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Nights of Gethsemane by StarCrossed (19/65)




He was enveloped in a cloud of warmth. He felt wonderfully relaxed and he wanted to stay in this place forever. Someone was stroking his hair as low thunder rolled in the distance. Was he with his mum? He faded away again.

~


He was warm and happy when he heard a familiar voice.

Legilimens!”

He could feel Snape enter his mind but he was well protected behind the walls.

"Voldemort . . . Hermione . . . Ron . . . Dumbledore . . . Sirius . . . James . . . Lily...." Snape was trying to make him return, but he refused to lower his walls. Outside was pain but inside he was safe. Nothing could hurt him here.

Snape stopped speaking and was quiet for a while. After about an hour, Harry heard a different voice.

"Is his mind gone?" A voice he didn't recognize asked.

"Perhaps," Snape answered, sounding very displeased. "I can't access any of his memories."

"The Dark Lord will be so angry," the second voice whined.

"Then he shouldn't have tortured him like that!" spat Snape in anger. Harry was glad he was safe and didn't have to face an enraged Snape. "I warned him it was too much!"

"Perhaps if we bring another mediwizard...."

"He shouldn't have killed the others. I'm not a mediwizard and I can only do so much with potions." Harry felt his head being moved and a potion poured down his throat. Fingers massaged his throat and his body automatically swallowed.

"But you will be able to fix him?" The second Death Eater's irritating voice skittered around Harry’s head. "What should I tell the Dark Lord?”

"Tell him I am doing my best. I have put the other project on hold and I will work on the boy until I establish that he is dead, broken, or intact. If his mind remains then I will return him if I can." Snape's voice moved away as he spoke.

"I don't understand why it matters if his mind is broken. The Dark Lord can just possess his body then. The others won't attack their precious hero."

"If he is dead, then the Dark Lord can possess him completely. However, if any trace of his mind remains then a possession by the Dark Lord would be incomplete," Snape explained. "Whatever remained of Potter's soul would influence the Dark Lord's magic. It is impossible to say how much, and the Dark Lord doesn't want to take any chances. He will possess the boy eventually, but only when all trace of Potter is removed from this shell."

"Is that why he makes you heal him?"

"Yes, he wants the body to be perfect. If the others should destroy the Dark Lord's current body, he wishes to possess this one." Snape’s cold hands touched Harry’s back, the fingers massaging something into Harry’s skin.

"That's the project you are working on, right? A potion that will remove every trace of Potter but keep his body intact, right?" The unknown Death Eater's voice approached Harry.

"It is not wise to keep the Dark Lord waiting," answered Snape's stiff voice.

"O-of course." Harry heard the sound of retreating footsteps.

Snape's fingers worked their way over Harry's body. Harry fell away again.

~


Harry was drifting peacefully when he heard Dumbledore's voice. "Harry, my boy, you must return."

Harry ran around in the fog until he found Dumbledore sitting on a bench. Wearing the same robes he wore on the evening he died, Dumbledore had a twinkle in his bright blue eyes. "I know it is difficult and painful but you aren't alone."

"I am," insisted Harry. "You are the first to visit me since I've been imprisoned."

"I know you don't trust Professor Snape, but believe me, Harry. He will help you through this."

"He killed you!"

"I know you blame him for my death," Dumbledore's eyes grew sombre. "But I asked him to kill me. I did not want young Draco’s soul to be burdened with my death and I knew such an action would gain favour for Professor Snape with Voldemort. I wish I could have told you about our plan ahead of time, Harry, but until your Occlumency improved, I could not risk the chance of Voldemort finding the truth in your mind. I had to keep this secret from you to save Professor Snape's life. I hope you will forgive me for that, and all the other mistakes I've made."

Harry was too stunned to do anything but sit and stare at Dumbledore. Dumbledore had asked Snape to kill him?

Dumbledore continued. "Everything Professor Snape has done has been for you, to help you."

"Help me!?" Harry leapt to his feet. "He raped me!"

