Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it belongs to the goddess, JKR. Surprised? Didn't think so.
And Now, What?
It's finally over.
No more headaches. No more terror. No more danger.
I look down at his broken body and find that I haven't even the strength to move just yet. I just stand there and look at him and try to understand what has happened. I've defeated the enemy. I've killed him. I've won.
I am barely cognizant of the others, both the living and the dead. I don't even think I have fully realized that I am still alive myself.
I'm just thinking that it's over.
No more taunts about my parents' sacrifice. No more expectations to live up to. No more thoughts of further revenge against his minions. They can all go to Azkaban and I will not care. Let them rot, just like him.
Follow the leader…up until the end.
I finally sit down heavily on a nearby broken piece of wall and drop my wand on the ground. It seems so heavy…as if the weight of the world were in it. I place my head in my hands and close my eyes, trying to envision anything except the horror I have just witnessed.
All I can see is blood.
A world full of blood.
What will it take to make this world clean again?
A hand on my shoulder startles me and I look up in a panic.
"You don't look much like a conquering hero, Potter," someone says to me.
"Go to hell, Snape," I snap back.
"This is hell, Potter," he sighs as he sits down next to me. I can see his face is practically black from grime and dirt and sweat. Mine can't be any better.
"Do you think he can ever come back?" I ask. It's the only coherent question I can come up with.
He scratches his head and I notice the many bleeding cuts on his arms. His robes are torn. He looks nothing like the formidable Potions Master that I remember.
He looks astonishingly like an ordinary man.
"That would normally be a question for the Headmaster but…since…" he falters for a moment and I know he is reliving his mentor's horrific death once again. Drawing a deep breath, he continues in a quiet tone. "I do not think it possible, Potter. This time, it is permanent."
"Your Dark Mark is still there," and I see it, lying dormant and impotent against his pale skin.
"So is your scar. Black owes me five galleons by the way. He thought it would disappear with the defeat of Voldemort," he pokes at the ground with his wand, which looks as if it has been through many levels of hell not just this one.
"What will you do now?" I ask, taking off my glasses for a moment. The one lens is broken. I almost smile as I look at them…a distant memory surfacing in my mind.
"Hermione…I hope you are all right. There's something I have to tell you and I hope it isn't too late," I think to myself.
"I will stay at Hogwarts. I am needed there, if nowhere else." He points his wand at my glasses and, with a quick 'Oculis Reparo' fixes them.
If only people could be mended that easily.
"What will you do now?" The same question is asked of me as I put my repaired glasses back on my aching head.
"The Headmaster…before…all this…he had asked me to stay…to help rebuild the school," I reply in a shaking voice. I still can't believe he is gone. How am I to do all this without him to guide me?
"Then that is what we must do. The battle is over, Potter. Let it go," he reaches for my fallen wand and picks it up. He gets up and waits for me. I slowly stand, feeling aches in many places, and take my wand back, taking some small comfort in its familiarity. I grip it tightly.
"The battle is over, Snape," I say, grimacing slightly. "And now, what?"
For a moment his black eyes are not so cold or calculating and I see in him a friend and a colleague. In fact, I see something of the Headmaster in him.
"And now, Potter," he replies, raising his eyebrows, "well, now you live."