|webmistresses (webmistresses) wrote in severus_sighs,|
@ 2010-02-12 20:35:00
|Entry tags:||event: anti-valentine's day 2010, ficlet, member: winoniel, pairing: severus/harry, rating: r|
This Dark Gulf by Winoniel
Title: This Dark Gulf
Pairing: Severus/Harry; Harry/Others (brief)
Word count: 1504
Warnings: Chan, brief non-con, rape, torture
Summary Severus repairs the tool that he’s broken.
A/N Beta—the incomporable Unitas. Written for the Severus Sighs 2010 Anti-Valentine’s Day Mini Fest, prompt 4: Severus took a deep breath and closed his eyes, his heart breaking. All trademarked characters and situations belong to JK Rowling, and are used here for non-commercial purposes.
“O my sole love, I pray thee pity me from out this dark gulf where my poor heart lies.” ~Baudelaire
Severus took a deep breath and looked over at the Gryffindor table. The Golden Trio was sitting there again, finally. The know-it-all and the know-very-little were whispering intently, while Potter nodded gently. Eyes narrowing, Severus could see clues unobserved by the gawking students and staff. The small smiles were actually grimaces, the shrugs closer to nervous jerks, and the hand seemingly waving carelessly in the air shuddered minutely.
Severus allowed himself a moment of weakness, a moment to relive the terror and despair that had seemed permanently lodged in his soul. The Dark Lord and his minions had kidnapped Potter in Hogsmeade and had held the boy captive for over a month before he and Severus had been able to affect an escape. He brought his emotions under control behind his Occlumency walls, but the images, sounds, and scents continued to flare, battering like captured moths against his shields.
Severus could still see the image of Potter’s eyes, still surprisingly lush green even when frozen in agony or dead and flat after weeks of sleep deprivation, starvation, torture, rape, and abuse. He remembered the nights in which the boy had been drugged with lust potions and forced to perform a number of increasingly humiliating sexual acts with members of the Inner Circle in front of the assorted gathering every evening. Eventually, it had become Severus’s turn to toy with the “Chosen One,” as the pitiless Death Eaters delighted in calling the boy. Instead of positioning the boy on his hands and knees, he’d turned Potter to face him, ‘the better to soak up the sweetness of the boy’s hopelessness,” Severus had said, sneering.
Instead, as he savagely plunged into the boy’s body, and while the poor wretch almost fainting from the searing pain, Severus had whispered, “Legilimens.” With a discretion Severus had not thought the boy capable of, they had made their plans, swiftly, between screams of pain and long, guttural groans, between the silence of shock and unconsciousness. And Severus had ensured that they had escaped.
“I can’t believe how quickly Harry has recuperated from his capture,” Minerva McGonagall said softly at Severus’s right. The potions master turned to her and stared, speechless. They couldn’t possibly be that wishfully blind, could they? How could someone supposedly dedicated to the boy’s welfare be so ignorant of his needs?
“I know that he has suffered immensely, and he will take a long time to get over his ordeal,” she added hastily, “But we’d despaired of his even returning to us. To see him again at the Gryffindor table, surrounded by his friends, is nothing short of miraculous.”
Severus shrugged and closed his eyes, thinking that the situation had little to do with divine intervention, and more to do with his own quick thinking and ingenuity. Without a word, he returned to his meal, not deigning to dignify her inanities.
“Severus, I do not mean to discount the danger you put yourself into by helping Harry to escape,” she’d continued, frustrated at his deliberate snub. Around them, the gentle susurration of conversation around the Great Hall had thickened and swelled, threatening to return to its normal roar, but suddenly dropped to silence as if by signal.
Minerva muttered a word that gave even Severus pause before he saw the reason. His body grew preternaturally still, but his heart was thudding loudly in the amazing quiet engendered by over 300 people holding their breath. Draco Malfoy, followed by his two goons, had entered the hall, and without even the pretense of going to the Slytherin table, had moved so rapidly over to the Gryffindor table that he was standing behind Potter before anyone could react.
