Part 1


Sequel to Almost, At Times, The Fool. That took place over Hallowe'en; let us assume this takes place at the end of Book Five (you know, the climactic ending stuff). So I am making plot attempts! Obviously, this is going to wind up being very different from (and far inferior to) whatever J.K. Rowling has in mind, bless her. So I guess this takes it into Alternative-Universe territory. Hmm.

And yes, I know that in fifth year they're supposed to take O.W.L.s and stuff, but since I don't really know what O.W.Ls are yet I'm leaving that to The Master herself to reveal. These guys just take final exams. 'Kay?

Warning: Harry's still fifteen. Still no serious hanky-panky. Well, I guess it all depends on how you define "serious" cough, cough. Oh well. But it's got action! It's got adventure! To paraphrase the immortal Christopher Noxious, it's got boys-on-broomsticks!

Also, cough again I am somewhat redefining the length of the school year to suit my own shameful purposes. I'm sure you handle it fine.

Disclaimer: All of these people belong to J.K. Rowling, and possibly Time Warner as well now, I'm not really sure. But not to me. I'm making no money off this.

Pairing: Harry/Snape

Special thanks (and glomps :) to Tinderblast, First Mate of the Harry-Snape Ship and beta reader par excellence! I've never had a beta before, and her introduction to the world of fanfic critique was very kind.

Harry Potter, though only fifteen years old, had seen and done a great many things that adults twice his age had never even imagined, let alone laid claim to. He'd flown on a broomstick, cast spells, been invisible and defeated the forces of darkness pretty much single-handedly - and more than once. He'd grown up without any real family to call his own. He'd witnessed things no child his age - or many years older - should ever have to see.

On the side of the commonplace, he'd also crammed for tests, experienced embarrassing growth spurts, tripped a lot recently, and had had tentative crushes on pretty girls.

Once he had been kissed.

It was this last that was causing him considerable consternation.

"Harry? Harry."

Harry jerked out of his reverie with a startled "Wha?"

Ron and Hermione were glaring at him from the couch on which they sat rather close together in the Gryffindor common room. Harry sat in an armchair opposite and stacked between the three were piles of homework.

"Harry," Hermione said slowly, as if speaking to a half-wit, "it's your turn. Trans-fig-ur-a-tion. All right? Now, suppose you want a book to look like a lampstand for just a little while - what've you got for the Five-Minute-Fix Spell?"

Harry looked down at his parchment. "Um. For a Five-Minute I've got ... " he looked up with a sheepish grin. "Two doodles that look sort of like spirals."

Hermione snorted in exasperation. Ron leaned over for a closer look. "You call those spirals? Look like demented worms to me." He and Harry grinned at each other. "You know, like they're worms on some kind of weird spell where they just - "

Hermione - there was no other word for it - growled. The mirth stopped.

"I'm sorry," Harry apologized then. "I don't know what's the matter with me tonight. I'm only holding you two back. Let me just go on up and work at it in the dorm." He began to gather his papers together absentmindedly, scarcely noticing as several sheaves fell out of the stack and floated gently across the floor.

Ron and Hermione eyed the errant papers. "Yeah, sure," Ron said. "I'll be up soon. We can go over it more then."

"Thanks," Harry murmured vaguely and wandered out, the occasional paper still drifting out of his arms.

Once he was out of hearing range, Hermione banged her fist on the armrest. "Right. This has got to stop."

Ron just shook his head. "He's been raving mad all year. First at the beginning when he blew up at everything that came his way ... and now it's like he's not even all there."

"Well, whatever parts're missing had better come back in a hurry," Hermione hissed. "We've got final exams in a week!"

"He seems to be doing okay in class," Ron objected. Hermione raised a disbelieving eyebrow. "Well, sure, tonight he's acting like a git, but he can usually do the schoolwork." He frowned, then gave a little half-smile. "Funny thing is, he's never done so well in Potions, of all things. I was sure - "

"Oh, not that again," Hermione said wearily, and Ron backed down. Ever since Hallowe'en Harry's confrontational attitude toward Potions Master Snape had cooled down considerably, and she was quite sick of hashing out why exactly that was. Especially since Harry himself remained absolutely closed-mouthed on the subject. Gossiping about your best friends was a wonderful pastime, but at some point it tended to grind to a halt without fresh information.

Resolutely she turned her mind away from Harry and back to problem ten, focusing extra hard. It was strangely difficult to concentrate with Ron's knee pressed right up against her own.

