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
By I Got Tired of Waiting
And, Lead It Back Home
Colin and Dana
"I found Severus' notes today about Altus and Althea," Dana said, walking into their bed chamber two weeks after they'd buried Harry next to Severus.
"I must say I AM impressed. Severus has their whole life planned up to and including the day his orrery says we will die." She paused, sitting at the dressing table, pins in her mouth as she pulled her hair down from its complicated up-sweep.
"From unnatural causes I might add--I'm sorry to say our demise will be in 46 years--we'll probably get crushed or something."
Colin looked over at her at the dressing table. He so enjoyed her dry humour. Watching her brush her chestnut waist-length hair, he noticed she was beginning to braid it.
[[*Please, leave it unbraided for now--I like it down.*]] he looked at her significantly, eyebrows raised.
She looked at him with smouldering eyes. She got up from the table and sauntered over to the bed. [[*How long do you think this WANT is going to last?*]]
[[*Does it matter? Who was it that said 'We want what we want when we want it'?*]]
On a laugh, [[*I think that had something more to do with 'facing' circumstances.*]]
She dropped her robes to the floor slowly, letting her underthings follow until she was clothed only in her skin. Bending ever so slowly, seductively, she stretched out her arm to get her night dress off the back of the press near the bed.
[[*Oh gods--you are so--please, don't put that on--I like it better when you wear your--skin.*]] She felt his desire coming at her in waves. She shivered in anticipation. She climbed into their bed and faced him her hands automatically seeking his arms and face.
[[*Oh? And, this is not a circumstance? I do admit I enjoy--facing--you. I also like it when you shiver--*]] He turned so that he was covering her, his hands braced on either side of her. He took her lips with his, his lean body moving slowly over her lush one, her full breasts barely touching his chest, tickling it with taut flesh.
She shivered again at his touch earning a chuckle from him, when she realised he'd just worn his--skin. [[*Two can play at this--*]]
[[*Oh, please, by all means play--*]]
So she did. She played him like a Gryffindor playing a Slytherin.
[[*Oh gods--the things you do to me, woman--*]]
Lying there, with Colin wrapped around her like a blanket, she took advantage of the quiet night and the soft sounds of his breathing to just think, alone with just her thoughts. After the last couple of weeks, it was novel.
She was getting used to this mind-speaking although it was going to take them quite a while she suspected to equal the prowess Harry and Severus had shared in their ability to double-speak; so far they could only do one or the other, but she supposed it was a learned skill. Still, it was thrilling to have Colin there in her mind, especially when they--
Colin stirred, snuggling closer to her. I probably shouldn't be thinking about that--all it takes is one misplaced thought and then-- He stirred again, his lips nuzzling her neck absently and sending ripples down her spine. She held her breath until he went back to sleep.
Oh goddess, when will this WANT end?
They'd always had a healthy intimacy, but this--this was unbelievable. This want. Constantly wanting. She knew it was the castle's influence on their bond. We're randier now than when we were first joined and THAT was pretty embarrassing.
Thinking back on the last 25 years in the castle, what little she'd really known of Severus and Harry, and then to that one amazing kiss they'd shared on the stage at the party after 110 years together, the one that had made her grip Colin's hand until it ached, made her WANT; she realised it probably would NEVER go away. It obviously had not for them.
How HAD they borne it? Not once could she remember EVER seeing them exchange an intimacy small or large in public. She had a hard time keeping her hands off of Colin wherever they were. They, with the public censure they'd received, the closeness with which they were watched, would not have had the luxury she enjoyed. Bloody unfair, if you ask me.
All in private, then--or maybe, just a little with close friends--no wonder they were so close to Ron and Hermione, Remus and Arabella--there would be nothing to hide.
They saved it all for when alone--goddess, what torture they must have gone through. What sweet torture. This is not something one can just get used to, it's too--fresh--every time.
Maybe that's where the mind-speaking helps. Control--maybe there's more to it than just words. Maybe feelings, too? Touch? This is something I MUST explore. I know I can feel him, know where he is, but to touch him, with my mind? Would that help? It certainly would help with control.
No wonder they wanted to retire. Maybe to escape the want? No, to escape the CONTROL! To stop hiding. Is that what we will want too? Will we be willing to risk all for freedom? She shuddered.
Her respect for them knew no bounds now and she was saddened that she'd not known them better in life.
She turned her head. Bright eyes peered at her in the dark--watching her. Fawkes.
It was inevitable. The Headmaster of Hogwarts always had Fawkes. But does she have to live HERE? Why not his office, like all the other Headmasters. Why Colin? Bloody bird's always staring at me--us--him.
I'm picturing you as a feather duster, you know.
Fawkes ruffled her wings and squawked at her.
A bright green feather duster. I'll do the books, first, she thought with relish.
She remembered how Fawkes had first come to be there. She shivered at the memory, suddenly not caring if the bird was there or not just as long as Colin was. Fawkes cheeped and closed her eyes.
The day after Severus had died, while Harry had been sedated, Severus' Fawkes, with her black feathers edged in gilt, had come in through the open window of their rooms and had settled in front of Colin at his desk where he was writing Owls for the funeral the next morning. Fawkes stared at him, tilted her head, and then flew off.
With a heavy sigh, he had put down his quill and rising from the chair had turned to her saying, "Fawkes wants me to join her in the infirmary. Do you want to come?" At her nod, they both left and went to join the Phoenix .
When they arrived, Seth was waiting for them as was Ron and Hermione. There was no sign of Remus or Arabella and then it dawned on her that last night had been a full moon--they would be in their quarters recovering about now. Seth led them quietly past the private room where Harry was sleeping, to another room at the back she'd never seen before.
When they entered the room, the first thing she noticed was the cold. It was so cold; then she saw why. Severus lay on a bed in the room, his face relaxed, looking younger than he any right to be.
She wondered who had prepared his body.
He was wearing his formal robes, rarely seen, the heavy fabric shimmering black with brocaded threads of silver and green, the sleeve cuffs encrusted with tiny emeralds set in platinum--his formal Slytherin robes as Head of House. His hands were loose at his sides, the platinum marriage band they'd been unable to remove still borne by his left hand. His silver hair had been brushed and was flowing freely across the bed, the cold spell making it waft lightly. He looked asleep, like he would wake at any moment and she understood in full why they kept Harry out of this room.
It would kill him.
