament was over for today.

Grabbing his mask and robe from where they had been haphazardly thrown on the floor, Severus strode out the door, apparating away before it even shut behind him.

All Death Eater meetings now took place in Malfoy Manor. Severus strode up the granite path with his brethren, ignoring the stares of Greyback and his now human pack. They bore the red cloth on their arms proudly, and still the Death Eaters knew not what this 'seeker' pack meant to the Dark Lord.

Severus took his seat near the head of the table, removing his mask to place it beside him. Bellatrix was to his left, the right hand of the Dark Lord. Draco was at the foot of the table, his face just as haggard as his fathers. With the Malfoy's out of favour, my own star rises.

The Dark Lord entered, Nagini at his heels. "My followers, never have we seen so much of each other." He sat, snake eyes observing them all. "But never before have we had so much at stake. I have been working you hard, and for that I give you a reward. Bring her in!"

Pettigrew threw open the doors at the end of the hall, allowing a body to float in.

Charity Burbage.

Her body floated toward them. Severus hoped she was already dead.

"Severus… help me, please."

He turned his head, publicly showing his disdain, his hand on his wand through the sleeve of his robe. There was no way of giving her a peaceful death.

"This woman believes we should mate with Muggles, that their existence is something we should admire."

Nagini slid around Severus's feet, coming closer to her master as she ascended to the table.

"We must accept these thieves of magic? Ludicrous! Why should we be shamed for our purity of blood? Why see the Muggle for anything but they are? They are our slaves and I will see that they are placed back where they belong, starting with this disgrace of a witch. Avada Kedavra!"

Severus watched as the green light robbed Charity of her life, her eyes still focused on him, even in death.

"Nagini, dinner."

The Death Eaters watched as her body was disposed of.

"I have news that the Order is planning to move Potter before he turns seventeen. We will be there to intercept this manoeuvre. While we cannot attack him directly at the Muggle's home, he will have to leave the wards or they will expire when he comes of age. Either way, I expect my army to be ready." The Dark Lord reclined in his chair, lazily describing his plans as if they had no importance. As if he was not discussing the murder of Harry.

"I shall attend to this in person. I must be the one to kill Potter and I shall be!" Voldemort looked around his followers, his eyes resting on Severus. "You were the most trusted by Dumbledore, the only one of us to still have ties to the ministry; you must know of the date of Potter's planned move."

Severus could feel his mouth grow dry despite his impassive face; he had to answer, he couldn't risk Voldemort entering his mind. "My Lord, the Order plans to move Potter on Saturday at nightfall." The truth tumbled from his lips, his brain working overtime trying to figure out a plan.

"And this information comes from?"

"A source of mine from within the ministry." Severus waited with bated breath as red eyes contemplated this.

"My Lord, I have heard differently…" Yaxley, a fool of a Death Eater, barged in, giving Severus the breathing space he needed to school his thoughts. "Dawlish, the Auror, let slip of a plan to move Potter the night before he turns seventeen."

"I was warned of a false trail, this must be what Yaxley is referring to. I can assure you, Yaxley, the Order will no longer help Potter with protection. They believe we have infiltrated the Ministry; all their attention will be there."

"The Ministry will not be under my control by the coming Saturday." Voldemort sat back in his chair, gripping the armrest. "We will strike on Saturday during Potter's transport. I will acquire a wand," he extended his skeletal hand towards Malfoy. "Your wand, Lucius."

Malfoy handed it over hesitantly.

Severus ignored the exchange, his mind processing all the information he knew and how best to apply it in the protection of Harry. Mundungus Fletcher. His brain offered up the name, an inkling of an idea behind it.

"Leave," Voldemort pointed at the door at the end of the hall. "Severus, you stay."

Others gave him looks as they walked out, a few with sympathy, most with anger for being singled out by the Lord himself.

"It is my intention that you become Headmaster of Hogwarts."

Severus said nothing, looking at the hands gripping the table.

"Does this not please you?"

"Indeed, my Lord. But, if I may, how much help can I be at Hogwarts?"