Ignoring Harry, Dumbledore said, "I know it is difficult for you to trust Professor Snape after everything that has happened between the two of you. He tells me what he is forced to do to keep you alive and safe and I know it weighs heavy on his heart. If you can not trust him to take care of you and protect you to the best of his ability, then at least trust him to train you properly in what you need to do.”

"I must go now." Dumbledore stood up to leave. "Remember what I told you. Return to us, Harry. We can't do this without you."

Harry didn't want to leave his warm cocoon but he knew Dumbledore was right. He needed to stop hiding and wake up. He couldn't train like this and he needed to defeat Voldemort.

He hadn't attempted to move since Voldemort had tortured him, so it was difficult for him to remember how to open his eyes. When he finally managed to wrench them open, all he saw was the fuzzy whiteness of the ceiling and the four dark bed posts guarding him.

"Harry?"

Snape never called him by his first name. Harry shifted his gaze to look at him, who was sitting by the edge of the bed, his eyebrows raised in concern.

It took Harry a bit to remember how to speak. "You never . . .call me Harry."

Snape raised his hand and lightly touched Harry's forehead as if checking for a fever. "I take it that your memory is intact?"

"You're the greasy git . . . who's guarding me while Voldemort . . . and his Death Eaters take turns . . . torturing me."

"I'll take that as a yes." Snape moved away from the edge of the bed and tapped the table with his wand. Returning, he pulled Harry up into a sitting position, propping pillows behind him. Harry realised he was naked and he didn't want Snape touching him while he was naked and in bed. He tried to push Snape’s hands away but his own wouldn't move properly.

"I don't like it . . . when you touch me . . . without the potion."

"I know." Snape sat in the chair and a bowl from the table floated over to him. He scooped up some stew with a spoon and moved it towards Harry's lips. As much as Harry did not want to be fed like some small child, he had trouble moving his arms so he allowed Snape to feed him. He remembered the dream with Dumbledore but didn't trust it. He had had lots of crazy dreams because of the potions Snape had given him. He ate as much as he could stand before pulling away. Snape sent the stew away.

Glancing around the room, Harry realised that a lot more items had been added while he had been asleep. In addition to the chair Snape was sitting in, a small table rested on the other side of Snape that was piled high with books and potions. A long couch rested against the far wall, pressing a small cabinet into the corner.

"What's all this stuff in here for?" Harry squinted as he tried to see what else was in the room.

"The Dark Lord insisted that I resuscitate you as soon as possible," Snape explained.

"So he can torture me again?" Harry practised opening and closing his hands.

"I think that he won't touch you for a while after how badly he hurt you this last time," Snape placed Harry's clothes on the bed beside him. "He thought that he'd killed you. We all did, for a moment. How did you completely hide your memories while unconscious?"

"I don't know. I just . . . when he started to hurt me I knew I wouldn't be able to take it, so I built a wall in my mind and went inside of it. Isn't that what Occlumency is about?” Harry tried to pull on his shirt but it was too difficult, so he set it back to the side.

"I've never seen anyone do it so completely without magic. Even with it is very difficult, and you aren't a true Occlumens."

"But you said Muggles could do it," Harry pointed out.

"Not complete Occlumency." Snape shook his head. "They can hide certain memories and feelings while making others more pronounced, but it is impossible for a Muggle to completely hide everything, especially while unconscious. It is possible you may have accessed your magic somehow. I can see no other reason that would explain it."

"If I could access my magic I wouldn't be wearing these anymore." He held up his forearms, showing off his cuffs. "Why don't my limbs work right? I want to train."

"You nearly died," Snape explained. "It will take some time before you are ready to train again."

"I need to train," Harry insisted. He tried to climb out of bed but fell to the floor. Snape smoothly caught him and returned him to the mattresses.

"Don't push yourself - you will only make it worse." Snape removed his hands as Harry covered himself again with a bed sheet. "We will do target practice until you can move again. Your muscles were over stimulated and need some time to calm down. I'll bring you a book to read." He left.

