Obligatory Disclaimer: The characters belong to JK Rowling (although I don't think she quite saw them in this way) without permission and without malice.  While I wish I could make money off of it, none is being earned and this piece is strictly for entertainment purposes; suing me would be pointless as I have no assets except my mind and I dare you to try and get it.  The original story line this one follows (with permission) is "Pledges" by Amireal and I have tried to maintain the storyline continuity and to establish some fixed-action patterns (a fancy psych term for habits) for our ironic, errant professor and his irrepressible, but sometimes overenthusiastic husband. I tried to write the story as a stand alone piece , but if you are confused (or even if you're not), I would suggest you read the most excellent "Pledges" before this one as the story is set wholly in Amireal's World, many, many years in the future.

Author's Notes:This story is set wholly in Amireal's World, many, many years in the future and concerns the continuation of the relationship of our ironic, errant professor and his irrepressible, but sometimes overenthusiastic husband. Amireal has written a lovely love story and you really should read it.

Yes, I know the Prologue is really weird and really depressing, but necessary--don't worry--it's the only piece like it in the whole story.

My thanks to my betas--Haldolpoim and Rainyshiny.

Bring Me To Life : A Continuation

A Harry Potter Fan Fiction

Part Five

By I Got Tired of Waiting


Section One:
Bid My Blood to Run

Seth abruptly woke at dawn, the lingering after-effects of a powerful sleeping spell leaving muzzy trails through his head.   Sleeping Spell?  He bolted from the chair he'd been sleeping in, his muscles protesting the sudden movement, his head swiftly clear with the adrenaline flowing through him and he rushed over to the other bed.

Harry was gone.

Incredulous, he looked all around the room for him, seeing only the sleeping forms of the three other couples in the room.  He concentrated, fully extending his senses--there, on the other side of the castle--he caught the faint life signs.   In his rooms--he must be there.

He looked over at the fireplace and saw the spilled Floo Powder on the floor.  Floo, he used the Floo.  Damn, this is most inconvenient.  Only he and Severus can--could--use the Floo directly into their quarters.  Double damn!

For a brief moment he considered going after Harry himself, but given the Wizard's strength, the possibility of grief madness, coupled with fevered delirium, he was not foolhardy enough to try and go it alone.  He would need help.

Resigned at the delay, he turned and faced the six drugged people in front of him.  He pulled out his wand and sweeping it across the slumbering forms said, "Finis Sopophorus Sextus."

With stretching groans and mumbled incoherences, six very sleepy people passed from dreams to reality.  It bit.

"Wha-What?"  Remus asked sluggishly. "What's going on?"

"Harry's gone," Seth stated flatly.

THAT woke them up! he thought with some satisfaction.

"When? Where?" several voices asked at once.

"How," the last from Ron. Looking at Hermione, he said, "We saw him last night, right before he knocked us out.  He was standing right where you are and whispered 'Got to get back to Severus,' and then he cast the spell before we could do anything.   Not that I would have wanted to, Ron thought.  Hermione caught his eye and nodded.

"The evidence points to him going by Floo--I think to his rooms," Seth replied to Ron's first enquiry.  "It's locked--we'll have to go after him on foot.

"Nonsense," said Colin, "As Headmaster, I have access to all parts of the Floo--even their quarters.

"You're welcome to try, but HARRY set their Wards--" Seth reminded him with some asperity, he was in too much of a hurry to worry about wounded pride.

"Damn!  Double Damn!"  Colin exclaimed.

My sentiments exactly, Seth thought.

"Well, that's that," Ron said, rising to go to the door, "Let's go."

Concentrating, Seth visualized his form and with little fanfare changed into his Animagi, a wolf.  His grey eyes stared at them, willing them to hurry.

"Capital idea," Remus said transfiguring into a wolf as well, the she-wolf next to him impatient to be off.

"We're surrounded by dogs--lovely," Colin murmured as he rapidly changed into a black cat.  The striped ginger sitting patiently next to him licked his face.  He yowled.

"Gods, I hate cats," Ron said quickly changing into a mouse, quite a feat considering his size, "Except you, dear".  The small puma, who was his wife, growled at him to shut-up.  He quickly scrambled up her leg and onto her back, holding onto her fur with a death grip.

They six ran out the door.

Down the stairway they flew, down the halls, scattering students and staff like chaff in the wind as they ran; they gaped at the menagerie as it raced past them.

Get the hell out of our way, the wolves growled urgently as they continued down the halls, their WORDS not heard, but their MEANING clearly understood by the people desperately trying to do just that.

Past the Fat Lady, past the Slytherin common room, where they almost bowled over the slow-moving Sinistra, past the stairs to the dungeons and Snape's lair, clear to the other side of the castle, and up another staircase, the torches flickering in their wake.

Down another hall they went, never slowing their pace.

The wolves lead, their smooth gait eating the distance, their nails clicking on the floor.

They were followed by the cats, their stretching bodies streaking silently across the flagged pavement.

The puma and her small burden were not too far behind, her still flowing stride slowed somewhat by age.

When they reached the door to Harry's and Severus' rooms, they skidded to a halt and almost as one they transfigured back into their human shapes, breathing hard, lungs grasping for air.

"Wow," Ron said, the only one not winded, "What a ride!"  The others glared at him and he shrugged innocently.

Colin went to the door and put his hand on it, trying to feel the wards placed in it.  He glanced back at them in surprise, eyebrows raised.  "It's not locked!"  he exclaimed.

Just as he was about the open the door, the castle rumbled.  Colin staggered and righted himself on the door.  He looked at Dana, who was pale and trembling.  "Hurry," she gasped.

He reached for the knob and the castle wrenched, the stones rocking beneath their feet.  Bits of stone and plaster fell on them, the pieces not large enough to injure, but enough to get their attention.

