Way Down in the Valley Tonight - Chapter Three

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Way Down in the Valley Tonight
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them. Amazing, ain't it?

AN: Sorry this took so long. Er... rather naughty language. And it's short.

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-Chapter Three-

It was so cold. Biting, whistling, angry cold. He could feel it slicing through the comforting protection of the heavy cloak and the solid grip around his middle.

Harry swallowed, almost choking. It hurt so much... blood and tears and... he couldn't think about it! Just keep walking... just keep sane...

A rumble past his ear. "Not that much longer now," Snape commented off-handedly. Blank and cold and far away for all its closeness. Harry barely heard.

He hiccuped and shivered, surprised when the grip tightened. So cold.

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"Duck, you idiot child!"

Harry yelped, dutifully diving behind a table and wishing fervently he had his wand. He yelped again as the table exploded into splinters. This was one of those duck-and-run fights.

He ducked his head and ran behind another table. Screams rang out clearly above the din of explosions and constant sizzling zing of spells. His senses tingled with the thick heaviness of magic - it seemed to weigh down the very air.

He gulped in a breath and stared into the large eyes of a young boy, not much smaller than himself. Tiny, disheveled, sobbing. A muggle baby, Harry thought half-hysterically, how wonderfully fucking perfect.

A second later and the boy was gone, tossed away by a careless spell and thrown through a plate-glass window.

Harry didn't have time to breathe or think, because a large fist slammed into his chest, and he was flung across the room like a rag doll. He landed hard on his side, wheezing, trying to figure out why his vision had gone blurry. His fingers -blood?- drenched, scrabbled desperately around in the shrapnel for his prize. Where his pursuer had gone, he didn't know. He didn't know anything.

Harry swiped dust and grit off of his glasses and shoved them back on, staring in horrified fascination as the fight raged on. Snape was in the thick of things, wand out and spells flying, but he was outnumbered three to one.

He was like some wraith from hell, cloak whipping like black flame around him. Harry clasped a horrified hand to his face as he looked closer. Oh God - bodies littering the floor like so many shattered porcelain dolls, blood spilled like paint over the floor.

And worst of all, worst of all - it was all his fault.

The shock sliced down his spine, freezing him into place, and all he could do was stare up at the approaching Death Eater. His fault, no one else's.

Death was too good for someone like him. But then, if he died, wouldn't this stop?

Harry closed his eyes and waited.

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The man dropped from view. But Severus didn't have time to think.

At least there was one less soul on his conscience.

One in front, dangerous, skulking back to plan, hiding. The other poised to kill, looming over-

What the *fuck* was Potter doing?

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Little spots of light behind his eyes.

"Potter." That voice, cold and biting and commanding.

He shook his head furiously. No! Go away! Please, you can't...

"Idiot! Move. Now."

His body obeyed, rolling to the side, even as his mind screeched in protest.

And now he couldn't *not* move, darting out of the way, his senses strangely sharpened. What was going on?

He glanced up, frantic eyes locking for an instant with his savior's. Something dark flashed there, and Snape seized something out of his boot and tossed it at Harry's feet. It landed with a dull 'thunk'. Harry's jaw dropped.

"Use it, boy!" was all he said before ducking like midnight water under a punch.

Completely numbly, Harry grabbed the dagger.

Fight. He could try. He was hopeless and helpless but he could try.

Which was good, and right, because he was being pinned into a corner by someone much bigger than he was. Fight.

The quiet moment broke, and his overloaded senses exploded with pain as a vicious curse slammed into his side.

He staggered for a moment. The Death Eater lunged forward, but -

"Get away!" he cried hoarsely, lunging forward, desperately trying to slide by the much larger wizard. Big hands seized him by the collar and swung him into the nearest wall. He gave a brief yelp of pain and kicked viciously at the man's kneecaps, and was rewarded for his efforts by being slammed into the wall again. Those same hands locked around his throat and started squeezing.

He couldn't breathe, he couldn't see, he didn't know what was going on! He had to get away!

His fingers scrabbled down his side, searching desperately for - there it was!

Summoning up the last of his strength, he swung the dagger as hard as he could into the man's side.