"Ahh, Severus, you underestimate your skills. Now that Dumbledore is gone, I needn't worry about over throwing our old school. I need eyes there, Severus, someone who can watch the students and watch for signs of Potter re-emerging. Our next target might be the ministry but I doubt Dumbledore would have left Potter helpless."

There was a pause.

"You are hesitant… why?"

No sooner had he spoke then Severus found his mind assaulted, a tendril of dark magic worming his way into his inner most thoughts. The barriers he had raised were barraged as the Dark Lord sought the information he craved. Artemis remained hidden. Severus could feel the beast shifting in his mind. Immediately Severus thought of Greyback and his pack.

"You are concerned about the werewolf army. Of course…" Voldemort ceased his attack. "You were attacked by one in your school years and now you do not trust them."

"No, my Lord."

"They are merely creatures to be controlled. Like obedient mongrels, perfect for doing tasks unworthy of my army. You need not be fearful."

"Thank you, my Lord. When shall I return to Hogwarts?"

"You shall accompany us on the attack of Potter's house. Then you will return to Hogwarts, not a moment before, do you understand, Severus?"

"Of course, my Lord."

"Now leave me."

Severus stood, bowing and moved silently from the room.

"Oh, and Severus?"

He turned to look back at his master.


Severus fell to the ground, knives embedding in his nerves.

"The one you need to fear is me."


Harry looked at the two piles he had made on the floor next to his trunk. The pile he had labelled mentally as things to take was significantly smaller than the one he intended to leave. Sighing, he flopped back onto the floor, listening to the murmurs of his relatives.

"How'd I end up here?" he whispered to the room, smiling at the soft hoot he received from Hedwig. He got up, moving to the window, stroking Hedwig through the bars of her cage. "It's been two months. I know he said to wait for three, but…"

Hedwig ruffled her wings, regarding him with large amber eyes.

"It was around a year ago that I met Artemis, a bit less, actually; I was at Hogwarts by then." Harry knew Hedwig couldn't respond, but he had to speak to someone except his abnormally fat cousin. "Could you believe I was moping around… thinking of families and Romilda Vane? Now look at me; no longer in a bond, my mentor dead, about to go on the run. Doesn't get any better than this, huh, girl?"

There was laughter from beneath his feet. The Dursley's clearly not taking his warning to heart.

"I miss him every day. His smell, his presence, even his damn snarky comments. Damn you, Dumbledore." Harry moved from the window to sit on his bed, his eyes drawn to the newspaper he'd been reading earlier this morning.

"The real truth is… I don't think any of us knew the truth about Albus Dumbledore. Apart from Severus." Harry reached into his pocket, thumbing his piece of flint. "Bloody Rita Skeeter."

He laid on his bed, feeling the unmistakable ache of missing Severus. "I can't even feel him anymore." Harry placed his hand over his chest, feeling the thump of his heart below his breast bone. Not unlike the other nights over the past eleven weeks, Harry found himself wondering how Severus was doing. He had left without any indication of how Harry had felt, under the illusion that Harry now hated him.

"Do you think he'll come find me?" Harry voiced his fear to Hedwig, the only living creature to have heard his misgivings. He'd told Ron and Hermione about the note, and while Ron had been a little sceptical, he trusted Harry's judgement, despite how it made Dumbledore look.

The Order was a different matter.

McGonagall had been silent as they'd assembled after the funeral. Remus had been vehement in his declaration of Severus's treachery, the other members more or less nodding their heads in agreement. Molly Weasley had stood, her mouth open, unwilling to believe what the evidence pointed to.

It'd been Harry who had told them all that Severus had done it after all.

It was the first official Order meeting that he had attended and he had nothing to say, sitting there mute as the 'grown ups' discussed what needed to be done. As they disbanded for the night, Harry ignored the pleading stare Remus had sent him. Despite Severus's urging that he meet up with Remus's pack, Harry couldn't bring himself to do it. He'd agreed to spend his last summer with his aunt and uncle, and he could do the rest later.

Later was now today.

McGonagall had caught him by the elbow as he attempted to leave on the Hogwarts express.