"COLIN!" Dana cried rushing to his side as he suddenly stiffened and collapsed, his eyes rolling back in his head.  Seth barely caught him before he hit the floor.

"Goddamn you!" Dana cried to no one in particular, but very much to the castle, its presence starting to fill her head once more.  She knelt beside Colin, too weak to move.

Arabella bent to help Dana and Seth stayed with Colin.  They motioned the others to go on without them.

And thus it was that Remus, Ron, and Hermione, Harry's closest friends and confidants, were the only witnesses to the flash of bright light filling the air, Harry's triumphant face, and his eternal silence as his lifeless body crumpled to the floor.

Without thought, they knew it was over.

The castle rumbled in mourning.


Colin regained consciousness in slow, reluctant stages.  He tried, briefly, to focus, but was stopped by the hammering in his head.  My hair hurts, he thought with some irony.  He knew he was in a bed, a rather uncomfortable one, but that was about all he knew for the present.

He came further out of his daze when he felt the small movement and the low groan coming from a soft warm body snuggled into his side.  Ignoring the pain in his aching temples, he turned his head to see who was audacious enough to be in this bed with him.  His eyes found Dana.   Oh that's all right, then--she's supposed to be here, he thought.

By trial and error, he found his hand and gently touched her cheek with it, the backs of his fingers caressing the soft, silky skin.  She sighed gently, the sigh he knew was only for him, and leaned into his touch.   Funny place to be wanting your wife, he thought as he felt his body respond to her.

He heard a low, wicked chuckle off to the side.   Female, by the sound of it, and turning his head, his eyes made contact with rich brown ones, staring at him knowingly.   Hermione--I must be in the infirmary .  The memories rushed into him, the headlong run, the castle, his collapse, the scattered images in his brain before he lost consciousness.  Images of--Dana!

He heard her soft breathing, the warm air stirring the hairs at his neck.  He felt his panic recede--sensed her presence.   Ah, that's new.  He turned back to the eyes at the side of the bed, half-expecting the deep blue eyes sitting next to the brown ones.

"He's gone," he croaked--a statement, not a question.   Damn, what happened to my voice?  He cleared his throat.

The brown eyes closed, a tear leaking out from behind the still lush lashes.  The head attached to the eyes nodded and he saw the owner of the blue eyes, wrap his arm around her shoulders, and pulling her close, tenderly placed his lips on her cheek, her mouth.

He looked away, uncomfortable with their intimacy.  "I'm sorry he's gone--they're gone," he said hoarsely.  He cleared his throat again, stronger, "It's better--than seeing him like he was--they're together--better memories that way."  He turned back to his wife, hiding the tears in his eyes.

He--knew--they were gone, felt the heavy burden of the Wards coursing with his blood.  He could--feel--the power of the Castle in Dana.   Funny thing that--I can FEEL her.

He struggled to sit up without looking at them, hearing Hermione's distress, sensing Ron's sorrow.  He felt Dana's hand on his arm.  He looked down at her haunted eyes.  Responding to an unspoken demand, without his usual forethought, he turned and bent down, gently taking her lips with his.  At her response, he deepened the kiss, his hand burying into her hair.  There was no one else but them in that moment; the rest of the world faded out of existence as the center of his being focused on her two lips--their kiss.

And so the castle began to teach them.


Remus came into the room, a short piece of parchment in his hand.  He sat down in a huge chair next to Ron and Hermione, who were sitting comfortably on a couch together in Seth's rooms off of the infirmary.  They'd left shortly after reassuring themselves that Colin was going to be all right, assuming that his--involvement--with Dana was a good sign.

That had been a surprise.  Ron, privately convinced that Colin was a stick-in-the-mud, was rocked a bit when he saw the passion exchanged between Colin and Dana.  Almost worthy of Draco, he thought without his customary sadness.

"Have you told him yet," he asked Ron.

"No, we never got a chance, he already knew."

"Must be the castle's doing--now that everything's finally transferred over to them.  Seth has some interesting theories about that--thinks the partial transfer may be why Severus and Harry both got sick--" He stopped at actually saying "and died."  He wasn't at that point yet.

Seth walked into his living room, and seeing all but one of the comfortable furniture taken, sat down at the chair at his writing desk.  He didn't know what he wanted and was feeling rather empty.  Severus, Harry, and Lenore--all gone.

He heard his mother call his name softly and at her gesture went over and sat next to her on the couch, his father moving over good-naturedly.  Hermione took his hand; he felt pretty silly sitting there, a little too old for this.

"Nonsense, one is never too old to be told they are loved," she said looking over at him with a smile.  He shook his head--after all these years, you'd think I'd remember how she reads minds.

She chuckled, "I don't read minds, I read hearts."

Arabella followed in behind Seth, her face drained; her body slumped with exhaustion.  Without speaking, she nodded at Seth, Ron, and Hermione, replaced her husband's hand in his lap with her weary body, and holding onto his shoulders, curled up and went right to sleep with a heavy sigh.

Remus looked a bit startled, but then his face softened and he handed Ron the Parchment before wrapping his arms around her waist, holding her firmly against him.

"I guess I'm not going anywhere, soon," he said on a soft laugh.

"You could just pick her up and put her in the bed," Ron suggested.

"Nah--where would be the fun in that?"

"Have you shown them the parchment yet?"  Hermione asked--no question as to who "they" were.

"The door to the private room was closed.  I took that as a sign that my presence would not be welcome.  It can wait a while."