Fawkes winged in behind them and landed neatly on Severus' chest. She spread her wings like a hug across his chest, her face rubbing up against his cheek. With a great cry, she lifted her head to the sky and let loose a song, a song they had all heard before, the song Harry had composed for Severus for his anniversary. Fawkes was not limited to the single notes of most creatures so her song wove the subtle harmonies Harry had created to honor his subtle husband.
As the song ended, as the last note was fading, Fawkes immolated into a pile of ashes there on Severus' chest.
After a few heartbeats, when all that could be heard was quiet weeping, a tiny head poked out of the ashes. Rapidly growing until it was full-sized, was a smallish Phoenix colored a vibrant iridescent green with gold markings. Fawkes was still a female in this transformation. She took wing from the ashes and settled on Colin's shoulder, rubbing her cheek against his.
She was still there when they turned to leave after paying their respects to Severus. Still rubbing his cheek on his when they re-entered the infirmary and started to go back to their rooms, Ron and Hermione behind them.
Dana felt an irrational surge of jealousy at the sight.
Colin, catching her emotion, thought, [[*I have Fawkes, you have the castle. Seems pretty equitable to me. I'll ask her not to bite you and you can ask the castle to quit moving my things around and creating stairways in my path wherever I go. Deal?*]]
[[*Deal--although I can't help but think you're getting the better end of the bargain.*]]
[[*I can't imagine why--*]] They smiled at each other in a private way.
Ron leaned over to Hermione and whispered in her ear, "They're doing it again--"
She smiled at him. "So I noticed."
And, Lead It Back Home
Remus and Arabella
Remus looked out over the assembly of the entire student body. Over two thousand strong, they filled the Great Hall, which had been enlarged many times in past years as the number of students increased. Colin with Dana's help had tweaked it a bit so that for today, it was more like a bowl than a flat room with seats surrounding a center stage, raised slightly above the first row of seats.
They'd reversed the order of the seating as well, giving the staff and the adult guests the first rows followed by the oldest students in the next rows and ranking them out by class until the youngest first years were ringing the top of the bowl, furthest away. Remus had insisted and after hearing why, Colin had hastily agreed, even suggesting that the first through third years not even attend. Remus after some thought had agreed to this, but with the vehement Slytherin and Gryffindor protests ringing in his ears, he acceded and everyone attended.
There were no reporters, no townsfolk, except the Mayor of Hogsmeade; this was private and there would be time enough for others to see what they would this day.
When everyone was settled, Colin and Remus stood alone on the platform, Remus holding a single roll of parchment loosely in his hand. Colin waited them out until absolute silence ruled the room. He whispered "Sonorous" and began to speak.
"We are here to celebrate the lives of Severus Lucius Snape-Potter and his husband Harry James Snape-Potter, both of whom gave long service--and their lives to this school."
He waited for the murmuring to go down, he'd expected the comments when he'd used their full-names, rarely used, knowing there were still those who did not approve of their marriage.
To hell with them, he thought, I'll do as I please. And, THAT pleased me.
He waited again. "I had prepared a tribute in their honour, but after all that has happened, I know if I did, Harry would be yawning and Severus would be heckling, so I have decided not to burden you with my eloquence." He waited for the chuckles to subside.
"The day after Severus died, Harry--by means I still have not figured out--came into my office and left me this parchment. No one knows when or how he made it, but it arrived and was clearly meant as THEIR last statement, together, not separate."
"The seal is most important, and if you have a chance to see it, I suggest you take to heart what it means."
"It means loyalty.
It means doing what you HAVE to do to face any enemy.
It means devotion.
It means love."
"It shows that the future is ruled by the past.
It shows that two people, when faced with impossible odds can make a difference, can change the world as we know it.
It shows that love can conquer--anything.
It shows us that love is--everything."
He looked at them all challengingly and then hung his head, waved his hand to end the speaking spell, and looking at his feet, he quietly walked off the stage joining Dana in the front row.
Remus was left alone. He dropped the parchment to the floor of the stage, in the center. Taking his wand out, he traced a circle in the air saying "Aperio". He quickly walked off the stage and sat next to Arabella. They knew what was coming and had mixed feelings about viewing it again, but were resolved to see it through.
The parchment unrolled sending sparks flying in the air until it lay flat on the stage. Their attention was drawn to a shock of sparks rising out of the parchment.
From the center rose a column on a plinth bearing a globe of Mage glass. Colin and Dana were the only ones who knew what this was, and kept silent, wondering what Harry was about. The globe glowed brightly and images began to float out from it like slow motion fire works one after another that once near the ceiling exploded into a shower of sparks.
There was no sound other than the sharp crackling retorts of the disintegration of each picture. It made the whole work eerie and surreal.
A very young Ron, Hermione, Draco, and Harry at school--their arms around each other, the happy smiles on their faces only available to the young--
Hagrid with his Wyvern nipping Draco; Ron, Hermione, and Harry laughing in the background--
Snape, with his potions dripping off his nose while Ron and Harry laughed bent double in the background, the potion all over the walls--
Albus Dumbledore, his sharp blue eyes twinkling over his half-moon spectacles gleaming in the candlelight, giving one of his beginning of the school year speeches, Severus looking dour at his side--
Harry and Severus at their wedding--their hands entwined, their eyes smouldering--
Hermione, roundly pregnant with their fourth child, Draco, his arm around her protectively, and Severus sitting at a table their heads together talking intensely, arms waving in the air as they argued--
Arthur Weasley speaking at a podium in front of an indignant crowd, Severus' thundering anger visible only through his narrowed eyes--
Severus binding The Trio with their Witnesses--the new pattern gleaming fire around their joined right arms--
The Trio's first dance together, Molly covering the children's eyes, Severus looking hungrily at Harry in the background--
Severus dancing gracefully with Harry, the world around them forgotten, both bodies as one--
Severus and Harry, looks of happy concentration on their faces as they raised the bower in the grove, the sun shining brightly on their bare chests--
Severus and Harry walking down the hall side by side, their robes sweeping out around them, purpose and power in their strides--
Remus and Harry showing students how to duel with their wands and swords--
A delighted Severus twirling Lenore around in circles high up in the air, staggering dizzily as he put her down, his face happy, convulsed in laughter as she knocked him over, tickling him mercilessly--
Harry flying on his broom, trying to knock Draco off his, a harmless contest of convulsive laughter and exceptional skill--
Harry and Severus, sitting by a fire in their library, his back against an old wing-backed chair, Severus reading from a book, his arm around Harry, idly stroking his arm, Harry snuggled into his shoulder, just listening, his eyes closed, his hand on Severus thigh--
The globe glowed white. The images rising from it were different from the ones before it in that they were fixed, they did not rise into the air. Excitement ran through the crowd as they realised they were going to get to see one of Harry's legendary moving memories. He'd rarely published them.