"A word, Mr Potter, if I may."

He'd looked into her blue eyes, the concern on her face evident, and he nodded.

"How are you feeling, Harry?" She asked him as soon as a privacy bubble was erected around them.

"About what, Professor?" He was cold, detached in his response.

"Oh, I don't know, perhaps about how your bonding has dissolved? About your mate killing Albus?" Her eyes were narrowed, arms folded over her chest.

"How do you expect me to feel?"

"Devastated, Harry. What are you planning to do? I knew the three of you were up to something, and that plan might have changed now. I don't want you doing anything rash."

"I'm not returning to Hogwarts," Harry said.

"I gathered as much. Are Hermione and Ron accompanying you?" asked McGonagall.

"They want to come."

"Very well, then I ask you a favour, young man. Allow them to spend a summer with their families."

Harry had looked down at his shoes defiantly. Originally he'd intended to leave as soon as his feet hit London. He had wanted to tell his head of house what had really happened with Dumbledore, but he had no idea what Severus was planning and didn't want to jeopardise anything.

"I understand."

"Thank you, Harry. I will do anything to help you with this, do you understand?" McGonagall moved closer, placing a wrinkled hand on his shoulder.

He smiled as she squeezed it in comfort. "Your place is at Hogwarts."

She smiled in return. "You're turning into quite the fine leader, Harry."

"I hope it's enough."

"Albus believed in you, Harry, as do I," Mc Gonagall's voice was firm.

Harry shook his head to rid himself of the memories. His birthday was just around the corner, an important one, he'd been told. Seventeen was the coming of age in the wizarding world, and the wards surrounding this house would become useless.

"At least this birthday won't be spent here, that's a silver lining, hey?"

Hedwig shuffled her wings, eyeing their room with disdainful amber eyes.

This summer had been one of the worst, even though the Dursleys had left him alone for the duration of it. He had felt cut off, isolated by everyone he cared for. His head understood the logic behind it. Severus needed to do what he was doing, Hermione and Ron needed time with their families… yet there was a small selfish part of himself that didn't want to understand. His heart wanted to rage with the unfairness of it all.

He'd spent days, nights locked up in his room staring at the walls, cursing everything. Dumbledore, Voldemort, Severus, the whole damn wizarding world. He was alone in his thoughts, with no one to speak to but Hedwig, his demons slowly eating away at his confidence.

One night, two weeks Harry snapped out of it, pushing back his covers in resolution. This was what fate had dealt him, and he could not sit by and let it laugh at him any longer. The agony of being apart from the one he loved, the betrayal he still felt toward that man didn't go away, but Harry had to do something, not just let his thoughts consume him.

He began training during the day, intense physical exercises to help him sleep in the night. His aunt watched him from the windows sometimes as he raced around the yard, frowning as he used garden ornaments for weight lifting. As long as his body was spent, his mind kept quiet by physical exertion he didn't have fight the demons of worry that plagued him.

In his bedroom, under the cover of night, he practiced transforming into Apollo, improving his timing, transforming whilst in movement.

Placing a hand on his stomach, Harry could feel how his body had changed, the muscle firmer beneath his fingertips. He would never be muscular, too much malnutrition in his early years would see to that, but Harry felt fitter, more able to deal with what was presented to him.

"Well I'm all packed, Hedwig… ready to go?"

His owl hooted in agreement, ready to spring their shared cage.

"Let's just hope the Dursleys believe me, otherwise they're going to get quite the surprise when all the Order members show up through the fireplace," Harry said. He shrunk his trunk and put it in his pocket, lifting Hedwig's cage as he left. "On second thought… that could be quite entertaining."

Harry walked heavily down the stairs, taking it all in for one last time. He might not have fond memories of the place, but this was where he had spent his childhood.

"I meant it when I said you needed to get ready to leave tonight." Harry placed Hedwig down gently at the foot of the stairs. There was no response and Harry sighed, looking longingly at the door. "Sure, don't listen, stay there and get blasted to bits." He pushed open the door into the living room.

