Chapter 58 : The Power of the Hallows
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The Power of the Hallows
Ginny felt as if she would go mad. A lot of dust and pieces of dirt came flying out of the portal, but no Harry. She fought Lucius like a madwoman, but the elder Malfoy simply pinned her to him with his greater strength and endured her twisting, screaming, and even attempts to sink her teeth into him.
"Ginny, stop! Who will take care of your children if you die?" Lucius snapped, avoiding her teeth by millimeters. "Harry would want you to stay alive. For them, if not for him."
His words penetrated the red haze that possessed her. But only a little. She relaxed against the other wizard a fraction. Then she tried to step on his booted foot.
But she had forgotten Lucius had subdued prisoners for Voldemort once upon a time. He knew the tactics of the desperate, and simply lifted her up off the ground. Her foot didn't have nearly the same impact it would have hitting his ankle, and all he did was wince and mutter a swear word.
Remus turned when he heard Ginny cry out, and knew there was trouble brewing. When he saw Harry was not among them, even death himself could not keep him from bolting back through the portal to save his best friend's son. Before anyone could stop him, he went back through the shimmering doorway.
His keen werewolf senses led him right to Harry, who was crumpled just before the portal, hit by flying debris. He lifted the other wizard up and sprang through the portal a second before it snapped to.
Carefully, he laid Harry on the ground and knelt, feeling for a pulse.
He couldn't feel one. He shifted his grip. This could not happen. Not now. Not to Harry. He pressed a finger against the younger man's neck. Again he couldn't feel anything. No pulse. He drew in a breath and sniffed.
Normally, he could smell the breath in someone's lungs, hear their heartbeat in his ears.
But Harry just lay there . . . still . . . like a corpse.
"Harry!" Ginny yelled, and Lucius released her.
She ran over to where he was lying, clasping his hand and sobbing. "Harry! Harry, come back to me!"
She felt as she had when she had watched Voldemort carry him back to the school at the end of the war. Numb with disbelief. Numb with grief she couldn't even put a name to, much less conceive of.
"Ginny, he's . . . gone," Remus said, his voice low yet distinct.
Gone. As in dead and gone.
"No! No!" Ginny howled, shaking her husband. "Damn you, Harry, wake up! Wake up!"
Remus didn't know what to do. He knew only that the wizard lying before him was definitely dead. He had seen dead before, smelt it. And no matter how much he tried to tell himself it wasn't so, his senses told him otherwise.
Harry Potter, hero of the wizarding world, was dead.
"Harry! What's wrong with him, Dad?" Sirius whimpered. "Did he hit his head?"
"Is he in a coma?" Lily asked, tears slowly making tracks down her face.
Severus came and knelt beside the still form. A part of his mind had already processed what had happened, but another part refused. He cannot be dead. He survived Voldemort several times, survived the Killing Curse. It cannot end this way. Not like this.
He cautiously put a hand upon Harry's chest. There was no rise and fall of breath. His heart had stopped. Severus went cold. He had seen too many dead people not to recognize the signs. "No. Don't go," he whispered in a shattered small voice that was barely recognizable as his own. "Come back, Harry James Potter. Come back."
But he knew it was futile. The only ones who had ever escaped the Veil were himself, Lily, and Sirius. Anyone else who passed through did so forever.
Everyone stood there, staring, in a mixture of shock, grief, and denial. Sirius shifted into Padfoot, pointed his muzzle at the sky and howled in torment.
Harry wandered through an empty hillside. It was beautiful, all green and lush, filled with wildflowers that smelled lovely, but there was no one else beside him. He walked and walked, wondering where Ginny was, where Severus was, where everyone was. Had he somehow gone through to a different point in time then they had? He thought he had cast the spell right.
He paused, thinking that somehow he had lost his way. I'm not supposed to be here, am I?
Suddenly, a being of light flickered in front of him.
"Yes?" he squinted. "Who are you?"
"I am a Guardian of the Way. And you do not belong here."
"Where am I?"
"In the place of beginnings and endings."
Harry wasn't sure what that meant. "Could you please explain this to me? I don't understand."
"This is a place souls come to wait. Until they can make the journey onward."