The images finalised into two people, one standing in front of the other, a few feet of air between them, both facing the same direction, their arms held loose at their sides. They were wearing black T-shirts, tight, showing the muscle definition beneath them, and loose black trousers tapering down to soft black quilted boots, the kind worn by dancers when rehearsing.
It was Harry and Severus.
Their hair was what captured their attention. Both bore dark hair with only a sprinkling of the silver that would in later years become their trademark. Harrys hair was longer too, almost down to mid-back and Hermione, with a gasp, remembered this time, 50 years ago in the past--when they used to train with Draco in the mornings.
Without a sound, the figures began to move, the fluid movements identical. It was like watching one body. Bend, stretch, sweep, slide, step, and again--each time adding more motions until their complicated dance, each cycle more complex, was pure poetry, the movements identical. Faster and faster they went, the honed bodies shifting gracefully as one.
It was like watching water flow.
It was their normal morning routine.
Without breaking the unison of their movements or the speed, they separated until they were standing side by side, the idea of a dance stronger now that their separate motions could be seen. Then they moved again through another cycle until they were facing each other, their routine now mirrored.
They continued for one more cycle when--
--swords appeared in their hands. Never changing the movements from before, they could now see that the dance fit the motions of the swords, clashing, slashing, arcing, blocking, sweeping, faster and faster until the blades blurred into flashes of light.
And then they abruptly stopped. Facing each other, swords crossed in a perfect X. Sweat covered their bodies, darkening their shirts, chests moving heavily as one.
Severus gave Harry a feral grin, Harry laughed back at him, throwing his head back, exposing his throat. He lowered it and gave Severus an answering grin.
They looked as one to the side and a third person joined them, his long white hair loose. He was dressed similarly and carried an identical sword. The three bowed to each other and--
--they crouched, serious, the grins gone, concentration etched on their faces. Daggers came out of hidden pockets into empty hands. They circled each other.
With a lunge, Draco made the first attack, against Harry and Severus, his blades fully engaging them. Metal blurred as each parried and blocked and returned the attack. And, then they returned to circling each other, their shirts sliced in several places, blood leaking out of a small cut on Harrys cheek. They were starting to breathe hard--
--they attacked again, Draco and Severus against Harry. The blades again flashing, but Harry was fast and parried each and every blow, able to defend himself--and more. He nicked Draco in the chest and left a long shallow cut down Severus' side. They stopped suddenly, Harrys sword at Dracos throat, Severus dagger at Harrys back. They looked at each other, relaxed and started laughing--
--Until Severus went on the attack. Against Draco and Harry. Theyd not realised until this moment that Severus had been toying with the two younger men, saving his effort. Switching sword and dagger from hand to hand at will, his hands and body faster than thought, he not only defended himself, but left the other two gasping, small cuts leaking blood in several places.
After a short while it was over, Severus dagger at Dracos heart, his sword about to cut off Harrys head.
The three of them eyed each other for a few moments and then with rueful grins, the two younger men stepped back, bowed to the master, and handed him their daggers, handle first. He took them and tucked them into pockets in his trousers and then the three of them laughed, dropping to the floor, their chests heaving.
The picture faded leaving the glowing globe blank.
The audience breathed again. This was not what they had been expecting. It was thrilling and scary at the same time, but the respect theyd borne for their former Headmaster and Harry was deeper than before. This was fighting none of the students had ever seen and they were keen to learn.
Remus looked at Arabella and said, I guess, my class is going to be a little more popular than before.
She chuckled at the mental image of Remus teaching the older ones the fighting techniques he and Severus had developed--Remus was the only one who could beat him, and then said Until they kill you, that is.
Hermione and Ron looked at each other. Theyd known that the morning training was rigourous, but had no idea itd been dangerous as well. They must have healed the cuts before leaving the room, for theyd never seen them or any scarring from them.
However, it had been necessary, very necessary, the tiny wounds theyd seen the least of their worries. They both remembered times when the things taught to him by Severus had been the only things that had saved his life. More than anything, the training had not been about fighting, but about concentration, conditioning, and reflexes.
The globe went back to its normal appearance. Almost an anticlimax, the pictures from before resumed their tidy chronological order.
Severus binding Colin and Dana, their eyes locked on each other, the leashed passion evident only in their smouldering eyes. The regret shining in his eyes even as he smiled, Harry standing in the back with Ron and Hermione, Ginny and Neville.
Severus and Draco standing alert in the dungeons, watching Harry, his hands and face glowing in his full power as he wove them around a globe on the table--
Draco's funeral--Ron holding Hermione while she cried. Severus' head bowed, his hand holding Harry's tightly--
Harry, somewhere, in some town, Sirius supporting him as they stumbled down a wide stone hall--
Severus, the fatigue and deep worry etched in his face, holding an exhausted Harry across his lap in a large chair by a roaring fire, Harry's sleeping face curled up in his shoulder, a small smile of contentment on his lips--
Seth and Lenore's wedding--Severus and Harry, their hands on the bound hands of their children, beaming at them, the tears standing unshed in Severus' eyes--
Harry with his potion's class, an admiring Severus standing at the door unseen--
An older Severus greeting the first years before taking them to the Sorting Hat, his face stern, theirs scared, while an older Harry stood behind them covering his grin with his hand, his eyes dancing--
Severus and Harry in the grove, shooting off fireworks, the delight in Severus' eyes like that of a little child--
A town meeting with Severus speaking to the townsfolk, Harry in the background eyeing him, hidden as usual--
Severus and Harry embracing in the ocean at sunset, only the silhouette of the passionate kiss visible--
Severus standing still, trusting, while Harry danced lightning around him--
Harry in his workroom his hands on both sides of Severus' head, the thin strands clinging to his lands like gossamer webs as he lifted them free and transferred them--the thoughts and memories retrieved--to the film in the center of a glowing circle in the middle of his worktable--
Severus and Harry last winter having a snowball fight with Ron and Hermione, laughing outrageously, the cold making their cheeks rosy, the few students there for the holidays watching from the windows, incredulous, but smiling.
Severus shooting off champagne corks, his eyes dancing, his face triumphant, while Harry dodged out of the way--
Harry and Severus in the public embrace none of the adults would ever forget. It hung there for the endless moments it took to cycle once--
--the picture faded to be replaced by their private seal; lion and snake.