"It's funny that," Hermione continued.  "Harry says the information is in 'Hogwarts - A History', but for the life of me I couldn't remember it.  So I went back and looked and there it was.  Right there--in the front--

'--The Headmaster of Hogwarts is the protector of the castle and all those within.  He is ever a member of the House Slytherin and once bound with the castle, may never leave the influence of the Stone until borne upon the shoulders of his pall-bearers--'

--it was right there, plain as day.  But as MANY times as I have read that book, I never saw it.  Harry was right, the irony is just entirely too delicious."

"Maybe it WASN'T there," Arabella said sleepily.

"What do you mean?"  Hermione asked, sitting up and really listening.  She--knew--somehow, this was important.

Arabella sat up, still in Remus' lap and looking at the curious faces around her, began, "I've known Severus Lucius Snape all my life; we were born in the same year, in the same neighborhood.  I grew up with him as a child, played with him and his brothers and sister before he ever came to Hogwarts; I went to school with him here."

"Severus was a genius, so bright--so lonely; there were few who could match his brilliance, less who could take his arrogance.  But, I was his friend through the years--he tolerated my--slowness--only because I could make him laugh--that is until I started to love a Marauder."  She paused and looked at Remus.

"He couldn't forgive that--not with way they treated him--but he would not let me make the choice--him or them--he made it for me and severed our friendship.  I was devastated.  After a time I came to understand he was right, but I never could stop wondering if what I did was what made him the 'Death-Eater-Potion's-Master' he became."

"He apologized later--after Draco died.  He said he'd been thinking on his past a lot and Harry had pointed out to him he had some serious unfinished business with me he needed to take care of.  So he did.  What he said was unimportant to this discussion, it's between Severus and me, but I will tell you, I was able to get on with my life--I felt so free.  And, we were friends again.  Harry was so good for him in so many ways."

That was when she came back to me, thought Remus absently rubbing her back.  I owed Severus more than I ever knew.

She paused and levitating a glass of water over, she took a large swallow.  No one said a word, spellbound by her story.

She continued, "But, he was quick and once he read something, he never forgot it.  I find it--impossible--to believe Severus would miss something that significant.  'Hogwarts-A History' is a funny book--it adds knowledge and history as it occurs.  Maybe those words were NOT there before because they did not need to be there .  There has always been an unbroken line of Headmasters and a Succession Plan--each passing the knowledge needed orally to the next-in-line."

"Think about it--Albus thought Minerva was going to be the new Headmistress when he died.  He'd given her all the wards and all the information she needed to do the job.  But, she turned it down, walked away from it, and never passed the information on to Severus thinking it was unimportant because he was the one who'd reset the wards, not her.  And, Albus may not have had the time to pass everything on to her--his death was--unforeseen." She paused significantly.

Hermione nodded.

"Not that it really mattered, Severus AND Harry changed the wards and protections to fit the times--the old ones did not exist anymore.  Maybe Severus was never meant to be Headmaster.  They had a bond of their own to deal with.  I find it significant that the WHOLE job was not passed on to one man--TWO shared it--Severus had the Wards--but Harry had the castle.  Their tenure changed the relationship--because of their bond, it considered each as one-half of ONE person.

"When Harry almost died setting the Draconus Ward, I think he was so drained, not because of the power it took (although that certainly had something to do with it), but because he'd found the right combination for the Stone to absorb their--essence--into it.  And, when they tried to leave, it killed them."  She took another sip of water, taking in the stunned looks on the faces around her.

"I think you have the right of it, Arabella.  I don't think I could have put it better." Colin said calmly from the doorway, Dana at his side.  "It's what we're feeling, right now, inside."  He paused as five pairs of eyes swung over to him.  "There are two of us, but we're being treated as one."

He looked at the floor, almost as if he were embarrassed.  Dana put her hand on his arm and led him over to the last of the big empty chairs.  She, like Arabella, then climbed into his lap, her arm around his shoulder, her hand playing with his hair in the back.  He closed his eyes and seemed to draw strength from the contact.

He looked up and said, "Our marriage was arranged, we thought by our parents, but we found out in the last few months that it was Severus who made the pairing and contacted our parents for permission.  It had something to do with--bloodlines.  When we were married it was done in two parts--first with a private hand-fasting, then followed with the public binding a few days later.  We found out from the Headmaster that he had bound us in the same manner with the same spells used to bind him and Harry.

He tightened his hold on Dana and continued in an angry voice, "He'd done it that way on purpose.  He needed precise bloodlines, to match theirs--he engineered us.  For 80 years, he manipulated people starting with you three and by combining houses he got the mix--the combination required.'  He looked right at Hermione, "He used your bloody genetic charts to--create us."

"Then he had to bind us so that when they handed over the castle to us, the Stone and Wards would recognize us and not reject us. We--I was so angry when I found out.  I did not want to be Headmaster.  I just wanted to continue my studies and be with my wife.  It was Harry, with his quiet unassuming ways, who finally convinced us--me--that it would be all right.  Gods, I'm going to miss him."

They all looked away from his tears.  After a few minutes, he got himself back under control and continued.  "There was only one major stumbling block to all of his plans.  We--" he hesitated looking at Dana.

"--Can't have children," she finished for him, her voice gentle as always.  "Harry found out early in our marriage when he discovered me one day out in the garden, crying.  Seth had just given me the news and I was so unhappy."  Her eyes glazed over for a moment with the memory.  "But, Harry is just like me, he took his circumstances where he found them and then worked with them.  He is, was a Gryffindor, after all."  She said this with quiet pride.

"And, a Slytherin, too.  Harry was a Slytherin--" , Hermione said, looking hard at Colin, her cheeks flushed, "I think this is where I come in." They all looked at her with surprise.

"I know this is hard on you, I know you don't like it, but please don't let it color your perceptions until you have the full truth.  You are labouring under some misconceptions and I just can't stand by and let you continue them." She continued to look at Colin.  Ron took her hand.  "I just can't let you continue to SEE Severus that way.  He was such a good man and everything is not as it appears."

