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He saw Ron’s silver terrier burst into the air, flicker feebly, and expire; he saw Hermione’s otter twist in midair and fade; and his own wand trembled in his hand, and he almost welcomed the oncoming oblivion, the promise of nothing, of no feeling. . . .

And then a silver hare, a boar, and a fox soared past Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s heads: The dementors fell back before the creatures’ approach. Three more people had arrived out of the darkness to stand beside them, their wands outstretched, continuing to cast their Patronuses: Luna, Ernie, and Seamus.

“That’s right,” said Luna encouragingly, as if they were back in the Room of Requirement and this was simply spell practice for the D.A. “That’s right, Harry . . . come on, think of something happy. . . .”

“Something happy?” he said, his voice cracked.

“We’re all still here,” she whispered, “we’re still fighting. Come on, now. . . .”

There was a silver spark, then a wavering light, and then, with the greatest effort it had ever cost him, the stag burst from the end of Harry’s wand. It cantered forward, and now the dementors scattered in earnest, and immediately the night was mild again, but the sounds of the surrounding battle were loud in his ears.

“Can’t thank you enough,” said Ron shakily, turning to Luna, Ernie, and Seamus, “you just saved —”

哈利看见罗恩的银狗跃入空中,微弱地闪了闪就不见了。他又看见赫敏的水獭在空中扭动,接着也消失了。他自己的魔杖在手里颤抖,他几乎巴不得自己赶快忘掉一切,坠入虚无,没有思想,没有感觉……

就在这时,一只银兔、一头公猪和一只狐狸从哈利、罗恩和赫敏的头顶上飞过。面对这些逼近的灵物,摄魂怪纷纷后退。又有三个人从黑暗中出现了,站在他们身边,伸手举着魔杖,继续给守护神施着魔法:那是卢娜、厄尼和西莫。

“很好,”卢娜鼓励地说,就好像他们回到了有求必应屋,只是在做D.A.的魔咒练习,“很好,哈利……快,想点高兴的事儿……”

“高兴的事儿?”他声音嘶哑地说。

“我们还在这儿,”卢娜轻声说,“我们还在战斗。好了,快……”

一朵银色的火花喷了出来,接着是一道摇摆不定的光,哈利付出了前所未有的努力。终于,牡鹿从他的杖尖涌了出来。它甩开蹄子朝前奔去,这下子摄魂怪真的溃逃了,夜晚顿时又变得温暖起来,但他耳朵里却灌满了打斗的声音。

“太谢谢你们了,”罗恩声音颤抖地对卢娜、厄尼和西莫说道,“你们救了——”

With a roar and an earth-quaking tremor, another giant came lurching out of the darkness from the direction of the forest, brandishing a club taller than any of them.

“RUN!” Harry shouted again, but the others needed no telling: They all scattered, and not a second too soon, for next moment the creature’s vast foot had fallen exactly where they had been standing. Harry looked round: Ron and Hermione were following him, but the other three had vanished back into the battle.

“Let’s get out of range!” yelled Ron as the giant swung its club again and its bellows echoed through the night, across the grounds where bursts of red and green light continued to illuminate the darkness.

“The Whomping Willow,” said Harry, “go!”

Somehow he walled it all up in his mind, crammed it into a small space into which he could not look now: Thoughts of Fred and Hagrid, and his terror for all the people he loved, scattered in and outside the castle, must all wait, because they had to run, had to reach the snake and Voldemort, because that was, as Hermione said, the only way to end it —

He sprinted, half believing he could outdistance death itself, ignoring the jets of light flying in the darkness all around him, and the sound of the lake crashing like the sea, and the creaking of the Forbidden Forest though the night was windless; through grounds that seemed themselves to have risen in rebellion, he ran faster than he had ever moved in his life, and it was he who saw the great tree first, the Willow that protected the secret at its roots with whiplike, slashing branches.