Harry drew the curtains shut around his bed, pulled out his wand, whispered "Lumos," and flopped back down on his pillow in the illuminated darkness.

This really wouldn't do.

He had finals coming up in just a few days. He had to focus, concentrate. It sometimes seemed like he'd been floating in a daze for seven whole months, ever since ... ever ...

Bugger all, wasn't he ever going to stop thinking about that?

Seven months. That seemed like an awfully long time to hang twisting in the wind, Harry thought. But it had all gone exactly as Snape had predicted: the Potions Master had continued as nasty as ever to Harry and his friends, just as he'd promised, and most of the time Harry found himself absolutely boggled trying to reconcile the greasy, snarky Snape he'd always known to the passionate, desperate man he'd met for a few brief moments on a freezing balcony. It was like they were two different people.

Many times Harry had been on the verge of deciding that Hallowe'en had been some kind of insane hallucination on his part caused by the cold, or ... something. He couldn't quite decide what. He'd sit in Potions with Ron and Hermione and watch them being belittled and bullied just like always, and the Slytherins, especially Malfoy, being fawned over in the most revolting manner. And the anger and resentment would come bubbling up harshly again, overlaid with a terrible confusion: had it, indeed, been real?

But always, always just as he was on the verge of disgustedly resigning the whole episode to his imagination, he'd glance up in class one day, or in a corridor or the Great Hall or elsewhere, and see Snape watching him with hot, hooded eyes. The memory of a warm, skilled tongue would come rushing back, the promise of untasted delights; he'd get hard in his pants, go to bed that night, wake up the next morning stuck to the sheets, and be forced to admit that yes, it had been very real, maybe the most real thing that had ever happened to him.

After the second time that had happened, he'd purposefully learnt a charm to put on himself so he wouldn't talk in his sleep. That was all he needed, with Ron sleeping so close by. Not to mention Seamus and Dean and a whole towerful of Gryffindors ...

Seven months of this. And aside from those secret, searing glances there had been not another word from Snape. Well, to be fair, he had said there wouldn't be, but in his heart of hearts Harry hadn't really believed it. How could someone kiss you as if kissing you was the most important thing in the world - and then back off completely for over half a year without one single word on the subject?

Only Snape, Harry reflected bitterly. Frustrating prick.

So for those seven months, all he'd been living off of was that one semi-unbelievable kiss. No wonder he'd been so out of it; it was more than enough to drive a fellow mad. These days his only real focus came on the Quidditch field, when the sharp tang of the air and the sturdy truth of the Firebolt beneath him reminded him that he was Harry-Potter, not Insane-Kid. He might trip over his own two feet in the hallway, but his broom remembered what grace was. It had been his best year as Gryffindor Seeker yet. Except, of course, for that one single match where Snape had shown up to watch, and Harry's concentration had been rattled so badly that he'd actually been pulled from the field. Thank God they'd been playing Hufflepuff and not Slytherin.

Snape hadn't come to any Gryffindor matches after that. Harry told himself he was relieved.

He settled himself down next to Ron in Potions next afternoon. Hermione, as usual, was going to troubleshoot for what they now called amongst themselves The Neville Problem.

"This will be the final potion you learn this term before exams begin next week," Snape announced in his dark, sonorous voice. After seven months, Harry could now hear that voice without feeling his crotch twitch. Mostly. It was hell being fifteen. "It might appear on your exam; it might not. In any case I suggest you apply your admittedly limited faculties," with a disdainful glance at Neville, "to absorbing it as best you can."

Harry bent to his cauldron to hide a frown as he assembled his ingredients, while Hermione gave Neville a comforting pat on the arm. That was another thing he couldn't quite wrap his head around. All right, so he'd told Snape he'd be okay with things continuing as they were. But it was bloody hard watching his friends being treated like utter rubbish day after day, no matter the reason. He could take Snape treating him like rubbish now; somehow, things seemed more equal when he remembered how his Potions Master desired him. (Which was, in itself, a still-shocking thought.) But when Snape talked down to Ron or Hermione or even Neville ... it just really tried his patience.

It was all a show for the Malfoys and their ilk. Harry understood that. Right? But why did Snape have to be so stinking good at it? Why did he seem to enjoy it so much?

He crushed the araminta leaves with unwonted force, barely listening to Ron's disgusted murmuring next to him, only making out words like "stupid," "slimy," and "bastard." He followed the instructions almost mechanically; as potions went, it actually wasn't all that complicated - no funny spells or incantations. Just chopping and stewing and grinding and allowing to simmer. It felt like his insides were doing the same thing.

