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The Rising
Ginny W. & Harry P. & Hermione G. & Severus S. - Words: 268,774 - Rated: M - English - Angst - Chapters: 43 - Reviews: 170 - Updated: 24-06-2017 - Published: 25-12-2016 - Complete - by Ellemphriem (FFN)

A/N:

-This is a re-upload of an older story, which I haven't ever checked or corrected properly. Now that I have the time I decided to brush it off (as much as I can, since I am blind to my own mistakes) and to also change it back to the Mature Version with the proper rating. I had been requested the mature version once too many times.

-I am a NON native English speaker. Please review politely. I will accept every constructive criticism, but not foul language.

-For the ones that know the story, ignore it, unless you want to read the mature sections later on.

-For the ones that don't know it already, enjoy (I hope)


The Return


Under the orange hue that covered the dirty streets of Knockturn alley, a tall dark figure walked with considerable effort in front of the strange store fronts. He was dressed in rather threadbare clothing of unrelieved darkness and his head was covered by a large dusty hood. He stopped every couple of feet to repose his tall frame upon a wall and then resumed his strenuous walk with considerable effort. His shoulders were slouched and it could be clearly seen that he had a hard time breathing. No one stopped though in Knockturn Alley. It was wise to keep walking with your head bowed low in order to keep out of trouble and this stranger looked like trouble. He raised his eyes and looked at the dirty street. Few wizards and witches were bypassing him in a hurry, their own appearance vouching for the dark side. He turned his head and looked at the storefront he had stopped in front off. Several dirty artefacts covered in cobwebs were on display. Amongst them mummified bats, rats and skulls of various animals. He thought he discerned a human skull at the deepest part of the shop also.

He winced closing his eyes. The pain going through his chest was getting worse causing him shortness of breath. His half open lips were trying to draw in more air than needed which was making him lightheaded. He placed his hand upon his chest and his fingers clutched his shirt trying to stop the pain. The back of his hand glistened with traces of perspiration, and a feeble trembling shook it. He felt hot and cold at the same time.

One two three, breathe...breathe...he thought and wondered if his ailment would allow him to achieve his final goal, or if he was going to die right there, in front of this miserable skull shop in the middle of nowhere. His heart drummed heavily on his ears and it's pace was elevated and uneven, which was something expected in his condition.

"Get the hell away from my entrance!" a voice said, and the tall man felt his heart fluttering under his skin like a frightened bird. His already shallow breathing hitched, as he groaned in pain. He felt it extending towards his back and he held the wall for dear life, trying to see the man that had addressed him.

The wizard in front of him was much shorter but he showed no fear for the tall dark stranger "I told you to get the hell away from my entrance, you bloody beggar! I have had enough of your kind.. always beginning for food. Find yourself a bloody job, why don't you?" the man hollered and lifted a large broomstick with sparks of magic spewing from it's edge. Severus Snape turned away and pressed his forehead on the rough wooden surface. He nodded in accordance to the man's wishes, but it was hard for him to vocalise. He wanted to tell him that he was not there to beg for food, and that he was going to leave, if only he was allowed to catch his breath for a moment. The pain in his torso though was so bad that it forbade him the luxury of speech. He gasped and tried to concentrate on numbing it.

One-two-three-one-two-three...

"Did you hear me?!" the owner yelled again and Severus felt the broomstick striking the wood just inches from his head. The pain flared up and his arm started numbing down. He wanted, he needed to move, but his body was not obeying his wishes.

Oh bloody hell, I am going to die here... he thought, trying hard to control his breathing, or maybe lack thereof. He gazed from the corner of his blurry eyesight several people idly observing the show that he was unwillingly putting up for them. The last thing he needed was to have attention drawn upon him.

"I...am..." -leaving-...he wanted to add, but failed as a strong coughing fit took over his laboured whispering. Cold sweat and strong shivers battered his body from all sides. He knew full well what those symptoms signified...and it wasn't trivial. If he didn't act in some manner to get disentangled from this situation he was going to die in front of this doorstep. The owner didn't seem too compassionate about his coughing bout, nor for the fact that his legs were buckling under him and that he was slowly kneeling to the ground. He still shouted for him to get away from the door and to stop begging...

