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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 —”

        哈利看見羅恩的銀狗躍入空中,微弱地閃了閃就不見了。他又看見赫敏的水獺在空中扭動,接著也消失了。他自己的魔杖在手里顫抖,他幾乎巴不得自己趕快忘掉一切,墜入虛無,沒有思想,沒有感覺……

        就在這時,一只銀兔、一頭公豬和一只狐貍從哈利、羅恩和赫敏的頭頂上飛過。面對這些逼近的靈物,攝魂怪紛紛后退。又有三個人從黑暗中出現了,站在他們身邊,伸手舉著魔杖,繼續給守護神施著魔法:那是盧娜、厄尼和西莫。

        “很好,”盧娜鼓勵地說,就好像他們回到了有求必應屋,只是在做D.A.的魔咒練習,“很好,哈利……快,想點高興的事兒……”

        “高興的事兒?”他聲音嘶啞地說。

        “我們還在這兒,”盧娜輕聲說,“我們還在戰斗。好了,快……”

        一朵銀色的火花噴了出來,接著是一道搖擺不定的光,哈利付出了前所未有的努力。終于,牡鹿從他的杖尖涌了出來。它甩開蹄子朝前奔去,這下子攝魂怪真的潰逃了,夜晚頓時又變得溫暖起來,但他耳朵里卻灌滿了打斗的聲音。

        “太謝謝你們了,”羅恩聲音顫抖地對盧娜、厄尼和西莫說道,“你們救了——”

        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.

        隨著一聲大吼和地震般的顫抖,又一個巨人從禁林那邊的黑暗中蹣跚而出,手里揮舞著一根比他們幾個人的個子還長的棍棒。

        “快跑!”哈利又大喊一聲,別人不用他說,早就四散逃開了。真懸哪,那家伙的大腳緊接著就落在了他們剛才站立的地方。哈利望望四周,羅恩和赫敏都跟著他,但另外三個人已經又回去戰斗了。

        “我們快躲開!”羅恩嚷道。

        這時巨人又揮舞著棍棒,吼聲在夜色中、在操場上空回蕩,操場上一道道紅光、綠光繼續把黑暗照亮。

        “打人柳,”哈利說,“快走!”

        他似乎把一些思緒封存在腦子里,塞進了一個暫時不能去看的狹小空間,對弗雷德和海格的牽念,對所有他愛的、散落在城堡內外的人們的擔心……都必須等一等,因為他們必須快跑,必須去接近那條蛇,接近伏地魔,因為就像赫敏所說,只有這樣才能結束這一切——

        他拼命狂奔,幾乎覺得自己能把死亡甩在后面。他不去理會周圍黑暗中射過的道道亮光,不去理會像大海一樣陣陣沖刷的湖水聲,也不去理會禁林里傳出的吱吱嘎嘎的聲響——雖然夜里并沒有風。他們奔過似乎也在奮起反抗的操場,哈利這輩子從來沒有跑得這么快過。然后,他第一個看見了那棵大樹,那棵甩打著鞭子般的枝條、保護著樹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.”

        哈利上氣不接下氣地慢下腳步,避開打人柳嗖嗖抽打的枝條,在黑暗中仔細望著粗粗的樹干,想看到老樹皮上那個能使大樹平靜下來的節疤。羅恩和赫敏也趕了上來,赫敏喘得連話都說不出來了。

        “我們——我們怎么進去呢?”羅恩喘著氣說道,“我能——能看見那地方——如果我們——還帶著克魯克山——”

        “克魯克山?”赫敏氣喘吁吁地說,彎腰揪著自己的胸口,“你到底是不是巫師呀?”

        “哦——是呀——對了——”

        羅恩環顧四周,然后用魔杖指著地上的一根樹枝,說道:“羽加迪姆勒維奧薩!”樹枝一下子從地上飛了起來,像被風吹著一樣在空中旋轉著,然后嗖地穿過打人柳的那些兇險的枝條,直朝樹干沖去。它捅了捅樹根附近的一個地方,頓時,扭曲抽打的柳樹便安靜下來。

        “漂亮!”赫敏喘著氣說。

        “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!”

