Rating: PG (mild language)
Genre: Gen, vignette
Characters: Harry Potter, Severus Snape
Notes: Beta'd by LaBlue and MultiFacets. The first line is a prompt from a very old round of the Harry-Snape Fuh-Q-Fest, now defunct.
Summary: Harry asks Snape for help.
"Dumbledore is dead!"
"And your loyalty to him is just over, easy as that?"
Snape's face is still twisted with fury, but his voice is cold and even as he repeats, "Dumbledore is dead."
"The cause he fought for isn't."
"And I'm supposed to accept you as his replacement? You? Do you expect to order me around? To make me cower and tremble and rush to satisfy your every whim?"
Harry's muscles shake with fatigue. The creases of his skin feel like they'll never wash clean of the grit and stink of battle. "Just -- come back with me. You don't have to have anything to do with me, promise. I won't even talk to you. But Kingsley's dead, and Moody's been captured, and Remus-" He swallows. Snape is the last person in the world he wants to be dealing with, but they need him. Need his expertise, need his power, need his inside information. Without it, they're lost.
"You have no idea what you're doing, do you?" Snape sneers. "I'm surprised you've lasted this long."
"You're a fool, Potter. Rash and selfish and completely unaware of consequences. You're losing this war."
"I know that!"
"And you think I'll come in, as usual, to pull your arse out of the fire? You want me to come in and fix everything and make the bad man go away?"
Harry feels dread congeal coldly in his chest. "You're powerful," he says. He's desperately grasping for anything that could convince Snape, and he knows it. "You know Volde- the Dark Lord better than anyone. You're the only one who can make the healing potions we need. You could help with strategy-"
Snape stands. He no longer looks furious, just implacable. A glint in his eyes hints that he may even be enjoying it. "I could," he says, "but I won't."
"Snape," Harry says. His knees feel weak, bowing under the weight of hopelessness, and it's all he can do to remain standing. "Snape, please..."
"Not this time," Snape says. "Clean up your own mess."