Characters: Severus, Daphne, Blaise, Theo, Winky, Irma, others
Warning (highlight to view): For implied destruction and death.
Word Count: 2002
Summary: Severus is troubled by a Slytherin sacrifice.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: This fic follows A Thoroughly Inappropriate Bond. Thank you, arynwy, for beta'ing.
The first thing that Severus heard was Daphne asking where he was amid the confusion and fear of the Great Hall. He located her at once, sitting at the Slytherin table with Astoria's arm around her shoulders and the worried-looking Zabini and Nott standing behind her. It grieved Severus to hear the cheering that erupted when Minerva explained he'd "done a bunk"; it grieved him more when Parkinson foolishly pointed Potter out in the crowd and demanded he be seized—but what grieved him most, as everyone rose to Potter's defence, was that Daphne was visibly trembling.
Not so badly that she couldn't pick her moment, Severus observed, as Daphne whispered something to Astoria, pushed herself up from the table with obvious effort, and shakily began to run along the wall towards the High Table.
After a brief argument amongst themselves, Zabini and Nott left Astoria to pursue Daphne through the staff door with Severus following them, observing as he did so that everyone else in the Great Hall was too focussed upon Potter to notice them.
They fled through the staff room and out into a corridor, where Nott shouted, "What the hell do you think you're doing, Daphne?"
She didn't answer, and the scene shifted to another corridor. Looking a bit worse for wear, which told Severus that some time had passed, Zabini increased his speed and caught Daphne by the arm, forcing her to stop. "Where are you going? They'll never," he gasped, "surrender Potter. They're going to fight. You can't go to the Hospital Wing. Where do you think they'll take the wounded?"
A ball of flame burst through a window a little ahead of them, and Zabini threw himself on Daphne and pushed her to the floor.
"We can't go that way now!" shouted Nott, rushing forward to help his house mates to their feet as sounds of destruction rang throughout the corridor. "Come on!"
They all started running back in the direction from which they'd come, and the scene shifted again, this time to the corridor that led directly into the infirmary. Nott's robes were gone and his trousers, singed; Zabini's right shoulder had been blasted by some sort of hex and his skin was visibly burnt; Daphne appeared frightened and desperate but otherwise unharmed.
They protected her, Severus thought, gratitude and pride filling him.
"This is madness," Nott hissed, shoving Zabini and Daphne into an alcove as footsteps sounded nearby.
"I have to get—"
"Shh!" Nott told Daphne.
Whoever had been approaching kept right on going and, after peeking out from behind the tapestry that shrouded the alcove, Nott, Daphne, and Zabini went tearing towards the infirmary. Before they reached its doors, however, Daphne stumbled, screaming as she hit the floor and grabbing her throat.
Zabini dropped to his knees at once, swearing, as he seized Daphne's hands.
"Is she injured?"
"No, there's no—Daphne, what did you do?"
"It . . . it hurts, Blaise," she answered, tears streaming down her face. "The p—professor's hurt, and I have to . . . to help . . . him."
"Circe's tits, you idiot! Do you understand what you've done?"
"What's she talking about?" Nott asked, pointing his wand down the corridor in the direction from which they'd just come.
"Professor Snape," said Blaise, trying to keep Daphne still.
"Didn't you hear McGonagall?" demanded Nott. "Professor Snape's gone. He's not coming back!"
"No, he's not. He's not gone!" Daphne asserted, zapping Zabini with a Stinging Hex and rolling into the wall to brace herself so that she could stand. "He's hurt and he's not far and I need to find Wi—oh, just leave me alone!"
With that, she was off and running again, but she didn't get far. Zabini managed to reach her in time to break her fall.
"What's wrong with her?"
"Can't talk and carry," Zabini said, heaving the now-unconscious Daphne over his shoulder and beginning to run the short distance to Madam Pomfrey's office.
Soon, Severus was watching Zabini rip through the books there, while a stricken-looking Nott sat on the floor by Pomfrey's sofa, upon which Daphne was lying.
Clutching her hand, Nott said, "Tell me what's going on."
"She's Bound herself to him," Zabini spat, frustration clear in his tone as he rejected yet another book. "And he's . . . he must be injured because—"
"C—can't break it, Theo," Daphne murmured, coming around. "Have to find him, Blaise."
"No, no, no, Daphne."
"Stop it, Theo! She's right. We have to find him, but how?"
"The . . . the elves," said Daphne hoarsely, pushing herself up. "Need the elves. Winky," she whispered. "Need . . . Winky."
"WINKY!" shouted Nott. "WINKY, COME HERE RIGHT NOW! DAPHNE NEEDS YOU!"
"Daphne Greengrass is needing Wi—oh! You are sick, Daphne Greengrass!"
With Nott steadying her, Daphne said, "H—Headmaster Snape needs you, Winky. He's hurt. He's . . . in the Shrieking Shack. Get him. Get him and bring him here."
"But we are going to—"
"Bring. Him. Now."
Winky disappeared as Daphne slumped back against the sofa cushions.
"Blaise, how did she do that?"
Zabini shoved Nott off the sofa and moved Daphne into a more comfortable position. "As far as that elf is concerned, Daphne's staff here. Isn't it obvious?"
"N—nothing's obvious to me! He's coming, and Snape's done something to Da—"
"Pull yourself together, man! Snape didn't do a damn thing to Daphne. She did it to herself, and if—"
Steadying himself from the force of Zabini's blow, Nott shouted, "How do you know that?" as Zabini returned to his search of the books.
"Because Binding is Mum's best thing, and I can recognise the char—no!" Zabini cried, stilling suddenly. "It's not a fucking charm. It's Dark! Theo, I have to go to the Restricted Sec—"
Pop! . . . Pop! Pop! Pop!