Taking a deep breath to steady her, she continued, "Severus did NOT use my charts to plan the bloodlines.  I DID--I planned them."

At their shocked looks, she continued, "Severus AND Harry made the specifications of the heirs they required, I drew-up the bloodlines through successive generations, sifting through hundreds of family lines tied to Hogwarts and to two specific houses--Slytherin and Gryffindor. It took 5 years of planning and 65 years of begging to make it work.  Factoring in the losses we took during the Muggle Wars, it's a bloody miracle we succeeded."

She paused to let the words sink in.  "Your births were arranged 60 years before they happened.  It was not a careful manipulation, it was a desperate one.  And you were just the stop-gap, I'm sorry to say.  We couldn't get the bloodlines right until one generation AFTER we thought Harry and Severus would be dead.  We predicted it would happen nearly 20 years ago, and it almost did when Harry over-extended himself setting the Wards."

"So, we had to create TWO parallel bloodlines.  One the final heirs--standing separate, one the guardians--with close blood ties.  You are both--blood-kin to them--the closest we could create. You Colin have the Slytherin bloodlines of Albus Dumbledore and Lydia Peabody nee' Snape, Severus' sister.  Dana, you bear the Gryffindor bloodlines of Lily Evans, Harry's mother, through the Muggle line of her nephew, Dudley Dursley and the Slytherin bloodline of Draco Malfoy through my daughter Daisy."

"It was not easy.  We almost botched it when we found out by accident that Harry's great-grandfather was a strong Slytherin.  It took us months to unravel and reweave the required pairings.  I sacrificed my daughter's love-match on the two of you by making them take a third.  It was THAT important we match the houses."

With a big grin on her face, her eyes glazed over with the memory, she continued, "I can remember Harry making Severus curb his impatience over Ginny and Neville.  It was so important to him that Ginny have a love-match.  Oh the planning, the machinations, how they threw them together, the absurd situations those two old lovebirds put them through.  And then, once they finally got them married, they were no longer so young--"

"--OY--the fertility Potions Severus made--and made--and made.  We needed a boy and Ginny kept having girls.  I can remember one time I thought Harry was going to die of convulsions when Neville innocently asked Ginny if she was certain her Animagi wasn't a rabbit."

They all laughed appreciatively.

"When Severus came to them ten years later about a match for their son--your great-grandfather, Colin, it was the first time any of us had ever seen Neville angry--he said absolutely not.  Ginny knew something was up and came to see me about it.   I told her the truth.  She told me not to worry about it and went the next week with Neville to sign the marriage contract with the Parkers."

She stopped at the stunned look on their all their faces.  They never knew any of it and had not been meant to know--it was one of their greatest secrets.

"You were never meant to be anything more than the guiding hand for Altus and Althea, the Headmasters who would teach them how to do it.  THEY are the end of the bloodlines.  They are the next Headmaster and Castle Keeper after you and their separate progeny will be able to provide all the Headmasters the school and Hogsmeade will ever need, in ANY combination. THEY will be free to marry whomever they choose."

"You have no idea how much Severus and Harry hated the bond, hated the way it had taken their free will away, especially in the beginning.  Took yours away.  They wanted their 'heirs' to be free of it, yet Severus was a practical Slytherin and it was with great regret he bound you the way he did--25 years ago--five years before they thought they would be gone--plenty of time to prepare you."

"The bonding was VITAL if you were to help them, because we knew Altus and Althea might not even be born yet when you took over the school.  I'm sorry if this offends your sensibilities, but we HAD to BREED you two, who could take over the Wards BEFORE Altus and Althea.  And once the chain of events was put in place, we could not change it.  Your place was fixed.  Altus and Althea could not take over directly from Severus and Harry; they can only take over from you."

"Who knew they would live so long?  I admit, I was so very grateful when the 20 year day came and went--they spent it out in the grove.  Just in case, they asked us to stay the night and check the grove if they didn't come back the next morning.

Ron and I were just on our way out there to check the next morning, when we met them making raunchy jokes about how good they looked and all the things they'd been able to do as dead men.  They were so insufferably pleased with themselves, I was tempted to kill them myself."  She chuckled along with the others and Ron spoke up.

"The spell did it--that bloody piece of happenstance.  I know Severus thought Albus had planned it, maybe he did--we'll never know now.  What we did know was some of the complications the spell made in them and in us, something Albus, with all his foresight, never predicted."

Ron lowered his voice, "Harry and Severus should NEVER have taken over the school.  Their spell bond, ours as well as yours is potent magic no one understood, not even Albus, who realised he'd made an honest mistake after he'd done it.  Minerva should have taken over the school, but her grief overrode her good sense for the first and only time in her life."

"Had she done what she was ordained to do, none of this would have been necessary."  Ron finished, visibly upset.  A spasm of pain, quickly erased passed over his face and he put his hand over his stomach.  Seth leaned over and looked at him, his healing senses alerted, and Ron told him with his eyes to leave be.  Seth nodded, telling him 'later' with his eyes.

Hermione feeling his pain, went on quickly hoping to distract their friends from noticing, "The combination of the new and ancient spells mutated them both and when combined with The Earth Stone during their first encounter with the Wards when Albus died, it--fused--them into one bond.  They were inseparable.  The hope was that with your similar bloodlines, and your similar bond, a smooth transition could be made from one generation to the next."

"We all know how that turned out--we lost them both."  Hermione stated quietly.

"It wasn't until later after everything had calmed down that we realised to our horror that Harry had put a little bit of their bond, by accident, into EVERY single Stone he'd warded.  If the Hogwarts Earth Stone fell, it would take over half of EVERYTHING else with it!"

