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SIYE Time:10:24 on 18th January 2022


The Symphonic Suffering of Severus Snape
By DebbieO

- Text Size +

Category: "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Challenge (2008-1)
Characters:None
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fluff, Romance, Songfic
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 19
Summary: Snape is haunted by a melody he hates, while Harry and Ginny live it in reality. Will a night of musical and elemental torture drive Snape mad while it brings our favorite couple back together?
Hitcount: Story Total: 4151



Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.



Author's Notes:
Harry and Ginny are briefly reunited after the events of Godric's Hollow. This is an A/U outtake from canon that includes a few direct quotes from Deathly Hallows and is incorporated back into the story we love with a little extra fluff. I hope you enjoy it.




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Severus Snape groaned and tried to grip his greasy hair. “Not again!”

Celestina Warbeck–the monumental has-been–and the Wizarding and Muggle superstar, Mick Jagger had hijacked his favorite Classic Wizard Rock station on the Wireless again. Although Jagger was one of Snape’s all-time favorites, this song…rerecorded from some old Muggle hit especially for Christmas…was nauseating. It didn’t help that they played the thing every ten minutes.

His temper rising, Snape raised his wand to end the misery, only to be interrupted by a breathless Phineas Nigellus. “Headmaster! They are camping in the Forest of Dean! The Mudblood–“

“Do not use that word!”

“–the Granger girl, then, mentioned the place as she opened her bag and I heard her!”

****

The sun was coming up: The pure colorless vastness of the sky stretched over him, indifferent to him and his suffering. Harry sat down in the tent entrance and took a deep breath of clean air. Simply to be alive to watch the sun rise over the sparkling snowy hillside ought to have been the greatest treasure on earth, yet he could not appreciate it…

He laid his head on his knees, trying desperately to stop thinking about Ron, Godric’s Hollow, Bathilda Bagshot, and his broken wand. This last blow seemed to be the nail in his coffin. How could he fight? The protection of the twin cores was gone.

He heard Hermione’s voice as if from a distance. “Harry?”

She looked frightened that he might curse her with her own wand. Her face streaked with tears, she crouched down beside him, two cups of tea trembling in her hands.

Harry didn’t respond. There was an empty hopelessness spreading through him.

Hermione put the tea down and tentatively reached out to touch him. He knew she was hurting too, that it wasn’t her fault…his body shuddered as she wrapped her arms around him and leaned her head against him. He was grateful for her warmth, but couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge her. He felt weak, exhausted…frozen from the inside out.

After some time just sitting, Hermione began trying to get him to move, to eat. He felt as if he were watching her struggle with someone else–like a program on the telly. He wished she would leave him alone so he could simply fade.

Vaguely he became aware of her bustling around him. Then he felt her arms encircle him again. She was holding something that briefly glowed blue and he felt a familiar tug at his naval.

When the spinning ceased, he crumpled in a heap on a snowy hill. He wanted to sleep…nothing more. It would be so easy to drift away.

****

Severus Snape arrived outside the Forest of Dean moments later. Stealthily he searched for traces of magical concealment. After several hours of looking in the freezing weather, he found what he was looking for. Carefully, he made his way to a nearby pool and melted the ice that had formed atop it. This was the coldest winter day he’d experienced in a long time. He hoped his time exposed to the elements would be brief.

Magically, he sent the Sword of Gryffindor to its resting place at the bottom of the pool and refroze the surface. The sword had to be taken in conditions of need and valor. Well, he’d done his part, for now. The rest would be up to the trio.

Skulking back to a concealed area near where he sensed magic had recently been used; Snape hid himself and waited.

In spite of himself, he heard the echo of Jagger’s voice crooning, “Baby, it’s cold outside!”

Snarling, he covered his head, wishing he could drown out his own thoughts.

****

Slowly, Harry became aware of warmth. He hadn’t really been warm in so long he’d forgotten what it felt like. It was so delicious he let himself drift away again.

Much later, he felt something laying across his chest and holding his hand. He smelled a fire, spices and pine. He heard music in the background. It reminded him of Christmas, of Mrs. Weasley…

The thing that lay on his chest moved and he smelled flowers. Slowly, he struggled to open his eyes. Red…his blurry gaze met a sea of red. “Glasses,” he rasped.

“Harry, you’re awake…oh thank God!”

“Ginny?” He moaned and shut his eyes. He had to be dreaming. She couldn’t be here.

“Yes, Harry. It’s me. Hermione brought you here this morning. You were kind of out of it.” She placed his glasses on his face and he opened his eyes again. He was confused.

