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AN: A short, hopefully random, oneshot written for and inspired by the One Line Competition over on HPFC, where we were given the first line 'The water looked deep and inviting' and told to expand on it.  Not a literal representation of the word 'soliloquy'.

Title: A Midnight Soliloquy

Author: KrossatGlass

Status: Complete 

 Summary: “Have you ever experienced a lullaby so complete—so gentle and all encompassing—that you wanted nothing more than to let it take you? Have you ever felt drawn toward the darkest places in the world; or the darkest places inside yourself? … His very soul sank into mine and, with a short shock, the rhythm ceased. When I opened my eyes again, returning to reality, everything looked different—exactly the same, but, at the same time, not exactly.”  There, in Andromeda Tonks' kitchen, Harry sat and explained (without really telling them anything at all) why he had been caught cavorting with the enemy that night.  Though his journey had begun long ago, one catalyst set had set him on a new path (a path that would lead some to salvation and some to ruin): a pool of deep water... | Highly AU |






"The water looked deep and inviting."

Harry's whispered words were in response to my query of why? He was fluidly flexing his fingers, and rolling his shoulders in discomfort. His seat wasn't exactly luxurious, but he wasn't a guest; I was not ashamed of our treatment of him. "That day everything had been nothing more than a blur; I wasn't sure if I was seeing the world through true-eyes anymore. It just glinted there—oh-so-innocently—upon the bottom of the pool, the ice cracked open, and I couldn't resist going in after it.  Someone had to, after all.

"I suppose, now, that it was all the Locket talking."

I frowned at Harry's small, distant smile, wondering if his sanity had abandoned him. It was a sensible musing, considering the current circumstances.

"No. I don't supposeI know that it was the Locket talking.

"The damnable thing had been calling me for weeks." His head tilted to the side in a mocking semblance of curiosity. It was thesteral-like...they cocked their heads in the same sweet, innocent way, but were alarming at the same time. "Have you ever experienced a lullaby so complete—so gentle and all encompassing—that you wanted nothing more than to let it take you? Have you ever felt drawn toward the darkest places in the world; or the darkest places inside yourself?

I shivered at the look in his eyes, folding one hand protectively over my stomach. The life inside of me turned over and I felt as if I had been driven over a humpback-bridge, or had just taken a gravity defying dive on my broom, barely pulling up in time. Like one of Harry's dives from when he was still in school; from before he became caught up in the war completely; from before he cracked under the weight of expectation…

I didn't answer him. I didn't think that I could...not honestly, at least. He wasn't really talking to us,, it was more as if he was talking to himself and we just happened to be near.

"Hmm… Perhaps you have, perhaps you haven't," Harry commented, his eyes effulgent with some certainty that was hidden from me. "Either way… You're a Black by blood. I'd say that it's the former, right, Nymphadora?"

He smirked absently as I bristled at his use of my given name; then again, what else was he to call me? I certainly wasn't a Tonks anymore, and Lupin would likely feel wrong in his mouth.

"I suppose—seeing as I'm a little tied up right now—" he smiled at his own dark joke, nodding at the ropes that held him on Mum's kitchen chair, "that this is the point that I'm supposed to just give in and spill out all my Dark Plots for the world to hear?"

"That's exactly what you will do, boy," my father growled, his left eye twitching in his rage. I put my hand on his shoulder and motioned towards my stomach, reminding him that loud noises startled the baby. He gave me an apologetic look and I smiled reassuringly at him. I'm certain that I had seen Harry flinch at being addressed as 'boy' in the same way that I did when I was referred to as 'Nymphadora'. It was as if it was some horrific name from his childhood that he had desperately tried to put behind him, to no avail. The way he twitched as Dad said it made me feel sorry for him. That would change over the course of the next hour or so, of course.

"Well," Harry told us, shrugging his shoulders and looking about the room, "I guess that there's no harm in giving the game away now, when I'm all trapped like this." My dad moved forward, as if to listen better, and Hestia and Severus seemed to be closer together all of a sudden, the former trying desperately not to recoil under Harry's piercing green gaze.

"Well then, Potter, spit it out! We don't have all night."