Harry attempted to pull on his pyjama bottoms but it took him several minutes before he was finally able to slide them over his hips. How long had he been out? He hoped he hadn't been unconcious for too long. He needed to train. Had Snape stayed in his rooms the entire time? That was a creepy thought.

Snape returned and handed him a large, thin book. Across the cover were the words Undersea Life. Harry opened it to find large, colourful photos of various sea creatures on almost every page.

"I have some business to attend to, but I will return shortly. You may begin training once I return." Snape put his hand over the pages of the book so that Harry would look up at him instead of at the photos. "Don't move or I will sedate you instead."

"I won't," Harry promised, knowing Snape would refuse to train him if he tried to get out of bed.

After several hours, Snape stepped back through the library door.

"Did you know that the Box Jellyfish is the most poisonous creature in the world?" asked Harry.

"Venomous," Snape corrected. "Poison is defensive and venom is offensive. Furthermore, the term ‘box jellyfish’ refers to the class rather than a particular species and only some are venomous. I have been trying to collect nematocysts – the venomous cells," he added when he saw Harry's look of confusion, "from the species Chironex fleckeri for some time."

"Why that one?" asked Harry curiously.

"Their venom can kill in four minutes, faster than any other known creature. Furthermore, they are fairly large - their tentacles can grow over three meters in length and an individual jellyfish can have up to sixty tentacles. Although there are other creatures which produce poisons that kill or injure more effectively, the Box Jellyfish is relatively unknown among wizards."

Harry suddenly realized that Snape probably wanted the poison to try to destroy Harry's soul. The bastard had probably assumed that Harry was completely unconscious until he opened his eyes. As much as Harry wanted to yell at Snape, he wanted to be trained so he pretended that nothing was wrong.

Snape sent all the recently added furniture away. After the room was cleared except for its original items, the balls floated into the hallway. Snape removed the laser pointer from his robes and handed it to Harry.

"Now, I want you to practise remaining as still as possible while shooting down the projectiles. Sit in the centre of your bed and look straight ahead at the opposite wall. Without turning your head, I want you to aim at objects in the corner of your field of vision. First, practise with your left side and then your right. Do you understand the task?" He flicked his wand and the balls shimmied around the walls of the room.

"Yes," Harry nodded. He clicked on the pointer and targeted a ball he could just barely see.

"I should return before you finish, if not, stay on your bed and try not to move." Snape left.

Although his body had got worse, his vision hadn’t changed. It didn't take him long to knock down all the balls only using a tiny sliver of the left side of his field of vision. Immediately after the last ball hit the ground, they rose up again and took up their dance along the walls. Harry was about to start when he realised really needed to pee. Although Snape had ordered him to stay in bed, Harry didn’t feel like waiting for him to return.

Setting down the laser pointer, Harry scooted to the edge of the bed and set his feet on the floor. He tried to stand, but his legs gave out, sending him to the floor. Somehow, he managed to catch himself. Again he tried to stand, but his legs shook so much, he had to crawl to the toilet.

Crawling wouldn’t help him with training, so he headed to the table, pulling himself up on his feet. Clinging to the side, he made his way slowly past the sink, towards the toilet. He’d almost reached it when Snape stormed in.

"I told you to stay in bed!"

"I had to pee!" Harry angrily yelled back.

Snape stepped through the bars and took Harry's arm. "Lean against me."

Harry pulled away. "No way, I can do this on my own."

Snape maintained his grip. "You can but you will injure your muscles. Don’t worry; I will release you once we reach the toilet."

Harry could accept that, so he allowed Snape to help him over. He braced himself against the lid with one hand while he pushed down his bottoms and removed his penis with his other. It was difficult to do and it took forever, but he was determined to do it on his own. Snape wisely recognised Harry's resolve and did not attempt to help him. When Harry finished, he tucked himself away and then allowed Snape to help him to the sink. He washed his hands and then made it back to the bed mostly on his own.

