Harry hid behind a bush at the very edge of Snape’s property, watching his house burn. A few Death Eaters staggered to the edge of the apparation barrier and Harry half heartedly shot spells at them. He was too far away; there was no hope of hitting his target. But at least he had tried. He owed that much to Snape. Sparks went up as a floor somewhere within crashed. The windows glowed with flame and shattered to allow the flames to lick up the side of the building. Harry watched it numbly. His invisibility cloak was in there. Snape was in there.
At least the cup had been destroyed, Harry thought as one small spot of consolation. At least Voldemort had not arrived. Yet. Harry hoped he was watching; Harry hoped that he could hear his servants dying, one by one, at Snape’s hand. Harry’s scar had not ceased burning but Harry had ceased caring.
A loud crack sounded behind Harry and he spun, wand raised, ready to take his conflicted feelings out on whichever Death Eater was foolish enough to apparate such a short distance from the house. When he saw who it was, Harry froze. It was indeed a Death Eater. It was Snape, supported by the much smaller and equally battered Nimby. He faltered under Snape’s weight and Harry rushed over to take Snape off of the tiny little house elf.
“What- how?” Harry stammered.
“Nimby saved me,” Snape said tiredly.
“Nimby, you’re amazing,” Harry told the house elf earnestly. He looked a bit embarrassed and ducked his head. “Are you hurt badly?”
“My left foot is burned. I don’t have a wand. All of my remedies are in the house,” Snape said, sounding a bit desolate.
“We have to get you somewhere safe,” Harry said, looking around. “Voldemort was supposed to show up.”
“This wouldn’t be a good time for that,” Snape agreed.
“Nimby, go to Grimmauld place but stay out of sight for a bit,” Harry told the elf.
Nimby looked to Snape who nodded his approval. When he had disappeared, Harry looked to Snape.
“Are you okay for me to apparate? You don’t have a wand...” Harry pointed out.
“I’ll be fine.”
Harry nodded. “Hold on then and when we get there, don’t step back.”
“It is not my first time going to Grimmauld place,” Snape said, his attempt at being difficult falling a bit flat.
Harry, arm still supporting Snape, spun and pulled them through space to the doorstep of Grimmauld place. Harry reached out and opened the door, helping Snape over the threshold to meet the astonished faces of the DA.
Harry took a deep breath, taking in their shock and anger at seeing Snape. He could see the hatred on their faces as well as the relief of seeing Harry.
They merely looked at him. At last, Hermione stepped up, speaking with a tone of command. “Well, move out of the way, won’t you? Can’t you see he’s hurt?”
Hermione moved to clear a path, heading for the stitting room where there was a chair and low table. Before Harry could follow, however, Seamus stepped forward.
“Just wait one moment,” he said coldly. “Don’t you think we should know what he’s doin’ here first?”
Hermione stopped, looking to Harry. “I’m sure Harry has a reason.”
“Or else he’s mental,” Ron piped up, scowling deeply.
“He’s helping me now,” Harry said simply, tone hard. “I’d appreciate it if you would move. He needs medical attention.”
“I am fine,” Snape protested. He looked to the others “I do not want to be here any more than you wish me to. Unfortunately, it seems as though we have no choice.”
“I think we do,” Seamus spoke up. “I say that we kick him out on his a-”
“Nobody cares what you say,” Harry snapped, feeling oddly defensive. Seamus glared at Harry until he added, “I’m sorry but it’s been a very long day and It’d really be great if you could move out of the way.”
Lavender took Seamus’s arm and gently pulled him from the center of the narrow hallway. He maintained the glare, but allowed himself to be moved. With a nod, Harry helped Snape limp into the sitting room, through the line of DA members lining the hall. He purposefully didn’t make eye contact with any of them.
Hermione, at least, had kept her head. She had already set up a mini first aid station, instructing Harry to help Snape into a chair where he could prop his foot up on the table. The others remained, for the moment, in the hall and Harry took his opportunity to speak to Hermione alone.
“Thanks, Hermione. For this and for the message. It would have taken us forever to figure that out ourselves,” Harry said earnestly as she dug around in a small sachel for something.
“Don’t mention it,” she replied. “Though you could pay me back by explaining.”
“I will,” Harry promised. Snape shot him a look and he replied defensively, “We wouldn’t even be here without her.”
“Even so,” he said flatly.
Hermione nodded to Snape’s leg. “What happened?”
“Fiendfyre got a bit out of control,” Harry admitted. What he wouldn’t admit was the fear he had felt upon thinking Snape was dead.
“Ouch,” Hermione said. “I hope it’s not permanent.”
“As do I,” Snape said dryly.
Hermione found the tin she was looking for and handed it to Snape. “Will this work for burns?”
As Snape examined it, Harry examined Hermione. “Why didn’t you flip out like the others upon seeing Snape?” he asked.
Looking a bit surprised, she turned towards him with a shrug. “I hardly thought you were alone. Even if you had done what you...er... set out to-”
“Killed me, you mean,” Snape said with a hint of dark humor.
Harry looked down in chagrin.
“Yeah, that,” Hermione said awkwardly. “Well, I figured you would’ve come back here. Unless something or someone was preventing it.” She glanced at Snape. “It was a logical guess.”
“But how’d you know he wasn’t forcing me?” Harry prompted.
Hermione shrugged. “The fact you were helping him through the door? The fact you hadn’t killed him? The way you don’t seem to loathe each other anymore?”
“Oh,” Harry said.
“Why are you so curious?” Hermione asked.
“I just kind of wondered what it looked like to everyone else. I mean, I’m going to have to tell them something, I thought maybe you would be able to help me understand why you’ve accepted it,” Harry said honestly.