随着一声大吼和地震般的颤抖,又一个巨人从禁林那边的黑暗中蹒跚而出,手里挥舞着一根比他们几个人的个子还长的棍棒。

“快跑!”哈利又大喊一声,别人不用他说,早就四散逃开了。真悬哪,那家伙的大脚紧接着就落在了他们刚才站立的地方。哈利望望四周,罗恩和赫敏都跟着他,但另外三个人已经又回去战斗了。

“我们快躲开!”罗恩嚷道。

这时巨人又挥舞着棍棒,吼声在夜色中、在操场上空回荡,操场上一道道红光、绿光继续把黑暗照亮。

“打人柳,”哈利说,“快走!”

他似乎把一些思绪封存在脑子里,塞进了一个暂时不能去看的狭小空间,对弗雷德和海格的牵念,对所有他爱的、散落在城堡内外的人们的担心……都必须等一等,因为他们必须快跑,必须去接近那条蛇,接近伏地魔,因为就像赫敏所说,只有这样才能结束这一切——

他拼命狂奔,几乎觉得自己能把死亡甩在后面。他不去理会周围黑暗中射过的道道亮光,不去理会像大海一样阵阵冲刷的湖水声,也不去理会禁林里传出的吱吱嘎嘎的声响——虽然夜里并没有风。他们奔过似乎也在奋起反抗的操场,哈利这辈子从来没有跑得这么快过。然后,他第一个看见了那棵大树,那棵甩打着鞭子般的枝条、保护着树根底下的秘密的打人柳。

Panting and gasping, Harry slowed down, skirting the Willow’s swiping branches, peering through the darkness toward its thick trunk, trying to see the single knot in the bark of the old tree that would paralyze it. Ron and Hermione caught up, Hermione so out of breath she could not speak.

“How — how’re we going to get in?” panted Ron. “I can — see the place — if we just had — Crookshanks again —”

“Crookshanks?” wheezed Hermione, bent double, clutching her chest. “Are you a wizard, or what?”

“Oh — right — yeah —”

Ron looked around, then directed his wand at a twig on the ground and said, “Wingardium Leviosa!” The twig flew up from the ground, spun through the air as if caught by a gust of wind, then zoomed directly at the trunk through the Willow’s ominously swaying branches. It jabbed at a place near the roots, and at once, the writhing tree became still.

“Perfect!” panted Hermione.

“Wait.”

哈利上气不接下气地慢下脚步,避开打人柳嗖嗖抽打的枝条,在黑暗中仔细望着粗粗的树干,想看到老树皮上那个能使大树平静下来的节疤。罗恩和赫敏也赶了上来,赫敏喘得连话都说不出来了。

“我们——我们怎么进去呢?”罗恩喘着气说道,“我能——能看见那地方——如果我们——还带着克鲁克山——”

“克鲁克山?”赫敏气喘吁吁地说,弯腰揪着自己的胸口,“你到底是不是巫师呀?”

“哦——是呀——对了——”

罗恩环顾四周,然后用魔杖指着地上的一根树枝,说道:“羽加迪姆勒维奥萨!”树枝一下子从地上飞了起来,像被风吹着一样在空中旋转着,然后嗖地穿过打人柳的那些凶险的枝条,直朝树干冲去。它捅了捅树根附近的一个地方,顿时,扭曲抽打的柳树便安静下来。

“漂亮!”赫敏喘着气说。

“等等。”

For one teetering second, while the crashes and booms of the battle filled the air, Harry hesitated. Voldemort wanted him to do this, wanted him to come. . . . Was he leading Ron and Hermione into a trap?

But then the reality seemed to close upon him, cruel and plain: The only way forward was to kill the snake, and the snake was where Voldemort was, and Voldemort was at the end of this tunnel. . . .

“Harry, we’re coming, just get in there!” said Ron, pushing him forward.

Harry wriggled into the earthy passage hidden in the tree’s roots. It was a much tighter squeeze than it had been the last time they had entered it. The tunnel was low-ceilinged: They had had to double up to move through it nearly four years previously; now there was nothing for it but to crawl. Harry went first, his wand illuminated, expecting at any moment to meet barriers, but none came. They moved in silence, Harry’s gaze fixed upon the swinging beam of the wand held in his fist.