"This was part of the reason Severus decided to retire.  He had to know if the Wards would pass smoothly.  He had to know so if they did not, he had time to figure out how to make it happen."

She started crying, silently.  She said through her tears, "And, he was tired.  So tired.  They just wanted a few years of being normal.  Now--now, they have nothing at all."

She put her head in her hands.  Ron reached over and took her in his arms, rocking her gently.

She raised her head, and said softly, "Do you truly know what the worst part was?  They--We CARED.  All of you, all of the generations we mixed, you were not just names on a sheet of paper, not just bloodlines, you were all truly people to us.  Every birth, every marriage, every death, every successive generation closer to our goals MEANT something to us.  We loved you all, and you never knew."

She turned from them and then buried her face in Ron's shoulder, his arms tightening around her, holding her fast.

They were stunned.  Colin had a thoughtful look on his face and then without warning began a low chuckle, Dana catching his thoughts, joining him a few seconds later.  Hermione raised her head and looked at him as if he'd gone mad.

"No.  No, I'm not crazy.  I was just thinking that it was such a "Slytherin" thing to do.  Such an audacious plan, breath-taking, actually, in its scope, formidably daring considering the odds of success, it was worthy of Salazar himself."  He continued chuckling.  "I think even Albus would have been proud.  From all reports, he always was such a conniving old bastard."  They all smiled; he was right.

"And I have to admit, if faced with the same choices, I would have, without prejudice, done the same thing, which is quite a sobering thought and puts it into its proper perspective.  Thank you, Hermione.  I WAS laboring under a misconception as you so tactfully put it.  And," he hesitated, sentiment was not easy for him, "Thank you for caring."  His eyes were suspiciously bright.

Clearing his throat, huskily, he continued, "I think I can live with it.  What about you, love?'

Dana nodded and said "You know us Gryffindors--we face what we face when we face it.  It's just another adventure.  Besides, I think the castle likes me better."

They all expressed amusement at that, thinking of all the times Severus had said that to Harry.

Their healing had begun.

Colin cleared his throat again, a habit he had when he was nervous.  "Now, what I would like to know is how this whole conversation started.  We came in just past the beginning when Ara was talking." Spying the parchment in Ron's hand, he asked with a raised eyebrow, "I believe you have something for me?"

Ron looked thoughtfully at Colin and said, "Certainly Headmaster, I believe this is yours."  He half rose off the couch and handed the scrap to the waiting outstretched hand.

Colin took the piece of Parchment from Ron and settling back in the chair began to read.

It was obvious to Ron that Colin was puzzling over the writing, which Ron privately thought looked like Harry had written while upside down on his broom while dodging Bludgers.  It was very messy.  Of course the smear of ink across part of the page didn't help either, but if you looked closely enough, it was legible--barely.   Considering how close to death he was when he wrote it, it's a bloody miracle we can read it at all.

Colin's face was wet with tears when the chuckles started.  They soon became full-fledged laughs, followed by something that sounded suspiciously like a guffaw.  Certainly not like anything they'd come to expect out of the reserved Potion's Master.  He silently handed the sheet to Dana, who went through the same series of changes Colin did until they were both laughing.

The others around the room had already read the note and smiling, knew exactly which parts had made them laugh:

Dear Colin & Dana,

Not much time--need to get back to Severus--must warn you-- bonds fucked-up--sorry--Wards are NOT transferred--Castle trying to keep us here --you both can never leave the Stone--you are meant to go together--look in Hogwarts - A History--it's there--Hermione will love the irony--Must go--he's started to bring me home--love--Harry

PS--Hold onto this--proof--Hinterlands--yes--underworld--no--may be worth a few sickles at WW?

It was SO Harry.



Intermission Seven:
A Private Place for Private Things

"ARGH," Harry exclaimed, throwing the quill down on his desk.  He looked longingly out the window at the fine spring afternoon and wondered for the thousandth time the whole week why he was in here and NOT out there.

"You're in here because you procrastinated on those lesson plans I have been requesting for the last four weeks, they are due tomorrow, and now you HAVE to do them."  Severus said serenely behind him, sitting at his own desk with some correspondence he was answering.

"I don't know why you make me write them every year, they never change.  Why can't I re-use the one from last year?"

"Maybe because you hadn't thought of it yet--until today?  And, I do not make you write them, you do."

Harry turned around and glared at Severus.  "You mean, I could have--"

Severus shrugged, "Everyone else does with some minor changes here and there for new material.  I don't ask you to rewrite it every year, I merely ask you to submit THIS years' plan.  There IS a subtle difference, you know."

Severus deftly ducked the inkwell thrown at him and laughed outright when the reflecting charm he cast sent the ink back pouring all over Harry's head.  Harry laughed as he used the cleaning spell to remove the ink from all over his head and shirt.

"You bugger!  You've let me write this over and over for the last four years--without TELLING me?"

"I keep telling you, it's the simple things that keep me going."

With a wave of his hand, Harry turned his hair bright pink; he was hard pressed to keep from laughing outright.

Harry felt a tingle on his backside just as Severus said "I felt that!"

Harry started laughing outrageously, but stopped suddenly when his tail hit the back of his head.  Severus had a little silly smile on his face at the sight of the outrageously long prehensile tail twisting over Harry's head.

"Young Peavsey did that the other day to Jason, the Hufflepuff Prefect when he wasn't looking, took him three class periods to figure out what had happened, but by that time it was too late to find out who'd done it.  Since Jason is such a git sometimes, I and about a hundred other people including three other teachers forgot to tell him the counterspell.  It was imminently satisfying."

"Very funny, still, I suppose it--could have it's--uses," Harry leered evilly.  "Maybe I should turn it pink to match your hair."