The Dursleys all looked up as he entered.

His aunt's face was pinched, her lips puckered as she stared at him. These were his only living blood relatives and they still looked at him with disdain. His uncle looked at him as though he was something to be scraped off his shoe.

"The Order will be coming in a few minutes, have you packed anything?" He gestured around the living room with his hand, barely keeping a hold on his frustration.

"Your bloody kind will not be setting foot in this house. The way I see it, boy, you'll be seventeen in a few days and I can finally wash my hands of you." Vernon's moustache twitched as he spoke, but it was Petunia who Harry kept his eyes on.

"I know you've raised me despite the hatred you feel toward me, and for that I thank you. I know you understand what's coming, and I hope that you can see I'm trying to protect you," his voice was soft, almost pleading.

The expression on his aunt's face didn't change; she didn't even seem to acknowledge him. A tiny clock on the mantelpiece began to chime, and Harry moved to the edge of the room. Vernon tensed his shoulders as the fireplace flared to life.

Remus stepped in.

"Evening, Harry, evening all, I trust you're all ready to go?"

"This is my bloody house! You have no right to be barging in here and demanding things!" Vernon stood, body wobbling as he attempted to face down the werewolf.

"I couldn't care less if you remained here while the house exploded, Dursley. It was Harry that requested we move you for your safety and I will honour that request. Petunia." Remus nodded his head toward the bony woman.

"I recognize you. You're one of her friends," Petunia accused.

"I was one of Lily's friends, yes. The dangerous one. Now…" he gestured to the fire which flared into life, "are you going to come willingly or do I have to push you through?"

Vernon's hands balled, shifting into a ridiculous attack stance. Remus simply smiled, a wolfish one Harry hadn't seen before.

"Enough!" Dudley seemed to find his voice at last. "If Harry says we're in danger then we are." He moved to stand in front of Harry. "I haven't forgotten what you did last summer regarding that shadowy thing." A beefy hand was extended.

Harry regarded it for a few moments before clasping it in his own.

"I don't know what's happening, but I hope you stay safe, Harry."

"Thank you, Dudley."

"So, I have to go through there?" Dudley pointed toward the fireplace.

Remus shared a look with Harry before turning to his cousin. "Yes, it's painless."

Dudley didn't look back as he walked into the green flames, despite his parents cries of dismay. Petunia was quick to follow, not looking back at her nephew who she had raised for seventeen years. Vernon stood there, face red, mouth opening and shutting like a goldfish.

"Need a hand, Dursley?" Remus growled.

Vernon gave one last scathing look at Harry. "Don't come back," were his parting words as he followed his family into the fire.

"Charming bunch," Remus glared into the empty hearth. "The Order will be arriving soon, Harry. I wanted to come early to discuss something."

"I know what you want, Remus." Harry moved to sit on the sofa, brazenly placing his feet on the plastic covers that his aunt insisted kept them free of dirt. "You want me to come see your pack."

"I've given you the summer, Harry. I've done as you asked. I spoke to Tonks and explained everything."

Harry perked up. "What happened?"

Remus sat next to him. "My immediate reaction was to ask her to get rid of it." He held his hand up at Harry's face. "I was concerned about my child inheriting lycanthropy."

"You seem completely at home with your condition now," Harry commented, stretching on the sofa behind him.

Remus stiffened next to him.

"Oh god, Remus, I'm sorry, that sounded awful."

"I've accepted the wolf, Harry. Do you have any idea what it's like living in fear of yourself? Never really feeling like a complete person? I guess I have Snape to thank for that." He propped his head up on his hand, elbow rustling against the plastic on the arm rest. "But it's not something I'd wish on anyone, especially not my child."

"I know what it's like to live in fear. And I think I know what you mean about being incomplete."

"You will mourn the bond, but you will recover."

"Have you and Tonks?"

"Not yet, but it is easier. I loved Tonks in my own way, but it wasn't enough. Do you understand? It's the same as if you married Hermione. You love her, you care about her, but something would always be missing. I thought I was alright with that. But the wolf was not. It wants, I want, a true mate."