        在那短暫的一瞬間,哈利遲疑了。空氣里充斥著戰斗的轟鳴和撞擊聲。伏地魔希望他這么做,希望他送上門來……他是不是在把羅恩和赫敏帶入一個陷阱?

        接著,現實似乎把他包圍了,殘酷而清楚:前面只有一條路,就是殺死那條蛇,而蛇是跟伏地魔在一起的,伏地魔就在這條隧道的盡頭……

        “哈利,我們來了,快進去吧!”羅恩說著,把他往前推了一把。

        哈利扭動著身子爬進隱藏在樹根底下的泥土隧道。這里比他們上次進來時狹窄逼仄多了。隧道的頂很低,差不多四年前他們就不得不彎著身子,現在只能匍匐著前進。哈利在最前面,他點亮魔杖,隨時提防會遇到障礙,不料一路都很順利。他們不出聲地往前爬去。哈利盯著手里攥著的魔杖發出的那點搖擺不定的亮光。

        終于,隧道開始向上升,哈利看見前面有一道狹長的亮光。赫敏拽了拽他的腳脖子。

        “隱形衣!”她小聲說,“把隱形衣穿上!”

        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.

        哈利在身后摸索著,赫敏將那件滑溜溜的衣服塞進他沒拿魔杖的手里。哈利費勁地把衣服披在身上,低聲說了聲“諾克斯”,熄滅了魔杖的亮光,然后繼續手腳并用地往前爬,盡量不發出一點聲響。他繃緊了所有的神經,知道隨時都可能被人發現,隨時都可能聽到一個冰冷而清晰的聲音,看到一道耀眼的綠光。

        接著,他聽見從前面的房間里傳來的說話的聲音,但隧道盡頭的豁口被一個舊箱子似的東西堵住了,使說話聲聽上去有點發悶。哈利盡量屏住呼吸,一點點地挪到豁口處,透過箱子和洞壁間的狹小縫隙望過去。

        那邊的屋子里光線昏暗,但他還是看見了納吉尼。大蛇安全地待在那個飄浮在半空的星光閃閃的魔法保護球里,像在水底下一樣扭動、盤繞。哈利還看見一張桌子的邊緣,有一只蒼白的、手指修長的手在擺弄一根魔杖。接著,斯內普說話了,哈利的心猛地一跳。斯內普跟哈利蜷身躲藏的地方只有幾寸。

        “. . . 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,他們的抵抗正在瓦解——”

        “——這里面并沒有你的功勞,”伏地魔用他高亢、清晰的聲音說,“西弗勒斯,你雖然是個高明的巫師,但我認為你現在已經沒有什么用了。我們還差一點就要成功了……還差一點。”

        “讓我去找那個男孩。讓我把波特給您帶來。我知道我能找到他,主人。求求您。”

        斯內普從縫隙前走過,哈利往后退了一點,眼睛仍然盯在納吉尼身上,心里在想有沒有魔咒能夠擊穿大蛇周圍的保護層,但一個也想不出來。他不敢輕舉妄動,一旦失敗,就會暴露他的位置……

        伏地魔站了起來。哈利可以看見他了,看見他那雙紅眼睛,那張扁扁的、蛇一般的臉,還有他在昏暗中閃爍的蒼白微光。

        “我有個難題,西弗勒斯。”伏地魔輕聲說。

        “主人?”斯內普說。

        伏地魔舉起老魔杖,細致優雅地捏在指間,像捏著一根指揮棒。

        “它為什么對我不管用呢,西弗勒斯?”

        靜默中,哈利仿佛能聽見大蛇盤繞、伸展時發出的嘶嘶叫聲,或者是伏地魔那在空氣中縈繞不去的嘶嘶嘆息聲?

