Severus Sighs Challenge: Defeated in Victory Title: Defeated in Victory Author: lemondropseven Pairing: Snarry Rating: PG-13 Word Count: 1,100 Warnings: *Character death* Summary: The price of victory. A/N:whitecotton is a goddess among betas. Thanks, darling. I do not own the Harry Potter universe. This is the full-length version of my Anniversary drabble, "Victory" and the answer to the Inner Severus Sighs Challenge.
Harry slowly peeled the soiled, bloodstained clothes from his lover, staring at the ravaged body beneath. Cuts, abrasions and fingertip-shaped bruises marred Severus' pale skin, and blood trickled down the insides of his thighs. Dipping a cloth into a bowl, he started to cleanse the new wounds, frowning at the re-opened injuries he’d healed after the last meeting.
Severus flinched as the warm water and healing salve stung the angry marks.
“Sorry,” Harry muttered. "It was worse this time, wasn't it?"
Placing a hand on the sink, Severus leaned his weight against it and sighed. "The Dark Lord could not pass up the opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of your death."
Harry growled in frustration, swearing under his breath, his hands never faltering in their gentle ministrations. "The price is too high, Severus. There has to be another way."
"You know there isn't.” Weary acceptance and determination filled his voice; Severus didn’t want to have this discussion again, didn’t want to argue, but he wasn’t going to give in.
Harry looked up from his task and stared intently into Severus’ eyes. “Yes, there is. Let me go to him. I’m ready; I know I can kill him this time.”
“We’ve talked about this, Harry. He has too much support at the moment to attempt a full out attack. Our only option is to continue with our current plan.”
Memories of almost losing Harry as he struggled to heal him after the battle at Hogwarts ate his insides; he was not going through that again. Letting Voldemort assume he’d finally defeated Harry had kept him safe for the last year and Severus intended for him to stay that way.
Frustrated with Severus’ inability to comprehend his need to protect him from this repeated torture, Harry lost his temper. “It’s not working!” he growled, “We’re losing people every week, you come back looking like a piece of meat from the butcher’s shop, and one day you won’t come back at all! I’ve got to do something!”
Severus shifted his weight, wincing as pain streaked through his body. Harry calmed immediately, helpless rage transforming to concern. He dropped the subject and set about soothing him with words and healing touches, just as Severus had known he would.
When Harry had done as much as he could with Severus standing, he ushered him into the bedroom and onto the bed.
Harry had learned more about healing spells and potions than he’d ever wanted to in the last year. But this time there was internal damage and he wished, not for the first time, that Madame Pomfrey had survived the battle at Hogwarts. By the time he was finished, Severus was asleep, the physical and mental torture having taken its toll.
Severus had not only saved his life countless times, but had become his life, and Harry vowed silently to end this standoff. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to Severus’ forehead, whispering, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Gently wrapping himself around Severus, Harry knew sleep would elude him as he lay awake listening to him breathe.
Pacing never helped, so Harry sat on the couch staring intently at the empty fireplace. He waited for Severus, his restless fingers nervously twining together, tapping on tense knees and tunnelling through messy hair. The flash of green fire and Severus finally stepping from the flames brought a sigh of relief.
In an instant, the tension seeped from Harry’s muscles, only to return just as quickly as it had fled when he took in Severus’ wide eyes and panicked expression. Fear and dread slammed back into him tenfold.
“What’s wrong?” Standing quickly, Harry ran frantic hands over Severus’ arms and chest expecting to find fatal injuries.
Severus ignored the fussing as he pushed Harry towards the bedroom, answering his question with clipped urgency.
“He’s coming. There’s no time to explain. You’ve got to get out of here now. Use the floo in the bedroom.”
Confused, Harry stumbled to a stop just outside the bedroom door and turned to ask him what he was talking about. Over Severus’ shoulder he saw the fireplace flare green once more and Voldemort stepped into the room, wand raised; a victorious smirk on his reptilian face.
Severus turned to face the Dark Lord and for a moment, everyone froze, wondering who would make the first move, how to get the advantage.
Harry’s right hand twitched towards his pocket.
“I know what he is to you, Harry. If you take out your wand, I will kill him,” the hissing threat became a triumphant laugh, “It’s over.”
Voldemort’s wand was aimed straight at Severus.
Harry raised his hands from his sides slightly to show his compliance and asked, “How did you find me?” hoping to keep the egotistical madman talking long enough to come up with a plan.
Voldemort sneered. “This fool,” he spat, gesturing to Snape with his wand, “honestly thought I didn’t know he was spying on me. But you… learning you were alive was a surprise. Twice now, you’ve managed to escape death at my hands, but you won’t be so lucky this time.”
Severus slowly inched away from Harry while Voldemort bragged about torturing him into submission. Severus had been completely helpless against the unexpected attack since the Dark Lord’s increasing paranoia had led him to forbid his followers from carrying their wands when in his presence. Defenceless, Severus’ Occlumency shields had been shattered and his mind raped for information.
Severus’ wand was lying on the table behind the couch, just a few feet away.
Five feet…three feet… two… one…
He just needed to give Harry a split second to get his wand while the Dark Lord was distracted, too busy waxing lyrical. Severus knew the odds of his survival were low, but he’d never really expected to live this long. Glancing at Harry, joy for the time they’d had together, and pain for the time they wouldn’t, pierced his heart like a double-edged sword.
Harry gave a slight nod of acknowledgement and Severus snatched his wand from the table, aiming at the Dark Lord before it settled in his grip.
At the same time, Harry grabbed for his own wand, swinging it up before him, while Voldemort’s lipless mouth twisted into a sadistic grin.
Severus looked at Harry for just a moment, letting his eyes speak of his love and regret before green light pierced them and he fell, his body hitting the ground a second later than Voldemort’s.
The green faded into a heavy, black and wretched haze; and Harry stood alone, defeated in victory.