Severus leapt out of his chair and ran to the mirror.  "Ha-arry," he drawled warningly.

"Sev-er-us," Harry said slowly.  "Are you planning on fixing my tail."

Severus glared at him in the mirror and muttered something about his "tail".  Harry suspected it wasn't about the long one he'd just put on, either.

Severus put his hand up to his head and held it there a few seconds before muttering a counterspell.  It turned a lovely bile green.  "I never should have let you study with Flitwick this past winter," he muttered darkly.

"Hair for my tail?" Harry asked, pleased with his pun.

Severus rolled his eyes and groaned, waved his hand, and Harry felt a little lighter in the backside.  He waved his hand at Severus and his black hair was once more in place.

"Rather boring, I sort of liked the green," Harry snickered.

"Oh? And, I was rather looking forward to seeing what you could do with that tail--"

They eyed each other a moment, hands poised, when as one, they laughed and said "Nah."

"Let's get out of here," Harry said on a whim.  "I can't stand being cooped up in here--let's at least go take a walk or something."

"Not until you finish that lesson plan."

"Sure no problem." Harry rummaged around in his messy desk and pulled out his lesson plans from last year and handed them to Severus.

Severus shook his head.  "How you EVER find anything in there is a bloody miracle."  Looking over the parchment, he asked, "Where are the additions we put in at the end of the term?"

"Oh, those are scribbled on the back along with some other notes."

Severus turned it over and read the corrections along with a helter skelter list of all the points Harry'd awarded and Severus had taken away with a running total for each house.  They all added to zero.  He mentally smiled and resolved to make it a challenge for Professor Potter to so easily undermine his artistic work next term.

"I can't use this--it's a mess," Severus said severely.

Harry grinned unrepentantly, "You never SAID it had to be neat, just complete--it's the little things, remember?"

Severus glared at him, "Prat."

"What? No nasty adjective?  Severus, you obviously need a change of pace--you're slipping."  He chuckled, "NOW, can we go?"

Severus thought about it a second, put the parchment down holding it by only a finger and thumb, like it had something icky on it, and said, "It is rather confining and I am sure--this--will wait until the morrow."

They donned their robes over the T-shirts they were wearing on this fine Saturday.  They left the castle, lifting their faces to receive the sun's benediction, the warm breeze stirring the robes around them.  They made their way down to the lake.

After taking a turn and talking about inconsequential things, Severus felt the longing to hold Harry out in the full sun, to let the breeze waft across their skin, but could also feel the eyes in the castle looking down at them.  Watched, always watched, he scowled.

Harry, catching his souring mood, looked up at the castle, feeling those same eyes as Severus did, but cared less about.  Without a word, he took Severus' hand and not letting it go when he tried to pull it away, led him over to the grove of willows off to the side.  Let them think what they think.

They entered the grove.  As many times as they'd been down at the lake, he wondered why he'd never been in here.  Harry was struck immediately by how quiet it was in there.  His second thought was that he couldn't see the castle.  Maybe if I can't see them, they can't see us?

Severus obviously had the same thoughts, for he hesitated only a fraction before pulling Harry into a loose embrace.  His head dipped to place a quiet kiss on his mouth.  It was not long before passion set in and they were locked in a deep embrace and an even deeper kiss.  Their robes shucked off, the sunlight on their exposed skin was like an aphrodisiac they'd never experienced before.  Shirts swiftly followed the robes onto the grass behind them.

Dropping to the grass in the clearing, though, instantly killed the mood as hundreds of tiny little rocks bit into their bodies.

"Damn!" they both exclaimed in unison.  "That hurt," Severus finished.

Frustrated, Harry looked over at him and began to laugh ruefully.  Sitting up, he carefully looked over the entire clearing and noticed the little rocks were everywhere; there was no place clear.

"We could just move the stones out of the way.  Maybe make a pile?"  he said to Severus, a plan beginning to form in his mind.  This place was just too perfect to let something like a few rocks spoil it.

Severus, seeing where his thoughts were going, stood up and holding out his wand hand said "Lapido Leviosa"

Harry watched bemused as every rock in the clearing lifted as one into the air, including the few underneath him.  Severus then spoke "Accio Centrum".  The rocks obediently settled into a pile in the center of the clearing.  A rather large pile of mixed sizes.

Harry stood up and getting into the swing of it, said, "Lapido Leviosa" and once again the pile hung in the air.  Severus looked askance at him, but he continued on "Talis Parvum Magnum Lapido".  The rocks then separated--the small rocks separate from the larger rocks.  He grinned and then said, "Accio Parvum Lapido Circus Fugio".  The smaller rocks settled gently to the earth in a flat circle about ten feet in diameter.

Severus grinned at him and then said "Accio Magnum Lapido Orbis Parvum Lapido".  The larger rocks hanging in the air settled down in a line around the perimeter of the smaller stones.

"Now what," Harry asked him, running his hands up his arms.

"Well," he said, distracted by the soft stroking on his arms, "I either take you right here on the ground or we do something with that pile of stones we so arduously worked on getting there."

"Hmmm," Harry said, "While the thought of you taking me anywhere has its definite appeal, I vote for doing something with the rocks."

They turned to look at the stones, hands entwined, both deep in thought.  Severus had an idea.  He walked over to the flat bed of rocks and looked them over until he found one to his liking.  Harry couldn't see anything special about it, but shrugged mentally waiting to see what Severus had in mind.  He placed the rock in the center and holding both hands over it, whispered gently to it, "Natus".

Harry had heard Professor Sprout use the spell on several occasions when some plant or other was especially stubborn, and watched in awe as a smattering of green started out from the center and slowly started inching its way out from the center of the pile of rocks.