At last the tunnel began to slope upward and Harry saw a sliver of light ahead. Hermione tugged at his ankle.

“The Cloak!” she whispered. “Put the Cloak on!”

在那短暂的一瞬间,哈利迟疑了。空气里充斥着战斗的轰鸣和撞击声。伏地魔希望他这么做,希望他送上门来……他是不是在把罗恩和赫敏带入一个陷阱?

接着,现实似乎把他包围了,残酷而清楚:前面只有一条路,就是杀死那条蛇,而蛇是跟伏地魔在一起的,伏地魔就在这条隧道的尽头……

“哈利,我们来了,快进去吧!”罗恩说着,把他往前推了一把。

哈利扭动着身子爬进隐藏在树根底下的泥土隧道。这里比他们上次进来时狭窄逼仄多了。隧道的顶很低,差不多四年前他们就不得不弯着身子,现在只能匍匐着前进。哈利在最前面,他点亮魔杖,随时提防会遇到障碍,不料一路都很顺利。他们不出声地往前爬去。哈利盯着手里攥着的魔杖发出的那点摇摆不定的亮光。

终于,隧道开始向上升,哈利看见前面有一道狭长的亮光。赫敏拽了拽他的脚脖子。

“隐形衣!”她小声说,“把隐形衣穿上!”

He groped behind him and she forced the bundle of slippery cloth into his free hand. With difficulty he dragged it over himself, murmured, “Nox,” extinguishing his wandlight, and continued on his hands and knees, as silently as possible, all his senses straining, expecting every second to be discovered, to hear a cold clear voice, see a flash of green light.

And then he heard voices coming from the room directly ahead of them, only slightly muffled by the fact that the opening at the end of the tunnel had been blocked up by what looked like an old crate. Hardly daring to breathe, Harry edged right up to the opening and peered through a tiny gap left between crate and wall.

The room beyond was dimly lit, but he could see Nagini, swirling and coiling like a serpent underwater, safe in her enchanted, starry sphere, which floated unsupported in midair. He could see the edge of a table, and a long-fingered white hand toying with a wand. Then Snape spoke, and Harry’s heart lurched: Snape was inches away from where he crouched, hidden.

哈利在身后摸索着,赫敏将那件滑溜溜的衣服塞进他没拿魔杖的手里。哈利费劲地把衣服披在身上,低声说了声“诺克斯”,熄灭了魔杖的亮光,然后继续手脚并用地往前爬,尽量不发出一点声响。他绷紧了所有的神经,知道随时都可能被人发现,随时都可能听到一个冰冷而清晰的声音,看到一道耀眼的绿光。

接着,他听见从前面的房间里传来的说话的声音,但隧道尽头的豁口被一个旧箱子似的东西堵住了,使说话声听上去有点发闷。哈利尽量屏住呼吸,一点点地挪到豁口处,透过箱子和洞壁间的狭小缝隙望过去。

那边的屋子里光线昏暗,但他还是看见了纳吉尼。大蛇安全地待在那个飘浮在半空的星光闪闪的魔法保护球里,像在水底下一样扭动、盘绕。哈利还看见一张桌子的边缘,有一只苍白的、手指修长的手在摆弄一根魔杖。接着,斯内普说话了,哈利的心猛地一跳。斯内普跟哈利蜷身躲藏的地方只有几寸。

“. . . my Lord, their resistance is crumbling —”

“— and it is doing so without your help,” said Voldemort in his high, clear voice. “Skilled wizard though you are, Severus, I do not think you will make much difference now. We are almost there . . . almost.”

“Let me find the boy. Let me bring you Potter. I know I can find him, my Lord. Please.”

Snape strode past the gap, and Harry drew back a little, keeping his eyes fixed upon Nagini, wondering whether there was any spell that might penetrate the protection surrounding her, but he could not think of anything. One failed attempt, and he would give away his position. . . .

Voldemort stood up. Harry could see him now, see the red eyes, the flattened, serpentine face, the pallor of him gleaming slightly in the semidarkness.