What the hell did he care, really, what Snape thought or did? One kiss didn't mean any promises. In their case it seemed to mean the absence of promise. The important thing was they were both on the same side: working against Voldemort, against the Malfoys, no matter how things looked to other people. That's all that mattered, Harry told himself as he diced up his yellowroot, and he had to remember that. It was all that was important.

Then he glanced up and almost chopped off his own finger.

Draco Malfoy was looking at Snape. Not just looking, but looking, the way a snake looks at a very tasty mouse. Snape appeared to be oblivious, frowning over something at his desk while the students worked, but any second he'd be sure to glance up and see that disgusting little rotter ogling him. Or, worse yet, he'd glance up, see Harry staring at Draco, and then see Draco staring at him. What a tableau. Harry swiftly turned his gaze back to his cauldron, feeling as if his face and his guts were on fire. That - that little - Malfoy! How dare he? How -

He felt sick and furious all at once, and his own reaction frightened him more than anything else. So he didn't care what Snape thought, huh? Right. This knocked that theory on its arse. Why, why, why was he doomed to these sorts of epiphanies? Couldn't he be normal at anything he tried?

Jealousy was an ugly thing, and he'd felt its bite before, especially lately, what with Ron and Hermione getting so close that he felt left out. But this. He felt like he wanted to grab his knife and pare that smug little smirk right off Malfoy's face.

Snape had to be nice to Draco so people - especially Lucius Malfoy - would think he was a good little Death Eater once more. That was Harry's theory, anyway. Just how far did "being nice" extend? Would Snape actually ... would he really consider ...

Harry swallowed hard and couldn't help another glance at Draco, this one of pure misery. The young Slytherin was a handsome boy, with hair so blonde it was almost white and icy blue eyes. Peaches-and- cream complexion. Red lips. The lot. He could be bloody Sleeping Beauty out of a fairy tale, the little puke. How was Harry - he of the gangly knees and floppy hair and Coke-bottle glasses - supposed to compete with that, especially at the stakes they were playing? If it came down to the success or failure of this mission, which one of them did he really think Snape would pick?

... Whoa, hold on. Deep breath, deep breath. He had to be overreacting. He seemed to do that a lot, with Snape. If Snape had a problem with sleeping with students, he'd surely be able to fend Draco off with that, just as he had Harry. And then a sudden image occurred to him, of Snape hiding in his office to escape clamouring crowds of love-struck pupils ... Harry bit his lip to keep from chuckling out loud.

"Professor Snape," a silky voice came from somewhere to his left, "forgive me for interrupting, but my potion isn't changing colour as it should. Would you mind having a look?"

With a vague sense of certain doom, and unable to stop himself, Harry looked up again. Snape had risen smoothly from his chair, and why did Harry's brain have to pick NOW of all times to notice how good those black robes looked on him, and was making his way to Draco's table without any of the mocking commentary he would certainly have leveled at the lot from Gryffindor. His hand continuing to stir his potion on automatic, Harry watched, helpless and unobserved by either of them, as Draco turned a glowing face towards their teacher and actually touched Snape's sleeve with his little git hand.

"Whoa," Ron breathed next to him, "do you SEE that?" He was staring, virtually slack-jawed, at the expression on Draco's face. Then he turned back to his cauldron and his voice dropped to its lowest whisper. "I think I'm going to be ill. Did you SEE how he was looking at him? Malfoy and Snape ... anybody and Snape ... I'll be days trying to get the horror out of my head ... "

Harry went back to pounding his araminta leaves (which were almost dust as it was), imagining each little granule to be Draco's face, and snuck another look. Snape's back was to him, his posture rigidly correct as always. There was no way to tell what he was thinking. At least Malfoy's hand was stirring his cauldron now and not sitting in places where it had no right to be.

"I mean, did you get the LOOK on his face," Ron was continuing, scandalised. "My God, talk about sucking up to the teachers - oh no, there's another image I didn't want - "

"Shut up," Harry hissed furiously, and at Ron's shocked look, he added lamely, "I mean, they'll hear us."

Whether Ron believed him or not, he still shut up, and they passed the rest of the class in silence, with one exception: Ron glanced over at Hermione and Neville, and muttered, "Sitting awfully close, isn't he?"

Still distracted, Harry only managed a vague, "Neville? Nah."

