imuptonogood (imuptonogood) wrote,
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imuptonogood

Something Past Survival - Chapter 22 Part 1

Summary: After the war, reconciliation between enemies is necessary to create a better future, one that is only possible if one embraces the past. Begins during the final chapters of Deathly Hallows, ignores the epilogue. Will eventually be Harry/Draco.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter, his friends, his enemies, and the lovely world they live in all belong to JK Rowling. 



Chapters Posted: 22
Words Posted: 150,536
Notes: rosskpr has been my beta reader for many chapters, but she is unable to continue in that role.  I can't thank her enough for the work she did.  I now get to thank two marvellous people for beta reading this chapter - Badgerlady and Crescent did an amazing job, catching my wildly breeding commas, britpicking, and generally making this a better chapter.  Thanks!

Other notes:  I can't believe it's been a year.  This chapter killed me.  I have some good bits coming up, and I've been looking forward to posting them, but I could not get the celebration right.  In any case, this story is still underway, and I have started chapter 23!

On to the chapter!

Chapter 22 Part 1 - Dreams and Work


Poppy and Minerva

“He’s gone!” The words had been preceded by a burst of green flame in the fireplace, revealing the face of the Hogwarts mediwitch.

Minerva didn’t have to ask who Poppy was talking about. There was only one person Poppy was keeping locked away. “How?” She released the block that limited the floo to calls only, and beckoned Poppy to come through.

“I am not entirely sure. His wand is gone.”

Minerva sat down on her chair, her hands pressed against her desk as if to keep it from escaping as well. “I’ll have to inform Kingsley.”

Poppy’s gaze shot to Minerva’s.

“It was one thing when he was in our safekeeping,” the Headmistress continued. “You knew he’d have to submit to an inquiry, and most likely a trial. We were only delaying it.”

“I believe him.”

“I viewed his memories.”  

She had watched in Albus’ Pensieve as Severus and Lily had met, and seen the growth and breaking of their friendship.  She remembered how often she had seen him skulking around Lily when he was a student – she had not approved.  Looking back, she wondered how she could have missed how much need was hidden behind his actions.

She had watched as he begged Albus to protect Lily, and watched him fall to pieces when that failed.  She pulled out the memory just after Albus had asked Severus to kill him.  That was all she had needed to see to verify Severus’ loyalties to her own satisfaction, and she could not bear the thought that the next image might be the murder itself.  She did not think she could stand to look at Severus again if she saw that memory.

Minerva shook her head as if to shake away the images she had seen.  “It was an invasion, but after last year, it was necessary to know. Mr Potter was telling the truth. I can't imagine how Severus could have behaved as he did, last year.  I keep remembering at his actions, reinterpreting them. I still stumble over the fact that he killed Albus. I could never have—"

"That must be why Albus asked Severus to do so," Poppy said gently.

“That doesn’t negate the fact that he must be tried. If he is not acquitted, he will be forever on the run. That is not what I would wish for the Severus I knew.”

“I thought he’d stay.” Poppy mused. “He needs time to come to terms—“

“Do you think he could while he is locked away here? No, he would just retreat from what he must face. He would rebuild his defences, and Albus is no longer here to break through them. I think he is the only person Severus ever allowed to see him.”

Poppy’s head twitched in a quick negation.

“He allowed you in?”

“I am his healer. Of course I saw him at his weakest. He knows that I cannot talk further about his secrets, so he revealed more of himself to me than to many.” Her face suddenly looked stricken. “I should have known!”

“He didn’t want you to,” Minerva reassured her.

“Perhaps it is for the best that Severus has a chance to find his own way. He was always the most stubborn bastard.” Her face twisted into a fond grimace.

Minerva understood. It had been so difficult, this past year, watching a man she had come to trust seemingly betray every trust granted him. She still had difficulty with the knowledge that he had killed Albus, even with everything the memories showed. She was glad she had not been there at the time. She did not think she could have forgiven him, even knowing he committed the act under duress, and under Albus’ command, if she had seen his face as he said the words that sent Albus to his death.

“If he is free, he may have a chance to figure things out for himself,” Minerva commented. “But he cannot be left to go without accounting for his actions, both for his own sake, and for the sake of everyone who has been harmed, by either his actions or his inactions.”

Minerva drew her wand, and with a sharp flick and two words, brought forth a small silvery cat. The action did not comfort her—it was associated with too many emergencies, too much bad news during both wars, despite the need to wrap herself in a happy memory for a moment, and despite the echoes of sessions with Albus as he taught her the method to turn her Patronus into a messenger. With a quick message to Kingsley that she would like to see him when he could make the time, she sent it on its way.

A wry grin crossed Poppy’s face. “It must be inherent in the job.” At Minerva’s inquiring look, she explained. “You just sent a message requesting a meeting with the Minister of Magic, with full expectation that he would make time for you.”

Minerva stopped short. “I was still thinking of him as—it’s Kingsley!” He had always been their friend in the Ministry, part of the Order, but in a position to bring in the resources of the Ministry, if he relayed the information to the proper people. He was certainly in that position now!

“You are parcelling out information as Albus did, deciding what should be shared and when. And as you said, you are taking Severus’ well being into account as well. And you have the larger picture in mind. Or should I say the ‘Greater—’”

“Don’t say it!” Minerva felt a sudden desire to drop her head to her desk, or to laugh wildly. These were serious decisions, and they were hers, but suddenly she felt as if Albus had played a prank on her.

She lifted her head and focussed on the piles of parchment on her desk.