It's funny, I guess. Thousands of students have suffered Severus Snape's patented death-glare (the boy before us included), but today, for the first time, I got to see the tables turned. An angry Harry Potter was completely paralysing and the eyes that he turned upon his ex-professor, as the man ordered him about, were frigidly unamused. For a moment I could fully appreciate what power the young man held, and why, upon hearing that he had been found happily visiting a Death Eater hideout (and had likely switched sides or been bewitched), Ronald Weasley had suggested that they all commit suicide. “If Harry's turned, that's it for us,” the red-head had said, “'cause that guy's just as dangerous as You-Know-Who when he's pissed.  I wouldn't wanna be his enemy.”

'Me neither,' I thought firmly. Whichever side Harry was on was the way to go...otherwise you were likely forfeiting your life.

"Don't rush me, Snape," he hissed—it was almost serpentine really, the way the sentence came out—before looking at the rest of us in a more friendly manner. "I have to start at the beginning. I don't suppose that I could get some water, could I, Nymphie?"

I figured, if Harry switched sides and the Dark won, then at least Nymphie was a tolerable nickname. It was better than dying, anyway.

I rifled through the glass cupboard, looking for something appropriate (Dad nudged me and advised, "you shouldn't use the best crystal, your Mum would go spare") for Harry to use. There was a special cup in here, I just knew there was. Finally my fingers fumbled across it and, grasping it tightly, I pulled it out.

The Calix Veritas was an old Black family heirloom, passed down to the eldest daughter when she went off to Hogwarts. Any liquid placed within it would cause the drinker to speak nothing but the truth. In that sense it was like Veritaserum but that was where the similarities ended: Veritaserum was a potion that the drinker knew they had imbibed, and you had to ask specific questions to get any decent answers out of them; the Calix Veritas was laced with an ancient compulsion that made the drinker want to spill their guts to you, and was completely undetectable. Even if Harry had already said that he was going to tell them everything, it didn't hurt to be certain of such things.

Filling it from the tap, I placed the glass on the table in front of him and waited, expectantly, for him to drink. He raised an eyebrow at me, looking pointedly at the restrictive ropes binding him in place.

I blushed and stumbled over my words, "oh- right…sorry," before I helped him take a few gulps. He coughed a little, but smiled at me kindly, when I returned to my previous seat opposite him.

"It didn't really start the night I stared at the Sword of Gryffindor," he announced, "submerged in an icy pool of water. It began much earlier, I suppose, when we first stole Slytherin's Locket off of that foul toad [though one could argue that the beginning was really when I was twelve and spent a few weeks intrigued by Tom, the boy trapped in a diary].

"We were originally going to take it in turns to wear the Locket [Hermione, Ron, and I]. It made each of us feel strange, and think dark thoughts of downfall. Somehow though, once Ron had gone, the task to carry it fell to me: Hermione was in a constant quandary, depressed as hell, and I couldn't bear to let her take the weight of it. So I began to wear it, non-stop.

"It was then that the song first came to me…

"Did you know that souls sing to each other?" He asked absently, gazing off into space as if caught in a long dead memory. "They sing and dance and, sometimes, scream, just hoping to be seen and heard in the world they're lost in. Eventually the lucky ones make it home. The rest just fade away."

"What about Heaven?" Hestia asked, speaking for the first time.

"Heaven is nothing more than the abstraction that describes finding someone who's song matches yours," Harry told her. "Those who don't find them in one lifetime are forced to live again, and again, and again…"

"I thought you said that they faded away?"

"Oh, they do—it takes centuries.  Centuries of being reborn, never finding your 'soul-mate', living in misery, until, finally, you are nothing.  Your last incarnation can be many things, but generally it is a bitter, weak, useless thing, hell bent in depression, or on revenge."

Severus' lip curled cruelly as he sneered, "like the Dark Lord?" I'm not certain that it was a question, but it appeared as such, and Harry responded to it as one.

"Yes," he murmured, "like Tom.  Then again, no one could ever really describe Tom as weak.

"Can you even imagine what it's like to never find the rest of yourself? Perhaps you can, Professor…after all, your own soul seems to be fading. Soon you'll be nothing more than dust on the sepulchral wind.  I can't imagine that. It must be a long torture, and it is one that there is no recovery from. What do you think that ghosts are?"

He gave us all an unreadable look as Hestia replied that she had heard that they were the spirits of those who had been afraid to die in life.

