Chapter Three: Wands and Worries
Several moments passed before Snape's question registered with Harry, moments that were filled with silence as the two stared at each other. A breeze wafted through their hair before Harry recovered enough to say, "Uh..." His thoughts flickered wildly through his head despite the lack of emotion connected through them. Snape didn't look to be faking it... He'd read about this in one of the storybooks that Dudley had thrown away. Amnesia. "You... don't remember me? I'm Harry Potter." He paused in the hopes that his name might spark some memory or reaction, but was swiftly disappointed as Snape's expression didn't change. "You don't remember anything?"
Snape murmured, "It... seems that way. Nothing before you brought me here." Still wary but willing to enquire further, he asked, "Where are we? What happened?"
"I was going to ask you the same thing on the 'what happened'. As to the where, we're in the United States, Professor Snape. Somewhere in the state of New York, I think. At least, that's where I heard we were headed."
"We?" Snape asked with another grimace of pain as he tried unsuccessfully to shift himself into something resembling more of a comfortable position.
"There's not a lot of time to talk now; we really should put some distance between us and the guy who probably shot you down. Do you have your wand?" Praying that the extent of Snape's amnesia didn't go far, Harry reached for the broomstick he'd leaned up against the trunk.
Snape's question of "Wand?" caused Harry to wince.
"Check your pockets for a long, slender piece of wood with a handle at one end."
The request caused Snape's brow to furrow again in confusion, but he dizzily complied, patting at his robes to find the location of the pockets but carefully avoiding the area of his right leg. Harry glanced around the side of the tree back towards the road with a touch of impatience until Snape produced his wand from his left sleeve, holding it without familiarity. "This?"
"Yes, that's it. It won't work for me, sir... you'll need to follow my instructions, I suppose." Harry shook his head in amazement at the situation. He was somewhat surprised at the feeling of sadness as he observed Snape's fingers holding the handle of his wand with only the dexterity of his body rather than with the skill he had witnessed during the dueling club of Harry's second year. Lifting the broomstick up, Harry directed Snape to change the position of his fingers a little before instructing further, "Okay. Point the wand and say, 'Arbos Reparo.'"
Snape looked at Harry oddly for a moment before raising his wand, pointing it at the broomstick and speaking the words. "Arbos Reparo." The broomstick in Harry's hand started to repair itself, but only for a moment as Snape gasped in agony, his eyes rolling back before he fell unconscious. His wand slipped from his fingers to the ground next to him.
Harry felt himself pale at the sight, looking from Snape to the broom and back with widened eyes. Finally his brain kicked in again and he tried out the broom, laying it on the ground and holding his hand over it. "Up!" The broomstick lifted wobbly and slow, but it reached his hand. Good. At least he'd be able to move Snape without having to cover another hugely obvious trail. Once they were somewhere safer he'd think more about Snape's condition and what to do about it. He set the broomstick aside for the moment and reached for Snape's wand.
Harry quickly discovered that Snape's wand bore him a similar grudge to the one its owner seemed to as he received a jolt of electricity before he managed to drop it into one of his pockets. "Ow!" he cried before looking into his pocket at the stubborn piece of wood. "Listen, you. It's either this, or get left behind. I don't want you to get lost while I get us away from here. Snape'd kill me once he's got his memory back." And he will get it back, Harry insisted to himself. He carefully let the pocket fall closed, allowing his robe to rest against him once more. No additional shock was inflicted upon him. For a moment he wondered if Snape had simply created some sort of ward and placed it on his wand. He'd probably be mightily amused if he'd seen Harry talking to his wand like that.
Imagining Madame Pomphrey's outraged voice about moving a patient, Harry worked to maneuver Snape into laying down fully upon the forest ground, taking extra care with his head. Next he set the broomstick on the ground next to Snape, rolled Snape over so that he was draped lengthwise over the broom, and held him in place as he commanded the broomstick to rise again.
More slowly than before, the broomstick rose with its unconscious burden. Harry had a moment's fright as Snape's body listed to one side before Harry got him balanced again. He set off deeper into the forest and away from the road.
Darkness enshrouded the man, enfolding him in warmth despite the feeling of insecurity, movement and pain along his body which pooled excruciatingly in his head as he floated for what seemed like eternity. Instinctively retreating further into himself, he sought to escape the pain... he smelled decomposing leaves...
Opening his eyes presented to him a picture of the forest's ground from very close up. Trying to lift his head resulted only in its shifting just enough for a leaf to stick itself further up one nostril. He made a quiet noise of frustration before the other noises started to register in his unstable consciousness. A name was called- his own, he thought. A familiar voice tainted by worry and a touch of fear as footsteps hurriedly approached. He heard himself think 'It must be bad this time,' but he didn't know what that meant.
A hand settled itself carefully upon the small of his back and his voice croaked out in pain as he spasmed once. But the hand remained, growing warm- so very warm. It emanated from the spot on his back and slowly traveled outwards until he could almost imagine himself glowing as he lay there. Again he heard, "Severus," and he shifted his head again- this time with a bit more success. He beheld at his side the whiteness of beard over maroon robes. The touch of a hand which felt familiar to the body but alien to the witnessing mind. He heard himself whisper, "Albus," before his eyes fluttered closed again on the wings of a spoken sleeping charm.
Harry's path was a little rough and quick out of necessity; he'd heard the angered yell of the man he was running from when he'd discovered that Snape was no longer laying where he'd been left. The man knew Snape as the yell was his name accompanied by a few curses Harry would rather not think about. He still heard distant sounds as the man continued his search, and that was still too close for comfort in his books. He winced at the occasional quiet moan he heard from the body slumped over the mostly repaired broomstick as it wobbled. It took only one careful push of pressure against the broomstick for Harry to determine that it wouldn't hold the weight of both of them, so Harry walked next to Snape's floating body and tried keeping it balanced during the trip.
It had been nearly an hour since he last heard noises from the searcher; he found himself rather surprised to be praying that the silence meant he'd gotten away from the man rather than the man changing his tactics to a silent search. The first sign of habitation was a welcome sight to Harry's eyes, but on second glance it was more akin to a dilapidated shed than any sort of home. Better than spending the night outside, Harry decided as he guided the broom over the roots of the surrounding trees.
Out of caution, he had the broom lower down behind one of the trees out of sight from the shed while he investigated. The shed looked uninhabited and not in the best of condition, but it wasn't about to fall on their heads if they rested and hid there for the night.
Returning to Snape, Harry's brow furrowed as the injured man tried to move his head where it rested on the leaf covered ground. Harry knelt down at his side and settled a hand upon his back, concerned for the condition of his professor... the hated professor who just a few weeks ago had revealed his precarious position and confirmed his checkered past. Snape shifted in pain beneath Harry's hand and croaked, "Albus," before falling still again.
Somewhat startled, Harry stared at the motionless body before commanding the broom to rise again, moving them both into the shed as twilight took over the sky in preparation for the summer's night.
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