Chapter Twenty-Seven: Restoratives and Recognition
Severus narrowed his eyes consideringly even as he watched Harry's widen in shock. It was quite fascinating, really... the detailed swirl of color present around the boy defined themselves with almost instinctive ease. Present was a mixture of confusion, worry that had ebbed ever so slightly at his previous words, curiosity, sudden comprehension and a good deal of pain which was very unpleasant to continue to look at. But then Severus never allowed pain of any sort to get in the way of his gathering of knowledge.
Resuming his intended path back to his bunk with Dumbledore's fussing aid, Severus found he couldn't seem to remove his gaze from the youth. Without quite realizing it, he altered his path to stand at the side of Harry's bunk. Dumbledore, ever perceptive and swift acting, conjured a chair for Severus and settled him there. "How did you ever put up with this?" Severus inquired, thoughtfully comparing the aura and then the lack of auras surrounding Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey.
"It wasn't so bad," Harry hesitantly replied.
Severus watched as shades of uncertainty and unease blossomed around Harry; likely there was something the boy wasn't sure if he should say, so he prompted the boy with a brusque but not harsh, "Out with it. What is on your ... mind?" Severus was faintly pleased at the expected effect the pause had; Harry was familiar enough with Severus' behavior from his classes to know exactly what was left out of his last statement, and it gave Harry enough pause to transform his uncertainty into irritation, causing him to speak that much sooner and with less thought to guarding his words.
"It's helpful," Harry stated with challenging bravado, meeting Severus' eyes without flinching despite the boy's weakness. "A tool, apparently, that is used to aid the other, and to heal."
Frowning with increased concentration, his interest piqued despite himself, Severus asked, "And how did you do this?"
Resting back on his pillows, Harry drew a deep breath. "The very first time I remember seeing your aura was when we were on our own and Voldemort tried summoning you. It was before you'd gotten your memory back. Voldemort wasn't pleased at finding you where you were and was punishing you with pain ... Your aura was riddled with holes and something ... malicious was flooding through them. I ... " Harry gestured in the air as though trying to describe something he couldn't. "... I stopped the influx and ... well ... flushed out what was causing the pain. I tried to ... smooth over the holes, but there were a lot of large ones that I couldn't fix completely." Behind Severus, Dumbledore had grown very still and silent; a sign of the man's continued low level distress.
Speculatively, Severus squinted at Harry, tilting his head slightly as though to get a better look. With a bit of effort he rose from his chair to get a closer look at the aura before him. "From the look of you, Harry, I'd hesitate only a moment before comparing it to a slightly less developed appearance of Swiss Lorraine cheese. The holes in some areas are small but plentiful. Especially, and not unexpectedly, around your scar."
Madam Pomfrey chose that moment to interject, "Mr. Potter seemed to take the brunt of the last attack, having been outside the wards." She looked deeply regretful and guilty at not having the forethought of an occurrence like that, and Dumbledore hastened to reassure her with gentle words of reassurance that managed to be unobtrusive enough to keep the previous conversation on track.
"Perhaps ..." Severus hesitated before raising a hand, hesitating again before carefully touching Harry's wrist where there was some sort of disturbance in the aura; pain and a few small rips. "You seem to have damaged your wrist." Severus' next words were cut off when he gasped at the tingling sensation he felt, as though tiny pricks of electricity were jumping between the two of them at the point of contact. He swiftly drew his hand back.
"Severus?" Dumbledore swiftly checked for signs of distress. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, Albus," Severus muttered as he inspected his own fingers for physical evidence of whatever had happened and found none. Turning his attention back to Harry's wrist, Severus was able to see that the intensity of pain had lessened a small amount, making it less uncomfortable for Severus to study. Thusly reassured, Severus brought his hand to rest more firmly around the thin circumference of Harry's wrist, keeping it there as the prickling sensation resumed and eventually faded. When he drew his hand away to inspect the wrist again there was no evidence of pain and the holes had become the visual equivalent of protective scabs.