The man gurgled, his eyes widening to a sickening degree. Something warm trickled down his trembling hand. Then sliding, and cracking, and a wet thud.

He couldn't see. Sweat and tears and blood were running into his eyes. He didn't want to see. Harry Potter slid to the ground silently next to the corpse of his enemy, bathed in that selfsame lifeblood.

He cried.

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Scarlet and pale and black. Nothing but a boy, sitting there like-

"Move, child!" he snarled through gritted teeth, cursing as the slippery bastard leaped away from yet another curse.

The child moved as if he didn't want to. But then, he didn't have a choice.

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Harry stood. Warm now. Warm and wet and sliding down his arms to splash into a much larger puddle on the floor.

"Expelliarmus!" A body flew through the air and crashed into another table. The man scrambled to his feet, seizing a shattered piece of wood for a weapon, but before he could do anything, Snape darted forward and slammed him bodily against the wall.

Harry shied back, a half-stifled squeak tumbling past his lips.

A humorless smile curved Snape's lips as he leaned forward, his dark gaze focused on his suddenly terrified prey. A whisper, so soft Harry had to strain to hear. "Avada Kedavra."

Green light. It flashed in his eyes, beautiful and deadly and gracefully lethal. Perfection, emerald darkness.

Green light and green light and those words- elegant, exquisite words. And his parents too, green haloing their bodies. And Cedric, pale empty Cedric. And oh God he was dead, the others were dead, all these people were dead and he killed them, because of him they were dead, just like everyone else, and oh god Snape was a murderer, twice over, but then again wasn't he too? He killed them! Everyone, all his fault. He did it to them all- not just this blood on his hands, on his everything, no, so much blood, so much pain, so much-

He didn't realize he was sobbing until Snape slapped him across the face.

"Shut up, you little fool!" he hissed, his dark eyes flashing with irritation. "Pick a better time to start bawling than now!"

Harry choked down a sob as he was hauled to his feet. He could handle this, he could, he could, he had to, and he would. Really he would. He would...

Snape glanced around and seemed to be considering something. "They'll have noticed this," he murmured slowly, almost to himself, "and they'll be coming." He tapped a long finger thoughtfully against his lips before a slow smirk crossed his face.

His eyes took on a devilish glitter that held the promise of something dark and painful. "Come on, boy!"

Harry almost yelped in surprise as an arm slid supportively around his waist and hauled him through the carnage. He nearly fell over an upturned table and stepped on somebody's dress. She said nothing. She couldn't. Her head was misssing.

He clamped his uninjured hand over his mouth to keep from vomiting.

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This was one of those rare times when he was glad there weren't any survivors. The cafe was decimated, but that was only to be expected. He hustled the trembling child out the back door and into an alleyway.

He'd probably catch hell for this, but... good explanations were hard to find. So Severus swung his cloak over the boy's shoulders, dragged him away from the door, and whispered a single word.


Harry shied back as the Dark Mark exploded above him, looming menacingly over the cafe. His face paled so quickly Severus thought for a moment he would faint. But he just stood there, gaping up at the luminescent Mark, a look of horror on his blood-splotched face.

They had no time. The ministry may have been staffed by fools, but aurors were far from lazy. Severus stepped forward, seized the boy by his shoulders, and apparated back as close as he could to Hogwarts.

At least Hogsmeade had dark alleys too. Severus ran a hand through his hair, glaring disgustedly at the amount of blood coating his hand. Who had that come from? He sighed, cast a concealment charm around them both, and stepped forward, then stopped. It was amazingly difficult to walk when you had a fourteen-year-old boy physically attached to your side. Harry had latched his one good arm around his waist and buried his face against his chest.


The boy whimpered, his grasp tightening. After a moment, he raised his head and stared up at him, eyes watery, desperation and delirium naked on his face.

Severus sighed. No choice then. This boy was just as fragile as-

He shook his head, slid an arm around the child, and nudged him forward. It was going to be a long walk.

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AN: Wasn't that fun? ^_^ I hate writing action! Next time: Er... *scratches head* Harry, um, kinda, sorta, loses it. Feedback?

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