There was silence between them for a few moments.

"What do you want, Harry?" Remus suddenly asked, catching Harry off guard.

I want to see Severus again.

"When I first met Artemis, I wanted a family. Can you imagine…the great Harry Potter, the boy who lived, who's destined to face Voldemort in battle, just wanted a family. I thought with Artemis I might have something like that. Now… now I just want this all to be over. I want this threat gone. I want people to be able to live happily, for Ron and Hermione to be able to grow old, for werewolves to not be forced into picking sides. I want the world to be what it was before Tom Riddle was born." Harry held his head in his hands, trying to hide the biggest desire he wanted.

"That's a good place to start. My pack can help."

"I know Remus… I just needed time. I'm sorry."

Remus leant across and squeezed his knee. "I know, cub. We're planning to move you to safety tonight. After that…"

"After that I'll visit. Can Hermione and Ron join me?"

"Not unless they can transform into animals. The pack will only meet as wolves. It protects their identity from the ministry. The full moon is in three days."

Harry's heart beat painfully in his chest.

Three days…

Remus' hand returned. "I can hear your heart, Harry. Don't worry. They know the name Apollo and they will not harm you."

The fire roared into life.

"Ah, Remus, glad to see you're already informing Harry of the plan." Mad-Eye Moody looked down at the pair of them sitting on the sofa, while his magical eye was turned toward the ceiling.

"Actually, Alastor, we hadn't gotten to that part yet." Remus stood and shook the old man's hand.

The fire roared into life once more and the small room was filled with noise as Ron, Hermione, George, and Fred all tumbled through.

"Harry!" Hermione launched herself at him, her bushy hair assaulting his face as she hugged him. "I'm sorry I haven't said much all summer, but…"

"It's okay, Hermione, I understand. You needed time with your family."

"You look different." She held back, surveying him with a critical eye.

"We don't have time for catch ups." Moody pulled them apart. "Now, as you can see, Potter, we have to move you from here. The one thing we've got on our side is that You-Know-Who doesn't know we're moving you tonight. We've leaked a fake trail to the Ministry, they think you're not leaving until the thirtieth."

Harry barely noticed Fleur, Arthur, and Bill entering through the fire.

"This is You-Know-Who we're dealing with so we can't just rely on him getting the date wrong," Mad-Eye quickly explained.

"Why so many people?" Harry asked, noticing Tonks and Shacklebolt now joining the very crowded room.

"That's the simple marvellous idea, Harry." George barged his shoulder.

"We're all going to look like you!" chimed Fred.

"One marvellous family of Harry Potters," George finished.

Mundungus and Hagrid were the last ones in.

"Blimey, 'arry, it's been a long time since I've been 'ere. You'd think Dursley would 'ave at least…"

"Shut up!" Moody finally snapped. "The plan is to go out in pairs. If there is an ambush waiting for us then at least this way they won't realise which Harry Potter is the right one. I believe you are familiar with this particular brew?"

"You've got to be kidding." Harry looked around all the people standing around him, Ron and Hermione in particular.

"That's my idea you're dismissing, Potter. Came to me out of the blue, that one did, and an impressive one at that," Mundungus muttered.

"We already know what's at stake, Harry," Ron began, turning back toward his father.

"And we're all willing to do this." Hermione grabbed his hand.

"No," he shook her away. "There has to be another way."

"Afraid not, Harry," George laughed at him.

"Besides, why should you always get to have fun?" Fred's words made Arthur roll his eyes.

"Now that it's sorted I'll be needing some of this." Moody pulled a tuft of hair from Harry's head. "And we're ready to depart." He dropped the hair into the beaker, swirled it for a few moments before tipping it into six small glasses he conjured.

Harry watched bewildered as Fleur moved to take one. "For my sister," she offered as a way of explanation before downing the golden liquid.

"You lot are mental." Harry watched as his friends morphed into what he saw in the mirror every day in various states of dress.

"Now, you all know who you're to be partnered with," Moody commanded, watching as the six 'Potters' went to their respective adult protector.