“Where am I?”

“The Burrow. Mum and Dad are away on a mission for the Order. Bill and Fleur were here earlier and they’ll be back. Fleur checked you out and said she thought you merely needed rest and a safe haven. Hermione was not a lot better off. She’s sleeping upstairs in my room. We decided to keep you down here close to the fire. Your temperature had dropped well below normal.”

Harry struggled to move in the pile of blankets surrounding him. He looked around the room, his eyes finally resting on the Christmas tree. As they had the year prior, the twins had painted a petrified gnome gold and stuck it at the top of the tree. A flood of happy memories cascaded over him at the sight. He began to laugh.

“Harry?” Ginny sounded concerned. He struggled to collect himself and reached for her hand.

“The gnome…” he gasped between chuckles, motioning toward it with their entwined fingers. “This has to be real. No one could fake a detail like that.”

Ginny giggled and brought his hand to her cheek. “I’ve been very worried about you.”

“Sorry.”

She shook her head. “I’m so glad you’re here. It’s been amazing to see you…to touch you.” Harry saw her cheeks pink and felt his own face grow warm. She caressed his face with her other hand.

“I missed you, Gin.”

Ginny’s eyes grew moist. “I missed you too.” She shook her head, trying to regain her composure. “Are you hungry?”

“Very,” he acknowledged. His stomach rumbled as if to back up the statement.

“Okay. You rest. I’ll bring a tray.”

****

Severus Snape stamped his feet and blew on his hands. The warming charms he had cast were doing little to stave off the freezing temperatures. Where were they? Snape knew they had been here, he could sense Potter’s magic. Groaning, he transfigured some branches into blankets and huddled down to wait some more.

What he wouldn’t give for a hot fire and a bottle of Ogden’s.

****

Several minutes later, Ginny re-entered the sitting room to find Harry up, folding his blankets absently. He looked as if his mind were miles away.

“What are you thinking?” she asked gently, as she set the tray in front of him.

Harry shook his head. He wanted to savor these moments with Ginny, not waste them arguing. She watched him quietly for a few moments as he attempted to avoid her question by eating.

“You’re leaving, aren’t you?” she asked.

Harry nodded, looking intently at his food. “I really can’t stay.” His stomach twisted painfully. He wanted nothing more than to lose himself in her. To spend the night…just one night…wrapped in her arms.

Ginny sat close to him and laid her hand upon his leg. He closed his eyes and breathed her scent. His heart was thumping wildly.

“It’s really cold out there tonight, Harry,” she said softly. “This is the worst winter storm we’ve had in a decade. Mum, Dad, Bill and Fleur probably won’t be back until morning. Hermione needs her rest. Please stay.”

Harry looked at her–his eyes bore into hers, pleading with her…for understanding or what? Was he looking for an excuse?

“I…we...really must go. It isn’t safe. I’m putting you all in danger being here.”

Ginny’s laugh was mirthless. “We’re in danger with or without you, Harry. I rather think you would be good protection in the event of an attack. Besides, it isn’t likely that Voldemort or his Death Eaters know you’re here. Hermione was very careful.” She paused and turned away. “Eat, Harry. We’ll talk when you’re done.”

He nodded. Ginny remained by his side, absently stroking his thigh. When he was finished, she removed the tray and took both of his hands in hers. “Look at me, Harry.”

He was startled. He hadn’t realized he was avoiding her gaze. He looked into her eyes and felt his resolve falter.

“Stay tonight, Harry. Just this one night, stay warm, dry, fed and loved. Stay with me.”

Harry’s eyes glowed in the firelight. “Loved?” he whispered huskily.

Ginny met his gaze unflinchingly and stretched her arms toward him. She nodded with certainty. “Loved.”

Harry burrowed into her arms. She held his shaking frame close to her and murmured her affection into his hair as she stroked his back.

He wasn’t sure how it happened. All he knew was that he was kissing her and that kissing her was like drinking pure joy. Every deadened feeling, repressed emotion, came to life at her touch. Harry was lost and found in her arms.

****

Severus Snape was freezing. He transfigured more blankets, reapplied the warming charms and tried to think warm thoughts. The longer he waited with nothing to occupy him the more that horrible song tormented him. He could hear Warbeck’s cutesy voice in his head, “So really I'd better scurry,” followed by the much more pleasing edgy voice of Jagger, “Beautiful, please don't hurry.” Who used words like “scurry” anyway? Was Warbeck a Rat Animagus? Moreover, as for the part about her parent’s worrying about her being out too late, well, Warbeck was old enough to have been free of parental concern for a lot longer than he had been. Stupid, horrible song! He slapped his head in abject misery.