Severus saying: I am here.
Harry saying: I am here.
In unison saying: We are together.
And the whole display, plinth, column, globe, and seal exploded upward, sending glittering sparks into the air that rained down on the entire audience, filling the air with a memory of the sweet pungent smell of fresh damp moss after a spring rain.
Ron, Hermione, and Seth, breathing in deeply the remembered scent, felt uplifted; the gift from Harry, cherished.
The parchment stood alone in the middle of the stage. Remus rose shakily, not looking at the crowd of people in the room, who were quiet, lost in their own thoughts, the images still running through their brains. He knew how they felt. It had affected him deeply when he and Arabella had first seen it, it was worse in the second viewing even knowing what was to follow. There was a hole in his heart and suddenly, the centuries stretching before him filled him with a deep sense of dread and he wept.
Climbing the stairs to the top of the stage, he walked up to the parchment, pulled out his wand, and reversing the direction of the circle he'd made before said, "Signum." The parchment obediently rolled up and levitated to his waiting hand. He regarded it a moment and then hanging his head, he walked off the stage, Arabella joining him at the bottom of the stairs and together they walked out the room, half-hating, half-loving the legacy Harry and Severus had left them.
And, Lead It Back Home
Ron and Hermione
Ron and Hermione sat on their favorite couch by the fire, their feet propped up on ancient poufs, hot cups of tea in their hands. They were glad to be home. It had been a horrible time and the moment they'd arrived back, they felt the heaviness begin to leave them like tension in a hot bath.
Settling deeper in the cushions, Ron looked over at Hermione and said, "Colin surprised me a bit, he was less--humourless--than I expected."
Hermione chuckled before answering, "Oh, I'm sure the castle will not let him be too staid. Remember what happened to Severus the first few years?"
"Yeah, who could forget the sight of Severus waking up in his bed on the roof."
"Or the three broken noses he had when he ran into all the walls the castle put up in his way. You know how he walked."
"Remember how Harry's eyes would gleam whenever he saw Severus walk?"
Hermione chuckled at the remembered sight. They silently missed their friends; the sorrow was still fresh, still raw, but was not the only thing they remembered. They still had unfinished business of their own and the previous week had left them with much to think about.
Ron sat on the edge of the bed waiting impatiently. He didn't want to be here, but Hermione, sitting placidly in the chair by the fire, had insisted. And, as usual, she got her way. He never had been able to resist her, why should he start now?
He knew why he was here, the reason he didn't want to be was because he already knew the answers to the questions Hermione wanted answered. And, he knew they weren't good.
Ron was ill and had been for quite some time. He didn't know why this should come as such a surprise to Hermione, but it had. He thought she forgot sometimes that they were 127 years old. Old was old and the ending of life was a little bit easier to take now than it would have been years ago, so he really didn't understand why she was getting so upset about it.
A few years back, he'd had a couple of bad turns, the pain eating his insides. He'd ended up in the infirmary here where Seth took care of him. Seth had told him he could try to cure it and using magic and potions he had made it go away.
Harry and Severus had stayed with him while Seth worked his wonders. Distracting him, with their biting humour and incessant bickering, from the bitter potions, the agony, as the spells ate away at the thing that was trying to eat him. He sometimes felt like a Ron Smorgasbord with an all-you can-eat-sign hanging off his chest.
Cancer, Seth had said, the Muggles call it cancer. And it was gone.
Then two years ago, he'd been with Harry in Diagon Alley looking for a gift for Hermione for her birthday. She always insisted she was too old for birthdays carrying on so much that one year he had decided to skip it. He would never, ever, repeat that mistake again. They'd been in a Goblin gem shop looking at some pretty stone rings when the pain had hit him.
Doubling over, he would have fallen had not Harry caught him. Harry got them out of there quickly and once out in the street, with a surge of raw power managed to Apparate the TWO of them straight into the infirmary at Hogwarts.
Ron was amazed through his pain and Harry smiling ruefully said, "It doesn't say it's impossible to do, just difficult. Besides, the castle likes me better." Ron chuckled appreciatively and then choked as a fresh wave struck him.
Severus had come down demanding to know what had happened, the Wards had been rippled and he had such a headache from repairing them and--he stopped when he saw a pained Ron and an apologetic Harry. With no one else around, he nodded, touched Harry's cheek, saying something to him Ron couldn't hear because it was inside them, leaned over and gently kissed him, and then strode back out the room, robes billowing behind him. Harry sighed watching his retreat and then turned to Ron saying it was his one weakness.
Seth had examined him and then gave him the verdict he was dreading. It was back, worse than before.
"Dad, you need to quit work and take it easy. You'll heal faster and have less chance that it will come back if you'll just slow down. I love you, however, you are not a young man, slow down--I'd like you to be around for a long time more."
So, he'd slowed down, but despite Hermione nagging at him, he did not quit. And the pain went away as did the illness.
Now he was here. The pain this time was not sharp and was easily ignored most of the time. But it was persistent. And, growing. Hermione was sure it was back and truth be told, so did he. Only what he wasn't telling her was that he thought this was the last time he would be suffering from it.
At that moment, Seth returned to the room. Hermione was half out of her chair, when he motioned her to sit back down.
"Mum, Dad. I am so sorry, it's back and has spread, quietly to a point where I am not sure I can fix it. I can give you a different set of potions that may kill it--or not. I don't know; we can only try. But I have others I want to give you that will take away the pain at the very least."
The three of them held each other for a long while, Hermione surprisingly dry-eyed. Ron supposed that with the double funerals and the Memorial Service where's she'd cried for hours afterward that she was all cried out.
And, under normal circumstances, he might have been right--to a certain extent. Hermione WAS cried out. But she was also madder than hell.
"I am thinking," Hermione said, unconsciously using Harry's turn of phrase, "Colin and Dana will do well. I suspect they'll adopt the entire school as their family. He's so organized, she's such a softy under that serene exterior and with no children of their own--she'll do well with the younger ones. They start so young now at six."
"Well, it was necessary, as was continuing the students there until after University. All the schools had to change. It was a sad day they closed Oxford --I miss that old place, but we could no longer stay there with all the protests and such. Severus planned Hogwart's expansion well."
"Speaking of plans, when are you retiring?" Hermione asked, afraid of the answer.
"Well, with the Wards in place, and people being more careful in their travels, we're less busy. All our efforts recently have been focused on making sure the Muggle technology does not find a way to penetrate the Wards and that we continue to develop new techniques to spy on them without getting caught. I should be able to step down soon. Which is fine by me--I am so very tired of it all."