"How absurd!" He exclaimed, once the dark haired witch had fallen quiet. "Professor Binns: he wasn't afraid to die, was he? No, he didn't actively choose to go on, he just stood up one day, dead, and figured that he might as well continue teaching.  Ghosts are the souls of those who never found their match.  Well, they're the ones who managed to avoid fading completely. They're lucky in a way—they still have the ability to communicate with the living…the rest don't even have that. They just float through the world, through time, unnoticed and saddled with unfathomable despair.

"Such a nasty fate meets those who don't find their soul-mate in time."

"This is off topic," Severus informed Harry angrily, the cantankerous man clearly uncomfortable with the insinuation that this was his 'last lifetime' (perhaps it hit close to home?), "you appear to have forgotten your simple task [yet again]: informing us of all your plans."

This time Harry didn't bother looking at him, but stared straight into my own eyes. I felt them turn light pink under his scrutiny.  “You know what I'm talking about, don't you?" he asked me rhetorically. "Remus' soul isn't that old, and yours is beautifully new. You found him your first go around, which is quite impressive, when you think about how many people there are in the world."

I smiled a little at the idea that Remus was my soul-mate. To think that the ol' wolf didn't want anything to do with me at first, scared that he'd hurt me, or that, perhaps, I'd hurt him. "Yes, I think that I did," I said fondly, thinking about my sweet husband, becoming distracted from the gravity of the situation that we were in. Even the war paled beside the thought of Remus…I wondered when he'd get back from negotiating with the Silvermoon pack.

"For Salazar's sake, Potter—just get on with it!"

Harry's eyes rolled. "I am, I am! You see, to understand what happens to a soul that is not mated is vital to my tale. Not to mention the fact that soul-mates exist at all.

"So, as I was saying—before I was so rudely interrupted," here he glared at Severus, "—souls have mates. Without them you are incomplete, and will eventually fade from the living world, adrift in agony.

"If you don't understand why souls are important to my story [though I'd wager that Snape does know] then let me enlighten you: Tom made Horcruxes. A Horcrux is a nasty Dark magic, which, through ritual, allows you to contain a part of your soul within an object, so that it is glued to the mortal plane, unable to move on, or die. The Locket that I once wore was one of these Horcruxes."

Hestia gasped, my father's face remained stony, and Severus seemed gratified that this foul magic was (going by Harry's description of it in the past tense) at least destroyed. I, myself, felt a little ill. Though I might just have been hungry…pregnancy does strange things to your stomach.

"I'm just as much him now as I am me…and even the part that's me is more like him than I figure you would like."

My brow furrowed, not quite understanding his statement, convoluted as it was. While I tried to unravel his previous words, he continued talking.

"That little Locket—that singing piece of Tom's soul—slowly burrowed it's way into my mind. It was so beautifully dark. Prurient and warm. When it said that I should dive into that deep pool, I couldn't help but comply. It tightened around my neck, and I was certain that it was killing me, but that was okay…because it felt right Perhaps I'm insane, but dying by Tom's hand could never be wrong.  Tom could never be wrong.

"Then it all just stopped." He looked down at his hands with a sigh. "I thought that the Locket was dead for one terrible moment. It wasn't though…"

I stared at Harry, transfixed by his horrific tale (he spoke of evil things with an emotion that looked a lot like love swimming in his eyes). I thought that any moment now he was going to scream, "April fools!" It wasn't April 1st though. No, it was just nearing midnight on a warm evening at the beginning of May, a couple of weeks after my due-date, and nobody was joking around. Whatever Harry was trying to tell us was candid—alarmingly so—because he had drunk from the cup, and the cup never lies. The idea that this was all a bad dream was born from simple wishful thinking.

"…it was beautifully alive, and burning through my chest. The joyous torment was so great that I thought I was welling up to burst..."

His voice faded away before me and I knew that he was there: He was back on that cold winters night, melting underneath the power of Voldemort, entranced by what he saw, like so many before him. A treacherous desire had sparked inside him; a dark lust for something that could lead us all to doom, lurked behind his eyes.

"It met my heart," he whispered strongly, unbridled emotion spilling out of his chest and into his words. "It hit my heart and stopped. It opened, then, and surrounded my soul, greeting the parts of me it recognised as itself, and the parts that it recognised as its mate."

His smile was blissful, as if some great wonder stood before him.

"Mate, Potter?" Severus snorted, clearly sceptical; there was something genuine behind his question though…I thought that it was fear. He was afraid that Harry really was Voldemort's soul-mate, and that all was lost for the Light. 'If this is true, then Harry can't fight his soul-mate, and Voldemort would never call a ceasefire with the light.  Harry's caught in catch bloody twenty-two.'