One-two-three, one-two-three....

Severus felt the cold stones of the gravel road cutting through the torn fabric of his trousers and winced at the fresh pain they caused him, but it mattered little to him. He had managed to reach his destination with great difficulty, through a very long and tiresome journey that had lasted for seven years and three months. And now he was close to the end of that trek and he wanted to wrap up all the loose ends. So it was very disappointing to feel his body failing him, just as he had managed to come to his final destination. He knew this was going to be the last time that his body was going to collapse, the last time it was going to bring him to his knees, but maybe that was for the best. He admitted bitterly that he would have given up his lot, to be in front of her grave and not here in the middle of nowhere, with no way of moving about.

I have to go to her... he thought and pushed his power without bothering to channel it through his wand. He didn't even remember which pocket he had shoved it in and there was no time...nor ability to search for it at the moment. The only solution was wand-less magic, no matter the results. He felt his power gathering at his midsection and burning him with it's heat, but before he had the time to enjoy it for a brief moment, it shot out of him violently and spread into the atmosphere like an exploding star. He squeezed his eyes tight and hissed from the blinding pain, that coursed throughout his body. He leaned forth and placed his palms to the cold pavement in order to steady himself. He didn't see what happened, but he heard the surge of his power as it glided along the pavement, as it climbed upon the walls and covered the windows causing them to blast outwards, spreading debris everywhere.

The mayhem that followed was hard to describe, but the screams around him were hair raising. A loud stampede followed as people run away from the danger zone. The lazy sound of bending metal caught his attention and he barely had the time to cover his head before two crashes shook the ground under him. Debris shot upon his hood and back and the blinding heat of fire around him burned his cheeks and hands. Pain flared from his right shoulder and he realised with boredom that one of those flying debris embedded itself onto his skin.

Well, that piece of glass would have to do a whole lot more in order to win over his ongoing heart attack. He drew back his magic as quickly as possible and he heard a reversing sound around him. At the same moment the burning sensation seized and silence quickly reigned. He heard the crackling noise of burning wood and the smoke was heavy. He panted and opened his eyes, but his vision was a total blur. He took short quick breaths through his mouth and heard his heart drumming unsteadily on his ears.

In-out-in-out... he concentrated on his usual mantra and narrowed his eyes to the store directly to his right. The rude owner was nowhere to be seen and his broomstick had been abandoned a couple of feet away from Severus's foot. He kicked it away from him and closed his eyes again in pain.

In-out-in-out... ok, so his magic had managed to blow up this side of Knockturn Alley and no one was in sight, but that hadn't given him much of an advance. He was still kneeling in the middle of nowhere, unable to breathe and slowly losing consciousness, and no one was around to help him. Even though he wanted neither the help nor the attention, at that moment he needed them.

I am dying.... he thought and his left arm numbed down to the fingers. Who am I going to call for help?... he used his right hand to shuffle through his pockets quickly, in order to find the pain potion he had brought with him. It was his last batch and he knew that he would be unable to make any more. He had neither the facilities to work in nor the money to buy one. Besides this potion was not assisting his illness, it was just enough to keep him going. That handy potion, a fair amount of self control and his magical ability, were the three things that had enabled him to keep his anxiety under control and his heart beating.

He searched through every pocket he had in his trousers, his coat and his cloak. Quickly he did it, with trembling fingers, his left arm tangling useless by his side. In his blind haste he felt his fingers brushing with his wand and missing the grasp on it. It fell on the pavement with a sharp wooden click and his breath became sharp and raspy. His serious illness and the knowledge that he had just lost his only weapon made him edge on panic. He groaned from both pain and the need to find his wand and he fell on his hands and knees searching for it. After sometime and just as his hands has seized searching the world begun shutting down. That is when he felt a warm hand alighting upon his bicep. He raised his head with difficulty and opened his eyes. He narrowed them with a frown. There was a figure leaning over him and a voice spoke words that made no sense to his ears.