"Set a day," Hermione said.
"It's not that simple, love. It will take a while to train a replacement, then there's the--"
"Ronald Malfoy-Granger-Weasley--" Hermione warned, her eyes narrowed dangerously.
The look on her face put him to mind of a day when she'd kneed Seamus in the balls. Ron was rather fond of his balls and had it on recent good authority that Hermione was too; however, he was not convinced enough at this particular moment to risk that she was as fond of them now as she once had been--she'd used his full name--Ouch!
"Yes, dear?" he asked innocently.
She looked ready to kill. There goes my balls, he thought.
My, she's REALLY upset. She's magnificent when she's upset--unless of course, she's upset with ME.
"Oh, well there is that, I guess."
She suddenly lost steam, deflating like a toy balloon. "Ron," she said quietly, "Please! The longer you go, the faster this will--take you. You heard Seth. If you don't stop soon, you're going to kill yourself--sooner than you have to--please, please don't do this--please just leave."
Damned inconvenient having a son who is a Medi-wizard.
He heard missing words in her statement. Ah ha--maybe I'm finally going to find out what the problem is.
"Can I do that? Can I just walk-away, leave the whole division in turmoil, because I've been sick, because I don't want to do it anymore? What are the consequences? What happens if one thing happens I should have been there to do and people die? Can I DO that? Do you really WANT me to do that?" he asked with some heat.
He regretted having to do it this way, but it was the ONLY way he was going to get it out of her. Whatever it was, it had been eating her up for weeks.
She looked at him fiercely. "Yes, you can. You've already trained them. They're ready to take over. Marcus says that after your last turn--how close you came to--they've been begging you to think about it, to just do it for months. To just walk away. You're the one who can't let go."
There's those missing words, again.
He said tiredly, "It's my--life--Hermione. I have so many years invested--it's just so hard."
Angrily, "It's not just your life. It's MINE too. It's OUR life. What about MY investment--our investment. Damn it Ron, haven't you figured it out yet. You're everything to me. You're all I have left. If you go--" she finished on a whisper.
"If I go--" he prompted gently.
In a small voice, "I'll be--alone. I don't want to be alone. Oh gods, it was so hard to have half my soul torn out when Draco died. How can I ever go on if you take the other half? There won't be anything left for me."
She started crying, her face buried in her hands.
He held her shaking body as she cried; his mind in a whirl. Afraid--his Hermione was afraid. He'd NEVER seen her that way. She was always the strong one, always the fierce one. He was the one with all the secret inner fears he never let out. It rocked him. SHE needed him to take away HER fear. How could he do this? Could he do it?
Then he remembered the note--something Harry had said--damn it why can't I remember things like Hermione or Severus? Severus? That's it! He closed his eyes, resting his head on Hermione's and concentrated. '--he's started to bring me home--' Bring him home? Bring HER home? Then he realised what it meant--what he could do to assuage her fear.
"Hermione? You're right. I'm not the only one in this relationship. I'm sorry--I didn't mean to cause you any distress. I'll go there tomorrow and tender my immediate resignation."
This did not get the desired result. If anything, she started crying harder. This is not going to be easy, he thought. I don't even want to think about it let alone talk about it, but--
"Hermione, hush," he said rocking her. "Please Hermione, it's important, I need you to listen to me."
He could feel her trying to get it under control.
He continued to hold her tight. "Hermione, I'm scared too. Ever since Seth told me, told us, I've been scared. I don't know anymore than you do what to expect and I admit, I have been more worried about what will happen to ME rather than to you and for that--I am sorry. I never meant to hurt you; you know I can't stand to see you cry. I love you."
She sniffled and rubbed her face in his robes like a little girl.
"Other than knowing I am going to die--sooner than later, it seems--the only thing I'm reasonably sure of is that there's no underworld to worry about and all I have for proof is a letter from a dead man. Even Witching Weekly wasn't interested!" He felt her smile--just a little. "I don't have many answers, but Dana had it right: 'We face, what we face, when we face it.' "
Hermione hiccupped. "We're such Gryffindors aren't we?"
They laughed precariously.
Ron continued to hold her tight, racking his brains for the right way to say what he wanted to say next. He played the scene in his mind a couple of times to make sure he had it just right--he would only be able to do it once. He took a deep breath before speaking.
"Hermione? Severus came for Harry, right?" She nodded looking down.
"And we share the same bonds they do, right?" She raised her face, her eyes questioning.
"And I've never broken a promise, have I?"
She shook her head and then lowered it again. She murmured, "No, you've never broken a promise to me. Or, to Draco, or anyone else I know of."
He lifted her face and cupping her cheek, he kissed her gently, lips lingering.
"Look at me," he commanded gently.
Anxious brown eyes met calm, resolved blue eyes.
"I promise." He put his face close to hers and breathed into her lips--
"I'll come for you--" A gentle touch down her cheek. "I'll bring you home."
"Just like Severus did for Harry."
She nodded, reassured, and they sealed their covenant.
And, Lead It Back Home
Seth and Lenore: Colin and Dana
Three weeks after the last time he'd been here, Seth slowly made his way into the grove by the lake. He'd been avoiding it since Harry had been buried, not sure he could talk to Lenore the way he normally did with his godfathers there as well. Stupid really, but there it was.
But, he was lonely, and heart-sore. Losing Lenore had left an empty space inside him he'd tried to fill by being busy and coming out here every day to talk to her. It had been just bearable. With Harry and Severus gone as well and with the death sentence he'd given to his father, the picture of his devastation was almost complete.
He walked up to the bower--he normally avoided this part of the grove; he couldn't look at it without his mind flooding with the memories they'd had there. But today, the torture seemed fitting. He removed his shoes and climbed onto the sweet soft surface. He sat down, running his hands over the velvet and remembered.
Lenore's sweet kisses burning fire, the passion they'd ignite with just their eyes.
The fullness of her breasts grazing his skin as she trailed fire across his body with wet hot nips of her mouth while the moss underneath him tickled his back.
The incredible responsiveness of her body rising to meet him, her soft cries of pleasure as he moved over her, through her, in her.
His own gasps as her ardor drove him to the edge. Lenore's face, the concentration complete as she reached her fulfillment, the heady smell of the moss filling his senses as he reached his own pinnacle.
The sweet rapture afterwards, feeling the sun warm their entwined bodies, the breeze caressing.