"Do you want to rest?" Snape raised his wand at the balls, which he had halted when he arrived.

"No, I’m hungry." He slid towards the edge of the bed in anticipation of approaching the table.

"Stay in the bed, I will bring it to you." Snape tapped the table with his wand and another bowl of stew appeared. He conjured a bed tray for Harry and placed the stew on top of it. The stew was chicken this time and Harry ate it without any help.

"You should take a bath soon."

"You are not helping me with that." Harry scowled at him.

"I will not help you anymore than necessary. However, it would behoove you to regard my assistance as a form of servitude rather than a display of dominance," Snape suggested. "I am trapped in this macabre play just the same as you."

"You will always have dominance here unless I get to be the man in bed." Harry glared at the dark smudge that was Snape.

"I have no desire to lie with you anymore than is absolutely necessary and I most assuredly can not share that image with the Dark Lord," said Snape stiffly. He spelled the balls to begin their dance again. "After you finish your training, you will have a bath."

Snape's insistence on control infuriated Harry. "I'd like to take the bath first. It isn't like I will sweat with this work out."

"Very well." Snape agreed too easily to pacify Harry’s annoyance.

Harry pushed his stew to the side and got onto his feet. Snape offered his arm and Harry reluctantly took it, although he avoided touching Snape’s body as much as possible. Snape helped him all the way, even into the bathtub, then stepped away. Harry stripped off his bottoms and tossed them to the side. He opened the taps and poured in bubble bath.

"What if I put the muscle potion on afterwards? Will that help me heal faster?"

"No, you just need time."

"How long did I sleep for?" Harry shampooed his hair.

"Three days," came the reply.

"What was Voldemort angry about in the first place?" Harry asked when he emerged from the water after rinsing off.

"I cannot say."

Harry whirled to face him. "Why not? I mastered Occlumency."

"Potter, I know you don't trust me. You have your secrets, and I have mine."

As much as Harry wanted to argue that he didn't have any secrets from Snape, Snape always knew when he was lying so he didn't try. He was curious as to why Snape refused to tell him why Voldemort was so angry. It was something to do with the Order no doubt, but why would it be necessary to keep the Order’s business a secret?

After Harry finished cleaning himself, he carefully climbed out to dry off. He already felt much better than he had before he had entered the bathroom. The food had left him feeling refreshed and he thought he could make it back to his cell on his own. He knew he could make it if he crawled or used a crutch but he didn't want to show such weakness in front of Snape. After he pulled his bottoms back on, he shakily got to his feet.

"Let me try it on my own."

"All right."

Harry paced himself and managed to make it to the bars on his own, although he had to grab onto them for support once he reached them. Once he had gathered himself, he carefully stepped through the entrance and then used the bars to support himself as he made his way back to his bed. He was very grateful to climb onto the mattresses. Who would have thought that such a short walk could be so tiring?

Snape spelled the balls to begin the exercise again and found the laser pointer, which Harry had lost.

"If you need me, bang your cuffs against the bars," Snape said before he walked off.

It was the first time he hadn't told Harry to only do it in an emergency, and Harry was tempted to think of ways to annoy Snape, but he wanted to train first, so he put the thoughts from his mind and picked up the pointer. It was a bit too easy for him so he practised closing his eyes one at a time and trying to pick off the projectiles. That was harder to do and it took him quite a bit to finish. After the last ball fell to the floor, Harry put the pointer on the floor and slid under the covers. He fell asleep quickly.

~


He woke up in the morning when Snape arrived to bring him breakfast. Snape served it to him in bed. There were loads more items this time. Porridge with many toppings, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, fluffy biscuits, and orange juice graced his tray. Snape had been right when he said that focusing on how he was serving Harry was better than focusing on how he was controlling him. What else he could get Snape to do besides bring him breakfast in bed? He was sure that he could get Snape to bathe him but he didn't like that idea.

"I'd like some mangoes. D'you have any?"

"Yes, I can get you some." Snape left the room.