"My wand.." was all he managed and started looking for it with renewed energy, which had been provided by the unexpected appearance of this person by his side. He was not listening to what they were telling him he just concentrating on finding his wand "Please...help" he managed and then unable to keep this up, he closed his eyes and clutched his chest with his right hand. The pain coursed through his body in a hot bolt that melted him to a mere nothing. He collapsed on his elbows and started closing down. The hand upon his arm tightened and a female voice spoke this time clearly on his ear "Can you stand?"

He shook his head and pointed vaguely towards his pockets "Pain medicine...pocket...please" he mumbled. He had been reduced to begging a stranger help him take his medication, how much lower could he get? He felt the hand letting go of his upper arm and for a moment panicked that they had abandoned him to his fate. Probably also stealing his wand in the process. That is when someone lifted his head awkwardly and something cold touched his lips.

"Drink up" the same voice said with a touch of urgency. He opened his lips and obeyed without any logical reasoning left in his pain sordid mind.

As soon as he took the first sip he knew it was his pain medication and quickly gulped down the rest. He pulled his head away from the hands of salvation and closed his eyes trying to concentrate in calming down his heart and his breathing.

Someone helped you, now breathe in-out-in-out ...he got caught in his sad mantra one more time. He counted his breaths and heartbeats, tightening his hands until the knuckles turned white...He had no idea if the person that helped him was still there and he rather doubted it. Knockturn Alley was not a good place to stop and help anyone. More so the man who just blew half of it off the map. It was not a good place, neither was it dwelled by good and generous people. Therefore he had to assume that those hands of salvation belonged to a witch that took the wrong turn and ended up by mistake to this dark place, and that now she was already running away from him. As the seconds passed the pain medication started taking off the edge of his pain. The warmth begun at his lower back dissolving the pain and it licked slowly up between his shoulder blades. Soon enough the pain on his chest became almost bearable. His lungs released thus allowing him to draw in deep breaths.

One-two-three...that's it...one-two-three...concentrate ...as the pain slowly subsided and his muscles loosened, he begun the process of calming down the panic that still lingered inside his mind, in the face of his imminent demise. He opened his eyes and his vision had partly restored itself, so the first thing that registered to him was a pair of muddy boots right next to his hand. Ok, so whoever helped him was still there. As if answering his very thoughts the steady hand wrapped itself around his upper arm one more time.

"Are you feeling better?" the voice sounded calm and composed.

He nodded "Yes" and pushed himself to a kneeling position, testing how far he would get before experiencing the excruciating pain again. He felt nothing more than a numb reminder on his back and the loss of sense in his left arm. His potion had done it's job, it had managed to keep the pain in temporary limbo, allowing him to concentrate, in order to find some way to keep his body alive.

One-two-three-one-two-three...think why you came here... you know you are dying, It won't be long now. You are going to do yourself a favour because after all these years you need to rest. But not before you resolve this last thing. You are here for THE closure and you need to do it. After that go and die somewhere...Close your eyes and rest forever..Just hold on till you finish your obligations to the world.

This trek had sucked up every last ounce of his strength, but he wouldn't... couldn't let all this effort go to waste. Not when the Gods themselves deemed him worthy of the help he had just received. He had long since given up on the idea that anyone was going to help him, so this plain gesture of kindness from a complete stranger touched him deeply. As deeply as his roughly shaped personality allowed him. With every thought that occupied his mind, his breath eased out more and more and his heart slowed down. He heard the drumming retreating from his ears and the rhythm was becoming steadier gradually. The numbness on his arm still lingered though, and so did the dim pain on his back. He drew a deep breath, and felt his heart fluttering. His throat convulsed and his stomach turned making him nauseous. Besides all that he felt better, much better.

Maybe I will survive another day yet...

The hand gave his arm a squeeze "Can you stand?" the same voice said. He raised his head slowly to it's source and was surprised to see a middle aged woman observing him closely. Her eyes were flickering urgently around her.

He nodded slightly and searched about in order to find some leverage to help him rise. She offered her other hand to him. He hesitantly looked at her "Feeling skittish my friend? No time for that, this in not the best place to show such weakness unless you can defend yourself and you don't look like you can..." she said and looked quickly around her one more time.