****

Some time later reality began to seep back into Harry’s consciousness and he pulled away. “Gin, we really have to go.”

“Why?”

“What if your Mum and Dad or your brothers find us like this? Hermione’s upstairs…”

Ginny didn’t answer. Instead, she ran her fingernails back and forth across his chest beneath his shirt and began to kiss his neck. Between kisses she finally whispered, “One night, Harry…what can you accomplish in this weather freezing in a tent? Stay, relax…enjoy the fire…”

“The fire…” he murmured. He wondered faintly if she meant the one they were generating between them or the one heating the room.

A rosy haze cocooned them as they kissed and caressed each other. He surrendered completely.

The couple gradually drifted into a light slumber entwined in one another’s arms. Harry felt safe and at peace for the first time in months.

A crash jarred them back to consciousness several hours later. Molly Weasley was standing in the doorway, staring helplessly at the scene–a jar of cookies shattered at her feet.

“Harry? Ginny?” she gasped.

Harry flew off the sofa. Ginny sat up straight and adjusted her blouse. “Mum,” she replied. “Harry and Hermione arrived late this afternoon. Harry wasn’t well. He’s better now,” she added unnecessarily. Ginny’s face was as red as her hair.

“Mrs. Weasley…it’s, err…good to see you,” Harry mumbled.

He found himself engulfed in one of the matriarch’s bone crushing hugs. “Harry…thank God you are well. We’ve all been so worried about you.”

“Thanks Mrs. Weasley,” he murmured. “I’ve been worried about all of you too. I’m so glad you’re all safe.”

“Where’s Ronald?” she asked suddenly.

“He…umm…left us a couple of weeks ago, Mrs. Weasley. I don’t know if he’s tried to get back to us, I don’t think he could if he wanted to…I really thought he’d be here.”

“He left?” Mrs. Weasley looked stunned. “Why would he leave?”

“Well, I can’t really explain much about that, it’s part of the job Dumbledore left for me, but I can tell you that he was badly affected by some dark magic. He’s fine, physically…but his temper has been short and he got frustrated with me.”

Mrs. Weasley was white and trembling. She sat down and Ginny rose to wrap her arms around her mother. “He’ll be fine, Mum,” she whispered. “Ron’s smart and capable. I’m sure he’ll come home soon.”

Nodding absently, Mrs. Weasley rose unsteadily. “I’ll go check on Hermione. Harry dear, you should really get some more rest. Why don’t you use Percy’s old room for the night?”

The fireplace roared as she finished the sentence and Bill and Fleur stepped into the room one after the other.

“Arry, eet ees so good to see you!” Fleur exclaimed, hurrying to embrace him. “I knew Ginnee would take good care of you.” She winked discreetly at him as he blushed and nodded.

“Thanks Fleur. It’s good to see you too.”

“Harry, I need to talk with you privately. Do you mind?” Bill asked.

“Sure,” Harry said, following him into the kitchen where Bill performed an Imperturbable Charm on the doors.

“I thought you might be interested in what’s happened to Ron.”

“You’ve seen him?” Harry asked. “He’s okay?”

“Yeah, he’s okay, but he feels awful about abandoning you and has been trying to come up with a way back. He had a close run in with some Snatchers, but managed to escape. He has been holed up with us at Shell Cottage ever since. He’s afraid Mum and Ginny will kill him.”

Harry laughed. “Tell him we’re here. We need him.”

Bill nodded. “I thought you’d say that. Give me a minute then.” Canceling the charm on the doors, Bill went to the fireplace in the living room, threw in some floo powder and shouted, “Shell Cottage,” placing only his head and shoulders in the fire.

“All clear, brother.”

A moment later Ron appeared, shouldering his rucksack and looking sheepish. Harry grinned at him and nodded his forgiveness and understanding. Ron crossed the room and embraced him briefly. “I’m so sorry, mate.”

“I know,” Harry said. “I’m not the one you need to worry about though.”

The words had no sooner escaped his lips when a tousled Hermione meandered into the room. Her face went white to the lips when she saw Ron, but she said nothing. Instead, she turned to Harry and said, “All right then?”

“All right,” he answered nodding. “Thanks.”

****

Snape was dreaming. Lily was near, so near he could almost touch her. If he could only reach her hair, that vibrant hair, he would be warm again…he knew it.