“I have a problem, Severus,” said Voldemort softly.

“My Lord?” said Snape.

Voldemort raised the Elder Wand, holding it as delicately and precisely as a conductor’s baton.

“Why doesn’t it work for me, Severus?”

In the silence Harry imagined he could hear the snake hissing slightly as it coiled and uncoiled — or was it Voldemort’s sibilant sigh lingering on the air?

“……主人,他们的抵抗正在瓦解——”

“——这里面并没有你的功劳,”伏地魔用他高亢、清晰的声音说,“西弗勒斯,你虽然是个高明的巫师,但我认为你现在已经没有什么用了。我们还差一点就要成功了……还差一点。”

“让我去找那个男孩。让我把波特给您带来。我知道我能找到他,主人。求求您。”

斯内普从缝隙前走过,哈利往后退了一点,眼睛仍然盯在纳吉尼身上,心里在想有没有魔咒能够击穿大蛇周围的保护层,但一个也想不出来。他不敢轻举妄动,一旦失败,就会暴露他的位置……

伏地魔站了起来。哈利可以看见他了,看见他那双红眼睛,那张扁扁的、蛇一般的脸,还有他在昏暗中闪烁的苍白微光。

“我有个难题,西弗勒斯。”伏地魔轻声说。

“主人?”斯内普说。

伏地魔举起老魔杖,细致优雅地捏在指间,像捏着一根指挥棒。

“它为什么对我不管用呢,西弗勒斯?”

静默中,哈利仿佛能听见大蛇盘绕、伸展时发出的嘶嘶叫声,或者是伏地魔那在空气中萦绕不去的嘶嘶叹息声?

“My — my Lord?” said Snape blankly. “I do not understand. You — you have performed extraordinary magic with that wand.”

“No,” said Voldemort. “I have performed my usual magic. I am extraordinary, but this wand . . . no. It has not revealed the wonders it has promised. I feel no difference between this wand and the one I procured from Ollivander all those years ago.”

Voldemort’s tone was musing, calm, but Harry’s scar had begun to throb and pulse: Pain was building in his forehead, and he could feel that controlled sense of fury building inside Voldemort.

“No difference,” said Voldemort again.

Snape did not speak. Harry could not see his face: He wondered whether Snape sensed danger, was trying to find the right words to reassure his master.

Voldemort started to move around the room: Harry lost sight of him for seconds as he prowled, speaking in that same measured voice, while the pain and fury mounted in Harry.

“I have thought long and hard, Severus. . . . Do you know why I have called you back from the battle?”

And for a moment Harry saw Snape’s profile: His eyes were fixed upon the coiling snake in its enchanted cage.

“主——主人?”斯内普茫然地说,“我不明白。您——您用这根魔杖施了高超的魔法吧。”

“不,”伏地魔说道,“我只施了我平常的魔杖。我是高超的,但这根魔杖……不。它没有显示出它应该显示的奇迹。这根魔杖和我多年前从奥利凡德手里买的那根魔杖相比,我感觉不到有什么差别。”

伏地魔的语气是平静的、若有所思的,但哈利的伤疤又开始突突地跳疼。随着额头上的疼痛一点点地加剧,他感觉到伏地魔内心的怒火逐步升级了。

“没有差别。”伏地魔又说了一遍。

斯内普没有说话。哈利看不见他的脸,不知道斯内普是不是感觉到了危险,正在搜肠刮肚地寻找合适的话来使主人消除疑虑。

伏地魔开始在屋子里走来走去。哈利有几秒钟看不见他,只听见他一边踱步一边仍然用那种不紧不慢的声音说着话,与此同时,哈利的疼痛和怒火仍在不断加剧。

“我苦苦地想了很长时间,西弗勒斯……你知道我为什么把你从战场上叫回来吗?”

一时间,哈利看见了斯内普的侧影,斯内普的眼睛正盯着魔法笼子里盘绕的大蛇。

“No, my Lord, but I beg you will let me return. Let me find Potter.”