She'd been as honest in her loving as she'd been about everything else in her life. They'd talk for hours here, sometimes about them, sometimes about unimportant things, sometimes about her fathers.
He'd always been amazed she had no qualms, no shame about her fathers, hidden or otherwise. She'd loved them and their unusual union did not seem strange to her--they loved each other, it was proper they be together.
He'd learned to see them through her eyes, long before they'd ever married. When she'd been a child, he'd watch her staunchly defend them, ignoring the taunts--they were irrelevant. When he'd mentioned the incidents he'd seen to Harry, he had shrugged and said they were aware of them, but if it didn't bother Lenore, why should it bother them.
He'd always admired them, their devotion to each other, not really fooled by their banter and insults to each other. When Lenore was added to their family, Severus, especially changed, making him more reachable. As she had grown older, her views of them influenced him further and he grew to love them almost as much as she. They had been his second family.
He'd been an idiot to wait as long as he had, to not SEE her; he'd not been surprised when Severus had heartily agreed with him when he'd said as much. Harry had just looked at him in that calm manner he had, telling him to savour every moment, regardless of its place in time.
Thinking back on it, he had realised early on in their marriage that Severus and Harry had been plotting for years to get them together. It was just one more thing to love about them.
And now they were all gone.
He got up from the bower, put his shoes back on, and walked hesitantly over to the three graves on the side of the grove. The raw earth on two of them was offensive in some way and so, as he'd done to Lenore's grave the first time he had gone there, he settled on his haunches and for each of them, he placed his hands over the bare earth and whispered, "Natus".
Immediately, the surrounding grass began to creep up over the edges and within minutes, they were both clothed in verdant green. It seemed more--modest--this way. He knew the flowers would follow in a couple of days, they just took longer to grow from the seed.
He moved over to Lenore's grave and sat down, his back to the small headstone. This was how he always sat when he came to talk to her and if he was very lucky, he could almost catch sight of her when the willows filtered the rays of the setting sun through their wispy boughs.
He remembered her last days. There had been no warning. She'd just been--sick. He and his staff had done everything they could--they never did find out what was wrong--and in the end all their efforts had been to make her comfortable. She'd eaten little, slept even less, and at the end had just faded away.
Severus had handed the school over to Colin the two months she'd been ill. He and Harry stayed with her as much as she wanted, which was often. He'd aged as she grew weaker, his humour and banter growing more forced as time went by. Harry stood by his side, seemingly unaffected, but Seth had seen the private times when Severus had held him while he cried.
They'd brought her out here to the grove a few times, so she could feel the sun, the last time only days before she died. Severus and Harry had stayed a while, but left so they could be private. It was the last time they had been here until brought by others the final time.
He'd held her gently and they talked little, each knowing it would not be long now. When he'd brought her back, asleep, she never woke again. Two days later, she was gone.
Severus and Harry were devastated. He'd been numb. His Mum and Dad, ever present, stayed at the castle for a while to help them and him through the first weeks of their grief. It was his Dad of all people who'd suggested he come out here to talk to her. He said he still went occasionally to Draco's place to talk to him.
So he came here. And, he found comfort. He knew the conversations were all in his head, were just his thoughts, but it helped sometimes to see things through her perspective and he always came back feeling better than when he'd arrived.
He hoped to feel that way today as well.
"Hello, love," he said simply, not ashamed at talking to her out loud.
There was no reply. He tried again, "Lenore? Lenore, love, there has been so much happening--please I need to talk to you."
"Please Lenore, answer me. Don't leave me here alone."
With dismal recognition, he realised she would never again answer him in this place and in the depths of his heart he knew despair.
He rolled over onto his side, lying on the grave and wept. He dug his hands into the grass and the soil under it and cried out his pain into the ground. He lay there for quite some time, the grass soaking up his bitter tears; he fell asleep.
And, he dreamed. He dreamed she was there in front of him, in his arms, her silky kisses, never to be missed, on his lips, her arms wrapped tightly around him, their love surrounding them like an old favorite blanket on a cold winter's day. And it melted; the frost he'd encased his heart in when waking, was gone. Lenore was here and he never intended to let her go.
Colin was having the strangest dream. He was walking towards the grove with Harry. Only Harry wasn't dead, he was young. There was an exuberance about him Colin knew had been there once, but had been tempered out of him by the time he had known him. He liked this boy--young man--he was talking to.
"So you see, we made the bower for privacy," he was saying, his eyes alight. "We had so much fun making it, and using it, and sharing it with others. It's important you understand it's yours and Dana's now."
"That would be just a little macabre, don't you think, with the three of you already in there?" This whole conversation was surreal.
"Move us, I assure you we don't care."
Colin laughed. That was probably true.
As they were about to enter the bower, Harry stopped, suddenly looking urgent, "I've not much time. It was wonderful to see you again, but I must go back soon and I have to prepare you for what's inside."
"There's more in there now than was there three weeks ago?" Colin asked drolly.
His face was earnest as he said, "It's Seth--he joined Lenore this evening and crossed over. Most unusual, but it was his time, and he'd lost his will to live. I came over to let you know he was here so his shell could be removed in dignity."
Colin was at a loss for words. So many people gone. He felt uncharacteristically lonely and fervently wished Dana was here with him.
"I have one more thing--move us Colin--the sentiment of burying us here was misplaced. The time away from here after Lenore died, injured us in a way. We should never have placed her here."
"Where would be better? Every place in the world would want you--where would you rather be? Why now, why not earlier?" Colin asked reasonably.
"The castle. We should be in the castle. We didn't understand until after we were gone--we were never meant to leave. Bury us in the dungeon--there's a crypt--ask Dana to find it for you. We buried Albus there, all the Headmasters are there with their families--I don't know why we thought we would be any different, but that's another story. Put all four of us there, put the whole world there for all it matters, but cleanse this place of our presence; make it habitable for the living again."
"Albus built this place for us. Long before we met, before we were even born; he was a master of the orrery. He knew we would be together, knew we would need some place private," he stopped and chuckled, "Although the old bugger still won't admit he planned how we got together."
"This is a place of life, of celebration, of quiet, private loving, of escape from the prying eyes of the castle. Use it as it was intended. Spend some of your love and passion out here. Make this yours and Dana's special place, please--for me, for Severus, for all of us who claimed this place and made it sanctuary."
"I promise--you will never regret it."
And he was gone.
Colin woke with a start. It had only been a dream. Then he saw the willow branch on the table by his bed. And, he wondered.
