Warnings: child abuse, depression, sucidal tendancies
Summary: Devoid of the will to live, Harry decides that it is simply time to end it all. Too bad for him that one of his professors had to come and screw it up.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. I am simply borrowing them; therefore, do not sue me.
Chapter 21: When Trust Must Be Earned
Harry felt dizzy. And nauseous. He had given up struggling against Snape's hold a long time ago when the spinning in his head had grown so much that the walls of the corridors they passed through blurred around him.
It felt nice to be held. Tight against Snape's body as he was, some of the older man's heat was seeping through to him. It felt nice to be warm. properly warm, not burning or freezing by turns as he seemed to be all the time now. It felt nice to be protected.
But it was all an illusion. As he was set down, Harry reminded himself that Snape did not like him after all, he was just a burden, he was not wanted.....here!
He blinked and looked around, his vision clearing slightly. They were in Snape's chambers, he was sure of it. But why? Snape abhorred him. Why had he been brought here, and not back to the infirmary?
He hated being in the infirmary. It made him feel so helpless, and made it easier for people to come and gawk at him, the great and famous Harry Potter, now fallen.
His eyes lost what little focus they had gained as his thoughts turned inwards. He remembered Lupin coming to see him. Lupin, who had been in his dream. Who had died in his dream. Harry had been so ashamed. After Remus had said that he was proud of him, Harry had gone and disappointed everyone. And Lupin had been there to see it. And Sirius! What would Sirius have thought, if he had still been alive? Sirius whom Remus had said was also proud of Harry, or would that be Potter? Sirius would never love him if he knew what Harry had done. No one would.
Look at all the trouble he caused for everyone. Lupin had come to see him specially, though he could only stay a short while because he risked being caught. Caught! Remus could have died too and it would have been all Harry's fault. Just by continuing to live he was making people risk their lives. If he had died, then Lupin wouldn't have needed to have come.
He had thought that the basilisk tooth was a just way to end it. He should have died then, back in his second year, but his constant trick of cheating death had held. He should have died when Voldemort had tried to kill him as a baby. That way at least he would have been with his parents, and he wouldn't have had a chance to disappoint everyone so badly. Everything was all his fault.
And now Snape was being forced to save him again, even though he had made it quite clear to Harry that he detested him. The kind Snape with the soft voice had been unreal then, just a trick of the potion's master to make Harry tell him everything. How he must have laughed! Maybe he did work for Voldemort after all, and had been instructed to research Harry's weaknesses. He had certainly showed them in abundance over the holidays. Maybe that's why Snape had taken him now, maybe he was being delivered to Voldemort, to the darkness. At least there Harry was sure that death would finally find him.
Harry snapped out of his daze, though most of the world still looked as though he was viewing it through a warped pane of glass. Snape was talking to him. Was looking at him in concern. Should Harry tell him that he didn't need to pretend anymore? It was almost harder watching Snape being nice and knowing that he meant none of it than if his professor were just being downright evil. At least that way he would have known where he stood.
"Harry? Here, have something to drink."
A glass of water was pressed into his hand. He stared at it as though it was the most fascinating thing that he had ever seen. He could not tear his eyes from it, from the way that the liquid shimmered in the firelight as his shaking fingers caused little ripples on the surface. The ripples grew bigger, turned into waves. The water spilt. The glass was gently removed from his hand, but his eyes remained fixed on where it had been.
"Harry." His name was called out several more times, but it seemed to be growing fainter.
Then strong fingers caught his chin and drew his head up. He was now staring at Professor Snape. He gasped, somehow shocked to see him. For a moment he had thought himself alone. He drew in another deep breath, like a man that has just resurfaced from drowning. He could feel blood pounding in his ears.
His chin was released. his head dropped. Then, in the spot on which his eyes rested, a silver ball was placed. It uncurled. Harry blinked again. He knew that shape. Sylrissin. He had left her behind. He tensed, awaiting the blame he was sure would come.
"Little man-snake, I am glad you are here. I missed you. I missed talking to you. None of the others can talk. And you smell better than them."
He blinked again. She had missed him. She said he smelled nice. He choked out a half strangled laugh and felt tears threaten. But he would not let them. Not in front of Snape. Snape who had betrayed him.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." he whispered.
"Do not be sorry, be well." she replied.
"I don't think I can be anymore." said despondently.
"Trust the other human, he can help you. He is not of the darkness. He cares."
Harry looked up of his own accord this time and saw Snape's gaze on him. But Snape didn't care, he had shown it last night.
"He cared this morning. He told you so. He saved you. He said he was sorry." Sylrissin's words were gradually absorbed. He trusted her. And she said to trust Snape. But Snape had....
