|snarrymod (snarrymod) wrote in snarry_games,|
@ 2007-05-01 23:24:00
Original poster: snarrymod
Title: The Last Horcrux
Genres: Angst and Romance
Word Count: 3100+
A/N: With much thanks to arrmaitee for all the editing, inspiration, ideas, and encouragement. I couldn't have done this without you! Also, this story has an unofficial genre of "humor" since it took a decidedly different turn that I had anticipated when I started.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and those to whom she has licensed her creations, including without limitation Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. I make no money from this and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: In the aftermath of Harry's duel with Voldemort, Harry and Severus realize that there is one last Horcrux that has yet to be destroyed.
“It’s over,” Harry said hoarsely, hastily wiping the blood from his eyes. He stared down at Voldemort, who lay on the ground, his broken wand crumbling in his fingers.
From outside Voldemort’s inner sanctum, Harry could hear the din of battle. Aurors versus Death Eaters. This was supposed to be the final assault, the final battle, the deciding victory. Harry had to act now. He pointed his wand directly at Voldemort’s chest.
Voldemort laughed. “You don’t have the courage to destroy me, Harry.”
Harry took a deep breath, and concentrated on all his hatred for the creature before him. He felt the dark magic accumulate inside him. When he could no longer contain his rage, Harry cried out the incantation. “Avada…”
The door burst open and, in a split second of hesitation, Harry heard the words “Expelliarmus!” He watched, helpless, as his wand was torn from him and he was knocked backward onto the ground.
“No Unforgivables from you, Potter!” Snape cried.
“NO!” Harry shrieked in horror and frustration.
“Ah, Severus,” Voldemort said, struggling to his feet. “I knew I could count on your loyalty.”
Snape quickly closed and warded the door he had burst through, and then turned back to face Harry and Voldemort. “My loyalty was never in question,” he said fiercely.
“Of course not,” Voldemort declared. “Now dispose of this vermin before us.”
Snape raised his wand. “Avada Kedavra!” A sickly green flame exploded from his wand and nailed Voldemort squarely in the chest.
“And that was for Albus,” Snape spat.
Harry stood up and stared at Snape, who now stood directly in front of him. Their eyes met. He handed Harry back his wand.
“As I said, my loyalty was never in question.”
Harry was stunned. He looked over at the remains of Dark Lord. “Where’s his body?” he asked in a shaking voice.
“WHAT?!” Snape shrieked, bending down and picking up the now empty cloak. He then pulled up his left sleeve; the Dark Mark was still visible, writhing angrily on his arm. He faced Harry. “You imbecile! I thought you destroyed all the Horcruxes!"
“I thought I did,” Harry said defensively.
“Well isn't that jolly?” Snape spat out in a rage, clenching Voldmort’s empty cloak. “You had one task, Potter. One task! Find and destroy the bloody Horcruxes! The Dark Lord didn’t know you were looking for them. NO ONE except me and Albus, may he rest in peace, knew you were looking for them. Didn’t you think to make sure they were all destroyed before you staged this little…” his hand waved around the room, “scene?”
“Of course I did,” Harry yelled back in anger.
Snape shook the empty cloak in front of Harry's face.
“I may have miscalculated,” Harry admitted quietly.
"Miscalculated!" Snape slammed the cloak on the floor. "Potter, this is a debacle! Wormtail, or another of the Dark Lord’s lackeys, will ultimately make the same determination that we have and realize that he’s not really dead. Then all they have to do is that charming little resurrection ceremony that you already participated in once. You can be assured that you won’t survive it this time. This was our only chance, Potter, and you screwed it up!”
“How much time do we have?” Harry asked, swallowing nervously.
“Until they capture you?” There was suddenly a loud banging on the warded door. They both started and looked at the door. “Not much,” Snape said.
“Besides,” Snape continued, still staring at the door, “they don’t necessarily need you for the ceremony. Any enemy of the Dark Lord will do now,” he said.
The banging on the door continued. “We have to get out of here,” Harry said.
“You’re ability to state the obvious is truly astonishing, Potter. And just how do you propose we accomplish such an illustrious task? Tap-dancing? In case you haven’t noticed, the anti-Apparition wards are still up, and my wards on that door won’t last much longer.”
Harry glared at Snape.
“Get on the side of the door,” Snape ordered. “I’ll release the wards, and they’ll rush in. They won’t be expecting you there, and that’s your best chance to get past them. Get beyond the wards and Apparate the hell out of here.”