"…And the song," the black haired youth continued, ignoring his ex-professor (if he even heard him at all). "The song of his soul was so wantonly dignified that I almost wept. I wouldn't have been ashamed if I had. Such feeling is unavoidable when you are connected so very intimately with another. His very soul sank into mine and, with a short shock, the rhythm ceased. When I opened my eyes again, returning to reality, everything looked different—exactly the same, but, at the same time, not exactly.

"That night everything changed for me, whether I knew it or not. All of a sudden I was almost as much Tom as I was Harry."

At this point the four of us (plus Harry, our prisoner), haphazardly gathered in the kitchen of my childhood home (the walls were a cheerful cornflower blue, the cupboards bright white, and the table was an old Black heirloom, dark wood worn but beautiful), exchanged turbid glances. Was Harry saying that he wasn't just him, but that he was, somehow, partially possessed by Voldemort? Was he saying that he had absorbed this Horcrux-thingy into himself; that he had absorbed (and was protecting) a piece of the Dark Bastard's soul? I assumed that he was, because Severus had leant back against the counter, his breathing strangely heavy, his eyes defeated and resigned.

"When I slept that night I broke straight through Tom's occlumency barriers, seeing through his eyes. I watched on as he painstakingly complied a list of those people that he desperately wished not to harm during the conflict, and wouldn't touch without provocation," Harry said, before emitting a small laugh from between his truthful lips.  I was unsure what it was that he found amusing. "He didn't even notice that I was there until much later, when he was planning how to draw me out of my hiding-apparent.

"There he was, trying to coax me to him, and there I was, right with him already. But he knew then…he knew that I knew about the Horcruxes, and he panicked."

Severus glanced up, some kind of renewed hope in his eyes…I had no idea what the hope was for or caused by. My father came to sit beside me, his elbows on the table and hands clasped before him. "If he panicked," Dad asked levelly, "then why didn't he kill you?"

"To kill me might only serve to bring himself closer to mortality. You see, this," here he blew his hair out of his face—his lips puckered cutely, his eyes crossed endearingly, and I relaxed in my chair ('Harry wouldn't hurt a fly')—to draw our attention to his scar, "is a mark."

"Your intelligence may no bounds, Potter," Severus said, placing a comforting hand on Hestia's hip in an action that was most out-of-character for him, even as he glowered at his ex-student, "but don't insult ours. We know that that is a mark—we are not imbeciles."

"Oh, just shut up, Snivellous. There is no need to be so cutting," Harry snapped, imitating the man he was mocking. "Everything will make sense to you in good time. Well, that is if you aren't as much of a dunderhead," he glanced at Severus in emphasis, "as the other idiot Death Eaters that I usually have to tell things to. You don't need me to draw a diagram for you to understand what to do, do you?"

Severus glared at him. I snorted at the man's annoyance and amused myself by imagining Harry trying to explain to Crabbe and Goyle junior how babies were made. It made for a pretty picture.

"Not at all, Potter. Get on with it."

Harry's lips curled in sadistic amusement—he was clearly enjoying antagonising his ex-professor no end. "I am," he stated simply. "As I was saying, I was right there, just where he wanted me, and, at the same time, just where he didn't wa—"

"Wait a minute!" Hestia cried, her slight northern accent softly slipping into her usually carefully cultured speech. Her hand gripped Severus' arm tightly—too tightly—but he didn't so much as twitch, let alone complain. "You've really been spending your time talking to Death Eaters? You weren't coerced, or something?"

A lazy grin spread across his face. For someone caught and captured cavorting with the enemy, this was a boy ('man,' my mind corrected) who was at ease and unafraid of the possible consequences of his actions against us. He was far too relaxed in our presence for it to be natural, which meant either that Voldemort was about to swoop down upon us, saving him, or that he really had gone insane, and that he had no cares anymore. Neither possibility was good: one meant that Harry was useless to us, and that we might as well start waving white flags, 'cause he was in no fit state to save anything; the other implied that Voldemort knew of our location (through his and Harry's shared soul, perhaps?) and was on his way to retrieve his soul-mate.