He looked at her extended hand and without any second thoughts grasped it. He was promptly pulled to his feet with surprising strength. The moment he straightened he felt dizzy, but the same hands supported him "You are in no condition to walk on your own, come with me" the woman said and tried to place her arm around his back in order to support him.

He flinched away from her, as if touched by fire "Don't touch me" he hissed. His voice sounded broken, but the tone was as commanding as ever. He pushed her away and immediately felt his knees buckling. She was next to him in the split of a second, steadying him one more time.

"What do you think you are up to? You will fall flat on your face and I can hear old Hargreaves moving in his store searching for his wand. He will come out and hex you to hell and you are in no condition to fight back. You may have blown up half this side of the road Alley, but you are one foot from death and I rather doubt you can conjure a second magical wave of this amplitude" she rationalised.

It was the biggest speech anyone had given him in months, and the only thing he could answer to it all was a rugged "My wand?" remembering that he had lost it when he was kneeling on the street. He tried to pull away from her to look for it. Before another panic attack hit him though he felt a soft poke on his chest. He looked down to see her giving him his wand. He took it and looked at her warily. No one ever helped him without wanting something in return. No one had willingly helped him since he had joined the Death Eaters. So what was her agenda...

"Now follow me!" she said and pulled him along. Temporarily abandoning the need to put up a fight he followed her dumbly through debris and fire. When they reached a door and she pushed him through it he had barely enough time to look up at the marquee that was hanging above it. It read "Card Reading and Tarot Magic".

Great, I fell into the lap of another Sybil...he thought and was half pulled, half pushed inside the small store. It was ...earthly...and it smelt of incense. Filled to the brim with myriads of weird looking artefacts and decorated with heavy paintings. One rather wide old couch stood at the far corner and much closer to him were two easy chairs in front of a round table. It was draped in black velvet and a crystal ball was on it. That easy chair seemed delicious to his wobbly knees, but before he had time to ask the woman if he could take a sit, he was unceremoniously shoved into it. The thought of resistance was fleeting and weak as he fell ungraciously in it and groaned out loud in pain. He looked up to see the middle aged woman moving urgently about her store. She went to the windows and drew the curtains, and next came the door, which she locked and warded. He winced and rubbed his left arm as he leaned back at the chair's embrace. He was more than thankful for that piece of furniture being under him at that moment. The woman moved around him and called to a steep staircase "Sybil come out here for a moment if you please"

Sybil?...his eyes shot quickly towards the stairs and a strong feeling of apprehension caught up with him. The middle aged woman walked around the table and leaned towards him. She touched his left arm but before she had the time to do anything else, he pulled back quickly "I told you not to touch me" he commanded again and this time the safety of the chair under him and the lack of immediate pain, made his voice imposing.

She looked uncertain when she drew back her hand "Do you need anything to drink?" she inquired politely.

His brows furrowed slightly. He didn't need anyone to be polite with him and he didn't want it either, but the mere thought of water made his mouth salivate "Water ...yes" his voice crackled.

She nodded in understanding, and left him alone to scrutinise his surroundings. His eyes fell at the fire that was burning under a modest hearth, but still it was more than he had seen of any kind of fire under any kind of hearth since ...

since I left...

He rubbed his arm and leaned his head back to the easy chair pulling his hood low upon his face. He didn't want to gamble a possible recognition from anyone. All he wanted was a glass of water and then to get out of here, in order to move towards his macabre destiny.

Nothing more and nothing less...

He felt his muscles so stiff and his body so tired, that he wondered if he would manage to walk out of here once his water had been provided for. It had taken all his strength to manage to reach this destination. Apparition was not an option, therefore he was forced to take the long way round. Having no money nor valuable possessions, apart from his skills, he was reduced to walking or hitchhiking for a ride. He had used the Hogwarts Express at the last part of the trip, hidden under the train and hanging by the axles for dear life for three hours. The excessive training he had undergone with Voldemort, had helped him abide through this torture without uttering a single word. His body had failed him in the end though and his illness with the addition of his fatigue had been enough to break him in half. This day though, with the reminders of a heart attack still fresh on his body and his magical resources mostly drained he was debating an apparition. The Ministry had a trace on him and he knew that his painting at the Headmaster's office in Hogwarts was partly to blame for that. His portrait had never moved, and that could only mean two things. Either that he was still alive...

