Disclaimer same as always.

Writers Notes, thanks to leonix2009 for your review.


"The Inferius is a corpse that has been reanimated. It is not alive, it is merely used like a puppet to do the wizard's bidding. However, like many creatures that dwell in cold and darkness, they fear light and warmth... and fire. Necromancy is the Dark Art of raising the dead," Severus explained to his fifth year class. It has been a few days since Harry almost killed Draco, Severus was nearly fed to Greyback because of that, he barely made it back as his body almost shut down. It was overwhelming for the past few days but eventually he relax after the realization he didn't break his vow about protecting Draco.

"So you really can bring someone back to life?" Ginny asked.

"Yes and no, you can come back if the spell was place on you, but what makes you, you won't come back. Like mindless beasts, like werewolves, once they transform they lose all sense of who they are. But the inferius is worse, much worse. They're nothing and are slowly wasting away, a creature without any thought or reason to exists. Death is something not meant to cheated. It's a creature in painful agony and just wants to die and is not able to have that."

"So they're like zombies?" Colin asked.

"Inferi have much in common with the muggle term of zombies. I had several good reasons for not wishing to call Inferi zombies. Firstly, zombies are not part of British folklore, but associated with the myths of Haiti and parts of Africa and North America. Secondly, while zombies of the few Vodou traditions, can be nothing more than reanimated corpses, that unlike Inferius cannot be controlled. Lastly, zombies are fictional creatures made by muggles. Plus, Inferius are not a mass of undead waves of mindless cannibals. So to non intellectual, I suppose they are like... zombies even though they're totally nothing like zombies," Severus explained.

So, they're like zombies?" Ginny asked.

"Moving on." Severus snarled, teaching these kids was still a pointless waste of his time and his life. The Dark Arts Professor was once having supper in his office while he was grading papers and listening to music. A knock came to his door and that drew him out of from his thoughts as he told whoever to enter.

"Hello, Severus," Hermione smiled as she entered the office.

"Hermione as much as I adore your presence, this has to stop." Severus knew the day was coming soon. He thought it was best to end things instead of hurting her later. Telling her wasn't a option. He couldn't even begin to explain it, and besides would it be cruel to let her hate him because of a lie or is it more cruel to let her know the painful truth while everyone else is speaking horrible stuff about him. To let her suffer alone in silence with the painful truth that could kill her, but then letting her believe he betrayed her could also kill her.

"Why?"

"People like to talk, Hermione, and they jump to their own conclusions. Not that they believe you would do such things, but they think the worst of me," Severus said.

"We're not doing anything inappropriate, and besides we're just enjoying time with each other. I sometimes just stay behind to have tea with McGongall or Flitwick just to talk." Hermione said as she sat down.

"Would you like tea and stew?" Severus asked as Hermione happily smiled, with her he could just forget about Dumbledore, Voldemort and everything else for a moment. He didn't understand how she could have this effect on him, she knew he was a Death Eater and despite all that she still smiled and treated him like human. She deserves so much better, someone who will make her happy. He hoped that Hermione will find that person she truly deserves. He had no delusion of grandeur, he knew that he doesn't have a chance of surviving this war, and if he did, he would be in prison regardless. If he told them the truth, it's still murder.

"This is wonderful," Hermione smiled as ate some of the stew. She like her time with Severus. It was like she could let her guard down and be herself.

"Umm... thanks," Severus said, as Hermione took a hold of his hand.

"Severus, I want you to know that your are one of my closest friends and our friendship means a great deal to me."

"Hermione... I don't trust easy and I am a really piece of work. I don't just trust anyone, so it important to let you know that when I trust someone, it's something very important to me. You are one of very few people I consider to be my friend." Hermione smiled and kissed his hand tenderly as a new song began to play, Time in a Bottle. She took a hold of his hand and pulled him to the middle of the room.

"Hermione... stop this I am uncomfortable with this."

If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I'd like to do

Is to save every day till eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you

"This is one of my favorite songs," Hermione smiled as she began to lead him into the dance, and looked up into his eyes. Ever since the funeral, she noticed something was off with Severus. She believed it was Voldemort and his role as a spy. She never asked, as she didn't want Severus to relive any of the horror he had see. She doubts he would even tell her, if she asked. She laid her face against his chest and could hear his heartbeat. She hated how unfair and cruel the world could be. She tightened her embrace, as did Severus. Both wanted to forget about all this plotting, fighting and the war. It was a brief moment that they found a rare moment of peace.

She placed a hand to his cheek and tenderly touched it with the back of her hand, as Severus kissed the top of her head. It amazed him that this small act didn't make her flinch. He took her hand in his and gently massaged it, as Hermione smiled brightly at him with her eyes. She threw her arms around him, she wanted to hold him so tight and hold on until all the pain in his beautiful eyes is gone. Until there was nothing left except for love and happiness. It was beautiful moment, but like all good things come to a end. And it took the form of a deep burn on his forearm.

"Must you go?" Hermione said sadly.

"The price for not showing up when called is a high one, yes I have to go."

"Be safe."

"That all depends on his mood and if my work pleases him."

"I'll stay and wait for you to return."

"You'll do no such thing. You shouldn't see me like that, and besides you should be off to your common room."

"But..."

"I have to go." Severus said he left to go to his meeting. Once he walked inside the Malfoy Manor, he greeted the Dark Lord like he always did.

"Severus, have you ever heard of the Deathly Hallows?" Voldemort smiled.

"The Hallows, my Lord?" Severus asked, "Forgive me, my Lord, but are the Hallows just a children's tale, told to amuse rather than to instruct."

"Severus, every tale comes from somewhere. Those of us who understand these matters, however, recognize that the ancient story refers to three objects, or Hallows. If united, these will make the possessor Master of Death. With the power of the three Hallows, I will become a God." Voldemort boasts. Severus kept his thoughts about the Dark Lord's claims to himself. "Tell me Severus, are you familiar with the story of the Hallows?"

"It's a story my mother told me when I was a child," Severus said. "It's a tale of the three Peverell brothers. Hundreds of years ago they were travelling at twilight and reached a river too dangerous to cross. The three brothers, being trained in the magical arts, simply waved their wands and created a bridge across the river. They were then stopped by Death himself, who felt cheated that they had gotten across the river, as most travellers drowned in it. Death, was a cunning lair, then pretended to congratulate the brothers on being clever and strong enough to evade him. He offered each of them a powerful magical item."

The first brother, Antioch Peverell, wished to have a wand more powerful than any other in existence. The second brother, Cadmus Peverell, wished to have the power to bring loved ones from the grave. The third brother, Ignotus Peverell, did not trust Death and asked to go on from the river without being followed by Death; Death then gave him his own Cloak of Invisibility. An invisibility cloak that never lost its power through curses or age."

Severus continued with the tale, "The eldest brother boasted about his skills with the wand, he was eventually killed in sleep and the killer took the wand for himself. The second brother used the stone to bring back his love, he was successful but she didn't want to remain in this world so the second brother killed himself. The third brother eventually died when his time came, but of course it's a fairy tale."

"Severus it is not a fairy tale, and our dear friend Ollivander has given me information to where I can find the Elder Wand." Voldemort smiled, "Now tell me Severus, have anything to report?"


Additional Notes, Song belongs to Jim Croce - Time in a Bottle, check out the whole version if you interesting in hearing the song thats playing while they dancing.