Chapter Fifteen: Energies and Exculpation
Potter opened his mouth soundlessly, then closed it again to consider his words. A first for him, Snape thought to himself even though he knew the view to be an unfair one. On the edge of patience, Snape waited. Almost as though Potter knew how close he was to losing his temper- of course he would with these new abilities he claimed possession of- Potter quickly gathered his thoughts and spoke. "When you cast the glamour spells... It seemed to make sense for the one you cast on me; there were energies gathering by you which you then directed at me which caused the change in appearance."
"Yes, Potter, that is the theory behind the spell," Snape growled, the wind barely ruffling his hair. "Your point is?"
Shifting uncomfortably and brushing his own hair out of his eyes, Potter matched Snape's irritated gaze with his earnest one. "When you cast the glamour spell at yourself it worked differently. The energies gathered themselves from you... and then they disappated without moving over you. And then your appearance changed. You look like the glamour spell might have been ... removed from you, rather than putting the illusion on you."
Snape was about to reply scathingly out of instinct, but he stopped himself to frown in thought to consider what was said. Just as he was about to ask Potter for further details, he felt a shifting within himself which he couldn't identify, followed swiftly by another which caused a swift escalation of pressure that turned into pain. Angry at this unexplained return of anguish, Snape couldn't stop himself from gasping and falling onto his side to curl up.
When Severus suddenly looked to be in pain again, crumpling to the ground, Harry quickly concentrated upon the energies around the curled up body to try and figure out the cause. There was a dark swirl of energy shifting around Severus as though trying to find a way out of him to depart for parts unknown while at the same time he felt a tangible anger from Severus himself. At the same time there was a myriad of small faint sparkles all around the dark energy which seemed to be trying to contain it.
Indignant for Severus' benefit, Harry cautiously reached out towards the fighting energies as though to test it for heat. His instincts kicked in however, and his fingers brushed only the layer of faint sparkles. He felt a connection- a presence that felt warm and familiar to him.
It wasn't actually Dumbledore himself, but with that contact Harry knew that Dumbledore was the source of the faint sparkles surrounding Severus and containing the other energy. No- actually he wasn't the source of it.... he was the cause of them. Severus was the source. It was Severus' energy that created the sparkles... due to something Dumbledore shaped in him. Dumbledore-shaped Severus energy which was containing the darker swirl, keeping it from escaping.
This puzzled Harry somewhat, so additionally encouraged by Severus' pain and his own need to stop it, Harry slowly dipped his hand further into the energy surrounding Severus and into the dark mass...
Harry quickly withdrew in alarm, then frowned as he watched Severus struggle for a moment to control his body's trembling. He was gasping for breath with difficulty and stared into the distance as though his awareness was elsewhere. Why would the Dumbledore-shaped energy try to keep Voldemort-shaped energy from leaving Severus? Wouldn't Severus be better off without that energy? But wait- the energy was shaped by the two wizards... but it is Severus' own energy. In effect, the two wizards had him fighting himself.
Harry couldn't let too much of that energy escape nor could he try to destroy it; that could drain Severus and possibly hurt him worse. But it was tainted energy... what to do?
Taint it back? Subvert it? But then wouldn't he be guilty of the same thing that the other two wizards seemed to have done to Severus? Harry searched his thoughts and feelings for any ideas of what he could that wouldn't be of harm. Both of the energies surrounding Severus seemed to be growing stronger, the darker seeming to feed off of him whilst the sparkles bolstered themselves.
Harry's thoughtful gaze fell upon a nearby bush where the evening's sunlight managed to reach parts of it. A plant converts sunlight and minerals and all that and gives off oxygen. Processing materials, Harry thought as he let his hand drift slowly back towards the struggling energies.
He was swimming in the darkness that enveloped him as he grew progressively weaker, as though he was being drained. But the darkness wasn't without motion; it was like a stormy sea at night that tossed him about within it while he struggled to remain afloat.
In the distance there was a rumble and a play of lightening high in the sky- so high that it barely showed through the heavy cloud cover. It was continuously present, however, rather than flickering with pauses of darkness between. The lightening also seemed somehow to shift in location and density with the clouds above as they battled for dominance... but he was growing weary and keeping above the waves was becoming difficult. He looked around him again for a sign of land or something floating to grab a hold of.
Suddenly it seemed as though a spotlight broke through the clouds from above, distant and wandering as though in search of something in the ocean. He was about to call out when a wash of dark force fell over him, filling his mouth and making him choke as he struggled towards the surface again. With such complete darkness he became disoriented and couldn't tell which way was up.
He saw the spotlight pass over him atop the dark waters above him, and for a moment the dark water grew more clear... the light felt rejuvenating, lifting him towards the surface again until it passed from view. He reached up towards the direction the light had come from and worked anew to reach the surface of the darkness... and broke it with a gasp.
Shaking his head to clear his vision, he searched for the presence of that light again which had briefly faded but appeared anew in another location, still searching. "Here," he panted with what strength he could muster although he held little hope that he would be heard.
With a startling swiftness, the light suddenly centered itself upon him, enfolding him in warmth and lifting him, steadying him against the tossing darkness... making that darkness lighter. He heard a far away voice but couldn't understand the words.
Slowly the spotlight widened in area, spreading out from him with effort. For a time the light paused, then reversed direction back towards him as it grew smaller... but as it did so he felt stronger. And so it went, a continuous process as the lightening continued its flickering battle with the rest of the darkness above him and outside the spotlight. First the light grew in area while never moving him from its center, and then it grew smaller as though infusing him with its strength. Slowly, the torrential darkness grew calmer as though there was less force to it... and as a timeless period passed that darkness became akin to twilight.
Even the lightening grew dimmer, still flickering constantly but not as strongly as though in proportion to the weakening darkness. Twilight became tinged with green which slowly grew lighter until with a sudden shock, he gasped and flew upwards towards the voice he now recognized.
When Harry first touched Severus' right arm, Severus opened his mouth as though to speak, but then choked and seemed almost about to lose consciousness as the energies intensified further. With a desperate effort, Harry removed his hand from Severus' arm and tried touching his forehead instead. Harry felt perhaps a trace of a presence there but with unconsciousness encroaching upon Severus, Harry couldn't quite latch on to it, so he tried reaching back to cradle the back of Severus' head.
A moment passed, however, and Severus gasped, then croaked, "Here." With that word it became suddenly obvious to Harry what to do. He rested his hand upon Severus' chest, over his heart. There he was! Speaking soothing words that Harry paid no mind to, he concentrated upon the man before him and met the gaze that still seemed to look through him.
Harry wasn't aware of time passing, just his concentration and the task before him. The first time he... tasted the dark it gave Harry nightmarish flickers of rememberance of recent trauma. The graveyard. Cedric. Wormtail. Voldemort's red eyes and high-pitched laughter... but it was then that Harry felt Severus' presence centered before him again and he threw off the visions. The energy he felt was no longer dark and he flexed a muscle he couldn't describe, pushing the filtered energy back into Severus and pausing in preparation to draw another quantity of it into him.
The next time Harry opened his eyes he noticed that the dark energy around Severus was much less active and there was less of it. The light sparkles were weakened as well, although Harry hadn't drawn off any of that Dumbledore-shaped energy during his efforts. Encouraged by the sign, Harry was truly startled when Severus gasped and sat up as though waking from a nightmare, hands reaching for and catching at his arms.
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