"Winky has returned! Winky and her friends have found Headmaster Snape!"
Severus swallowed painfully to see himself, blood-spattered, pale, and apparently dead, held up by four house-elves.
"Put him with her," Zabini ordered.
"Shut it, Theo," Zabini snapped, as he pushed Severus' body down onto the sofa next to Daphne and with the elves' assistance arranged their limbs so that they were embracing. "Circe, that doesn't look good."
"What should Winky do now?" she wailed, as the three other elves who'd come with her disappeared.
"Where are they going?" Zabini asked.
"To make ready. To prepare to fight."
"Well, Mistress Daphne needs you to stay, Winky, she told me."
"Winky will stay!"
"That looks . . . that looks like it should have killed him. Why isn't he dead?"
"Winky, help Theo sit down over there out of the way, please, and then bring me everything I need to clean and dress Headmaster Snape's wounds."
"Yes, Blaise Zabini!"
"No," said Nott. "I want to help, too."
Zabini, examining Severus' wounds, snapped, "Then guard the fucking door. We can't let anyone find him in this condition. That lot downstairs would kill him." He looked over his shoulder at Winky. "Get me what I need."
"Is he dead?" Nott asked, casting several useful spells, Severus was pleased to see.
"No. Daphne's ma—strength is sustaining him, and these wounds have actually begun to close on their own. I'm not sure how they're doing it even with Daphne's help, but I expect he must have taken pains to prepare for an attack."
"And is she . . . ?"
"She's still alive, but—"
"Winky will clean Headmaster Snape's wounds."
Zabini moved out of her way.
"Does Madam Pomfrey let you help her?" Nott asked suspiciously.
"Madam Pomfrey is very kind to Winky, so is Daphne Greengrass. They show her things, but these," she continued, revealing two sets of raw-looking puncture wounds by dint of her ministrations, "are the worst wounds she's seen. Winky can make them clean on top, but—"
"Yes, well," Zabini replied quickly, shooting a worried glance at Nott, "Daphne's Binding is helping the professor's body to Heal."
"Daphne Greengrass is not Healing, Blaise Zabini."
"No, but if we get him stabilised, we might be able to find a Healer to help her. Is Madam Pomfrey—"
"She was taking students to a leaving place."
"Oh, no. Oh, please no."
"Theo, this is hard enough as it is without you—"
"But I love her!"
Zabini clapped a hand on Nott's shoulder. "I've known Daphne since before I could walk. She's like a sister to me. I love her, too. I'll do whatever I can for her, Theo, but . . . you have to know that—"
Nott held up a hand. "I know. Don't say it."
"Good," said Zabini, as Nott turned to the door. "Right. I have to go to the Restricted Section. There's a book my mother uses. It might tell me how to break the Binding. Stay here. Watch them. Understand?"
The scene shifted again, this time to the library, which Zabini entered to find empty of all books save the one that Madam Pince, who was holding a large box and wearing a travelling cloak, was about to lay her hand upon.
"Why are you still here?" demanded Pince, as sounds of destruction met Severus' ears.
"I need a book."
"This is hardly the time, boy! We're under attack, or hadn't you noticed?"
"I'm sorry, but—oh, you missed one," Zabini said, looking behind her.
As Pince turned to follow Zabini's gaze, he pulled his robes over his free hand and lunged for the book.
"You filthy little liar! That's my Portkey!"
"And now it's ours," Zabini told Pince, levelling his wand on her. "Where does it go?"
"To my home, my home in London. I have to protect the school. I have to protect the books!"
A great cracking sound roared through the castle, causing the shelves to shake. "Fuck! No time—if you want the Portkey, bring those," Zabini told her, nodding at the box she held, "and follow me."
And then he was running.
The Hospital Wing was missing part of its far wall when Severus saw it next, and Nott was clinging to the ruined door of Pomfrey's office, bleeding from a head wound. Two robed figures lay sprawled a short distance away from him.
"Hurry," he said, breathing heavily as Zabini and Pince ran towards him.
"She is weaker now, Blaise Zabini!" Winky cried.
Severus' attention returned to Daphne; she looked ashen and still.
"What's this? What's happened here? Why are you—"
"Pince! Listen to me!" Zabini ordered, explaining what he needed.
"I . . . I know precisely which book you want," she said, falling to her knees and rooting around in the box.
A crash sounded from not very far away, and screams filled the air.
"Oh, hells. Three of them," Nott said, rushing out into the infirmary.
"No, Theo!" called Zabini.
Fuck, thought Severus.
"For Daphne!" Nott screamed, his shouts quickly turning to shrieks.
"Stupid, stupid boy!" In one smooth motion, Pince rose and, wand drawn and pointing at the remains of the door, muttered a spell as she thrust a book into Zabini's hands. "The wards are broken," she told him, stepping over the threshold of the room. "You can Portkey whenever it's safe to move them—but don't you dare forget the books!"
Stones began piling themselves up to fill the doorway in Pince's wake, and before the last one sealed them in, Severus heard her shout, in between the zaps and whizzes of hurled curses, "For the library! For Hogwarts! For Slyther—"
In the resultant silence, Severus watched Zabini's mouth move as if in protest. He could well understand his shock.
"Blaise Zabini! Be finding that spell!" Winky demanded.
"Be saving Daphne Greengrass! Do it now!"
"Oh, right!" he exclaimed, smacking himself upside the head with the book before opening it.
That explains the one bruise, Severus thought.
What books were left on Pomfrey's shelves began to shake and fall to the floor.
"Hurry, Blaise Zabini!"
"Here!" Zabini cried. "I found it, Winky!"
"Be saying it, then! Winky must be going to fight!"
Zabini began to chant as the scene darkened, and Severus began to rise . . . up and through the blackness to emerge into a sunlit room.