As Harry explained that he had been dropping a few missions of to some Death Eaters sequestered in a safe-base-house in Finchingfield, I stood and rummaged through the fridge. There was cheese—unfortunately I knew for a fact that the bread-bin was empty—and pickle, which smelled pretty good. I did a quick sweep of another cupboard and came across the poppyseed crackers that I'd had Mum stock up on a few months back.

"…because he didn't perceive me as a threat anymore. And, of course, that made me useful to…"

I grabbed a plate and piled it with the delicious crackers, cutting a hunk of cheese of the block and settling back next to Dad with my haul. He looked at me with his eyebrows up, as if questioning how I could eat in this kind of situation. He knew I couldn't help it though: what baby wants, baby gets. Baby was hungry, and Merlin damn it all I had to eat something right now!

"…I was eager to help. It made him happier, it enriched his chances in this war, and that was important to me. The Light wanted me to kill my soul-mate, the Dark wanted me to save him.

"You'd be surprised how sane he has become since he first started reabsorbing his Horcruxes. You'd be surprised at how handsome…" His voice wandered again as I bit into my first cracker. The way he spoke of Voldemort was the same way in which I spoke of Remus. It was quite clear that Harry was in love with the man. How he could be, I didn't know, but I chalked it down to the soul-mate débâcle.

"You see, when Dumbledore first destroyed the Ring Horcrux, the soul had nowhere to go. It still could not leave the mortal plane—tied as it was by the other Horcruxes, and Tom's main soul—but could also not hover around unprotected. It gravitated back towards it's main part. The part in Tom. He regained it [though he didn't realise it at the time], and with it part of his fractured sanity, which previously had been as split as his soul."

Harry counted off the Horcruxes for us, giving us information vitally important to our future fights and missions. "The Ring, the Locket, the Cup, the Diary, the Diadem, Nagini, and me. Seven Horcruxes, six intentional, one not. Out of them the Ring and Diary Horcruxes lost their container; the Locket chose to jump ship [so to speak], and the Diary had no choice but to relocate to warmer climes...

"So now there are five Horcruxes; five anchors that keep Tom in the land of the living, and the largest one [two combined] is a part of me."

Hestia shuffled uncomfortably, asking the question that was on the tip of everyone's tongue at that moment. "And what if we kill you. Will that destroy that soul piece?"

"I don't know.

"The problem is that I am alive, I have a soul of my own. The original piece of Tom, that I have carried with me almost all my life, was given to me the night he hit me with the Killing Curse. The other I have harboured for nowhere near as long. The question is: are those soul pieces so ingrained in my own soul that they would follow me into the cycle of rebirth when I died, or would they simply be returned to Tom, like when any other container is broken? Personally I think that that it would be the latter.

"Anyway, I still haven't quite told you what went down between Tom and I—when he found me in his head—have I?"

He grinned widely, in a jovial manner, and a smile that was exactly like the old-Harry (on days when he was laughing with Fred, George, and Sirius) that, for a second, I forgot that he had been acting strange before. "It started like this: "How thewhat theHow is this even possible, Potter? How could the bloody-boy-who-just-refuses-to-die get past my defences? I don't"

"You're lying, boy!" My father insisted rudely—butting into Harry's amusing impression of a confounded Voldemort—with his nose wrinkled disdainfully (I got the feeling that, so far, tonight hadn't been kind to his high blood pressure). "You-Know-Who would never say such idiotic things! He might be a madman, but he's not a fool."

"He isn't lying," I told my father…a little too quickly, perhaps, because Harry quirked an eyebrow at me in question. I quickly caved under the pressure of his benevolent/malevolent gaze. "Calix Veritas. The cup of truth," I informed the Boy-Who-Lived, gesturing at the glass that I had helped him drink from earlier in the night.

My father relents, even as Harry nods in strange delight. "Compulsion…undetectable. Very clever, Nymphie. The Slytherin's would be proud."

He leaned his head back, resting it against his chair. "Well, I am being entirely truthful, as the fact that I have drunk from the famous Cup of Black Truth indicates. So yes, Ted, he did say those exact words…but if you aren't interested in my memory of that scene, then we shall simply pass over it. The long and short of it, anyway, is that [after much convincing] I managed to get Tom to understand that I meant him no harm; that, finally, I was seeing the world from his point of view; and that it was beautiful to me.