"Hmph," Ron responded, and glared at Neville again. In this vein they finished up class, with Ron's and Harry's potions being clearly the worst of the lot. Hermione's and Neville's were quite good; this did little to improve Ron's poor humour. Draco was, of course, roundly praised, while Harry ground his teeth almost to powder, and then Snape swooped over to his table.

"Well, well. Potter and Weasley." Snape paused. "How very ... interesting."

The Slytherins tittered. Draco laughed out loud. Harry thought his cheeks just might burn right off his face, and Ron didn't look much better.

"I don't think," the Potions Master continued, "you know, I really don't think I've ever seen a Panic Potion of such a terrible consistency in my life. And yet you both managed it in one day. And the intriguing colour! I distinctly recall mentioning that the final result should be brown, not this lovely ... " he peeked into Ron's pot, "orange, nor this ... " with a look into Harry's, "well, I've no idea what that is. Yes, yes, truly a record-breaking day for the Potter-Weasley Team of Miserable Incompetence."

"Too bad we're not pretty little Slytherins," Ron shot back. "Maybe then we'd get a bit of personal attention from the teacher."

An outraged roar broke out from the Slytherin tables so that Harry could barely hear Snape snap, "Ten points from Gryffindor for insolence, Weasley!" His whole body seemed to have gone stiff as a board for he couldn't help noticing that, over at the table he shared with Crabbe and Goyle, a secret smile lingered on Draco Malfoy's lips. Snape turned on Harry then, eyes narrowed, obviously expecting some kind of cheek from him in defence of his friend. Harry simply stared back as hard as he could.

Don't you dare, he thought, wishing he could simply will the words into his Potions Master's head. Don't you DARE let him touch you.

Snape blinked slowly, his eyebrows raising and for a crazed moment Harry wondered if he'd actually spoken the words aloud. But he hadn't, after all, and Snape simply turned away when he saw no further impertinence was forthcoming, dismissing the class with a final injunction to study hard for the final.

"Merlin's beard, I'll actually be glad of that final," Ron mumbled, stuffing his Potions text viciously back in his bag while Harry finished scrubbing the cauldron. "It'll mean no more Snape for a whole summer."

"Mm," Harry replied distractedly, as Hermione came storming up.

"Honestly," she said in exasperation, "what's got into you, Ron? Ten points! You know he's trying to get a reaction out of you!"

"Oh, sorry," Ron said, with a scowl at Neville who, it was true, was hanging rather close to Hermione's elbow. "I guess not all of us can be up to your standards. Lucky you were with Neville - he never does things like that, sticking up for himself."

"Ron!" Harry said in horror, forgetting all about Snape as Neville went pale and stepped back. Hermione's face went stiff with outrage, and Ron himself bit his lip.

"Neville, I'm sorry, that was absolutely beastly of me - "

"Yes, it really was," Hermione added acidly. "Just ignore him, Neville. He's at the level of a ten-year-old."

Ron turned red again, and for the next few seconds he and Hermione were locked together in a vicious staring contest. Neville was looking miserably at the floor. Harry was glancing, appalled, at his group of friends and wondering what on earth he should say when he overheard a very familiar voice in the doorway:

"Professor, thank you for helping me today. But I'm awfully worried about that final exam. Would you mind terribly giving me a pass for tonight - if you've got the time, I think I could benefit from a little tutoring."

Draco! Harry froze. Nobody else seemed to be aware of the exchange, as Ron had given up trying to stare Hermione down and was continuing to apologise to Neville, who in turn was continuing to watch the floor. He didn't dare turn and look, didn't even think he could if his life depended on it; but his ears were straining to hear Snape's reply. Please, he begged silently, not really sure what he was asking for, please ... please say ...

"Don't worry about it, Mr. Malfoy," Snape drawled. "Your work this term has been exemplary as always. I can promise you," with significant emphasis on 'promise,' "that you need have no worries about the final exam."

Surely that was sufficient! Snape had just promised Malfoy a free test! Let it be enough, let it be ...

"Oh, but Professor," Draco murmured, "I simply don't share your confidence in me. But I think if we could just go over a few things tonight ... the exam is on Monday, after all, and surely you could spare me just an hour ... "

"Well, I've said I'm sorry," Ron said loudly, and Harry's attention was jerked unwillingly back to his friends. "I'm really sorry, Neville, and you know what I said wasn't true. If you'd rather go crying to Hermione then I can't stop you, I'm sure!" He threw his bag over his shoulder with a little more force than was necessary. "Come on, Harry." Confused, Harry looked from Ron to Hermione to Neville, having no idea what to say or do.