“You sound like Lucius. Neither of you understands Potter as I do. He does not need finding. Potter will come to me. I know his weakness, you see, his one great flaw. He will hate watching the others struck down around him, knowing that it is for him that it happens. He will want to stop it at any cost. He will come.”

“But my Lord, he might be killed accidentally by one other than yourself —”

“My instructions to my Death Eaters have been perfectly clear. Capture Potter. Kill his friends — the more, the better — but do not kill him.

“But it is of you that I wished to speak, Severus, not Harry Potter. You have been very valuable to me. Very valuable.”

“My Lord knows I seek only to serve him. But — let me go and find the boy, my Lord. Let me bring him to you. I know I can —”

“I have told you, no!” said Voldemort, and Harry caught the glint of red in his eyes as he turned again, and the swishing of his cloak was like the slithering of a snake, and he felt Voldemort’s impatience in his burning scar. “My concern at the moment, Severus, is what will happen when I finally meet the boy!”

“My Lord, there can be no question, surely — ?”

“— but there is a question, Severus. There is.”

Voldemort halted, and Harry could see him plainly again as he slid the Elder Wand through his white fingers, staring at Snape.

“不知道,主人,但我请求您让我回去,让我找到波特。”

“你说话很像卢修斯,你们谁都不如我了解波特。用不着去找。波特自己会送上门来的。我知道他的弱点,他的一个很大的缺陷。他不愿意看着别人在他周围被击倒,况且又知道这一切都是因他而发生。他会不惜一切代价去阻止。他会来的。”

“可是,主人,他可能会被别人失手杀死——”

“我给我那些食死徒的指令非常明确。活捉波特。杀死他的朋友——越多越好——但不许杀死他。”

“但是,西弗勒斯,我想要谈的是你,而不是哈利·波特。你曾经对我很有价值,很有价值。”

“主人知道我甘愿为您效力。可是——让我去找那个男孩吧,主人。让我把他带来见您。我知道我能——”

“我跟你说了,不行!”伏地魔说,在他又转过身来时,哈利看见了他眼睛里闪烁的红光,听见了他的斗篷沙沙作响,就像蛇在地上爬行。哈利还从灼痛的伤疤感觉到伏地魔的不耐烦。“西弗勒斯,我目前关心的是,当我最终面对那个男孩时会怎么样!”

“主人,那当然不可能有问题——?”

“——有问题,西弗勒斯,有问题。”

伏地魔停住脚步,哈利又能清楚地看见他了,只见他用苍白的手指捋着老魔杖,眼睛盯着斯内普。

“Why did both the wands I have used fail when directed at Harry Potter?”

“I — I cannot answer that, my Lord.”

“Can’t you?”

The stab of rage felt like a spike driven through Harry’s head: He forced his own fist into his mouth to stop himself from crying out in pain. He closed his eyes, and suddenly he was Voldemort, looking into Snape’s pale face.

“My wand of yew did everything of which I asked it, Severus, except to kill Harry Potter. Twice it failed. Ollivander told me under torture of the twin cores, told me to take another’s wand. I did so, but Lucius’s wand shattered upon meeting Potter’s.”

“I — I have no explanation, my Lord.”

Snape was not looking at Voldemort now. His dark eyes were still fixed upon the coiling serpent in its protective sphere.

“I sought a third wand, Severus. The Elder Wand, the Wand of Destiny, the Deathstick. I took it from its previous master. I took it from the grave of Albus Dumbledore.”

And now Snape looked at Voldemort, and Snape’s face was like a death mask. It was marble white and so still that when he spoke, it was a shock to see that anyone lived behind the blank eyes.

“为什么我用的两根魔杖面对哈利·波特时都不管用呢?”

“我——我回答不上来,主人。”

“是吗?”

