Harry woke up in the hospital wing. Looking to his left, he saw a head of black hair in the bed next to his. Déjà vu… Well, if Snape’s here he’s still alive at least. Might as well get this over with…
“Madam Pomfrey?” Harry called. Immediately, the mediwitch appeared and bustled to his side, looking worried.
“What is it dear? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing ma’am. I just had some questions…”
“Oh, that’s a relief. You do realize, Mr. Potter, that this is the first time you’ve voluntarily alerted me to your consciousness? Usually you want to avoid any attention for as long as possible. I imagine you want to know how you got here then? Well, you tore down one of your bed curtains in the night, and Neville Longbottom had the good sense to firecall me. Once we got you out of that bed, we could hear you screaming… I presume you’ve been using a silencing spell?” She asked, giving him a disapproving look. He nodded, and she sighed. Before she could continue, a familiar face appeared in the doorway. Hermione saw that he was awake and was by his side in an instant, arms thrown around his neck.
“Need.. to… breathe…” Harry gasped. She blushed and pulled away, before leaning in to give him a chaste kiss on the lips.
“I’m sorry. I interrupted. I was just so glad to see you awake… Please go on,” Hermione said, grabbing Harry’s hand and taking the chair by the bed.
“It’s quite alright Miss Granger,” Madame Pomfrey replied, with rare tolerance. Turning to Harry, she continued, “Miss Granger has barely left your bedside. I had to force her out to go eat lunch. Anyhow, while you were yelling last night, you said something about Professor Snape, and Professor Dumbledore became very concerned. He sent a few Professors to wait by the gates. Meanwhile, we tried to wake you, but it was completely impossible. After about an hour and a half, you stopped screaming and thrashing, and a few minutes later, Professor Snape was brought in. He’s still in bad shape, but he’ll live. We gave you some dreamless sleep potion, and you slept for another ten hours."
"Has the professor woken up at all?" Harry asked, wondering why he was so concerned. Worry gnawed at his insides.
"No. His healing will take quite some time. I believe Remus Lupin is returning to teach his classes for at least the next month. People do not recover from that many Cruciatus curses in a day." She looked sadly over at Snape before continuing briskly, "And you are in need of some recooperation yourself. Yet again, Mr. Potter, you are physically drained. If I were to test your magical power levels, I have a feeling you would be at an all time low. So, while I will let Miss Granger stay for a bit, you need to get some more sleep. Don’t argue with me Mr. Potter. And you, Miss Granger, could do with some sleep yourself, as you’ve been down here since five this morning.” With that, she bustled off to tend to other patients.
“Oh, Harry, I’m just happy you’re alright. I couldn’t believe it when Neville told me this morning. I was getting ready to meet you in the Room of Requirement before classes…” she trailed off, eyes watering slightly as she looked at him. “What happened Harry?”
“I… forgot to clear my mind before sleeping. I’m glad now, I suppose. I had a vision. He knew, Maya. Voldemort knew that Snape was a spy. He tortured him, for longer than I’ve ever been tortured. Then the Death Eaters took turns. They were going to kill him. I started fighting, trying to make it stop. I was thinking, if I could just start firing some hexes at those bastards… And then my arm, Voldemort’s arm, it moved. He actually started a spell, but then he got back control. I was actually controlling him for a few seconds… and I realized it. We fought for a long time. Snape was in really bad shape. Somehow I won the fight. I got control of his mind, and ordered the Death Eaters to give Snape a portkey. Maya, they’re like dogs. It’s disgusting. Malfoy did it, even though he knew it went against the plans Voldemort had, even though it let Snape live, just because he was too afraid to contradict Voldemort…” Harry took a deep shuddering breath, and Hermione squeezed his hand reassuringly.
“That’s pretty amazing Harry. You saved Professor Snape’s life. And you’re safe now.” Hermione leaned in and kissed him again. “I’m glad you told me.” At his girlfriend’s obvious relief and pride, Harry just had to smile. He was so glad to have her with him. It was easier to talk to Maya than to anyone else in the world. His grin turned into a yawn, and Hermione mock-glared at him.
“Now, Mr. Potter, you need to go back to sleep. Go on Harry, I’ll stay.” She curled her legs under her in the chair and laid her head on the mattress, still holding Harry’s hand. He handed her one of his two pillows, and they both shut their eyes, Harry in a vain attempt to get more sleep (he had just woken up!), and Hermione just to rest her eyes for a bit. When Madam Pomfrey came to kick Hermione out ten minutes later, both teens were lightly snoring. Shaking her head, she left them to their rest, and went to give Professor Snape his next batch of healing potions.
Hermione was awoken by a bloodcurdling scream. Harry’s grip on her hand was turning her fingers white. Madam Pomfrey rushed over, with Professor Dumbledore right behind her. The mediwitch pried Harry’s fingers from hers as the headmaster tried to wake her boyfriend. Harry’s eyes flew open, and he sat upright, eyes darting about. In the normal emerald green of his eyes, there was a red flash. The headmaster stepped back, a look of panic on his face.
“He can’t fight this for long… He used up his energy reserves last night…” At Hermione’s confusion, he continued gravely. “Voldemort is trying to take over his mind. And Harry’s magic has been severely weakened. In his normal state, especially with his improvement in Occlumency, he could keep Voldemort out. But he’s already in, and Harry doesn’t have enough magic left to push him out and put up his mental shields again…. I don’t know… how this will end. We need to get you out of here. You too Poppy. And the other patients.”
“No!” Hermione heard herself scream. She wasn’t leaving. She could help. She could fix this. There had to be a way to fix this… He couldn’t be taken over by Voldemort. He couldn’t die. She wouldn’t let it happen. She loved him… She loved him… That was it! “Professor! I can help him!”
“Miss Granger, I’m afraid there’s nothing…” The headmaster began, but Hermione ignored him, and pulled the book she had taken from Grimmauld Place out of the bag to begin searching through it. She found the page quickly, and scanned the passage. She could do that. She handed the book to Professor Dumbledore. He read it quickly. “Miss Granger, this is very dangerous. If you do not end the spell when you need to, you could use all of your magic, and lose it forever. Or you could start feeding him your very life force.”
“I know Professor. But I have to try…”
“You must act quickly then, to transfer the power while Harry is still in control, or risk a backlash of you trying to give power to the wrong person. You know about the backlash? That also could kill you is you do not truly, deeply love the person you are connecting with. This spell is powered by your magic, but what you are giving him is your love.”
“And you know that this could not be enough? You’re a powerful witch, but Voldemort… You could run out of magic before… It all depends on the strength of your love, and how long you can safely sustain the spell.”
“Professor, I have to do this. A thousand things could go wrong. But I think that love-powered magic is the key here,” she said. She didn’t have time to analyze the look of shock and dawning comprehension on the headmaster’s face as he handed the book back to her. She turned to Harry, who was twitching on the bed, head tilted back, mouth open in a silent scream. She grabbed his hand again. All this needed was physical contact. Taking a deep breath, she began to read the incantation.
As she read, she focused on Harry, on how she felt about him. She thought about the way he kissed her, or just held her hand while they both read. She thought about when he went with her to ask for Professor Snape’s help even when he didn’t want to go anywhere near the man. She thought about his bravery, his hidden intelligence, his smile. She poured her love into the spell, giving meaning to the archaic Latin phrases, and desperately hoping that he would just hold on, that it would be enough. Because she loved him, needed him. It would have to be enough.