Severus came back to his side and said, "Maybe we should do something with the outer rocks while we wait for the other to grow."

He'd no more said it, when Harry raised his hands and incanted, "Sero Sterno Rapacia Magnum Lapido".  The larger stones around the perimeter, linked together and then the tops smoothed to form a type of bench or table around the edge of the smaller stones.

"Clever--I see the extra work with Flitwick has been paying off," Severus murmured.  Harry glowed under the rare praise.  "As much as I would like to stay here, I think we need to get back, it's getting late and the center section will take a few more hours to grow. It should be finished by tomorrow."

Harry made a face at this, but knew Severus was right.  With one brief kiss and heart-felt embrace, they left the grove and made their way back to the castle.

They had to look up sunburn cures that night.


With thegood intentions of rodents and Muggles, they were detained the next day and were unable to find the time to go back out to the grove.  They were both antsy to see how it had turned out.

During the week, after dinner, Harry (ever the impatient one) packed a bottle of wine and two glasses, a candle, a small glass bottle, and a soft blanket all in a wicker basket he'd filched from the kitchens.  Waiting until after curfew, he convinced Severus to sneak out of the castle to go to their grove.

Feeling like a couple of errant school children, the castle let them out without a fuss and they crept to the grove of willows, the stars lighting their path on the moonless night.

Once inside, Harry turned to Severus before the other could grab him and said "There is one thing we need to do before anything else--I need your help."  Severus raised an eyebrow at him.  Harry leaned over and whispered in his ear.  Severus straightened and got a strange soft look on his face.  They went the center, took off their boots and walked into the raised area, barefoot.

Severus groaned at the sensual feel of the moist velvet beneath his feet.  Harry was similarly taken by the feeling as his toes gripped the incredible surface.  Holding hands, they faced each other and raising them to the sky, palms joined, they cried out in unison "Defendo Maritas!"  Protect My Lover.

This was a powerful Ward and it shot out of their hands in a blaze of light, spreading until it caged the entire grove with a soft glow.  Then it faded, but they could feel its presence.

Harry bent down on his haunches and ran his hands over the soft carpet they stood on.  It was moss.  Soft moss thickly covered the whole area making a springy fragrant mattress just for them.  He stood up and evaded Severus' kiss, his hands resting on his arms.  Severus stood there a little confused, but sensing Harry's intentions, he stood still and waited.

Harry started at the top, using his hands and his mouth and tongue on Severus.  Inch by inch, he covered him with hot moist kisses and long languid strokes, lingering on the soft sweet spots on his neck, divesting him of clothing as he went.  Hot wet trails of fire over bare chest, nipples lovingly laved, a tongue dipped into his belly button.  Lower he went; hands smoothing then pressing his buttocks, tongue flicking on now hot flesh, but purposefully missing the heated length begging for his attentions.

Severus groaned and shivered as the still warm spring air hit his bare skin and it was with the greatest effort of his life he kept his hands dormant by his sides.  When he stood totally naked before Harry, his hands gently stroking his hips, his deep arousal evident for quite some time, Harry leaned in and gently nibbled on his mouth, his tongue tracing a warm wet path along his lips.  When Severus raised his hands involuntarily, Harry took them in his own, and pulled back.

[[*My turn,*]] his eyes and thoughts said to him.

Severus paid the same loving attention to Harry.  Harry groaned and shuddered as his mouth licked and nibbled its way down his body until he was completely unclothed and Severus knelt before him, his arms wrapped around his legs, stroking the sensitive skin there behind his knees, up the back of his thighs, face buried in his stomach, a hot trail of fire running down to where he burned, ready for his lover.  He'd had no idea until it was his turn to keep his arms at his side, just how difficult it was, especially when without warning, he felt himself wrapped in the velvety wet silk of Severus' mouth.  Tongue, teeth, and lips created a symphony of feelings running havoc throughout his whole body.

[[*Gods, Severus--stop--I can't take any more--my hair's aroused,*]] he thought as another shudder of pleasure rippled through him.  Severus gave a low chuckle and with one final long lick with the tip of his tongue from base to head with a small suck at the eye, which Harry thought was going to explode his heart, he stood up and looked Harry in the eyes.  He leaned in, joining his mouth to him and Harry could taste the pearls of himself on Severus' tongue.

By mutual consent, they lowered themselves to the rich carpet.  Soft fragrant moss cushioned them and in the velvety darkness, cradled by the bower they'd created, they began the dance they most enjoyed.

Tongues dancing, exploring each other, Severus covering Harry with his body, lightly touching skin to skin as he moved his hips against him, undulating in an ancient rhythm.  Severus rolling to the side, his hands slick, his long dexterous fingers slid into Harry, in and out, in and out as he prepared Harry to receive him.  Harry grabbing those hands, holding his over them as he made Severus' hands coat himself, coat his whole length all the while deeply kissing him with drugged nips of lips and flicking tongue.

Severus pushed him gently back into the soft cradling moss, its heady clean fragrance filling his senses as Severus poised himself over Harry, his eyes boring into his, black to light, their color hidden in the dark.  Harry widened his legs and arched himself and without preamble, without thought, Severus slid home into his depths, the low moan torn from his throat reverberating through Harry, sending long shivers up his spine.  He began to move.

Slowly at first, long slow pulls out, then firm strokes in, Harry's hot depths and uncontrolled groans tempted him to go deeper, faster, then deeper, each sure stroke bringing them closer and closer to the edge.

The stars moved in the heavens.

Bathed in the soft warm starlight, their rhythm as primal as the pungent smell of the rich moss softly stroking their skin, Harry and Severus loved under the stars. Harry holding onto Severus desperately, each withdrawal a little death, each thrust sending heated shocks throughout his whole body. As Severus increased the pace, increased the depth, his mouth fastened onto Harry's his tongue mating with him even as he joined and separated their bodies below.