Harry couldn't help but grin. He wanted to ask for something else but he thought Snape would be suspicious if he did, so he accepted the cut up mangoes with thanks and finished his breakfast.

"What sort of training will I do today?"

"Do you think you could stand for long periods of time?" Snape cleared away the finished tray.

"Yeah, I feel loads better than I did yesterday." Harry tested his muscles, finding them far more obedient than they had been the day before.

"Good." Snape sent the table and chairs out into the hallway. "Go stand in the centre of the room. You will practise tight movements again, but against actual spells. Point your wand arm towards me and dodge using as little movement as you possibly can.”

Harry nodded to show he understood as he walked to the centre. A flash of red zoomed towards him and he shifted ever so slightly to the right to avoid it. Snape cast again and again but it was no trouble dodging. He quickly grew bored with the exercise. Spells were smaller than the balls had been, and if he could dodge six balls at the same time, getting out of the way of one tiny spell was nothing.

Snape stopped the exercise right before Harry was about to ask for something harder. He stepped in through the bars and approached Harry. "Now, we will try it blindfolded."

"Blindfolded?" Harry asked in alarm. "No way in hell am I going into the final battle blindfolded."

"I want you to learn how to use other senses besides your sight for detecting the approach of spells. Don't worry, I won't send anything harmful towards you. I will start by aiming around you rather than at you. I want you to try to guess when a spell is passing." Snape pulled out the strip of black cloth he had used to gag Harry and tied it over Harry’s eyes instead.

Harry listened as Snape walked back to the other side of the bars. He heard a slight sizzle shortly as a magic spell passed him. Snape cast again and again, and Harry strained to identify magic by sound, feel, and smell. He had already noticed that some spells gave off a trace that remained on the individual after they had been cast. The Cruciatus left a particular smell and magical residue. The one that Snape was casting had no smell, and sounded a bit like cooking grease.

"Now, you must stay very still for this next part. If your legs feel weak then sit down but do not move to the side. I am going to cast various spells towards you that the Death Eaters will probably cast against you in the final battle. They will pass you by as long as you remain completely still. I want you to pay attention to how each spell slightly differs. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir." It was kind of exciting and he couldn't wait to try dodging with the blindfold.

Snape cast a variety of spells, some non-verbally but most verbally. He cast all three Unforgivables, although the Killing Curse missed Harry by a rather large margin. Harry didn’t need it to come closer. He’d recognise the signs of that spell anywhere. As the spells passed, he turned his head towards them, trying to feel the signs of their passing. Magic had a very distinct feel that he couldn't quite place. It reminded him a bit of electricity and the smell of the spells reminded him of the air after lightning struck a tree in the Dursley's front lawn.

"Very good. I think you are ready to try dodging. I will return to using Furnunculus. If you get hit, don't stop. I do not expect you to be able to dodge perfectly at first."

Harry was determined to dodge perfectly. When the first spell sped towards him, he dodged it by more than he thought he needed to. He could feel it pass by him harmlessly. More came at him and he dodged them all. He started to tighten his movements, trying to avoid the spells with almost no effort on his part.

After he had been on his feet for what felt like hours and had not been hit once, his legs gave up and he crumpled to the floor. Snape stepped through the bars.

"Are you hurt?"

"No, my legs just stopped working." Harry pulled off the blindfold.

"You should've told me when they began to grow tired." Snape offered a hand. Harry took it and stumbled to his bed.

"I wanted to keep practicing. I did it, I avoided everything." He’d improved a lot in such a short time.

"Yes, you did." Snape stepped away as soon as Harry was in his bed. "I think you demonstrated your mastery over that particular exercise well enough. I expected it to take longer and I don't have a second lesson planned for this afternoon." He served Harry lunch, which consisted of fish in a creamy sauce, steamed vegetables, and mashed potatoes.

The delight that he surpassed Snape's expectations almost made up for the fact that he wouldn't have a second lesson to look forward to. "Can't I go back to dodging lots of balls at once?"