Hagrid was left smiling at him. Harry smiled weakly in return.


This was the closest Severus had been to Harry in eleven weeks. He gripped the wand in his hand. The door to the Dursleys' house flung open and brooms burst out. They were quickly enveloped by a barrage of curses. The Dark Lord's cackle was heard even over all the screams and Severus could feel his heart crawl its way up his throat.

Mundungus had performed as the memory charm ordered him to. Countless 'Potters' soared through the sky on the back of brooms. His mask firmly in place, Severus soared after one of the Potters, firing curses that just fell short. Without the bond in place Severus couldn't tell which one was his real mate, so neither could Voldemort.

That one.

Severus froze in mid-air.


Mate is down there, guard him!

Severus looked, fury tightening his knuckles. Harry was paired with the half giant! He scanned the mass of people, the multitude of coloured spells. Moody soared pass with a copy pressed against his back. Green flashes of the killing curse exploded around them, and suddenly Severus understood.

Voldemort will believe they would have placed Potter with Moody.

A motorbike rose into the air, the majority of the Death Eaters leaving it alone, none believing the Order would pair their only hope with a half giant. Severus followed, still firing mediocre hexes into the sky.

Harry had changed since Severus had last seen him. His face seemed hardened, his eyes jaded. He wasn't wearing anything warmer than a light sweater, showing Severus that his body had also changed in the passing weeks. Green eyes were scanning the flying figures; not for danger, for Severus.

A scream shattered the air. As Severus turned he saw Moody falling through the sky, the clone apparating away. The clones were beginning to separate, drawing some of the fire away, but the majority had doubled back.


Blood fell from his lip as Severus tore into it in frustration. It prevented him from screaming his irritation at Harry's mistake. At once the Death Eaters fell on him and Hagrid, even Voldemort halted in pursuit. He sped up, 'accidently' catching his colleagues in the back with some of his nastier curses.

He didn't realise how close he was to Harry until he caught a flash of green eyes.

Time slowed as eyes locked.

Even though Severus was wearing a mask he knew Harry had recognized him.

His mate's face froze as he looked at him, those expressive eyes widening in hurt. Harry began to shake as they hung there, together in this suspended time. Severus had done this to him. He could see himself in Harry, the demons the boy now had lurking behind his eyes. These were fears Severus battled with every day, his morals, his choices in life. He had brought Harry into this conflicted world, stripped him finally of his youthful innocence.

There was so much Severus wanted to say, so much he wanted to convey in his eyes. He wanted to snatch Harry away, never letting him out of his sight again. He could feel his fingers leave his broom, almost stretching towards Harry in yearning. I'm sorry; he tried to send across to Harry. I'm sorry I had to put you through this… But he couldn't hear, couldn't understand what Severus tried so desperately to tell him silently.

The curse Harry threw caught the shell of his ear.

Severus smiled under the mask, returning a curse.

Harry understood their positions.

"Harry Potter! Today you shall die!"

Severus's stomach clenched in agony as he looked upon the face of his master, looming before his mate. Now was not the time to face Voldemort. Things were not in place.


The anguished cry caught Severus' attention, and he watched the snowy body of Hedwig plummet to the ground, still trapped within her cage. Harry stood facing Voldemort, his face contorted in anger.

Voldemort fired a curse, but Harry was quicker erecting a shield like Severus had taught him. It took on a purple shimmer, and Severus watched as Harry's eyes widened in realization.

It took only seconds for Harry to act, pulling strength from Severus's own magic. A golden beam reinforced with his own magic burst from Harry's wand, his arm shaking with the intensity of it.

The curse struck true, sending Voldemort spiralling out of control. In the few moments of time they had, Harry looked over once again to where Severus was hovering. Had Harry found the note? Had he understood why Severus had done what he did?

Severus watched, in slow motion as Harry drew his wand once again pointing it at Severus' chest. There was a bright flash followed by a dull ache of pain, which spread across his chest like caressing fingers. Their nails dug in, ripping skin and Severus was falling… falling through the night sky.

Green eyes watched him the entire way.