Knowing he would not be able to go to sleep until he verified things, he got out of bed and put his dressing gown on over his pyjamas. Feeling rather silly, he strolled out of the castle in his slippers down to the lake and into the grove, the moon and stars lighting his way.
The place was eerily quiet. Feeling like an interloper he walked into the center. He stepped out of his slippers and stepped into the middle of the bower. A feeling of peace like he'd never known before stole through him as his toes sank into the damp moss beneath his feet. He remembered the smell of it from Harry's and Severus' Last Statement, the aroma meaning nothing to him at the time, but bringing with it now his own share of memories of the times he had spent with them.
With an effort, he pulled his awareness back into the present and looked around him. Off to the side, just as Harry had said, was Seth, lying on the ground on Lenore's grave, the full moon lighting the small smile on his face.
While sad Seth was gone, he was gladder Seth was home.
Over the course of the next week, Colin once again presided over four funerals, one for Seth and three relocation ceremonies held in private in the crypt of the castle.
He'd had Dana speak to the castle and it had been with awe they had beheld the final resting place for the Headmasters of Hogwarts. He didn't know quite what they had been expecting, but this quiet austere place with its twisted columns and high over-arching ceiling dappled with sunlight from hidden sources was not at all the creepy place they thought they would find.
Each resting place was marked by a simple plaque of gold set into the floor. If you stood on a plaque, you could feel the essence of the person buried beneath. Intrigued, he had stepped on Albus Dumbledore's and was shocked when he felt merry and wicked and sage all at the same time. Jumping off, he began to understand why Harry and Severus always called him 'the old bugger'.
Colin knew this was a place he would not mind being buried in himself and shared a laugh with Dana when she pointed out his acceptance was very good since he had no choice in the matter.
They'd had a discussion over Seth and Lenore--Colin thought they should be buried here together since Lenore was their daughter and tradition called for her to be buried with her spouse. Ron and Hermione, overwhelmed by everything that had happened in the last month had maintained they wanted them buried with Draco.
Daisy, Dana's great-grandmother was the one who finally found the solution. Move Draco. Colin agreed and arrangements were made to bring him here in a few weeks--Ron and Hermione were pleased with the compromise, and Dana said the castle was all right with it as well as it was familiar with them all.
The next day, they with Hermione and Ron and their surviving children had come down here to bury Severus and Harry along with Seth and Lenore. Dana stood at their resting places and uttered the spell the castle had taught her. Four rectangular crypts opened in the floor and the closed wooden caskets were levitated in place.
Colin read the interment ceremony, feeling easier than he had for weeks. This was not the wrenching experience it had been, there was a calm about the place, which made light the burden.
When the ceremony was done, Colin looked at Dana and she shrugged--the castle had only told her how to open it, not how to close it.
Fawkes flew into the room, crying out her song, the sunlight making her glow. As she glided over the open crypts, the floor of the castle folded over each one in her wake, encasing them within itself. As she flew by for a second pass, one gold-tipped feather fell on each of the tombs. Four gold markers appeared on each spot where her feathers fell.
The party stood there a few moments in wonder and left the room in silence. Colin knew he would come back one day to see what their markers felt like--it would be interesting to say the least.
The castle was happy--they were finally home.
The next night, Colin took Dana to the bower in the middle of the Willow Grove down by the lake and under the moon and the stars, they made it their sanctuary.
Part Six: Epilogue--Section Five:
And, Lead It Back Home
Our Ironic, Errant Headmaster and His Irrepressible, but Sometimes Overenthusiastic Husband.
It was getting on towards dusk in their timeless land.
"Look," Harry cried, looking down at his hands, "I'm YOUNG again!"
"And, you have a problem with this?" They were hand-in-hand, walking down the stone paved lane to their cottage. The others were waiting for them there.
A sudden thought came to Harry, "Can we still do magic here?" he asked.
Severus looked thoughtful for a moment and then slowly answered, "That's probably best answered by Albus, but I think the magic here is all around us rather than within us like it was before we came here."
"Do I get to keep all the knowledge I have now?" A wicked glance spoke volumes.
" ALL our OLD knowledge--coupled with all this--young energy." Severus chortled, tightening his grip on Harry's hand. "I have plans for you tonight." The strong fingers entwined.
Stopping, Harry eyed his husband, remembering him at this age, the age when they had first become lovers under the onus of the spell, silently grateful it was gone.
His gaze roamed unhurriedly down the lean, lithe body of his lover, his deep hunger evident in his half-lidded eyes. "Only tonight?" he asked licking his lips with the tip of his tongue, making Severus, with a ravenous growl, lean in to taste him.
With a gleam in his eye, Harry asked with faux concern, "Are you sure you don't want to go a little younger?" At the narrowing of Severus' eyes, he continued blithely, "Your poor, blighted back. Ring a bell? I wouldn't want to injure you--"
"Impertinent whelp," he rumbled, pulling Harry close, hands exploring anew hard muscle.
A chuckle: "Ignorant prat," his hands sliding down familiar slender hips.
Daring lips claiming tempting ones: "Blind Seeker"
"Professor Snape," spoken harshly, hands stroking smooth, silky skin.
"Mr. Potter," ground out; hot, wet tongues stabbing.
"I am here--" softly, purring.
"--I am here--" on a whisper.
[[*We Are Together.*]] Lips meshing, hearts beating as one.
Bidding their blood to run--
[[*At this rate, we'll never get to the cottage--*]]
[[*Just shut up and kiss me.*]]
The tapping of an impatient foot on the stone pavement--
"Do you two MIND? You have eternity for THAT. WE have a PARTY to go to!"
Timeline of This Story
Timeline beginning dates based on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling as outlined in the Harry Potter Lexicon--a most amazing site if you want to know anything about Harry Potter (and I mean ANYTHING!)
Harry (11) starts Hogwarts
Harry Pledges Severus
Harry (17) and Severus (39) Marry
Voldemort Defeated by Harry and Severus
Dumbledore (Ancient) Dies at the Hand of Voldemort--upon death immediately sets upon plans to make Severus and Harry miserable when they finally get there.