Minerva and Dumbledore had quickly left their seats, wands in hand. Severus slid his own wand out of his sleeve cautiously, but waited to see what his course of action should be. Surely that overbred blonde ponce was not going over to taunt Potter in clear view of the whole school? Shaking his head, Severus stood, but before any of the staff could reach the scene of a potential disaster, Potter had turned to face his school rival. Their words were inaudible from the distance, but it was clear from Malfoy’s sneer, the tightening of the faces of Potter’s companions, and the way Potter’s face paled dramatically, that Malfoy had been rather predictably insulting.
After a rather jerky gesture, Potter set his face, moved around the Slytherin, and walked quickly out of the Great Hall. Malfoy, who had surprisingly stayed in his spot, brought his hands to his face, and even at a distance, Severus could hear the panicked moan. As the boy turned towards his approaching Head of House, the pale blue eyes were wide in terror, and his nostrils were flaring, as if unable to breathe deeply enough to draw in air. Where there had been a leering grin was an expanse of smooth, pale skin. Draco Malfoy’s mouth had been spelled off.
Severus was not in the mood to deal with the pampered pureblood. He swiftly followed Potter, leaving Albus and Minerva behind to sort out the complaints of Granger and Weasley, “Malfoy started it!” “He called Harry a whore!” Between Malfoy’s muffled shrieks, the utterly Gryffindor self-rightousness pouring from the Potter sidekicks, and the efforts of the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress to restore order, it appeared that no one had even noticed the absence of the Boy Who Lived.
Moving through the entry hall, Severus paused before taking a shortcut that left him at the top of the steps leading to the Astronomy Tower. Stepping out into the frigid February air, he could make out a small huddled figure on the opposite side of the open terrace. As he approached, he saw the figure tense until he called out, softly, “Potter.”
The boy turned toward him, glowering. “I don’t want to talk about it!”
Severus hummed softly then conjured a chair, which he levitated over to the open balustrade. He made no move to get closer to the boy. During the weeks of recovery in the infirmary, Potter—or rather Potter’s magic—had made it clear that the boy could be touched by only a select few. Once, one of the Gryffindors—Severus thought it might have been Finnegan—had tried to throw an arm over Potter’s shoulder. There had been a loud crack like that of thunder, Potter had scrambled under the bed, and Finnegan had been thrown clear across the infirmary, to hit the opposite wall with a dull thud.
Surprisingly, the only other person that Potter allowed to touch him was the same sneering, ruthless Death Eater who had participated not only in his rescue, but also in his torture and rape. Shocked beyond belief at the boy’s trust, Severus had provided the potions that repaired the internal damage and broken bones, and eased some of the unending emotional torment. He rubbed in the salves that regrew the skin that had been flayed off Potter’s body and massaged on the ointments that healed the shredded muscles and tendons. Severus also found that he was the only who could talk with the boy after one of his spectacularly gruesome nightmares.
Severus sat quietly, listening to the brat’s breathing quiet down from its earlier panicked wheezing. They sat under the velvet dark sky, with its cold, glittering stars, remote and beautiful. When he had first returned to the castle, knowing that the escape meant that his true loyalties had been revealed, Severus had initially been bereft. He could no longer spy for the order, and his guilt and sense of uselessness had settled like an iron weight in his chest. Now, he sensed that his duty had changed, or rather his duty was no longer obscured by the requirements of his debts to Albus Dumbledore and James and Lily Potter.
Sitting in the sparkling clear air with the son of his former school rival, Severus’s heart broke wide open. He could hear the sharp pings as shards spilled about his feet, to be displaced by Potter. The boy had dropped his cloak on the ground, sat down, and leaned back against Severus’s legs. Severus could feel the cold, unfeeling splinters of his soul warm in the presence of the boy. He could sense the rubble that remained of his conscience after the death of Lily Potter coalesce and reform, whole and healed. And the gentle snores as the brat finally got some much-needed sleep sent out quiet sentinels of breath that circled his professor and saviour, gathering his spirit to a new, more blessed task.
Albus Dumbledore had thought of the boy as a weapon or tool. Severus knew that, distasteful though the idea might be, on one level, it was probably correct. But now, Severus knew, the tool had been broken, and it would need help to function properly. For many years now, he had set himself the duty of keeping Lily Potter’s child alive. Now, with his newly born heart, Severus would task himself with helping Harry Potter to live.