His outburst had attracted attention, and Snape rounded on their little group. "What are you lot doing, loitering in my classroom?" he asked impatiently. "Get a move on or you'll lose more points. I'm sure you have class. You'd best be going too, Mr. Malfoy."

Heading out the door, Harry took vicious satisfaction in Draco's crestfallen expression. "Yes, sir. But ... about tonight ... "

Trailing behind his friends, Harry slowed down so he could hear the answer. He had to know. He had to.

"I'm sorry, Draco," Snape finally said in a low, firm voice. "I will be very busy all weekend preparing for exams. You'll do fine on your own."

"But - !"

"Now run along, or you'll be late for class."

It was strange, Harry reflected, as he hurried to catch up with the others. He'd made a lousy potion (when before he'd really been doing rather well), Gryffindor had lost ten points, Neville had been insulted, and Ron and Hermione were fighting again, but he was happier than he'd been all day.

It was the final Divinations class of the term. That made Harry even happier than the end of Potions, maybe because just lately he found Professor Trelawney more annoying than he ever had Snape. She was just so ... so ...

"Ah, Harry," came the high-pitched, musical voice as he entered the room. Sybill Trelawney never spoke in anything below a trill. And around Harry, she trilled mournfully. He didn't know how that was possible, but she always managed it. She was just so ...

Trelawney regarded him sadly. "Such a brave young man," she murmured, obviously grief-stricken, "so terribly tragic ... "

Oh yes. That was it.

"I feel fine," Harry said loudly.

"For now," Trelawney predicted in a hushed, ominous voice. Harry winced. Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown were already starting to look at each other fearfully. Then, with a wide sweep of her be-shawled arm, bracelets jangling, the Divinations teacher waved them all into the overstuffed chairs and ottomans that decorated the room. The incense was already so thick that Harry had to exert conscious effort not to choke. Beside him, behind Trelawney's back, he could see Ron making gagging faces. Thank goodness they didn't have this class with Hermione.

"You are aware, no doubt," the woman hummed, "that your final exam will take place on Wednesday of next week. In my business it is pointless to wish you fortune, good or bad; I am, of course, already quite aware of who will pass and who - " with a surprisingly sharp glance at Ron, "will not." Her eyelids fluttered closed for a moment. Parvati and Lavender regarded Ron with expressions that looked like a cross between sympathy and a smirk.

"Too right," muttered Ron under his breath, and sounding like he'd taken a leaf from Hermione's book. "Easy to predict that sort of thing when you're the one handing in the marks, isn't it?"

Harry opened his mouth to reply, got a snootful of incense, and sneezed. Trelawney, her eyes still closed, immediately murmured something about "a long illness, poor lamb."

Then she opened her eyes again as all the students began settling back. "We have already covered," she announced, "the important material; I have no wish to put undue strain on you," with a mournful glance at Harry in particular, "in the few days remaining to you. Ah, before your final, that is. So I think today will be a day of ... " she heaved a humongous sigh, "reflection."

Harry and Ron sent excited glances at each other. Days of reflection meant they could fall asleep and look like they were meditating. Seamus Finnigan had already begun arranging his robe around him like a blanket.

"Free your mind," Trelawney intoned, her warbling tone starting to have a soothing effect as Harry allowed himself to relax, anticipating a nice hour or so of shut-eye. Rather nice of the old bat, really, to treat them to reflection on their last day in class. Maybe she wasn't all bad. "Allow your brain - that admittedly limited organ - to transcend the barriers you have set upon it and reach into the infinite rhythms of the universe ... "

Her talk was even more high-flown than usual, Harry reflected drowsily. His eyelids, already half-sunk, closed completely and he gave into the languor that came at the end of a long school week, especially when the end occurred in a hot, too-perfumed room.

When he opened them again, he stood in a clearing.

He blinked, and then shook his head. Where had the Divinations classroom gone? Where were his classmates? He was quite alone. And it was eerily silent; he couldn't hear the wind, or birds, or even his own breath. Was he in a dream?

Well, that seemed reasonable. It was night, and when he'd closed his eyes it had only been late afternoon. There was a full moon above, and the stars twinkled gently, reminding him vaguely of the eyes of Albus Dumbledore. Illuminated under their light was a circle of six small, gray standing stones. Something lay very still in the middle of the circle.