强烈的怒火像钉子一样刺进哈利的脑袋,他把拳头塞进了嘴里,免得自己疼得叫出声来。他闭上眼睛,突然他变成了伏地魔,正盯着斯内普那张惨白的脸。

“我的那根紫杉木魔杖对我百依百顺,西弗勒斯,可就是没能杀死哈利·波特。两次都失败了。奥利凡德在酷刑之下告诉了我孪生杖芯的事,叫我使用别人的魔杖。我这么做了,可是,卢修斯的魔杖一遇到波特的魔杖就成了碎片。”

“我——我也不明白,主人。”

斯内普此刻没有看着伏地魔。他那双黑眼睛仍然盯着保护球里盘绕扭动的大蛇。

“我寻找到第三根魔杖,西弗勒斯。老魔杖,命运杖,死亡棒。我从它的前任主人那里把它拿来了。我从阿不思·邓布利多的坟墓里把它拿来了。”

现在斯内普看着伏地魔了,斯内普的脸就像一张死人面具,就像大理石一样惨白、凝固。他开口说话时令人大吃一惊,没想到那双空洞的眼睛后面居然是个活人。

“My Lord — let me go to the boy —”

“All this long night, when I am on the brink of victory, I have sat here,” said Voldemort, his voice barely louder than a whisper, “wondering, wondering, why the Elder Wand refuses to be what it ought to be, refuses to perform as legend says it must perform for its rightful owner . . . and I think I have the answer.”

Snape did not speak.

“Perhaps you already know it? You are a clever man, after all, Severus. You have been a good and faithful servant, and I regret what must happen.”

“My Lord —”

“The Elder Wand cannot serve me properly, Severus, because I am not its true master. The Elder Wand belongs to the wizard who killed its last owner. You killed Albus Dumbledore. While you live, Severus, the Elder Wand cannot be truly mine.”

“My Lord!” Snape protested, raising his wand.

“It cannot be any other way,” said Voldemort. “I must master the wand, Severus. Master the wand, and I master Potter at last.”

And Voldemort swiped the air with the Elder Wand. It did nothing to Snape, who for a split second seemed to think he had been reprieved: But then Voldemort’s intention became clear. The snake’s cage was rolling through the air, and before Snape could do anything more than yell, it had encased him, head and shoulders, and Voldemort spoke in Parseltongue.

“主人——让我去找那个男孩——”

“整个漫漫长夜,眼看到了胜利的边缘,我却坐在这里,”伏地魔说,声音几近耳语,“想啊,想啊,为什么老魔杖不肯发挥它的本领,不肯像传说中那样为它的合法主人创造奇迹……现在我似乎有了答案。”

斯内普没有说话。

“也许你已经知道了?你毕竟是个聪明人,西弗勒斯。你一直是个忠心耿耿的好仆人,我为必须发生的事情感到遗憾。”

“主人——”

“老魔杖不能好好地我效力,西弗勒斯,因为我不是它真正的主人。老魔杖属于杀死它前任主人的那位巫师。是你杀死了阿不思·邓布利多。只要你活着,西弗勒斯,老魔杖就不可能真正属于我。”

“主人!”斯内普抗议道,一边举起了魔杖。

“不可能有别的办法,”伏地魔说,“我必须征服这根魔杖,西弗勒斯。征服这根魔杖,就最终征服了波特。”

伏地魔用老魔杖猛击了一下空气。斯内普毫发未伤,刹那间,他似乎以为自己暂时被豁免了。接着,伏地魔的意图就清楚了。大蛇的笼子在空中翻滚,斯内普只发出一声尖叫,笼子就把他的脑袋和肩膀罩住了,伏地魔用蛇佬腔说话了。

“Kill.”

There was a terrible scream. Harry saw Snape’s face losing the little color it had left; it whitened as his black eyes widened, as the snake’s fangs pierced his neck, as he failed to push the enchanted cage off himself, as his knees gave way and he fell to the floor.

“I regret it,” said Voldemort coldly.

He turned away; there was no sadness in him, no remorse. It was time to leave this shack and take charge, with a wand that would now do his full bidding. He pointed it at the starry cage holding the snake, which drifted upward, off Snape, who fell sideways onto the floor, blood gushing from the wounds in his neck. Voldemort swept from the room without a backward glance, and the great serpent floated after him in its huge protective sphere.