        “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?”斯內普茫然地說,“我不明白。您——您用這根魔杖施了高超的魔法吧。”

        “不,”伏地魔說道,“我只施了我平常的魔杖。我是高超的,但這根魔杖……不。它沒有顯示出它應該顯示的奇跡。這根魔杖和我多年前從奧利凡德手里買的那根魔杖相比,我感覺不到有什么差別。”

        伏地魔的語氣是平靜的、若有所思的,但哈利的傷疤又開始突突地跳疼。隨著額頭上的疼痛一點點地加劇,他感覺到伏地魔內心的怒火逐步升級了。

        “沒有差別。”伏地魔又說了一遍。

        斯內普沒有說話。哈利看不見他的臉,不知道斯內普是不是感覺到了危險,正在搜腸刮肚地尋找合適的話來使主人消除疑慮。

        伏地魔開始在屋子里走來走去。哈利有幾秒鐘看不見他,只聽見他一邊踱步一邊仍然用那種不緊不慢的聲音說著話,與此同時,哈利的疼痛和怒火仍在不斷加劇。

        “我苦苦地想了很長時間,西弗勒斯……你知道我為什么把你從戰場上叫回來嗎?”

        一時間,哈利看見了斯內普的側影,斯內普的眼睛正盯著魔法籠子里盤繞的大蛇。

        “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,但我請求您讓我回去,讓我找到波特。”

        “你說話很像盧修斯,你們誰都不如我了解波特。用不著去找。波特自己會送上門來的。我知道他的弱點,他的一個很大的缺陷。他不愿意看著別人在他周圍被擊倒,況且又知道這一切都是因他而發生。他會不惜一切代價去阻止。他會來的。”

        “可是,主人,他可能會被別人失手殺死——”

        “我給我那些食死徒的指令非常明確。活捉波特。殺死他的朋友——越多越好——但不許殺死他。”

        “但是,西弗勒斯,我想要談的是你,而不是哈利·波特。你曾經對我很有價值,很有價值。”

        “主人知道我甘愿為您效力。可是——讓我去找那個男孩吧,主人。讓我把他帶來見您。我知道我能——”

        “我跟你說了,不行!”伏地魔說,在他又轉過身來時,哈利看見了他眼睛里閃爍的紅光,聽見了他的斗篷沙沙作響,就像蛇在地上爬行。哈利還從灼痛的傷疤感覺到伏地魔的不耐煩。“西弗勒斯,我目前關心的是,當我最終面對那個男孩時會怎么樣!”

        “主人,那當然不可能有問題——?”

        “——有問題,西弗勒斯,有問題。”

        伏地魔停住腳步,哈利又能清楚地看見他了,只見他用蒼白的手指捋著老魔杖,眼睛盯著斯內普。

        “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.

        “為什么我用的兩根魔杖面對哈利·波特時都不管用呢?”

        “我——我回答不上來,主人。”

        “是嗎?”

        強烈的怒火像釘子一樣刺進哈利的腦袋,他把拳頭塞進了嘴里,免得自己疼得叫出聲來。他閉上眼睛,突然他變成了伏地魔,正盯著斯內普那張慘白的臉。

        “我的那根紫杉木魔杖對我百依百順,西弗勒斯,可就是沒能殺死哈利·波特。兩次都失敗了。奧利凡德在酷刑之下告訴了我孿生杖芯的事,叫我使用別人的魔杖。我這么做了,可是,盧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。”

        斯內普此刻沒有看著伏地魔。他那雙黑眼睛仍然盯著保護球里盤繞扭動的大蛇。

        “我尋找到第三根魔杖,西弗勒斯。老魔杖,命運杖,死亡棒。我從它的前任主人那里把它拿來了。我從阿不思·鄧布利多的墳墓里把它拿來了。”

        現在斯內普看著伏地魔了,斯內普的臉就像一張死人面具,就像大理石一樣慘白、凝固。他開口說話時令人大吃一驚,沒想到那雙空洞的眼睛后面居然是個活人。

        “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——讓我去找那個男孩——”