Deeper--[[*Oh gods*]]
Biting--[[*More--need more*]]
Thrust--[[*Almost there*]]
Thrust--[[*Oh yessss*]]
Thrust--[[*Oh, don't stop*]]

They strained against each other, shuddering, their pleasure spiralling through them.  It was so intense and went on forever.  Severus dropped his forehead to Harry's, his hips undulating in the involuntary thrusts that milked every ounce of sensation out of their joining, Harry's hips rising to meet him.

They shuddered once more and then stilled, breath harsh in the silence of the grove.

Severus withdrew, another small death, and muttering their familiar cleaning spell, they wrapped their arms around each other, each pillowing the others heads as they languidly kissed, short nips of lips and tongue, each coming down from where they'd been, the soft air liquid on their skins.

[[*We never did get to drink the wine,*]] Harry thought ruefully.

[[*Not that it matters, we had better things to while away the time.  Perhaps later, when the novelty of this place wears off, we will have the time for--other pursuits.*]]

[[*I'm not sure this place will ever be mundane.  It already belongs just to us and will forever--we will just have to stop distracting each other enough to enjoy it differently.*]]

[[*Leave the wine.  It will take no harm being here and will give us less to carry the next time.  I intend to come here as often as I may.*]]

[[*We may.*]]

[[*We may.*]] and he gave him one final kiss.

Rolling onto his back, Severus pulled Harry with him, draping him half over him, their legs entwined, and with deep steady breaths, dozed while Harry drew small circles into his silky skin with the tip of one finger, his thoughts running unchecked through his head.  He levitated the blanket over them as the night became chill.

Lying there, cradled in Severus arms, his eyes growing heavy, Harry's last thought before he joined Severus in sleep, was he finally knew full-on the definition of satiation.



Section Two:
All of This Sight I Can't Believe I Couldn't See

They'd buried Harry next to Severus, in their special place.  Eight pall-bearers had escorted the plain wooden casket as it floated to the gravesite on the flawless spring evening--Ron, Remus, Neville, and Seth on one side, Colin, Sinistra, Altus , and Jonas, the oldest Gryffindor Prefect on the other.

Arabella, Hermione, Dana, and Althea had done the ritual washing of his body the night before and he'd been anointed more with their tears than with water.  They'd dressed him as they'd dressed Severus, in formal robes, the heavy, brocaded fabric shimmering black with threads of gold and red, the sleeve cuffs encrusted with tiny rubies set in gold--his formal Gryffindor robes as Head of House.  They laid his hands loose at his sides, but did not even attempt to remove the platinum wedding band from his left hand.  They gave up, laughing through their tears, of ever trying to straighten his hair--it was as unruly in death as it had been in life.

Hermione lightly traced the scar on his forehead before placing a gentle kiss on it and then as last to leave the cold room, she extinguished the lights before closing the door.  The click of the lock was final.

They'd chosen the time because Ron had insisted on it. While the rest of the staff knew about the place, only he and Hermione knew just how often Harry and Severus had come to this spot to watch the sunset and sometimes make love under the stars.  Of how Harry had amused Severus here with his little light tricks and the fireworks he was so fond of.  Of how Harry had been able to sit quietly for hours, in the velvety shadows, captivated by the silky, dulcet tones he loved to just listen to.  Of how they'd used the safety of the darkness to gain some measure of the freedom they could never have in the sunlight.  Twilight was their time and Ron was adamant they still have it.

In addition to the family and staff that had been there for Severus, Colin insisted that the student body from 4th years on up be allowed to attend.  The exception was to the Gryffindors--THEY had insisted they ALL be allowed to attend and out of respect, Colin could find no objection to it and consented graciously.  

He allowed no others though and set the tone for his tenure when he'd had the reporters, who'd tried to sneak in, sent back to their editors trussed up with apples in their mouths with a strong admonishment NOT to do it again.  The apples had been Dana's idea, wicked girl.

And so it was, that as the sun set over the Forbidden Forest in the near distance, Harry Potter was laid to rest with a huge crowd attending.  Presiding over the interment, Colin sent a message to Dana that Harry, ever the solitary quiet one, would have been amused and astounded by the crowd.

After sunset, when the stars were first making their appearance, the sky was filled with the explosions of all the fireworks left that Harry had made, but never used.  Dragons, stars, streamers, whistlers, unicorns, and showers of sparking fire lit the night.  Those at the grave and those standing outside in the grove were mesmerized and for the hour it took to set them all off, they forgot themselves and their grief in the wonder of Harry's talent.

Colin used the dark much as Severus had--to hold his love tight and share with her this piece of himself--the little boy who still believed everything was good and fine simply because he believed it was.

What a magnificent gift Harry had left them.

And then, it was over.  The crowd dispersed, scattering off to their homes, their hearths, their own loved ones, each one touched by what had happened this night.  None would ever forget.

Colin and Dana and those inside the center were the last to go.  Colin looked around at the few people around him, Harry's best friends, and allowed himself the luxury of grief, here in private with people he had come to care about.  Like Harry, he was especially grateful for Remus and Arabella with their constant presence.

As he and Dana turned, last to go back to the castle, Colin noticed the same workmen, leaning on the same shovels, standing by to finish spading and sealing the grave.  They'd seen it all before and they really didn't care that Harry Potter, the greatest Wizard of all time, was gone.  They only wanted to finish their job and then go into Hogsmeade for some Butterbeer before going home to the Missus for their supper and then, if they were very lucky, a little shag.

Colin Longbottom, Headmaster of Hogwarts, as he stood watching them, smiled ironically, knowing Severus and Harry would have heartily approved.

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