"After that I helped him all I could, even from my precarious position 'hunting' Horcruxes with my two tag-a-longs. I had Bellatrix retrieve the cup from her vault last night; I presented it to him, before returning to Finchingfield to give the lower, 'on-the-run', Death Eater's their orders. They had been informed to obey me, you see, as my word is Tom's word. They didn't take to kindly to my appearance, originally, but, surprisingly, a few of them are really growing on me. The Lestrange brothers, for one, are a real hoot."

Severus moved away from Hestia (though the woman protested) and brought himself eye-to-eye with Harry. "But then," he sneered, gleeful, "you arrogantly [just like your father] underestimated the remnants of the Order, and got yourself spotted by Hessie, didn't you? And now all the future plans you might have are for naught. You can speak nothing but the truth; you can't help but inform us of everything that is going on in that thick, Gryffindorish head of yours."

Harry nodded at him, clearly not intimidated. Though who would be if they had (it seemed) fallen in love with Voldemort? No one, I believed, could ever be scarier than that man. Then again, people said that werewolves were scary, and I had married one, so fearlessness in the face of love was something that I could easily relate to.

"So that's why you did it?" I asked, reiterating my original query to the young man sitting helpless before me. "For love?"

"Oh no. In the end, I guess that I did it all because the water looked so deep and inviting, and I had to. Suggestion is a wonderful thing, you know, and his soul suggested to mine that it was a good idea. In retrospect, I'd have to agree."

"You betrayed us for no reason?" 'Hessie' demanded, as furious as she was aghast.

"Betrayed you? Oh, I don't think that you should worry about things in the past tense, dear…you should worry about what I'm doing right now."

"What are you doing, Potter, other than regaling us with useless, whimsical, pathetic drivel, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever?"

Harry smiled at his ex-professor then, and it was so disturbingly pleasant on his darkening face that I had to shudder. I held my stomach a little tighter. If this was the man who was meant to save us all then we were monumentally fucked. He wasn't a saviour, at least, not to us.

"Betraying you," he stated calmly, eyes ablaze, smouldering with twisted delight. "This little accidental gathering is nothing more than a distraction, and until," the grandfather clock chimed once, it's sound ricocheting out of the hall and around the near silent kitchen, "one o'clock in the morning was how long I was told to keep you busy for, Headmaster Snape. Tom's up at Hogwarts right now: taking it over; retrieving his Diadem, ready to reintegrate the soul piece inside it with the main; and capturing Ginny Weasley."

Severus' eyes widened in realization: we had been duped. Dad growled under his breath something about it being 'too late now'.

"Ginny?" I ask, confusion sweeping my mind as I wondered what Voldemort could possibly want with her.

Harry nodded, "yes. When the Diary was destroyed it was still connected to her. Tom didn't have a body then, and a sliver of soul that small can't survive without a container, so it fled to the nearest recognisable home. Ginny was partially Tom [at the time] anyway: he had been pouring himself into her for months—she was a suitable house for the Horcrux. Now, of course, she is unneeded [a liability, even], so she will have to go. It's not much of a chore, or bother, to retrieve the piece of his soul that she has been keeping with her…and then, when Tom's done that, his soul will be almost whole. His brilliant sanity will be undeniable to anyone possessing an ounce of logic, his vision realised.

"Surely you didn't think that I had fallen in love with her last year? Pathetic, forever pining, she-looks-just-like-your-mother, fangirl, Ginny Weasley? More the fool you if you did. I merely was drawn to the small part of Tom inside her…but I have the real thing now, and that's all anyone needs.

"But enough talk. You guys should go to bed," Harry's slightly mocking, completely unvarnished, voice advised. "There's nothing that you can do now; it's all already over. When you get up tomorrow you'll be living in a brave new world, the leader of which won't be in any question."

The baby kicked violently against my hand, even as my father's head banged on the table, dead weight. He was muttering about all the kids up at the school, his shoulders impossibly tense. Severus stood, cursing loudly, and curled Hestia into his side. Hestia herself had wide eyes and looked as if she was about to cry: clearly she was fighting against her own guilt—she had been the one to bring Harry in, she had fallen for his trap. My eyes flickered up and locked with the Boy-Who-Lived's emerald orbs. They tossed like a tempest as I watched—all the lines in his face smoothed out completely, becoming nothing more than the memory of past stress. I knew, then, that Harry's current peaceful smile would both comfort and haunt me to the end of my life—the thing that I didn't know was how soon that end may come.