Lucius Malfoy (39) Dies at the Hand of Voldemort by Poison
Severus becomes Draco's Guardian
[Severus] and Harry become Headmasters of Hogwarts
George Weasley begins internship at Hogwarts
Harry attacked by Death Eaters in the Castle
Minerva McGonagall retires
Flitwick takes over as Deputy Headmaster after Harry decides he is too young to do the job
Harry takes over as Head of House Gryffindor
Harry sets the Reflecting Ward on the Castle
Harry and Severus Raise the Bower in the Grove
Hermione and Draco graduate from Oxford
The Trio start their work on changing the law
Severus defines the bloodlines they need
War breaks out in the Middle East with the Yanks
Harry takes over from Madam Hooch
George Weasley takes over Potions
Hermione finishes the bloodlines
Flitwick retires as Deputy Headmaster
Harry takes over as Deputy Headmaster
Multiple Partner Marriages Law Passes
Draco (41), Ron (41), and Hermione (41) Marry
Neville Longbottom (42) and Ginny (41) Weasley Marry
George Weasley (43) and Angela Levin (28) Marry
Seth joins Hogwarts Staff as Medi-wizard
Molly Weasley Dies in Muggle attack in London
Severus begins plans to bring College Level courses to Hogwarts.
Harry takes over as Potion's Master
Lenore Villins Born
Harry (67) and Severus (89) Rescue the Children including Colin (4) and Lenore (4)
Severus (90) and Harry (68) Adopt Lenore (5)
Severus begins expansion of Hogwarts to include Primary School
Harry (69) retires his broom after near-fatal accident
Severus Makes peace with Arabella
Arabella (93) and Remus (93) Marry
Arabella "takes the bite"
War Breaks out in Great Britain
Arthur Weasley Dies when Ministry is raided by Muggles
Severus Injured when returning a Muggle
The Yanks enter the War
First Enclave of Wizards
Hagrid Dies when Giant Enclave is attacked by Muggles
Dana promised to Colin
Lenore hired as Severus' Adminstrative Assistant
Colin (40) and Dana (25) Marry
Draco and Severus begin work on Draconus Wards
Draco (105) Dies while rescuing his grandaughter from the Muggles
Draconus Ward Finished
Harry and Sirius travel setting Wards
Severus travels with Harry
Severus (127) travels with Harry (105)
Colin (44) takes over as Headmaster temporarily
Sirius (127) Dies while rescuing a Wizarding Family from the Muggles
Draconus Wards completely set
Remus takes over Defense Against the Dark Arts
Colin takes over as Potion's Master
Caballa and Abel Marry and Retire
Lenore (43) and Seth (83) Marry
Harry begins his studies in light and sound
Altus and Althea Born
Sinistra (Ancient) Retires
Colin takes over as Head of House Slytherin
Harry and Severus celebrate the beginning of a new century--Harry captures the memories with his new technique of merging film with the Pensieve.
Lenore Dies of unknown wasting illness
Severus' 110th Anniversary
[Colin] (64) and Dana (49) take over as Headmasters of Hogwarts
Harry (127) and Severus (149) Die
Ron retires from Aurors
Seth (113) dies at graveside--he's too busy with Lenore to mess with Severus and Harry--Yet
2109 Ron (128) Dies
Hermione (128) dies that night in her sleep--they join Draco and Albus in making Harry and Severus as miserable as possible
2156 Colin and Dana die in a freak accident at the castle, crushed of course--they plot with The Trio and Albus
[Altus] (67) and Althea (67) take over as Headmasters of Hogwarts
Author's Notes and Peccadilloes:
Where I am still a nuisance--the unpurged version.
The original story line this one follows is "Pledges" (FanFiction.net Story ID: 887404) by Amireal (FanFiction.net Author ID: 197678) and I apologize in advance if it appears I have stolen some lines and ideas from the story, but some minor paraphrasing pilfering was necessary 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 wrote this as a companion piece; I don't normally read slash, yet alone write it, but the curiosity engendered by the story description overcame my usual objections; I found there was something about this story that moved me, it's hard to explain really. I suppose if you just read the story for only the titillating slash (and trust me, it is), you won't get the subtle ideas Amireal plants and nurtures in the story to make it truly a touching love story, one that stayed with me for quite a while after reading it. Still does as a matter of fact.
One morning, as I was driving my daughter to rehearsal, the song "Love me when I'm Gone" by 3 doors Down came on the radio followed by "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence. While we cranked them on the car stereo on our way down LikeLike Highway into Honolulu, the flawless day around us disappeared (for me at least) as visions of this story kept popping into my head and all that day long, I kept hearing and seeing them until I had no choice but to put them down on "paper". Can you say obsessed?
Luckily, my family kept me fed and watered during the marathon sittings it took to write what was supposed to have been a short story, but has grown (I think I gave it too much fertilizer) with each edit and beta re-write into something with life of its own. However, I made my husband (one of my betas and my willing sex god for the better scenes) teary-eyed more than once, so I figure I have at least a 50/50 chance of increasing the value of my Kleenex stock (hence my recommendation above).
The theme (yes, there actually is a theme) of this story is about separations and joinings. What happens when two people are so close and then are separated? Not just Severus and Harry, although they are kind of central, but others as well, either through death or the preparation for death. And, we must not forget the joinings. How does a bond change people of the course of many years? Personally, I think it is impossible to stay the same in situations like this and so I have TRIED to show those changes, how successful I have been remains to be seen.
The other theme, as it were, is of the cycle of things, that in addition to the high ups and the lowest downs, there is nothing truly good or truly bad about any situation and we just do what we do when we do it. And, pay the consequences.
So, I ask you to forgive me for any errors and understand that I have taken some great liberties with the grammar for effect. I tried to write the story as a stand alone piece, but if you are confused (or even if you're not), I would strongly 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.
Answers to FAQ of my betas:
Yes, I know the Prologue is really weird and really depressing, but it was necessary to set the theme and to start the emotional roller coaster ride I tried assiduously to create. Don't worry--it's the only piece like it in the whole story.
Yes, I really DO talk this way in real life--if you don't like the flow of the dialogue, don't talk to me.
No, I'm not British--I'm an Anglophile--there is a difference.
Yes, I really do know how to punctuate a sentence--I just choose to ignore it when it suits my mood--like now.
Yes, I really do know AND use all those words--I rarely use a Thesaurus--pompous bitch, aren't I?
Yes, I know some parts are highly melodramatic. That's why they call it "literary license". Come to think of it, you should be paying ME for leaving out the scene where Hermione was tied to the railroad tracks.
Oh, and Seth is a cheeky little bugger, who after I went to all the trouble of giving him a really hot love goddess for Part VI, told me to "Sod off" and walked off the set. Men! So I killed off his wife. Hey! It was in his contract.
I Hope You Enjoyed It!
I Got Tired Of Waiting
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