        “整個漫漫長夜,眼看到了勝利的邊緣,我卻坐在這里,”伏地魔說,聲音幾近耳語,“想啊,想啊,為什么老魔杖不肯發揮它的本領,不肯像傳說中那樣為它的合法主人創造奇跡……現在我似乎有了答案。”

        斯內普沒有說話。

        “也許你已經知道了?你畢竟是個聰明人,西弗勒斯。你一直是個忠心耿耿的好仆人,我為必須發生的事情感到遺憾。”

        “主人——”

        “老魔杖不能好好地我效力,西弗勒斯,因為我不是它真正的主人。老魔杖屬于殺死它前任主人的那位巫師。是你殺死了阿不思·鄧布利多。只要你活著,西弗勒斯,老魔杖就不可能真正屬于我。”

        “主人!”斯內普抗議道,一邊舉起了魔杖。

        “不可能有別的辦法,”伏地魔說,“我必須征服這根魔杖,西弗勒斯。征服這根魔杖,就最終征服了波特。”

        伏地魔用老魔杖猛擊了一下空氣。斯內普毫發未傷,剎那間,他似乎以為自己暫時被豁免了。接著,伏地魔的意圖就清楚了。大蛇的籠子在空中翻滾,斯內普只發出一聲尖叫,籠子就把他的腦袋和肩膀罩住了,伏地魔用蛇佬腔說話了。

        “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.

        “殺。”

        一聲可怕的慘叫,哈利看見斯內普臉上僅有的一點血色也消失了,蛇的尖牙扎進了他的脖子。他無力地推開那帶魔法的籠子,膝頭一軟倒在地上,臉色變得煞白,黑黑的眼睛睜得老大。

        “我很遺憾。”伏地魔冷冷地說。

        他轉過身,內心里沒有悲哀,也沒有悔恨。有了絕對聽從他命令的魔杖,他現在應該離開這個棚屋,收拾局面了。他用魔杖指著星光閃閃的蛇籠,籠子飄升起來,離開了斯內普。斯內普身子一歪倒在地上,鮮血從他脖子的傷口里噴涌而出。伏地魔快速離開了屋子,沒有再回頭看一眼,那條關在龐大保護球里的巨蛇也隨他飄浮而去。

        哈利又回到了隧道,回到了他自己的思想里,他睜開了眼睛。他為了不讓自己喊出聲來,把手指的關節都咬出血了。此刻他透過箱子和洞壁間的狹小縫隙窺視著,看見一只穿黑靴子的腳在地板上顫抖。

        “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!”赫敏在他身后喘著氣叫道,但他已將魔杖指向擋住視線的箱子。箱子懸起了一英寸,悄沒聲兒地飄到旁邊。哈利躡手躡腳地爬進了那個屋子。

        他不知道自己為什么要這么做,為什么要走近那個垂死的人。當他看見斯內普那張煞白的臉,看見那些手指在努力堵住脖子上噴血的傷口時,他不知道自己是何感受。哈利脫掉隱形衣,低頭望著這個他仇恨的男人。斯內普睜得大大的黑眼睛看見了哈利,他掙扎著想說話。哈利俯下身,斯內普抓住哈利長袍的前襟,把他拉近自己。

        斯內普的喉嚨里發出呼哧呼哧、咯啦咯啦的可怕聲音。

        “拿……去……拿……去……”

        斯內普身上流出來的不僅是血。一種銀藍色的、既不是氣體也不是液體的東西,從他嘴里、耳朵里和眼睛里冒了出來。哈利明白這是什么,但不知道該怎么做——

        一只憑空變出的細頸瓶被赫敏塞進了他顫抖的手里。哈利用魔杖把銀色物質撈取到瓶子里。瓶子滿了,斯內普的血似乎也已流盡了,他抓住哈利長袍的手無力地松開了。

        “看……著……我……”他輕聲說。

        綠眼眸盯著黑眼眸,但一秒鐘后,那一雙黑眸深處的什么東西似乎消失了,它們變得茫然、呆滯而空洞。抓住哈利的那只手垂落在地上,斯內普不動了。

        圖片來源:高品圖像

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