"Harry, I owe you an explanation." said his professor. He sounded different to his usual hard self. Almost more...humble?
Harry was still so astonished that Snape felt the need to explain anything to him, the boy he hated, that he missed the next thing that was said. He was shaken slightly by a hand on his shoulder to recapture his attention. Snape appeared worried again, and got another glass of water. This time he held it to Harry's lips himself, and none was lost.
He spoke again, and Harry listened, wondering why Snape was being so nice again. "Harry, I'm very sorry for the way that I treated you last night." Harry felt his jaw dropping, and tried to stop it. There was no point in humiliating himself further.
"I was in a terrible mood, and not because of you. I am not trying to make excuses, for I should not have said what I did, but I want you to try and understand why I acted like that, and that I did not mean any of it." His next words seemed to be spoken to himself. "Where to start? Well, I had not slept in a couple of days, because of nightmares, and the pain that Voldemort was sending me through the dark mark."
Harry snapped his eyes around to look at Snape's at that, and he saw truth written there. He knew how that felt. He knew the pain. He nodded, and Snape went on.
"I had just met with Albus, Headmaster Dumbledore, to tell him about it, and he told me of some news he had received. Draco decided to betray his father and bring us news of plans he had overheard whilst at home."
Harry had become more attentive at Draco's name, now he perhaps comprehended a little better why Malfoy had also been sitting out on the field and thinking. And why he had not further teased him. After all, without his father's backup, Draco was alone too.
"Voldemort's power is increasing. He is planning an attack, in Wales. I don't know if you remember me telling you of the town there where I stayed when I was younger, but a great many light wizards now live there. They have been working on ways to kill Voldemort, and he decided to eliminate them. My brother in law is one of them."
Harry gave him an inquisitive look, though he didn't say the words out loud. "Oh yes, I thought I told you I had a sister, maybe you were asleep already then. She died, for marrying against the wishes of my family. A death eater attack, they said that she had betrayed them."
Harry saw that Snape's hands had clenched into fists. He was glad that this anger was not directed at him. Snape's voice grew slightly less bitter as he continued. "I stayed in contact with her husband, Simion, though never openly, for fear of retribution. He is a good man, and he appreciates my sense of humour, which is rare."
Harry almost felt his mouth twitch into a smile, but it was stopped by both Snape's sadness, and his own uncertainty over why Snape was telling him this.
"Albus will not let me go to them and help defend against the attack. He says it is too dangerous." The bitterness was back. Along with anger. "Too dangerous! They are all going to die! And it will be my fault for not trying harder to save them."
Harry heard the anger. Heard the resignation. Heard the grief. And felt it resonate deep within him. He did understand.
"So you see, having destroyed all of Albus' furniture, I came back to my own rooms to do the same. And I found you. I'm so sorry Harry, I did not mean to hurt you so."
There was sincerity in all of Snape's looks. Harry felt himself wavering.
"I'm sorry." repeated again.
"Trust him. He is truthful." hissed Slyrissin.
Harry's heart hurt. It was so hard, to know what was real and what was not. This could all be some elaborate lie set up to break him further. But Sylrissin said that he should trust Snape. Of course, she had also told him to stop lying to his friends, and look how that had turn out.
Snape sighed, apparently accepting that Harry needed time.
"You can stay here. I think that the hospital wing is no place for you."
Harry definitely agreed with that. But...
"You said I wasn't welcome here. You hate me?" he was ashamed that his voice wavered.
Snape closed his eyes for a moment, and the sigh this time was longer and heavier. "I do not hate you Harry. And I am sorry for all I said last night. I truly did not mean any of it. I want you to stay. I want to help you."
Harry thought that his heart could not hurt anymore, had indeed believed that it had frozen over. He was proven wrong. Those words, spoken in the soft tone which he recognised as being 'his Snape', the man he had known over the holidays, finally made his defences relax somewhat, even though he was still unsure.
Better to be unsure here than in the infirmary, with Madame Pomfrey fussing over him. Though it might be harder to escape here when, if, he tried. Snape would undoubtedly not be leaving any more razors lying around.
Harry tried to stay awake. Snape tried to get him to eat.
But he was so weary. And he felt so weak.
This time he was upgraded to having his bed made of a pen rather than a lemon drop.
Harry was already more than half asleep when he tried to crawl into it. He failed. When had beds become so high anyway? He heard Snape chuckle quietly. It was a nice sound, soothing. Then he was lifted, gently. His eyes shut of their own accord. His hair was brushed back from his face, and covers pulled over him. He snuggled into the warmth.
It felt good to be warm.