Just barely...

Or that he had placed a curse on his painting to remain idle, prior death. So, his idle portrait made everyone speculate about what had truly happened to him...was he alive or not?...he may have kept himself isolated, but he still read the newspapers regularly. And his name was still selling...so using an apparition equalled getting captured by the ministry before raising his wand. Using any kind of magic had always the same level of risk. That is why he always refrained from using any, either in his work, when he found one, or on his everyday activities. The little magic he did use had always been low level and practically non traceable, but that didn't come cheap because it took a lot of basic work from him, taxing his abilities.

So he had managed to go undetected all this time, but he was sure the raw force he emptied in that alley several minutes ago would blow the whistle for him. He knew he was under pursuit already but he didn't mind that. He was walking towards his demise anyway, but he was dead set to dodge them long enough to reach his destination. After that, to hell with everything. He did not return willingly to them...he returned to seal the doors of his past and hope for peace in death, were he couldn't have it in life.

He rubbed his shoulder and winced imperceptibly. He fingers removed without much care, a very sharp pointed object from his skin. He felt a surge of blood flowing down his arm. That accursed piece of debris had probably cut him more severely than he had first thought, but it mattered little to him.

He felt his head getting heavier by the second, and with a pang of loss he understood that he was not dying, but drifting off to sleep. Seven days of road travel, less than fifteen hours of sleep on the whole and no proper nutrition would have drawn the line for anybody...even more for someone who suffered from a severe heart condition. It didn't really matter that he was actually going to fall asleep sitting upright in a chair, inside a shop he had never seen before, surrounded by people he didn't know. He was going to do it nonetheless, and his body was not asking him for his permission.

He felt the pain in the centre of his chest subsiding even more and leaving a warm trail of numbness in it's passing. He didn't want to feel that pain anymore and he didn't want to feel hunted, so he savoured that temporary feeling of being pain free and safe. He just wanted to sleep, even if it was for a couple of minutes. His breath evened out and the incense that was burning cedar wood allowed him to relax even more. His eyes rested heavily on the fire and he looked bemused as the the bright orange tentacles leaked around the wood. A sad smile appeared on his lips...It had taken him a lifetime to appreciate the beauty of the simple things in life. His hands rested on the arms of the easy chair and his legs melted under the warmth of the fire and the smell of cedar.

He felt his eyes closing when the squeak of a door, made them fly open again. The middle aged woman was carrying a glass of water. His mouth opened up and his hand twitched in need. The thought of sleep momentarily pushed out of the way. He needed to drink this water and then leave. He had to forget about the warmth of the fire and the smell of cedar.

"There you go, can you manage?" she asked but his hand was on the glass before she managed to finish the sentence. He took it from her with a trembling hand, brought it to his mouth and drank it hungrily feeling his glands rejoicing. He moaned softly and keeping the glass tightly in his hands he closed his eyes. He wanted to keep this small vessel of pleasure close to him. Maybe if he asked politely for another glass this woman would bring him...just one more and then he would leave.

stop lingering fool...get the hell out of here... he raised his hand and offered back the glass with much regret "Thank you" he managed and tried to lift himself from the chair.

The same strong hand fell upon his shoulder and pushed him gently back "Where do you think you are going?" the woman asked.

He flinched away from her touch, but remained silent.

"Yes, you have made that point clear. I won't touch you, but you are in no state to leave. You almost fell asleep and it took me less than a minuteto get you the water. You need to rest" she said and sat across him.

He composed himself in order to answer "I appreciate your help, but I need to leave" was all he managed and he pushed himself up. The weight that fell on his legs was merciless, and he fell gracelessly back to the easy chair with a loud thumb.

"Well there you go proving my point" she said sounding almost happy. He frowned under the hood and gathering all his strength he got ready to stand up again. He had almost managed it when another door opened and a second woman came into the room. He collapsed again back in his chair, but this time it was because of the voice he heard...and it was a voice he knew very well.

"I feel him..."the eerily aloof voice whispered behind him.

Merlin almighty, you and all the wizards before you...he gasped and turned towards the source. And sure enough there she was, Sybill Trelawney. The mad looking witch with the wild hair, the weird head decorations and the huge bottle glasses, staring right at him. He hissed and froze over. Forgetting his desperate need for sleep, the pain in his chest and back, the numbness of his arm and his immense thirst. What the fuck was Sybil doing in this godforsaken place in Knockturn Alley of all the places? And what kind of devilry brought her onto his path?

"What?" the other woman asked apparently confused.

"I feel him" she was looking straight at him, her head jerking back and forth, her eyes huge behind those magnifying glasses. His skin crawled with apprehension. History had caught up with him...his breathing got elevated and his heart sped up. The last thing he needed to top this off was another heart attack. He inhaled and felt his heart fluttering...

not good...

"Who do you feel?" the other woman asked.

Sybil tip toed and leaned close to him. He jerked back and rose quickly taking several steps back. His shock taking command over his tired legs. Sybil pointed at him and shrieked "The enemy of the snake is here!" and then laughed manically. When she sobered up again she approached him quickly. He saw her long nose flaring as she was trying to...to smell him.

uhm...ok...

He retreated feeling the tension electrifying him. His legs were not assisting his plans.

"Leave the man alone, don't you see he is sick" the other woman reproached Sybil.

"The wizard that holds great knowledge is here, surrounded by darkness. He has to let the light take him. He has to let the sun warm up his world and dry his wings of darkness. When the time comes he will have two choices to make...earth or water?...if he chooses wisely he will rise...from the dead..." Sybil said in a frozen monotone.

She just made another prophecy, bloody witch... he thought as his hand found the handle behind his back and turned it.

"Sybil leave him alone! And you come back here and sit down, your legs are trembling" the other woman said.

are they?...he thought with detachment. He had almost opened the door behind him when Sybil screeched into the night "You have finally returned! Oh, blessed Merlin!" and she run to him. The combination of her piercing voice and her sudden movement, made him sink heavily onto the floor unable to hold his weight anymore.

"Now look what you have done" the other woman said.

Sybil stopped midway and suddenly woke from her trance "What? What did I say? Who is this? Is he ok?" she asked and approached warily.

"He is at death's door, and your weird attitude is not helping him" the woman said.

"What did I do, Lina?" Sybil asked and looked at him from a respectful distance. He was panting, affected more by the weakness of his legs than from the pain on his chest. He had to admit defeat, and all thought of fleeing the shop got washed away under the shame of being unable to hold his own weight.

"You just gave out one of your infamous prophecies, and on the worst time possible. Now help me carry him back to the chair" Lina said urgently.

Sybil approached and smelled him again "He doesn't smell good" she said and paused "Nor does he look good either" she finished decisively.

This woman had always been mind boggling to him. One moment she was under his skin making life altering prophecies and the next she couldn't tell who he was. He felt momentarily solaced by the knowledge that Sybil was a long way from recognising him. When Lina's hand approached his arm he flinched back. Lina withdrew her hand in hesitation "How in Merlin's beard am I going to help you back to the chair if I cannot touch you?" she asked pointedly.

He pulled himself to a standing position with great difficulty. Sybil glared at him "My, he is a dark one isn't he? He reminds me of another era many years ago...an era long gone".

she gives me the goosebumps ...he thought and carefully avoiding her gaze, he supported himself upon the furniture until he managed to grab hold of the back of the blessed easy chair. He moved around and dumbed himself in it, without uttering a word.

Might as well admit defeat... he thought dejected. His feet couldn't carry him anymore. He thrice tried to stand up and thrice failed. How was he going to go about his business?

"And he is also very taciturn...what happened?" Sybil asked and quickly sat across him, taking Lina's sit, something that made him wince.

I don't want that woman close to me...

Lina returned from the kitchen, holding another glass of water. He felt his throat convulsing with the need to drink and licked his lips "I found him outside the Skull shop. He blew up a good portion of the alley. He was panting like a fish out of water, so I decided to bring him inside" she replied and offered the water to him. He reached out and rudely grabbed it. He brought it to his face and closed his eyes as he enjoyed the drink.

"Oh that's what happened...and I was wondering what that noise had been" Sybil said and turned to him "You have considerable power, don't you?" she asked.

He licked his lips and reposed his head to the back of the chair offering the glass back to Lina "What kind of questions are these for heaven's sake woman?" Lina asked and took the glass "Let the man have some rest, why don't you? I think he has heart problems" she added.

Sybil looked taken aback "Then we must take him to a hospital! We are hardly equipped to help him" she said and leaned her elbows upon the table "Maybe I can do a reading for you...see what is going on with your health?" she suggested with a smile and pointed towards the crystal ball.

He raised his hand in order to stop her, and shook his head in denial, but he didn't dare voice himself. She stood up from the chair and one more time leaned close to his face. He drew back and she smiled widely at him, making him shiver. Ever since he had been employed in that damn castle as a Professor he had found her presence eerie. Never quite reaching any level of respect from her students or her colleagues, she was always an easy target for ridicule. They rarely talked to each other back then. She had always seemed afraid of him. He on the other hand had always been very apprehensive of her. She had made the prophecy that involved Harry Potter.

The prophecy that he had eavesdropped and ended in Lilly's death. A death that he had brought on her by betraying the prophecy to Riddle. After that incident he had never been able to approach this weird witch ever again. He avoided her as much as possible, because her presence made him feel cornered. The school saw her as an idiot but he knew better. He had seen her aura and it was very strong. She had abilities, and the unfortunate fact was that she was not truly aware of her own potential. Neither was anyone else for that matter, apart from him and Albus. So while she passed her years in blessed oblivion there had been those couple of odd moments where she shaped the world with her words. That should have been enough to unnerve even the most wise wizard, and it certainly made him jitter nervously when he was in her presence. Today sitting right there in front of her after seven years of absence was more than enough to make him very uncomfortable indeed. He knew she had no way of knowing who he was, unless he spoke to her, yet that didn't make him feel more comfortable around her.

The trance that had taken over her before, had passed quickly, and as usual after that she remembered nothing. Her face though reminded him of so much and those were memories he could do without. Especially in his current unstable state. She waved, making him turn his head sharply towards her which caused his forgotten wounded shoulder to flare up in pain. Now that his heart had given him a break he was able to appreciate that wound for it's real value.

"You really do remind of someone, but I cannot ...i don't seem to ...really now...it matters not" she tilted her head and smiled slightly "Never mind, Come..." she moved quickly and sat down in front of him again.

He released a breath he didn't know he had been holding...

"I will do a reading for you, yes! I will help you, my friend" she said and harked, sobering up again a second later.

Lina spoke from the kitchens again "I say you leave him alone, I think he needs to sleep. He almost dozed off a couple of minutes before you came in"

"i am helping him Lina, now let's see" Sybil said and moved her hands in a elaborate pattern around the crystal ball.

He scowled deeply.

He didn't want to sit here in front of this woman. He really didn't want Hogwarts revisiting him through Sybill. He just wanted to be on his way, if only his legs allowed him the luxury. The knowledge that he was temporarily safe though was starting one more time to do things to his fragile consciousness.

As the witch in front of him started chanting and the fire from the hearth warmed him up he started unwillingly to doze off again. It was something that he couldn't help, as his eyes started closing on their own volition. The smell of the cedar was once again pronounced, and just like that he slipped away from the world of consciousness, to the world of dreams. Sybil's voice penetrated his consciousness from afar "Iron gates will call on you, and you will listen to their call..." she was chanting. He didn't want to listen to her, all he wanted was to feel the heat from the fire soothe his weary bones, his legs to be spared from the merciless weight of his body, the smell of cedar to lull him to sleep and the pain on his chest almost gone. He wanted to close his eyes and to listen only to the blessed spells of sleep. Just for a moment...Only for a moment...Because when he woke up, his nightmare would begin all over again.

Surely he could be spared a few moments of peace, right? Without even thinking he spoke softly "Sybil, please shut up"...

He didn't hear the sharp inhalation that came from Sybil, as he was already gone to other worlds, temporarily peaceful ones. Something that his broken heart desperately needed in order to keep him going.

****...****

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