The Hollow Man

Written in response to my own "The Hollow Man" Challenge on WIKTT.

Prelude - Contemplations

Drip, drip, drip, it went, on and on until he could no longer even hear his own thoughts. The sound that had seemed soft at first now reverberated in the stone walls, augmented a thousand fold with each drip. Or maybe that was simply him giving into madness.

He had lost count of how much time had gone by since he had been brought into this cell, couldn't tell if it had been weeks or months, but it was hardly important. The events of the Final Battle, however, would be forever etched in his memory. Hogwarts. They had managed to turn Hogwarts of all places, into a battleground. Bastards. They had had every intention of getting to the famous Boy Who Lived, regardless of who they killed in the process, be it the child of friend or foe. It would have turned into a bloodbath had he not known beforehand. The students had been evacuated overnight, faster than he had thought possible. Of course, a few of them had managed to sneak back, for better or for worse.

Draco Malfoy.

Harry Potter.

Hermione Granger.

Ronald Weasley.

And, surprisingly, Neville Longbottom.

Even more surprising was the fact that they were all on the same side, the Granger girl and the Weasley boy out of their blasted Gryffindor nobility and Draco, Potter and Longbottom united by the same common goal: revenge. Potter's motives were the same as they always had been, of course, and Longbottom's weren't much different; both of the boys' parents had been taken away from them, and they intended to do the impossible to avenge that. Draco, on the other hand, wanted nothing more than to watch his own father die at his hands, as repayment for the murder of his mother. A most unlikely alliance had been forged that night.

It had been a harsh battle, with countless lost lives on both sides. He could distinctly remember having closed Sybil Trelawney's eyes as she lay in a pool of her own blood, having fought as valiantly as anyone else, and his shock as he realised for the first time that, despite her many faults, she had been a good woman. He remembered McNair, his death eater mask now torn yet still hanging from his neck, as he fell to the ground. The man had been about to cast an Unforgivable at Potter's unguarded back, when Draco himself had struck him down. He remembered Bellatrix Lestrange, surprise still evident in her eyes at the fact that it had been Neville Longbottom's curse to finally stop her. And he remembered Hermione Granger's voice as she shouted a curse over his shoulder, effectively disabling a nameless Death Eater who had been aiming at him. He remembered having hated her for that, for having snatched from him the chance to simply die and get it over with once and for all.

Everyone had been rejoicing in the afterglow of victory when they realised Albus Dumbledore was not among them. Nor was he among the corpses. He was simply not there, and the last time anyone could remember having seen him was in a fierce duel with Tom Riddle, although that was long before Potter had finally got there. Fudge had, of course, taken full advantage of that fact, and had had him arrested as a Death Eater and a spy. Not a favourable testimony had been able to save him, only Albus' could have. Of all the members of the Order, Kingsley Shacklebolt had been the only one not to testify in his favour, but even that behaviour had been explained as he realised the man was still spying on the Ministry. He had come to visit him once, under the guise of interrogating him further, and let him know in no uncertain terms that he thought him to be innocent and honourable.

He begged to differ.

He had not been innocent since the age of 10, and would definitely not deem himself honourable. He only wished they would sentence him to death now that his job was done; the world had no more to offer him than it had when Voldemort had lived, and he was no longer needed now. Death was something he deserved, not only for what he had done as a true Death Eater, but for what he had been forced to do in his role as a spy. He almost got his wish.

Almost.

For the Wizengamot had decided he would have the dubious honour of being the first human subject in a new procedure the Ministry had developed. Something they had begun developing two and a half years ago, when the Dementors had turned to Voldemort: the Hollowing.

It had been explained to him that his soul was to be stripped from him, as if he had been Kissed. It had been explained to him that he would then be bound to, at the beck and call of one of the victims. He did not know who his new master would be, but he knew his fate would not be pleasant. At least he had the consolation of knowing he would not feel anything, regardless of the magnitude of his abasement.

He should have known death was too good for him.

So now here he sat, being driven half mad by the insistent drip, drip, drip, and he could only wish the time would go by quicker.

For, in a few hours, Severus Snape would cease to be.

------------------

Author's Note: This is the extremely late (today is the deadline) to my own challenge at WIKTT, The Hollow Man. Feel free to point out any mistakes I make, since I am not a native speaker and have no beta. Please Review!

This Challenge's name was lifted from Marillion's outstanding song, The Hollow Man.

----

The Hollow Man

I think I have become one of the hollow men

As I shine on the outside more these days

I can feel the outside feeding on my inside

Leaves a growing darkness in its place

I think I have become one of the hollow men

I think I have become one of the lonely

Now that everybody talks to me

I feel I have become one of the empty

Hollow men can stop you with the twinkling of an eye

Hollow men can take you without even reaching out

Hollow men have got you long before you realise

The poison paralyses

I think I have become one of a pair of men

It's a feeling I've been having for some time

I look down upon myself and watch my movements

A blind eye sees the fragile vandalised

Watch this cold world dishing up these endless hollow men

Find us anywhere you look

Come and meet our friends

Stand us in our silly clothes

Put our batteries in

Line us up like fairground ducks

Watch us grin and grin

See the lies behind our eyes

See the will to win

We'll buy you and we'll sell you

But perhaps we'll save your skin

Sit quietly and listen to the breeze

The hollow and the lonely listen too

Sniff the air for something we can use

We're tin-hard and we rattle when we're shaken

----

More can be found at www.marillion.com. Once again, please review!