Blackness descended upon him. Lily was at the end of a long, dark tunnel, getting farther and farther from his grasp. “Don’t go,” he moaned in his sleep. The dream Lily smiled sadly and Snape awakened.

He heard the echo of a song in his head, but this time it was Lily singing, “I really can't stay,” and him pleading, “Oh, baby, don't hold out.”

It had snowed again and he was buried like someone’s gruesome idea of a Halloween snowman. Only his greasy hair and hooked nose were visible beneath the blanket of white.

Shaking it off, reapplying the drying, and heating charms, Snape drank the last of his blood-warming potion and prayed for a quick resolution to his errand.

Ah but it's cold outside…


****

Mrs. Weasley bustled down the stairs behind Hermione and ran to embrace Ron. “I was so worried…Harry said you’d gone, that you’d been influenced by dark magic…”

Hermione sniffed loudly.

“M’fine Mum,” Ron said, gingerly patting his mother.

Mrs. Weasley squeezed him again and bustled into the kitchen intent on feeding the lot. Arthur and the twins flooed in and the Burrow was its usual hub of noise and activity. Harry sought Ginny’s eyes. The mischievous sparkle they’d had earlier was gone. He saw pain and longing, fear and desire…his breath caught at the realization that he was the cause. He wove his way through the crowded room to stand near her and gently took her hand and squeezed. She returned it and held on steadfastly.

Ron noticed and gave him a look. Harry determinedly looked away. It was none of his friend’s business what happened between him and Ginny. He wasn’t messing her around…he loved her, needed her.

Suddenly, he realized that they needed each other. A lifetime of indifference and neglect had made him forgetful of her feelings. Ginny loved him; his presence mattered to her. She hurt when they were apart, just the way he did.

Ginny couldn’t come with them with the trace on her magic, but she needed his reassurance. “Gin,” he whispered. “After breakfast, we need to find a place where we can talk.”

She stiffened and would not meet his gaze, but nodded her acceptance. Harry realized what she must be thinking and whispered, “It’s nothing bad...I just need to tell you a few things.”

This time she looked up and he saw tears in her eyes. He squeezed her hand again and she smiled weakly at him. Then they both had to duck. A plate of eggs and toast had flown right at them en route to the table.

Ron and Hermione were sitting on opposite ends of the room and Harry noticed she was looking everywhere Ron wasn’t, laughing at the twins, talking to Mr. Weasley or staring at her plate, but Ron’s eyes never left her face…well, except for the glare he’d shot at Harry over Ginny.

“So, tell us all the news,” Harry said. “Somebody was spreading rumors about an attempt to steal Gryffindor’s Sword.”

“Steal Gryffindor’s Sword?” Mrs. Weasley was appalled. “Who would try to steal it? Why? I know the sword is rightfully yours, Harry, but…” She trailed off throwing a suspicious look at her daughter who had taken the opportunity to hiss, “Later,” at Harry during her mother’s initial outburst. Ginny was now sporting an angelic expression that made Harry want to laugh hysterically. He couldn’t wait to hear the story.

“Tonks and Lupin are well. Tonks says that she’s going to explode if she gets much bigger, and I can’t deny it,” Ginny said snickering.

“Our mail order business is thriving. Your generous investment will soon make you a very rich man,” said George.

Fred nodded enthusiastically, “But, George…he’s already a very rich man.”

“Okay, so he’ll be a richer man, with a couple of rich friends.”

Harry laughed at the twins and turned to Mr. Weasley. “How are things with the Order?”

“We’re busy,” Arthur said with a grimace. “Like you, however, I’m not at liberty to discuss our plans or activities.”

Harry nodded. “I understand, sir.”

“Umm, Mr. Weasley,” Harry whispered quietly. “I have a serious problem. My wand was broken recently. Do you have any idea where I can get another one?”

“Your wand…broken you say?”

George had weaseled up behind them and was listening. “Oi Fred, Harry here’s got a broken wand.”

“Shame that,” Fred remarked shaking his head sadly. Harry rolled his eyes and blushed.

“Harry, I’ve an extra wand. I fought it off the Snatchers right after I left you. Maybe it’ll work for you,” Ron interjected.

“I hope so. Thanks Ron. What the heck are Snatchers anyway?”

****
Snape was getting desperate. He was afraid to sleep again. Casting protective spells around his position to ensure his privacy, he got up and started to sing the song he so loathed and dance around the forest. It was the only song he could think of now, having heard it so many blasted times recently.