From across the bed, Madame Pomfrey explained, "Harry fell on that wrist when he collapsed. The potion I gave him will heal it as well as the ankle he twisted while he sleeps. I was about to give him a small dose of Dreamless Sleep," she added. With a curious glance first at Harry's wrist and then the lessened strain in his expression, she murmured with a pleased tone, "You seem to have done him some good, however."
"My wrist doesn't hurt anymore," was Harry's reply, staring up at Severus as he flexed his hand, testing it.
"Hmmm," was Severus' only reply, busy analyzing the damage he saw further. The worst of it was centered around Harry's scar, and that location seemed to be spreading further non-physical distress to other areas. He wasn't eager to touch the scar due to recent experience, but it would be less than efficient to do anything else. Coming to a reluctant compromise, Severus murmured to Albus, "Please be ready to pull me away from him if something is amiss." Before Albus could finish the first words of his objection, Severus covered Harry's scar with his right hand.
Harry couldn't help but gasp at the sensation, his eyes falling closed. It was as though he'd been experiencing a sweltering summer day with no sign of relief from the heat and humidity before a sudden storm front pressed its way through, bringing on its heels refreshingly cool breezes and rain. Wherever the rain fell he felt the pain slowly ebbing, being neutralized and washed away from him. He let out a sigh of relief and sank into a blissfully dreamless sleep.
He awoke to the gentle play of sunlight on his face and he enjoyed the light's warmth for some moments before stirring further and opening his eyes. Reaching for his glasses, Harry put them on and sat up, stretching with the simple pleasure of doing so without pain or stiff muscles.
Looking over to one side he spotted Severus curled up on his bunk, still asleep. His professor still looked tired, yet he seemed more peaceful than before; a tiny smile quirked at the edges of his mouth as though in remembrance of some past event that had pleased him. With a grin, Harry decided he'd best not be caught staring at Severus when he awoke like that. Thankfully Madame Pomfrey chose that moment to bring in trays of breakfast for them.
Pleased to see Harry awake and seemingly without pain, she set his tray to floating before him before sharing a conspiratorial grin with him upon Severus' current state. She gestured that Harry should lie down again before she called in a slightly louder than strictly necessary tone, "Wake up, Mr. Potter. Severus. It's time for your breakfast and then a checkup.
Out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Severus jerk awake and sit up, quickly gathering his thoughts and composure. The curious and suspicious look he gave Harry upon sighting him led Harry to conclude that Severus was still able to see his aura. Harry tried to give his breakfast his full attention to keep his amusement from running rampant. Soon enough, breakfast, morning ablutions and medical checkups were completed and the two were left with time to themselves.
Severus settled in the chair that Dumbledore had conjured the previous day, still supportive and comfortable from the sheer power put into it. Harry could easily understand that Severus much preferred to sit than to appear more vulnerable resting in his bed, but he was also pleased to see that Severus didn't put any effort into moving the chair away from Harry's bedside.
"Let's have a look at the prophecies; there was something in them I recall which can have a different meaning since the events of last night," Severus suggested. Producing his wand with a smooth gesture, he murmured, "Accio Prophecy summary." From the pile of papers came the summary they had read from Dumbledore, but a small booklet also unearthed itself from the sheaf to be delivered to Severus- awkwardly hanging by the binding of the back cover. "Curious," Severus commented. Setting the booklet on the covers of Harry's bed for perusal later, Severus perused Dumbledore's parchment. "Yes, here it is... with company." He read:
'One is the Power while the other is the Key'
Tilting his head consideringly, Severus murmured, "This one was actually recent and in English, so the words aren't a matter of chance. It seems likely that the phrasing is more than creative license. One is the power, and while the one is the power the other one is the key. When one is the key, the other is the power. And here is further proof." Looking back to the list, he pointed out another line:
'Their Power is twinned, but not held by both'
"It seems that our abilities will shift- hopefully according to need," Severus added dryly.
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