Poppy’s amusement gave way to a look of dismay. “I need to get back to the hospital wing. I should not be away from it for too long.”

“You need to rest, as well, Poppy. How long since you’ve had a full night’s sleep?”

“I have patients...”

“What would you tell yourself, if you were one of them?”

Poppy paused, and then nodded. “You’re right, of course. The last of the ones afflicted with the effects of the residue are now safely ensconced at the Finch-Fletchley estate. As safe as they can be with a regular course of poison in their future.” She grimaced. “I wish I knew another way. It goes against everything I have been taught as a healer.”

~

Dreams

Harry flew. He had his Firebolt beneath him, and he flew across the Quidditch pitch, looking for the snitch. He didn’t know where the other players were, but he had to find the snitch, or the pitch would disappear. He wasn’t ready to fly in the void. Only the really old could do that, or the really young... just not him, not yet. The thought of flying without the pitch beneath him frightened him.

A flash of gold caught his eye, but it wasn’t the snitch, it wasn’t even gold, it was white gold hair, flying behind another figure on another broom. Malfoy. He had to find the snitch. He couldn’t let Malfoy keep it to himself.

He flew higher and higher, faster and faster, and then dove toward the ground as if he’d seen it. Malfoy followed, and when he levelled out, Malfoy’s broom continued downward. He braced himself for the sound of the blond crashing into the ground, but the sound never came. He looked downward, only to see Malfoy’s hair had stretched out into wings, white-gold wings that rippled in the air, as if he was in currents of water.

It wasn’t fair. Harry had to have wings too. He looked at his broom. Sirius had given it to him. He couldn’t just leave it behind, but if he didn’t let go, he’d never get wings.

He opened his fingers and lifted his arms. His legs clenched tighter, wrapped around the broom, holding himself to it and it to himself. He couldn’t release it, but he had to. His thigh muscles shook with the effort, fighting against him as he struggled to release the broom. This was madness, it was suicide.

I’ve already died once. I can do it again. The thought was compelling. Was this worth it? Was it worth dying for?

He wasn’t sure he could go on living without wings. He grasped the broom with one hand, and rolled underneath it, releasing his legs, hanging from it as if he were reaching to catch the snitch. He forced one finger open, then another. Sirius! Why was he doing this?

He opened his hand.

The broom continued forward, and he fell. The wind whistled around him as he dropped, his face chapped with the force of it.

He reached his hands out, stretching his fingers, as if to catch the wind. Still he fell.

Surely he would crash. Where were his wings?

He needed to grasp something, something in the air that would hold him aloft, that would allow him to fly again.

He touched it. Lightning flashed, jagged against the sky. Clouds roiled in, and he reached his hands into the clouds, touching them.

Electric tendrils wrapped around his arms, and he could feel them, reaching into the clouds, stretching out. He connected to something. He could feel it, vibrant, dancing in his veins, awakening him. He was still falling, but he could feel something touching him, wrapping around his arms, his body. His fingers stretched into feathers, his skin sprouted soft down. He could touch something.

The Quidditch pitch fell away, and he was in darkness. The call of birds, the creak of trees surrounded him. The soul of the universe sang to him, and he touched it. Reaching upward, he flew. This was his. The darkness, wrapped in song and starlight, surrounded him.

He had to find Malfoy. He had to show him that he had wings too. He soared.

Flying with a broom was never like this. Nothing was like this.

He saw it again, a dark glow reaching around him, twining with a pearlescent shining that flowed through him, but never touching. The dark retreated as he flew closer, but it sought him as soon as he backed away. The dance continued, eternal. He was the dance.

The Quidditch pitch was gone, Hogwarts was gone, but it didn’t matter, because the dance was there.

Harry woke with a start. His sheets were twining around him, soaking with sweat. The reassuring thrum of Hogwarts surrounded him. He freed one hand, and reached back to touch one steady wall: solid, cold stone.

Taking a deep breath, he rubbed his hand across the stone, needing to feel its reality. No one else was in the tower.

It suddenly occurred to him how odd that was. McGonagall had said they were strapped for space, and he had the entire boys’ dorm to himself. Was she giving him a privilege because of who he was?

He wished she wouldn’t, but at the same time, he didn’t think he could face having roommates he didn’t know. He couldn’t face sleeping somewhere where someone was looking at the Boy Who Lived, or the Man Who Vanquished, or whatever the fuck they were calling him these days. It would be cool to have someone here, though. Neville, Seamus, Dean, Ron. The friends he had made in Dumbledore’s Army wouldn’t look at him like a curiosity, like a freak.

Finally freeing himself from the remainder of the damp sheets, he stood and looked out the window. The Quidditch pitch was still there: furrowed, damaged, but there. Hogwarts was still there.

He couldn’t help but wonder if the dream had been a warning. If he followed his curiosity, if he tried to understand the pearlescent glows he had seen, would Hogwarts fall? Would it disappear, leaving only wild and void?

Could he live with himself, after having seen it, without finding out more?

Hermione would recommend study. Was there anything in the library about this? Maybe in the Black library? Did Andromeda know anything about it? He would have to ask her.

He knew Malfoy worked with it. He could learn the runes, learn how to interact with it without risking himself, if he could be patient, careful. Who was he kidding? Even if he could force himself, one wrong word from Malfoy and he would do something stupid. Could he grow up enough not to react when Malfoy baited him?

That was the only way this would work. Was it worth it?

*   *   *

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Chapter 22 Part 2 (On to Next Section)
Tags: draco malfoy, ewe, fanfiction, harry potter, hd, hpdm, minerva mcgonagall, slytherins, something past survival, sps
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