He tried to imagine himself coaxing Lily to stay with him as Jagger coaxed Warbeck in the song. Even this most pitiful daydream was ruined by the inescapable fact of James Potter cutting in and whisking Lily away.

****

Harry pulled Ginny aside after breakfast. Leading her to her room he left the door open, but cast spells over the doorway that would prevent them being seen or heard.

Once the room was secure, he turned to Ginny. “Thank you for all you did for me tonight. Being with you again…it was like a happy dream.”

“Or like something out of someone else’s life?” Ginny whispered, a touch of bitterness in her tone.

“Something like that,” he agreed. He took her hands in his. “Ginny, I’ve been very unfair to you and I’m sorry.”

She looked up at him uncertainly.

“I should never have broken up with you the way I did. It was selfish of me. I told myself I was trying to protect you, but really…I was only trying to protect myself. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.”

“It’s okay, Harry. I understand. I did then and I still do. I won’t pretend it isn’t hard though.”

“It’s hard for me too. It hit me tonight that when I pushed you away for my ‘stupid noble reasons’ I hurt you, and that’s something I never wanted…never want…to do.”

Harry dropped her hands, stood and paced back and forth a few times while Ginny watched. Finally, he took a deep breath and knelt in front of her. His heart in his throat, he managed to look into her eyes and say, “I love you, Ginny. You are the only girl for me. If you’ll wait for me to finish what I have to do, I promise I will never push you away again.”

Ginny’s smile was like the sunrise. Tears rolled down her cheeks. When she could speak she whispered, “Harry, I’ve been waiting for you since I met you that first time at Platform 9 . But…if you ever change your mind, about leaving...leaving me behind…I know I could help you.”

Harry engulfed her in a hug. “I’d take you with me if I could, but you have the trace on you, remember? And your Mum? I can’t even imagine what she’d do to me if I tried to take you away.”

“I wish you didn’t have to go,” she said, sad but resigned.

“Me too. Say, do you think Voldemort would accept an excuse? Something like:

Dear Tom, Mr. Dark Lord, Voldemort, He Who Must Not Be Named, You Know Who (take your pick),

Please excuse me from the coming war. I much prefer snogging my girlfriend to fighting dark wizards, so if you’ll knock it off and mind your own business we can get on with our respective lives.”

Ginny giggled. “That might do it, Harry. He could get a girl of his own to snog too!”

“Now that’s scary!” Harry insisted, shaking his head.

****

Snape was jolted out of his delirium by the sound of three people Apparating nearby. Shaking himself and jumping up and down several times helped him clear his head. Another application of warming and drying charms, hopefully the last he would have to apply, helped thaw him out a bit.

He was a bit surprised to feel large bursts of magic within the containment field. He couldn’t imagine what the trio was doing.

“Finally!” he said to himself half an hour later. He saw the tent flap open and Potter emerge, followed shortly by Weasley.

“Could’ve been worse,” Weasley was saying. “Remember those birds she set on me?”

From inside the tent Snape heard Hermione’s voice call, “I still haven’t ruled it out!”

Snape quickly cast his Patronus and the boys followed the doe to the frozen pool.

“Ron…look at this. Is that? It can’t be…”

“The Sword of Gryffindor,” Ron concluded grimly. “I dunno mate. What is it doing out here? Who sent that Patronus? Are they still here?”

“Diffindo!” Harry shouted, pointing his wand at the ice. Before Ron could react, before Harry could really think about what he was doing, he plunged into the icy water.

Harry was three feet down before Ron remembered the Horcrux. Opening the Deluminator, Ron cast light upon the pool and searched its depths for his best mate.

“Bloody hell, Harry!” Ron exclaimed. He kicked off his trainers and dove after him into the water.

****

Hours later, Severus Snape stumbled back into the Headmaster’s suite, half-frozen from his ordeal. Downing several potions in quick succession he filled his tub with hot water and eased his tired body into the soothing liquid. With a flick of his wand, he started the wireless and gazed across the room at a small, torn photograph of a red-haired, green-eyed witch.

“I did it, Lily,” he whispered, sighing.

Potter had the Sword, thanks to Weasley. Another Horcrux had been destroyed.

He felt his muscles relax in the warm water, and then tighten as a familiar tune echoed in the chamber. “I really must go. Baby, it’s cold outside…” Infuriating! Was the wireless mocking him?

Reaching over the side of the tub, Snape groped for his wand. Glaring at the wireless he thought, “Reducto!” and smiled grimly. Tiny pieces of the machine rained down upon him as he sank beneath the water.











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