|Torina Archelda (torina_archelda) wrote in severus_sighs,|
@ 2009-10-28 19:35:00
|Entry tags:||challenge, ficlet, member: torina_archelda, pairing: none, rating: pg|
Once Earned by Torina Archelda
Title: Once Earned
Word Count: 1.1k+
Warnings: Mild Language
Summary: In response to the Severus Sighs challenge to write your Severus in less than 2000 words. It’s clear to me, at least, that this one is mine.
A/N: Thanks so much to whitecotton for the stellar beta. She chopped this up and moved things around and polished it until it shined, and I am incredibly grateful. Thank you, darling. *hugs* You’re wonderful.
Back straight and head held high despite an excruciatingly painful break in his arm and trails of blood flowing down his face, Severus kept walking.
“Severus!” Lucius grabbed his arm as he caught up with him, and Severus hissed in pain and snatched it from his grasp, glaring for all he was worth. Lucius’ already blood-drained face grew paler, and he took a small step back before rallying. “What the hell was that back there?” he snapped, then wobbled a bit and took a steadying breath. “You were supposed to have my back—”
“Like you have had mine so many times before?” Severus sneered, pushing away the dizziness and refusing to show any weakness before him.
“Yes, like I have—” Lucius’ eyes widened. “Merlin, Severus! What would you have me do to—”
“Nothing, Lucius,” Severus replied evenly, not a drop of the hurt or bitterness he still felt seeping into his tone. “You can do nothing.” He spun on his heel and kept walking, a bitten lip the only outward sign of his pain as he concentrated on keeping his steps measured and even.
Only once he had apparated inside Hogwarts’ gates did he allow himself to fall.
“It’s just too dangerous, Severus. We can’t risk–”
“The hell with the lot of you, then!” Severus bellowed, fury flooding through every inch of his body. “After everything she has sacrificed to the cause I don’t know how you can–“ Severus whirled around with a snarl, unable to look any of them in the face any longer. “Potter!” he snapped, turning to face him. “Give me your damn cloak!”
It took Potter a moment longer than it should have to obey; he had to fumble with the lock on his trunk to open it without standing and putting pressure on his damaged leg. But he succeeded quickly enough, snatching the cloak from inside and pressing it into Severus’ hands.
He looked up at him beseechingly. “If I could go with you–”
“I know,” Severus replied, his tone clipped but his eyes more forgiving. “You’re the only one in this room with a shred of honor.” And with that he wrapped the cloak around himself, stepped out the door, and strode towards the main gate.
It was perplexing, really, how different people viewed trust and the honor and loyalty due to those who had earned it. Severus knew that camaraderie meant honor, it was loyalty. They were inseparable. It was mind-boggling that a Potter had more integrity than a room full of so-called light warriors or Lucius Malfoy.
As he walked, heading for the edge of the wards where he could apparate, he recalled how that trust, the trust that would probably mean death for both of them, had been earned.
“Albus, this is ridiculous! You simply cannot let him get away with this! The poor boy could have been killed! I’ve told you this whole scheme is ridiculously dangerous, but no, the great Albus Dumbledore refuses to see reason–”
“Minerva.” Dumbledore’s voice was quiet but commanding, and through the swimming in his vision and the ringing in his ears, Severus tried to make sense of what was happening. “I simply cannot do anything to expose Mr. Lupin. Tonight’s events were in no way his responsibility–”
“Look at the boy, Albus! Look at him! One more moment, one misstep, and he would have died!”
He could have died… Severus pulled himself away from the memory of glistening teeth and feral eyes to try and concentrate on the here and now. What was Dumbledore–
“Good night, Minerva.”
Dumbledore was walking away.
“Fool,” McGonagall breathed.
Severus opened his eyes to see her face was pale in addition to the tremor in her voice. She looked down at him and seemed surprised to see him awake, her eyes, pale blue like forget-me-nots, went wide; Severus knew his were black. And dead.
“Severus,” she said sadly, and it was the first time his name had been spoken so kindly in a very long time.
She sat down beside him and took his hand, and Severus let her. They spent several long minutes simply staring at one another, knowing words were unnecessary. At last Severus closed his eyes, and the sound of her soft breathing was the last thing he heard before falling asleep.
The wards at Malfoy Manor were complicated, but Severus was a better wizard than to let that stop him and was familiar with them besides. In fifteen minutes he had managed to pry open a hole in them large enough to slip through and was making his way across the grounds. The door still opened for him, and Severus allowed himself a twinge of anger at that, that mockery of friendship, before pushing it aside and concentrating on the task at hand.
“Point me Minerva McGonagall,” he said softly, and his wand spun in his palm and pointed him left. He walked for several minutes, narrowly avoiding collisions with several Death Eaters, before the spell came to a halt before a door to what appeared to be the servants’ quarters. The door opened with a simple alohamora, but without a wand, the simple spell might as well have been a steel bolt as far as Minerva was concerned.
He slipped in quietly and shut the door, walking over to where she was standing and clapping a hand over her mouth before he whipped the cloak from his head.
Her eyes widened in fear and then surprise, and when he removed his hand she whispered, “Severus?” as if she thought she were seeing a ghost.
“Quickly,” he said brusquely. “We have to leave now. If they discover that I’m here or that you’ve gone missing–”
Her sharp intake of breath was his only warning before a cold voice cut through the room.
“Well, well, well,” Severus heard, turning to face the tired-looking eyes of Lucius Malfoy. “Severus.”
“Lucius,” he acknowledged, lifting his wand. “Avada kedavra.” Relief and surprise mixed in Lucius’ eyes as he fell, and Severus turned back to Minerva without sparing him a second glance. “Come quickly,” he repeated, throwing the cloak over both their heads.
“Severus,” she said again, and this time there was sadness in her voice. “You shouldn’t have come. Do you really think we can–”
“No,” he said honestly, meeting her gaze and letting her see the truth there. “I don’t. But I had to try.”
“Why?” she breathed, and it suddenly struck Severus that this incredible woman had no idea how much her support had changed a young boy’s life.
“Because you were there for me,” he said simply, and loud voices from outside the room had him turning his head before he could see her reaction to that. “And now,” he said as the door burst open and the first Death Eater tripped over Lucius’ corpse, “I am here for you.”