“This will work, thank you,” Snape said finally, moving to pull back his charred robes and apply it himself.
Hermione started forward, then stopped abruptly, obviously still considering him as her teacher. She stepped back awkwardly.
“Er, so what really happened?” she asked.
Before Harry could answer, the others flooded in, Ron and Seamus leading the way.
“We’ve just had a talk,” Seamus said forcefully.
“Yeah,” Ron seconded. “And we’d like to know why you’re fraternizing with the enemy.”
Everyone looked to Harry expectantly. Harry took a breath, then replied, “Because it’s my only hope at defeating Voldemort.”
They were quiet for a moment, taking this in. Some, like Parvati and Lavender, seemed to accept this as justification.
“Then how are you going to defeat him? What’s the plan?” Seamus asked.
Harry bit his lip. “I can’t tell you.”
“You what?” Ron demanded. “What do you mean?”
“I can’t say. Dumbledore doesn’t want us to say.”
Seamus eyes him suspiciously. “Dumbledore? How do you know Snape didn’t kill him just so he wouldn’t tip you off? Snape’s probably manipulating you, he killed Dumbledore, or don’t you remember?”
“I can hear you, you know. I am not deaf,” Snape said in the sharp tone that he hadn’t used with Harry in a while.
“Seamus, stop,” Harry said in a low voice. “He isn’t manipulating me. He is truly trying to help me, I am certain of it.”
At this Ron stepped up. “How can you stand there and defend him, Harry? You’re the one who hated him for years! You set out here to kill him!”
Harry muttered quietly. “Things have changed.”
“Changed so much that you’ve forgiven him for offing Dumbledore? You ought to kill him before he kills you!” Ron shouted.
“Can hear you,” Snape reminded them again. No one seemed to care.
Harry stood up roughly, angry now. “I have forgiven him for killing Dumbledore for reasons you’ll never understand! And if he wanted to kill me, he’s had a thousand opportunities to do so. The thing is though, I trust him. And I trust all of you to respect that and to not try to off him in his sleep or else you’ll have to deal with me.” He finished breathless, glaring challengingly around the circle. Harry hadn’t known the truth in his words until he had spoken them aloud. He actually believed them himself. Several people met his gaze, equally angry.
“Why should we listen to you?” Dean demanded. “You’ve been gone for a month now, left us here alone!”
“You all chose me as your leader. It’s my job to kill Voldemort in whatever way I can. If this is the way, you all will have to deal with it or leave.” Harry said flatly.
“Why should we leave?” Seamus asked. “We could just kick the two of you out.”
“This is my house!” Harry shouted. He geared up to say more but Hermione interrupted.
“Listen to yourselves!” Hermione cried, whirling on them. “Fighting like petty children! If we’re to get through this, we all have to work together and if that means not killing Snape in his sleep, then fine. When we dropped out of Hogwarts, we all agreed to follow Harry and I think that should still stand. I trust Harry’s judgement and I’m on his side. You best decide where you are,” she finished with a venom.
Harry blinked at her. “Thanks, Hermione.”
Coming back to herself, she replied, straightening, “Don’t mention it.”
There was a temporary silence as everyone mulled over her ultimatum. Parvati stepped forward.
“I’m with Harry.”
“Me too,” Lavender seconded.
“Same,” Ernie said. They all crossed the room to stand with Harry and Hermione.
Dean, Seamus and Ron were left on the other side of the room.
“Well, I’m not,” Seamus said simply. “I’m through following Harry if all it’s going to end up with is a stab through the back. Enough people have died for him; I won’t be one of them.”
Harry swallowed, nodding in a sort of resigned way. “And you?” he asked Dean.
“I’ll have to go with Seamus on this one.”
“Very well,” Harry said formally. “Good luck.”
“Come on, Dean. Let’s get our stuff,” Seamus said, shooting a dark look at everyone staying behind.
They left, leaving only Ron and Neville behind. Neville simply looked wary of Snape.
“I’ll stay with you, Harry,” he said, glancing tentatively at Snape. At the lack of reaction or snide comment from the Potions Master, Neville moved over to their side of the room.
“Well?” Harry prompted finally, looking at his best friend for almost six years running.
Ron looked from Harry to Hermione and then to Snape who was observing all of this with a blank detachment.
“Sorry, mate. I’m not staying in a house with him. You’re all mental,” he said, looking around the room. “There’s no way he’s really on your side, you know that?”
“I know what you think,” Harry replied, heart dropping despite himself. “Where will you go?” he asked more gently.
“The Burrow, maybe. Mum’s been worried sick; hopefully I can help out a bit. I mean, after Charlie...”
Harry nodded. “This is goodbye then.”
“I guess so,” Ron said awkwardly.
Hermione stepped forward, tears glistening in her eyes. “Oh, Ron...” She hurried up and hugged him tightly.
For a moment, Ron looked to rethink his decision, but seeing Snape sitting on the couch once more, he pulled away and said goodbye, going to gather his things. Harry watched, emotionally removed. This was the way it had to be, it seemed. In some cruel twist of fate, it seemed that Harry had chosen Snape over his best friend. This was the effect of the war. This was what Voldemort had done: ripped friendships apart, turned everyone on the other. And now more than ever, Harry was certain he would pay.
AN: Hey guys!! Really sorry about the cliffhanger there. Really. But anyway, this movella is in the final of the Writing Games (!!!) so now I am no longer trying to get you to favorite, but I BEG you to go vote for this movella in the comments of the Writing Games!! All you have to do is say "I vote for Hunt You Down" I think. I will post the link to the Writing Games in the comments.
The contest wraps up on June 30th, so this should probably be finished by then!
This is so close to winning, please, please go vote!!!! Snapey hugs for everyone who does :)