This is the prologue. Feel free to edit it if you want. I'm also sending it to my beta readers after the ficathon to read, and will post the revised version here as well.
// Ron burst into Harry's room, his face red with anger. "They've attacked Shacklebolt's home. Remus has already left."
He was reading a spell book, and he set it aside. Silently he dressed in his oldest robes, pulled his broom out of the closet, cast a fixing charm on his glasses, and followed Ron out. Hermione was waiting for them in the front, and the three flew off. No one stopped them, no one else was around. Everyone else had gone ahead.
When they arrived it was full dark and the house was burning. Kingsley's six year old daughter was lying in a widening blotch of red on the roof. //
He didn't know how he got into the fire, only that someone was crying from the inside, and in a minute he was walking through the stinging flames, searching for the other little girl. He couldn't find her -- the crying had stopped -- and the smoke started to invade his body through his nose and mouth and eyes. His eyes watered and he coughed, trying to dispel the smoke from his throat; it wasn't working out quite well. Something rumbled, and he looked up to see the balcony collapsing. He watched as it came closer and closer over his head, and closed his eyes to wait.
A hand gripped his, and suddenly he felt as if he was being turned inside out, then put back together again. He stumbled and fell onto the damp grass outside.
"Kindly do not attempt suicide while I am about, Potter," the dark, heavy voice drawled at him, and abruptly he wasn't dizzy anymore -- only screamingly enraged.
"Snape!" he growled, lurching to his feet. He aimed his wand at the former Potions Master. "You did this! You killed them!"
Snape's eyes darkened imperceptibly, and had the flames not been reflecting off of them Harry would not have seen this. "You are a fool, Potter," was all he said.
How dare he! How dare he talk to Harry as if he hadn't betrayed them and killed Dumbledore! Harry lunged himself at the older man, his fists intent on doing damage to that arrogant face. Snape caught both of his wrists somehow and held him away. "Stop it this instant, idiot boy!" Snape said, and he was about to say something else when they both heard Lucius Malfoy's voice behind them, muttering a curse. Snape's eyes widened and he was twisting, hurling Harry behind him and to the side as a flash of red light raced towards them.
Harry grunted as his head hit against a jagged piece of pavement. The pain was sharp and immediate, and before he lost consciousness he heard the explosion as the red light hit Snape's body and the blood started to splatter.
He opened his eyes to sunshine, and his ears were still ringing from the explosion the night before. The explosion that tore Snape into a million pieces. Funny -- he had thought he wanted to see it, to cause it, and now that it's happened he was nothing but confused.
"Harry," Remus said to his right, and he felt a hand fall on his hair. "You're awake."
"Snape?" he asked. His voice was wet and raspy all at the same time, something he hadn't thought was possible. "Wha--" I dreamed that Snape saved me and died. It must have been a nightmare. . .
"Severus did not make it," Remus murmured, and he sounded regretful, sad. So it was real, then. But--
"Why... Why did he save me?" He stopped. Did Snape save him? "He did, didn't he?"
Remus nodded. "There is something we haven't told you, Harry. We suspect a spy in the Order, and so we didn't feel it was safe telling many people. Only myself, Kingsley, and Moody know. We weren't sure how you would take it either." Oh God. Oh no. . . "Severus was a spy for the Order all along, Harry. He must have recognized the curse Malfoy was sending towards you. Hermione saw him knock you aside and take the brunt of it."
"He died to save me..." Harry said muttered, as if it hadn't already been clear as day what had happened. Remus closed his eyes briefly, then opened them and slid his hand down to squeeze Harry's shoulder.
"No one blames you, Harry. It wasn't your fault."
No. It was never his fault. Never. "No, it isn't, is it? Whose was it then? Was it Snape's?"
"I need to sleep," Harry said, and then he closed his eyes and pretended that he wasn't being swallowed by a sea of regret.