“What’s going to happen to you?”
“What do you think will happen to me, Potter?”
“I’m not going to let them kill you,” Harry said.
“Why not? Because you want to kill me yourself?”
“Snape…” Harry warned.
“Don’t deny it, Potter. You’ve been longing to murder me for years.”
“Well, not now,” Harry said, pointing at the empty cloak.
“How touching. Don’t tell me you’ve suddenly developed a sense of sentiment toward me, Potter, because I can quickly relieve you of that pathetic notion. Take the Dark Lord's cloak. That way, they won't know that he's dead… yet. It will take them a day or so to figure that out before they perform the resurrection ceremony."
The banging on the door got louder. It was obvious that the wards were breaking.
“Get ready,” Snape ordered.
Harry picked up Voldemort's cloak from off of the floor. “No!” he cried, grabbing Snape’s arm. Harry reached deep into his pocket, and clasped the special coin he knew was there. He felt a sickening pull on his navel as his portkey activated.
Harry found himself and the cloak sprawled on the drawing room floor at number 12 Grimmauld Place. Snape was standing above him. Harry rose to his feet.
“An unauthorized portkey,” Snape drawled, looking around the room. “Ingenious Potter. Although I must admit that I never thought I’d see this lovely place again.”
“We haven’t used it since…” Harry broke off, unable to mention Dumbledore’s death. Snape seemed to understand, and nodded. Harry continued, “We thought no one would think to look for us here tonight…”
“We?” Snape asked. He then stiffened and quickly spun around, pointing his wand at Ron and Hermione, who were standing in the room with their wands drawn on him.
“Put your wands away,” Harry said wearily. He nodded in Snape’s direction. “He’s on our side.”
Ron and Hermione looked at each other uneasily. Harry flopped onto the sofa and rubbed his head. He looked at the other three, who were still standing with their wands drawn. “Sit down,” he insisted. No one listened.
“I’d prefer not to relax in the home of my enemies,” Snape said haughtily.
“We’re not precisely enemies any more, are we?” Harry said. “In fact, we probably never were. And I’m going to need your help.”
“We don’t need his help,” Hermione exclaimed.
"What's come over you, Harry?" Ron demanded. "He murdered Dumbledore. We need to turn him over to the Ministry immediately."
"He also killed Voldemort," Harry said, gesturing to the cloak on the floor.
"And if you had half of the intellect of a Horklump," Snape sneered, "you would have figured out that I have been supplying the other Order members with information this whole time. That’s how they were able to plan their attack.”
Hermione glared at Snape, then started. "You mean… Voldemort's dead?" she asked.
“Not entirely,” Snape said firmly, “because you idiots didn’t destroy all of the Horcruxes.”
"I don't believe you," she said.
"Hermione, please," Harry sighed. "I saw him destroy Voldemort. He's on our side. Put your bloody wand down."
“Seven was the magic number Voldemort used to split his soul," Hermione said, clutching her wand. "Thus, there would be six Horcruxes, and they’re all destroyed.”
“Then we made a mistake,” Harry said.
“That’s not possible,” Ron stated. “We got all of them. From that damn snake to Slytherin’s locket.”
“Nagini?” Snape sputtered in surprise. “You actually thought that snake was a Horcrux?”
“It had to be,” Hermione argued. “There’s no other option. Nagini was Voldemort's Familiar. I went over it again and again. I did all the research and looked in every book, even Hogwarts: A History. That snake had to be last Horcrux.”
Severus rolled up his sleeve and displayed his writhing Dark Mark.
"Bloody hell," Ron exclaimed.
Hermione recoiled in disgust.
“I know what the final Horcrux is,” Harry said quietly.
"Would you care to enlighten us as to your riveting theory?" Snape said, still holding his wand outright.
“It's my scar,” Harry said.
“No!” Ron shouted.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Harry,” Hermione scoffed. “We’ve been over this many times before, and I've already dismissed that theory.”
Snape cocked his head and slowly lowered his wand. “Why would you say that, Potter?” he asked curiously, ignoring the other two.
Hermione and Ron grudgingly lowered their wands as well.
“Because it's the only theory that makes any sense. Voldemort planned to make his last Horcrux with my death. I survived the killing curse, but gained a scar that has been a connection to Voldemort all my life. We can sense each other’s thoughts. It gave me the ability to speak Parseltongue. This scar is a portal where a fraction of his soul was imbedded inside of me. It only stands to reason that I’m the last Horcrux.”