Back in the tunnel and his own mind, Harry opened his eyes: He had drawn blood biting down on his knuckles in the effort not to shout out. Now he was looking through the tiny crack between crate and wall, watching a foot in a black boot trembling on the floor.

“杀。”

一声可怕的惨叫,哈利看见斯内普脸上仅有的一点血色也消失了,蛇的尖牙扎进了他的脖子。他无力地推开那带魔法的笼子,膝头一软倒在地上,脸色变得煞白,黑黑的眼睛睁得老大。

“我很遗憾。”伏地魔冷冷地说。

他转过身,内心里没有悲哀,也没有悔恨。有了绝对听从他命令的魔杖,他现在应该离开这个棚屋,收拾局面了。他用魔杖指着星光闪闪的蛇笼,笼子飘升起来,离开了斯内普。斯内普身子一歪倒在地上,鲜血从他脖子的伤口里喷涌而出。伏地魔快速离开了屋子,没有再回头看一眼,那条关在庞大保护球里的巨蛇也随他飘浮而去。

哈利又回到了隧道,回到了他自己的思想里,他睁开了眼睛。他为了不让自己喊出声来,把手指的关节都咬出血了。此刻他透过箱子和洞壁间的狭小缝隙窥视着,看见一只穿黑靴子的脚在地板上颤抖。

“Harry!” breathed Hermione behind him, but he had already pointed his wand at the crate blocking his view. It lifted an inch into the air and drifted sideways silently. As quietly as he could, he pulled himself up into the room.

He did not know why he was doing it, why he was approaching the dying man: He did not know what he felt as he saw Snape’s white face, and the fingers trying to staunch the bloody wound at his neck. Harry took off the Invisibility Cloak and looked down upon the man he hated, whose widening black eyes found Harry as he tried to speak. Harry bent over him, and Snape seized the front of his robes and pulled him close.

A terrible rasping, gurgling noise issued from Snape’s throat.

“Take . . . it. . . . Take . . . it. . . .”

Something more than blood was leaking from Snape. Silvery blue, neither gas nor liquid, it gushed from his mouth and his ears and his eyes, and Harry knew what it was, but did not know what to do —

A flask, conjured from thin air, was thrust into his shaking hands by Hermione. Harry lifted the silvery substance into it with his wand. When the flask was full to the brim, and Snape looked as though there was no blood left in him, his grip on Harry’s robes slackened.

“Look . . . at . . . me. . . .” he whispered.

The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.

“哈利!”赫敏在他身后喘着气叫道,但他已将魔杖指向挡住视线的箱子。箱子悬起了一英寸,悄没声儿地飘到旁边。哈利蹑手蹑脚地爬进了那个屋子。

他不知道自己为什么要这么做,为什么要走近那个垂死的人。当他看见斯内普那张煞白的脸,看见那些手指在努力堵住脖子上喷血的伤口时,他不知道自己是何感受。哈利脱掉隐形衣,低头望着这个他仇恨的男人。斯内普睁得大大的黑眼睛看见了哈利,他挣扎着想说话。哈利俯下身,斯内普抓住哈利长袍的前襟,把他拉近自己。

斯内普的喉咙里发出呼哧呼哧、咯啦咯啦的可怕声音。

“拿……去……拿……去……”

斯内普身上流出来的不仅是血。一种银蓝色的、既不是气体也不是液体的东西,从他嘴里、耳朵里和眼睛里冒了出来。哈利明白这是什么,但不知道该怎么做——

一只凭空变出的细颈瓶被赫敏塞进了他颤抖的手里。哈利用魔杖把银色物质捞取到瓶子里。瓶子满了,斯内普的血似乎也已流尽了,他抓住哈利长袍的手无力地松开了。

“看……着……我……”他轻声说。

绿眼眸盯着黑眼眸,但一秒钟后,那一双黑眸深处的什么东西似乎消失了,它们变得茫然、呆滞而空洞。抓住哈利的那只手垂落在地上,斯内普不动了。

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