Chapter Twenty-Three: Prophecies and Progression
Raising his hand with a look of concentration, Dumbledore murmured, "Allow me to complete the safeguards, and I will begin to explain." He fell silent and began to weave a pattern in the air, causing Harry's skin to tingle with the sense of power. It was as though the air was thickening around him; the best comparison he had was being in the airplane for the first time on the trip to New York with the Dursleys, when the air was pressurized. It felt stronger than that, and certainly more comfortable as it didn't cause his ears to pop. There was a sense of safety, and even the customary noises that one doesn't pay attention to became subdued. All in all, a potent reminder of the extent of Dumbledore's power. Severus' lips were pressed together as though he too sensed the power behind the intent, but he refrained from comment or restlessness.
Dumbledore produced a small sheaf of parchment of varying ages and condition, carefully wrapped around two very old looking scrolls. "The prophecy would be more accurately described as prophecies; snippets of insight have been gathered from even before the time of the Founders. Rowena Ravenclaw was the first to notice that a few of the unexplained products of past divination actually had some common ground. She kept careful notes upon this, a minor project of hers, which was taken up in later years by a few others interested in the topic." Placing the pages on the table next to Severus' bed, Dumbledore took out another piece of parchment which, while it was newer than the others still looked to have weathered a number of years. "I've condensed the prophesies themselves here. When you have additional time, you can read the notes, history and other errata as well."
He held the page out to Severus who accepted it for perusal. "I'm afraid that most of this was translated from different languages, so don't expect poetic cohesion," Dumbledore warned. Severus merely shot him a look and muttered, "Perish the thought," before inspecting the offering. When Harry snuck closer to read over Severus' shoulder, the professor didn't immediately stiffen or glare. Living up to Gryffindor bravery, Harry took it a step further and sat on the edge of his bed so as to be able to read the page without undue strain, but kept a healthy distance from the aura which was tinged with just a little irritability now. Both man and boy were too curious to take up the topic of personal space; instead they just read:
'The second darkness shall be in Twenty
The Vision is blocked till they both see differently'
'Believed opposites, they are the same.
One is the Power while the other is the Key'
'The Power shall first sleep until after the Fall
It shall next sleep until after the Separation'
'Together greater than the sum
They shall be used for the ends of others'
'The future will be filtered through their fate
More than one generation shall span their influence'
'Their Power is twinned, but not held by both'
'The second generation hated by the first
Brought together and bound by the Power'
'Light is shed over the second Darkness
Else the Darkness shall overwhelm'
With Severus seated nearby, Harry was able to easily place a supportive hand upon his shoulder when Severus winced and listed to one side as though he were in the throes of a migraine, a dizzying spell, or both. When a shadow of darkness began to surround Severus and tried bleeding throughout his aura, Harry scowled and started running through what he thought of as processing the Voldemort-shaped Severus energy. Luckily because of the extent that Harry did this the last time, the energy wasn't able to form itself quickly enough to escape Harry's grasp. Dumbledore's shaped energy didn't form itself for more than a few seconds before Severus' energy was his own again.
Even as he was still too stunned to sit up straight, Severus bit out his words in anger, "Is there no way to bring that reaction to a halt? I cannot stay here forever, and I am finding this highly annoying."
"I'm afraid that I would need to do a bit of... study into the conditioning you are under, Severus." Dumbledore's eyes darkened broodingly; a first in Harry's experience, but Severus only grimaced as though all too familiar with the expression. As Severus had been and still was a spy for Dumbledore, Harry could see where Severus might have seen it before.
But this grimace was only another symptom of Severus' irritation, tainted by bitterness. "Study? I had the distinct impression that you'd already done so in your efforts in countering Voldemort's work with your own."
With a sigh for the dark implications of the truth, Dumbledore retrieved the parchment from where Severus had dropped it, placing it with the others on the table. "Having no magical bond with you, I was only able to analyze the more obvious spells and set up a counter to those. It was my hope that the bond of Power spoken of in the prophecies would allow the other to assist you more ably." With a nod to Harry, he added, "And it seems you have been able to thus far, my boy. I am also quite glad to see that you are willing to."
Harry felt a surge of anger that came and went with the swiftness of a magnesium flare; spectacularly bright one moment and leaving only the after image in the next. "Yes," he said with certainty, hoping the Headmaster wasn't about to ask for detailed explanations while Severus' behavior towards him hadn't yet stabilized.
Dumbledore's perceptiveness was once more proven as he looked between Severus and Harry before sitting up and murmuring, "You have a goodly amount to read for the moment, Severus... Harry. I believe I'll avail myself of the time to further the preparations so that we can get you out of the Hospital Wing soonest." With that he rose from his chair, brushing the nearly invisible creases from the rich folds of his maroon robes.
"Very good," Severus muttered as he slowly pressed himself to sit up against his pillows again. "Thank you very much," he added with a similar touch of subtle sarcasm.
Harry decided to take another risk and took Severus' arm to help settle him. He received a pointed look for the effort, but at least it wasn't a glare. "Good day, Headmaster," Harry nodded.
"Good night, Harry," returned Dumbledore. "I should think that you'll be here until tomorrow. I hope that you'll both get some rest. If you are in need of assistance, Madame Pomphrey is in the main room." And with that, he left the private ward.
A sigh escaped Severus as he leaned back on his pillows, the sun streaming through his black hair from the window behind him. "So then, Harry. Was that the last time for that particular experience?" Gesturing with one hand vaguely, he added, "Did you ... remove Voldemort's influence from the last of the energy he'd had a hold of?"
Harry concentrated in thought. "I think I got all of the energy that I could... but there's a source somewhere. Whatever activates it has a bit of the energy all its own so that it can ... can sense when you're doing something Voldemort doesn't want you to do. I'd ... prefer to look for things like that when ... Dumbledore's on hand to ..."
"To make sure you don't do something idiotic and turn me into a magical vegetable?" Severus inquired with black humor. "Entirely understandable; I'd prefer that you waited as well. In the meantime, go to sleep."
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