“So what do you propose that we do, Potter?” Snape asked.
“You have to kill me,” Harry said with a sad smile.
Hours later, Harry roamed around the House of Black, finally settling into the drawing room. He sat on the sofa and watched the fire. He had sent the others off to bed, knowing that they wouldn’t sleep, but he needed to be alone. He knew that Hermione would be conducting some last ditch, desperate research in the library, Ron by her side. He also knew, however, that she wouldn’t find anything. They had been over the facts time and time again. Even Snape conceded that her research was extensive when she had reluctantly showed him her notes.
There was no other explanation. Harry knew he was the last Horcrux. He watched the fire die out as he thought about Sirius, and his parents, and Dumbledore, and everyone else who had sacrificed themselves in this horrific battle. “I will do this,” he said quietly to no one.
Harry strengthened his resolve; Snape would kill him in the morning, just like he killed Dumbledore several years before. "It has to be done," he whispered to the room. “But not here. We’ll go back to Godric’s Hollow, and I’ll accept my fate at the same place that they accepted theirs.”
“That's a bit melodramatic,” Snape’s voice startled Harry as the black-clad figure walked into the room.
Harry glared at him. "I'm completing the cycle," Harry said. "I want to die at the place where this all began. That's the essence of magic."
Snape didn't respond. Harry watched him as he lit the fireplace. The firelight cast shadows on his pronounced features. Harry thought he looked older and sadder, and somehow more vulnerable than he ever had in the past.
“Why do you want me to kill you, Potter?” Snape whispered.
“Because you’re the only one who can.”
Snape snorted. “I’m touched. And what makes you so sure that I'll do it?"
“Because you have to -- it’s the only way to end this war.”
Snape stared into the fire for some time, and then turned. “I will leave you to your thoughts,” he said as he began to walk toward the door.
Harry was overcome by a strange compulsion to keep him there. “No, please,” he said.
Snape looked at Harry curiously, but sat down on the other end of the sofa. He then went back to watching the flames.
They sat in silence for a while. Harry observed Snape out of the corner of his eye. “How long have you been protecting me?” he finally asked.
“What makes you think that I have?” Snape asked scornfully.
“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” Harry said, ignoring his question. “Certainly the entire time you were at Hogwarts, but it goes beyond that, doesn’t it?”
“Let it be, Potter,” Snape said wearily.
“In fact,” Harry continued, “you watched over me for the past few years while we’ve been searching for the Horcruxes.”
“You’ve even been in disguise, making sure I was safe -- that no one found me.”
“Potter,” Snape said warningly.
“This has been going on for years, hasn’t it?”
“I really am an ungrateful little bastard, aren’t I?”
Snape gave a surprised laugh. “I never thought you'd have that revelation." He looked at Harry for a long moment. “You’ve finally grown up.”
Harry smiled briefly but it quickly faded. "I'm scared," he finally admitted.
"I know," Severus said. He reached out and clasped Harry's hand. "I am too."
They both stared quietly into the flames.
Harry looked around the ruins of his parents' house in Godric's Hollow.
“Where do you want to do this?” Severus asked in a strained voice.
Harry turned toward at him. “Anywhere here is fine,” Harry said, his voice breaking slightly.
Severus drew his wand.
“You can’t…” Hermione said, tears welling in her eyes. “There has to be another way.”
Harry held her in a fierce embrace. When he finally let her go, he gently kissed her forehead.
"It's okay, Hermione. For the first time in my life, I'm at peace."
He turned to Ron. Ron swallowed hard. “Harry…” he said, and then broke off, unable to speak. Harry hugged him tightly and knew he was close to breaking down.
“You’re a right fool for doing this,” Ron said. “But damn, I’ll miss you.”
Harry smiled through his tears and finally broke away. He nodded at Severus knowingly. Severus raised his wand.
“Wait!” Hermione cried out. “Please, there has to be something… something else… something we overlooked,” she said pleadingly.
“Hermione,” Ron said sadly, embracing her.
“No,” she said, twisting away.
“Please don’t make this harder, Hermione,” Harry said.
“There has to be another way. There has to be.” She ripped open her bag and pulled out an old, leather bound book. “If you just read Hogwarts: A History, you’ll see that ...”
“Where did you get that book?” Severus interrupted.
Harry turned to find Severus staring at the book in Hermione’s hands.