Harry couldn't explain the sudden feeling of dread that sat like a lump in his stomach. It was plenty bright, for nighttime, but he couldn't see clearly enough to make out what that huddled shape was inside the stones; he only knew the sight of it made him feel sick with fear. The trees around seemed to loom like giants of darkness. The whole place was familiar, but he just couldn't place it - though he knew he'd seen it somewhere before ...

When one of the stones raised an arm in the air, Harry was so startled he almost fell down. Walking closer to the circle, and squinting, he suddenly saw, to his shock, that they weren't stones, but people. People dressed from head to toe in hooded gray cloaks and standing inhumanly still. The lump in the middle, he could now see, looked like another person, crumpled and broken. It was huddled in on itself, curled like a dead baby, impossible to identify from where he stood.

"Welcome, Death Eaters," intoned the stone-person who had raised the hand. With a jolt, Harry recognized the low, malevolent tones of Lucius Malfoy, though he could not see his face. "Welcome, those faithful to Lord Voldemort. We are here to witness the destruction of a traitor."

"Destroy the traitor," intoned the rest of the circle, their voices sounding to Harry like the rasp of nails over a chalkboard.

"He came as a friend. He worked so closely with us that he was as one of our own blood. He swore allegiance to our most mighty lord. And he betrayed us!"

"Betrayed," repeated that horrid chorus.

"A spy, an informer, a Muggle-loving miserable dog. Unfit to live."


"Behold," hissed Malfoy, extending his arm out so that it hovered over the unfortunate person in the middle of the circle. His wand pointed down over the body and a terrible, red light shone from it, illuminating the huddled shape of robes and limbs. It didn't seem to even be breathing. "Behold the lying cur. Behold the punishment the loyal have extracted."

No, Harry thought, his blood swiftly turning to ice and lead as dread turned to certainty. No, no, it can't be -

"Behold a dead man! Behold Severus Snape!"

The light from the wand flared, and the huddled body flopped over like a landed fish, lying cruciform on the grass. Now Harry could see the face, obscured as it was by a curtain of tangled black hair and mottled with dark blood. Those open, staring eyes left no doubt. It was Snape and he was, unquestionably, dead.

Harry felt his throat contracting with the need to scream. But the Death Eaters were so near, he didn't dare move, he didn't dare make a sound ...

"He thought he could come back to us," sneered Malfoy. "He thought he would be welcomed as our brother once more. He was sadly mistaken."

Harry couldn't take his eyes away from Snape's blank, slack face. Of all the terrible things he'd ever seen, this was the worst. Beyond a doubt. He was so cold he didn't think he could ever be warm again. The dark eyes weren't hot or cool now, just empty, and that mouth, which had kissed him so expressively, was just lying open and -

... and it was forming words. Before Harry's horrified eyes, Snape's dead lips shaped the silent, but unmistakable word: Harry ...

Harry's hand was already heading for his wand. Maybe he wasn't dead after all! There was still a chance! He didn't know how he could possibly hold out against six full-grown wizards, but this was Snape, he had to try, he had to do anything he could -

His wand. His wand was gone. He'd lost it. Harry looked wildly around the ground, even up at the sky as if he expected to see it hovering there in front of his face, but it was gone. Where was it? Had someone stolen it? He thought back to the time of the Quidditch World Cup, wondered if Winky was anywhere around, wondered if he was losing his mind, wondered what the hell he was supposed to do now, when the choice was taken out of his hands.

Another sudden explosion from the wand Malfoy held shocked him into looking up, and he did cry out then. A bolt of fire had poured out from the wand tip and was engulfing Snape's body. From the space of one second to the next, the corpse had turned completely to ashes; and yet Harry still could not rid himself of the impression of those two blank eyes. He was shaking all over now.

"A fitting end," whispered Malfoy, and the wand dipped low, little streams of fire still licking its tip. Harry's eyes shifted to it from the charred heap on the ground, and he gasped: it was his wand that Malfoy held, with its phoenix plume, his own wand that had killed Snape. His very own wand that he'd chosen at Ollivander's, what seemed like eons ago. The wand that was the mirror of the Dark Lord's ...

Harry did start screaming then, unable to stop himself, but not a single Death Eater looked up, or even appeared to hear him. A soft wind came at last, rustling the dark pile of ashes that had been Snape, beginning to blow them away on the air, spiraling them up in hideous eddies. Harry kept howling, unable to contain his misery, until the ashes seemed to obscure the stars and moon above, until they seemed to coat the ground with darkness, until everything went black.

Part 2   |   Non Anime Fanfiction