"Souls?" Harry repeated. "Then I'm . . . dead?" He gazed down at himself. "I don't remember dying. I don't feel dead."
"That's because you aren't. Though you should be. Anyone else would be."
"But I'm not?"
"Because you are Master of Death and Death's kingdom cannot hold you."
Abruptly, Harry felt something pulling and tugging at him and the glowing being of light vanished as he was dragged abruptly backwards . . .
He opened his eyes to rain pattering on his cheeks. No, not rain . . . it was Ginny. Ginny was crying and it was her tears he felt. "Hey," he drew in a breath. It burned like fire, but he managed to say, "Gin, don't. I'm . . . back."
"You're alive!" Remus yelped in astonishment.
Padfoot shifted back to Sirius and raced over, crying, "He is? I thought he was gone!"
"You were dead," Severus whispered, staring into Harry's green eyes in disbelief. "I know dead, I've seen it. I've been there, across the Veil. How . . . can this be?"
Harry smiled and pulled the little boy into his arms. "Sevvy, it's because of the Hallows. Remember? I still command them. And it makes me Master of Death."
"And that means you can't die?" Lily queried, also hugging him. She was vastly relieved that Harry was all right now. It would have been horrible if he had died for real.
Harry hugged her and Sirius with his other arm. He was rapidly running out of arms but didn't want to let any of the children go. "That's exactly what it means, Lily."
"Then you can't be killed?" Draco asked softly.
"Are you immortal then. Like . . . him?" Lucius wanted to know.
"No. Not like that, Lucius. I didn't cheat death," Harry said. "Because I still have access to the Hallows, I'm master of it. My body can die, I can be hurt, but my spirit will always return because the Hallows grant me such power."
"For how long?" Ginny asked, throwing her arms about her husband. "Dammit, why didn't you tell me? I almost lost my mind, Harry!"
He looked into her eyes and grinned, slightly sheepish. "Sorry, love. I meant to, honest, but . . . there was always something else to do, or to talk about. And I wasn't expecting to die in the castle."
"What caused the castle to crumble?" asked Sirius, his face partially buried in Harry's shoulder.
"It was old. I think Voldemort kept it together with magic and it started to fail," Severus speculated, pressing his face against Harry's opposite shoulder.
"Harry, I could strangle you!" Ginny scolded. "And I would, except you returned to me." Then she burst into tears.
Harry gently nudged Sirius and Severus off him so he could hold and comfort his wife. It was a few minutes before he managed to get Ginny to stop crying and then he stood up. "All right. Let's get these four to Auror Headquarters, shall we?"
No one objected.
Remus removed an old brass key from a pocket and said, "Let's tie them together and we'll Portkey out of here. Dora gave me this."
So that was what they did.
All four Death Eaters, even Pansy, were incarcerated in Azkaban. There was a swift speedy trial and all of them were convicted of crimes against the Ministry and also for kidnapping and harmful detainment of minors. Pansy was convicted of aiding and abetting criminals, though she was allowed to be placed in a guarded room of St. Mungos for the remainder of her confinement. After the baby was born, back to Azkaban she would go. The baby, since both parents were convicted criminals, would be given to relatives, distant cousins of the Goyles, to raise as their own.
Pansy was furious, and demanded the baby be left to her parents, but the court declined her request because the Parkinsons were known Death Eater sympathizers and had admitted to still being so under Veritaserum. So the baby was left to the Gaines family.
Now that the Death Eaters were locked up, things got back to normal, and the Potters, Lupins, and Malfoys settled down again. The next big event would be George and Beth's wedding and soon after that Hermione and Ron's child would be born. But none of them would ever forget the miracle of Harry opening his eyes and talking when he had been dead minutes before.
Especially Severus, who felt that he had been given a gift beyond price when Harry had returned to him.
He was mulling this over as he sat on the porch in his front yard, petting his fox as she curled in his lap, when Sirius came walking down the street. The older boy came right up the drive and looked right at Severus before he said, "Hey, Snape. Do you . . . have you ever had . . . nightmares about our . . . captivity?"
Severus looked up. "Sometimes. But not lately. Why?"
"Because I still get them. Would you . . . help me get rid of them?"
A/N: What do you think Sev will say to Sirius? Will he help or not? Also, I've updated Lily's Defender too!
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