"What do you mean? It's mine," she said.
“Where did you get that book?” Severus asked again.
She took a step back from the intensity of his look. “It was sent to me the summer before I started at Hogwarts,” she said.
“Sent to you by whom?”
“It came by an owl… erm… from the school.”
“A school owl brought you that copy of Hogwarts: A History?”
Harry was surprised to see the intense focus in Severus’ eyes.
“Yes,” Hermione said, a bit defensively.
Severus' wand slowly shifted toward her. “I can assure you that Hogwarts does not send out any books to their incoming students. It's not in the budget.”
“Well, then it must have been a gift, Snape,” Hermione said angrily, drawing her wand.
“What’s going on?” Harry asked, feeling quite confused by the turn of events.
“I’m curious about that book,” he replied, never taking his eyes off of Hermione.
“Why?” Harry asked.
Hermione clutched the book closer and pointed her wand at Severus' head.
“Because the Dark Lord was also quite fond of his old copy of Hogwarts: A History,” Severus replied. “He used to quote from it extensively.”
"Well, he was a brilliant student,” Hermione spat.
“He also had it with him the night that Harry's parents died, and I haven’t seen it since his reappearance,” Severus said.
“You think that’s Voldemort’s book?” Harry asked, confused.
"Of course it's not, Harry. It's mine." Hermione said.
“But… if it were Voldemort's book, then why would he send it to Hermione?” Ron asked.
Severus sighed slightly, but never took his eyes off Hermione, and his wand never wavered. “It’s fairly straight forward. The Dark Lord ordered Quirrell to send it to her. Miss Granger was one of the few Muggle-born students that year with no connection to the Wizarding World. She would keep it safe and not know enough to question its arrival."
"That's preposterous," Hermione scowled. "Of course I would have questioned its arrival if it had been anything other than a thoughtful gift."
"It wasn't a thoughtful gift, Miss Granger. It's the last Horcrux. Voldemort made it the night Harry's parents died and didn't have time to hide it because…"
"Rubbish!" Hermione barked.
“The truth of my supposition is easily determined," Severus said. "All we have to do is destroy the book.”
“Never!” Hermione shrieked, backing further away from them and clutching her wand.
“Would you rather I murder Harry instead?” Severus asked in a deadly voice.
“Of course not,” Hermione said angrily. “But I’m not letting you destroy my book, either.”
“Why not?” Harry asked.
“Because it’s the first edition.”
Hermione froze in place.
Ron appeared from behind her, lowered his wand, and walked up to her. He grabbed the book from her hands.
“Sorry Hermione,” he said. “You know it’s for your own good.”
She just glared at him.
Harry hid a smile at Severus’ astonished look. “Thank you, Mr. Weasley,” Severus said, taking the book. "Fifty points to Gryffindor."
Ron laughed. “Are we going to destroy it?”
“Yes, I think we should,” Severus said. Hermione continued to glare.
“I’d like to do it then,” Ron declared.
“If anyone has the right to destroy that damn thing, it’s me," Harry exclaimed. "My parents’ death in this very house was immortalized in that book!”
“And I’ve wanted to burn that book for years,” Ron insisted. “Do you know what it’s like to have your girlfriend start quoting from Hogwarts: A History during… er… intimate moments.”
Harry and Ron turned to find that Severus had placed the book on the floor before he set it on fire.
“Children,” he said reproachfully, looking at Ron and Harry. They both hung their heads just a little. Hermione continued to glare from her frozen state.
All of a sudden there was a long, dreadful, piercing scream, the same scream that Harry remembered from when Riddle’s diary was destroyed in the Chamber of Secrets. The same scream that accompanied the destruction of every Horcrux that they had found. Ink flooded out of the book, and yet spurred the flames higher. Finally, it was destroyed.
“Is it over?” Ron whispered.
Severus slowly raised the sleeve on his left arm. They looked on in astonishment at his now unblemished skin.
“Yes,” Severus said. “It’s over.” He released Hermione from the spell. She stared teary-eyed at the burnt pages of her book and slowly began to gather up the ashes.
Severus' eyes met Harry’s. "You're free, Harry," he said.
“We both are,” Harry agreed.
They looked at each other awkwardly.
"So now what?" Harry asked.
"Coffee? Dinner?" Severus suggested.
"Sex?" Harry suggested.
"WHAT?" Hermione and Ron shrieked.
"I'm not that easy," Severus replied.
Harry smiled knowingly.
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