"I think it is still a bit too early for that. You should be fine by tomorrow. Did you finish Midsummer's Night Dream?"

"I didn't get it," admitted Harry sheepishly.

"With the lack of literature courses at Hogwarts I don't blame you. I’ll find another book for you." He left for the library.

Harry had a flash of inspiration. Since Snape was being so agreeable, if Harry pretended that he needed to take a break while passing through the library, Snape would probably not object to him sitting down on one of the couches to catch his breath. Maybe Harry would finally get his hands on Frankenstein.

Snape returned with a large, thick book.

"Comos Carl Sagan," read Harry.

"I do not know if you enjoyed your Astronomy lessons," said Snape stiffly, "But this book is interesting even if you disliked what you were taught at Hogwarts."

Harry opened it to find gorgeous paintings and beautiful photographs stuffed between the texts. He was not a fan of Astronomy, but the pictures were far more interesting than anything he had seen through the telescopes at school so if the book itself was boring he could just look at the illustrations and photographs.

“I will return to give you dinner,” Snape informed him before leaving.

Harry found Cosmos better suited to his liking than most of the other books he had been given. It was far easier for him to read even though it was all about science. He became engrossed in it and lost track of time.






Chapter 1 ... 18 19 20

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
nekoashi
Dec. 28th, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC)
Update! :D *in a happy place*

It seems like a lot of fanfic writers have trouble with Dumbledore. A tough character to nail, but I must say that I didn't find fault in yours. Compared to some (evil!Dumbledore *shudder*) this is almost canon... ^^;
nekoashi
Dec. 28th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
P.S. Get well soon! ^_^
kibatsu
Dec. 29th, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
It's because he appears all kindly and good but he's really quite Machiavellian. My mom realized that and was arguing for it for some time but myself and other people didn't quite believe her. Then JK admitted it too. It makes you wonder to what extent Dumbledore really cared for Harry or Snape. Poor boys.

My mom hates the way Dumbledore treated Snape and will go on hour long rants about it if I let her.
nekoashi
Jan. 4th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
"For the greater good."
He is, isn't he? I was too busy being mad at Harry during the fifth book to notice anything, but in the last book it kinda hits you in the face... I was convinced that Snape was good until proven guilty and felt a bit similar with Dumbledore: I wanted to hear his story from a reliable source until I decided anything. And then Harry went and forgave him, and I forgave with him, so yes, he was horrible sometimes but I like to think that he truly cared and that makes it okay, but ONLY because Harry forgave him. *rants too but tried to sum it up*
hpstrangelove
Dec. 28th, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry that you're sick, but I'm happy for the update, especially the way the last chapter ended.
whitestar
Dec. 29th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)
Yay! Two chapters in a short time ^_^ I'm sorry you aren't feeling well, but I'm glad for the story :)

I thought Dumbledore was fine :) The conversation was brief but to the point. What I'd like to know is, how does Snape talk to Dumbledore since Dumbledore's dead? Does Snape just talk in his mind to Dumbledore as if Dumbledore is alive but doesn't get any answers back? And Dumbledore just hears Snape so he knows how Snape's feeling? It's probably not pertinent to the story, but dreams fascinate me and I'd love it if Harry could tell the difference between fantasy dreams and information he's being given to help him. I wonder if that would be considered Lucid Dreaming?
kibatsu
Dec. 29th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
I can't tell you as that would be a spoiler. :x
Harry may or may not have been dreaming.
whitestar
Dec. 29th, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC)
Haha! ^_^ OK. I love the suspense ;D
(Deleted comment)
kibatsu
Dec. 29th, 2007 05:17 pm (UTC)
I get the impression from the books that Harry sort of wants to hate Snape.

I haven't. I will add it to my "to read" list. I am trying not to read any long fanfiction right now as I am afraid of being influenced by it.
(Deleted comment)
kibatsu
Dec. 29th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
Okay, I added that to my bookmarks as well
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )