Chapter XII - When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears
The Room of Requirement was the perfect place for them to practice the Magical Empathy: it offered them the necessary isolation for their magic, and no one could find them there.
"Our first lesson will be obviously the Swish and Flick. Take out your wand."
"Good. I'm taking out mine as well."
Harry rolled his eyes.
"Now we put our wands close to each other... until they touch. Like this. Side by side. Hold it tightly. Now we start: swish and flick."
"Would you stop that?" Harry complained.
"Those innuendoes... that's so obscene. That's it, 'obscene' is a word that fits you. With all those obscene innuendoes, I can't concentrate."
"Obscene innuendoes?" A perverse smile cut through the teacher's face. "That's a product of your adolescent mind, crammed with hormones."
Always bickering and raising verbal battles, they practised the very first lessons of Charms. Severus conjured a blue feather and placed it on a large table at the back of the room.
"Now. Let's see if we can get it up. Together."
Harry rolled his eyes, then focused his attention on the spell.
"Er. It's not working."
"The problem is that each of us is trying to 'command' the spell, and ends up overruling the other's magic. It's a very simple spell to cast jointly, because there are no choices involved in it. We just have to order the feather to levitate; we don't have to send it to either right or left, for example. So there shouldn't be any conflict between our intentions. Nonetheless, we *are* in conflict, and the magic doesn't flow. Keep in mind that we have actually done something much more complicated than that already, when we opened the door to Slytherin's Altar. 'Alohomora' is more complex than 'Wingardium Leviosa'!"
Soon they managed to stop trying to influence each other's magic and the blue feather levitated. Then they made it fly in circles in the room.
"Now let's try the table," said Snape.
Levitating the table didn't demand any more effort than levitating the feather. However, for a moment Harry lost concentration, and the table dropped to the floor with a violent thud. One of the feet broke.
"'Reparo' is a much more elaborate charm. I didn't plan us to attempt it before our fifth lesson, but since the opportunity was made available..."
The two of them pointed their wands to the table, attuned their minds and spoke the spell. Suddenly, not only that foot had been repaired, but the table had also gained dozens of new feet.
"What's the idea, Potter?"
"Me? Who says I did that?"
"Who else would have thought of a centipede-table?"
"I don't know. You're the teacher, you explain."
"Very well. I think I overestimated you. We should leave that spell for later."
"'Overestimated me'! You're a lousy teacher, that's the problem!"
They made good use of the resourcefulness of the Room of Requirement. On a certain April night, after over an hour of fruitless attempts to master the Switching Spells, they got themselves some comfortable sofas and, leaning back, amused themselves jointly summoning Enchanted Snow - warm and dry. It was beautiful to see the falling snowflakes. On a creative whim, Snape decided to adapt a spell so they could also create an aurora borealis inside the room.
"You know, Switching Spells are difficult because we need to focus on the same image at the same time."
"We could switch these flakes into stars... Wouldn't it be beautiful, raining stars?"
"Can you picture a star clearly? We could try it through Legilimency. Let me penetrate your mind," said Severus, in his most seductive tone. "I... won't pry into anything. I just wish to enter and plant a star..."
For a moment, Harry savoured the rapture that Severus' voice and the poetic image inspired him. Then he became angry. It wasn't fair that Snape would speak to him in that tone after all that speech about any intimate relationship between them being forbidden. Snape would tease him and then reject him." Why do we have to create *your* star, and not *mine*?"
"Always these power games," Snape snorted. "This only makes things harder."
"Look who's talking!" Harry folded his arm. "The star I picture will never be like yours."
Snape seemed to pierce him with his eyes. "Sirius? You still blame me for his death?"
Harry sighed. "I reckon I don't blame you more than I blame myself, or Dumbledore."
"But you blame me all the same."
Harry lowered his eyes, saying nothing.
"I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive Sirius or James," Snape stated. "Therefore, don't expect me to apologise for what happened to Sirius. I would do it all again, in the same circumstances. I am not a forgiving person."
"I know that. I reckon I'm not either."
"For now, that is the best we can have, isn't it? I know it doesn't look like much, but maybe it's a start. Very well. We shall create a star... together. Through Legilimency."
Gradually, their thoughts blended, merged. Out of chaos, a star was given birth. It might not be Nietzsche's dancing star, but it pulsated, shimmered and dazzled.
Soon they were under raining stars.
Bit by bit, they came to realise that the magic they produced together wasn't exactly like the individual magic of either of them, but displayed elements from both. And, what was more surprising, it was neither Light nor Dark Magic - it was the two forces combined.
By May, following Snape's schedule, they started practising one of the most difficult spells: the Patronus.
"I first thought we could use a Boggart, since your Boggart takes the shape of a Dementor, but... have you thought about what could be our joint Boggart?"
"And then an Expecto Patronum would do us no good! Anyway, we should practise it all the same. Those aren't the ideal conditions, for even if we produce a Patronus here it won't mean we will be prepared to face Dementors with it. But at least we will find out what is our joint Patronus."
"I doubt you're able to cast a Patronus... Could Severus Snape possibly have something pleasant to think about?"
"Harry Potter in a boiling cauldron full of dormice, salamanders, spiders and other abominable ingredients?"
"Seriously, Sev, what's your Patronus?"
"I won't tell you. And no use trying Legilimency!"
But Harry was becoming stronger as a wizard, and Severus knew he wouldn't be able to put up the same resistance he used to.
They didn't manage to produce the Patronus in the first day. The next day, when Snape gave the order for them to unite their powers and try once again to cast the Patronus, Harry played his trick. He pretended to try, but didn't put his will into the spell.
An impressive, majestic figure of Albus Dumbledore appeared before them, showing a grave, serene face, surrounded by silvery mist. After a moment of perplexity, Snape turned to Harry, enraged. "You cheating, treacherous creep..."
"So... it's him! How could I have been so blind? You love him..." Harry stared at Severus with wide eyes. "You love him... since you were a child... Everything you've done... was out of love for him."
"Stop that, Harry, get out of my mind!"
"I'm sorry, you weren't resisting."
"Not because I didn't try!" Snape glared daggers at him. "I feel like a Squib around you. Like you can do whatever you want with my mind, amuse yourself any way you wish."
"I am not amusing myself! Not a bit!"
"Well, then that's something *else* we have in common!"
"Sev, I'm sorry. I didn't do it on purpose. And although I don't have that kind of identification with Dumbledore, although I don't like him or trust him, now I understand you a lot better. Even with you being the greasy git that you are."
It was their third day trying to cast the joint Patronus and... nothing. Snape didn't know what else to do.
"Sev... What is the best memory you have... with me? Of something we have shared?"
"That is why we'll never succeed. I don't have any good memories of anything I shared with you."
The way he looked at Harry, however, denied those words. In fact, just thinking of Harry beside him caused something to shine in the depths of his sombre soul.
"Harry, give me your hand."
"Ah! It's so good to feel your magic mixing with mine like this, physically, not just mentally!"
"The idea is that physical contact helps the mental merge. Leave your mind open. Let's unite our minds. Yes, like this. Think of me, Harry, and I'll think of you. Three, two, one..."
"Expecto Patronum!" they said in one voice.
And a lion-serpent, with phantom silver eyes, appeared before them. It was the Baphomet.
Exhilarated, they hugged each other. But none of them were prepared for the might of the magical discharge that contact produced. Slowly, the Baphomet dissipated in the air. Snape tried to free himself, but Harry held him and pushed him against the wall. Harry seemed possessed by a supernatural force.
"Stop, Harry. This is getting out of control."
"No! Don't make me stop."
Harry didn't care. It wasn't fair. For six year the wizarding world had been preparing him to kill or die, denying him the affection of a family and putting in jeopardy - when not actually destroying - the lives of those he loved. And now he wasn't allowed to be with the person he desired. He wasn't allowed to live. It was clear that Severus thought like him, and desired him as well. So there was no reason for them to stop, he told himself. Desperately, he glued his lips to Severus'. The older wizard tried to push him away, but Harry grasped his hips and, moaning, pressed their bodies together, at the same time deepening the hot, brutal kiss. The magic waves surrounded them, multicoloured.
Once again Snape tried to escape, but Harry was much stronger than he, and dominated him, magically, physically and mentally. "Please, you must stop," he insisted. "I don't have the strength to resist, do you understand?"
"No, don't say that."
Harry rubbed his body against his teacher's rhythmically. Trying to increase the friction, Harry firmly grasped Severus' arse. The waves surrounding them began to acquire grey, sombre hues, but Harry didn't notice it. Neither did he notice that from a certain moment on Snape had stopped showing any reaction. Harry delved for another kiss. Out of his mind, he tried to open the countless buttons in Snape's robes. In the exact instant he started uttering a spell to get rid of the teacher's clothes at once, something very strange happened. Time seemed to stop and, slowly, Harry saw Snape pass out in his arms.
He had to use all his strength to catch the teacher before he fell. Luckily, since they were in the Requirement Room, a hospital bed materialised under Snape's body.
"Severus, please, wake up!"
Pale as a ghost, Snape barely breathed.
Harry ran to the fireplace - which in fact hadn't been there before, and upon whose mantel he found the necessary amount of Floo powder -, and called the Headmaster's office.
"Harry, what happened?"
"Headmaster, Professor Snape has fainted. Could you please send Madam Pomfrey here to the Room of Requirement?"
"I'm on my way."
The Room of Requirement was completely transformed into an infirmary, where Madam Pomfrey found every single medicament she needed. "How has he got to this condition? The symptoms are those of someone who was submitted to the Imperius Curse for several hours."
Dumbledore looked at Harry with a concerned look.
Harry buried his face in his hands. "I... didn't mean it... I didn't know I could have an effect that powerful over him. He's the teacher, isn't he? I've always thought he was the strongest!"
"Poppy, I ask you utmost discretion about this matter," said Dumbledore. "It's a problem related to Magical Empathy. Professor Snape was submitted to a state of tension beyond his limits."
"Magical Empathy? By Merlin, when are you ever going to stop playing with fire?" Madam Pomfrey shook her head, displeased, and went after a potions cocktail to give her patient.
When he raised his head again, Harry found Dumbledore's merciless stare aimed at him. "I am very disappointed with you. Your reckless behaviour has put Professor Snape's life in jeopardy. I hope you are aware of the gravity of what you have done and that you will never let this happen again."
It was late night. Madam Pomfrey had already retired and left him watching over Severus. No, he wasn't leaving until Severus regained consciousness, until he could be sure Severus would be all right.
This time he had really messed it up. He had acted exactly like his father in his worst moments, hadn't he? So he could also be as hateful and despicable as James had been. He was unable to cast an Unforgivable, but he was so blind and selfish that he had almost succeeded in extinguishing the last breath of life from the one that had become the most important person in his life. He had acted like a rapist, completely disrespecting the other's will, imposing himself by force.
How could he apologise for something so profoundly wrong? It would be hardly a surprise if Severus decided never to see him again. As a matter of fact, from what Harry knew of Severus Snape, that was exactly what was going to happen.
So much for the dream of the Magical Empathy. At least none of them had become insane, had they? Or hadn't they? In fact, Harry was seriously planning to jump into the lake, without any gillyweed. It would be a nice way to end it all. Except that, with his luck, he might get rescued by the Giant Squid. Which could have been his father. Which *should* have been his father. Yes, because if Lily Evans had kept her wits and married the Giant Squid instead of James Potter, all his problems would never have come to exist.
"If you were the Giant Squid's son, your brain would be much more usable, stupid boy."
"Severus! Finally..." Harry held his hand. "What..."
"Forget it. I'm not angry with you."
"What do you mean? After what I've done? Severus, I..."
"I already know what you are thinking. A load of rubbish, as always. Of course you are *not* James Potter. It is rather strange that I must be the one to tell you that, after all that's happened!"
"You're not okay, are you? I'm gonna call Madam Pomfrey and..."
"I am perfectly fine. Stop this drama. It is all very simple. You are only sixteen and you are attaining a very high level of magic, and very fast. You are not used to that and can't control all that magic. Especially with the Magical Empathy in play."
"Sev... I don't deserve your comprehension. We have to stop the practice. This is all too dangerous."
"Nonsense. We are at an advanced level, it would be a waste to stop now. It's the most powerful weapon we have to defeat the Dark Lord."
"But I can't trust myself, and I don't want to risk your life."
"Once again, the hero syndrome. You still think you are special, don't you?"
"I'm calling Madam Pomfrey. And you need to rest. We'll talk later."