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Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling.

I am making no profit.

Nor am I claiming creation or ownership of anything Harry Potter related.

All of it is J. K. Rowling's, or Bloomsbury Books, or the WB's, or whomever's.

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I am very pleased and proud that

The Incident In The Great Hall

Won Silver


The Multifaceted Awards: The Severus Snape Round


My deepest thanks and profound gratitude to Nakhash Mekashefah for beta-reading this story. She has been infinitely invaluable. She is a treasure.

I must also thank Droxy. Without her initial insistence and enthusiasm, this story would not have grown from the 1,646 word oneshot it once was.

I would like to thank whoever nominated this story for a Multifaceted award, as well. I was floored when I got the e-mail telling me my story had been nominated.

Finally, my heartfelt thanks to each and every person who took the time to leave a review.

This story was written before the release of The Half-Blood Prince.

It must also be noted that this story was written before J.K. Rowling announced Dumbledore's sexual oreintation. Therefore, in this story, he's written as heterosexual.

The Incident In The Great Hall

It was dinnertime and the Great Hall was filled with the inhabitants of the Castle. The sounds of excited talk and laughter echoed throughout the Hall. Everyone was looking forward to the end of term. Harry Potter sat at the Gryffindor house table eating shepherd's pie and talking exuberantly, about tomorrows Quidditch match, with his best friend Ron. As their seventh and last year at Hogwarts drew to a close, everything seemed imbued with a different kind of anticipation. This was due, in no small way, to the fact that he, and all his classmates, had come of age this year and the sensation of being responsible and in charge of their own lives made everything more exciting. Everyone in his class had come of age this year, except Harry's other best friend, Hermione. She had come of age almost two years ago, due to her use of a Time-Turner. She had changed, too - a lot. She had always been much too intelligent and mature for her age, but even more so since the beginning of sixth year. She had truly flourished just before she was given the task of being the assistant for, and subsequently Apprentice to, the Potions master, Professor Snape. It had been almost two years now. Today it was practically impossible to distinguish her from the teachers. She certainly resembled them much more than she did her classmates; and still, after all this time, Harry couldn't comprehend how Hermione could stand working so closely with Professor Snape, the most feared and reviled teacher in the school. Hermione seemed to love it though, and you could see how well the work suited her. It showed clearly whenever you looked at the self-possessed witch. Even as a mere Apprentice, she had helped Professor Snape create an important healing potion. In a totally uncharacteristic act, the widely hated Potions master promised to give her equal credit when their work was published. This would give her the recognition of being one of the top Potions researchers in the world, even though she had not yet earned a formal title. Most importantly though, she was still one of Harry's two best friends.

A scream broke through the happy sounds in the Hall and all talk stopped as everyone turned to look in the direction of the disturbance. The source of the scream turned out to be none other then Hermione, who could be seen on the floor violently convulsing. She had been walking between the Gryffindor and Slytherin house tables. What seemed to happen next was an impossibility. All would swear that the Potions master, Professor Severus Snape, actually flew into Hermione's attacker, such was the speed of his reaction. One second he was seated at the High Table, deep in conversation with Professor McGonagall, the next he was across the Great Hall and had Draco Malfoy pinned against the wall. He had one hand in a stranglehold on Malfoy's throat and the other holding his wand in Malfoy's face. Suddenly, there was a flash of white light from Professor Snape's wand and Malfoy slid down the wall into a heap on the floor.

Severus Snape was cradling Hermione in his arms before Malfoy even hit the floor. He was running his elegant hands over her face, caressing her and murmuring words of comfort in his deep silky voice as his robes rapidly became soaked with her blood. All of this occurred in a blur and Harry's mind was racing to keep up. Now suddenly, everything seemed to jerk to a halt and events began to take shape in what seemed like slow motion.

Harry saw the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, make his way to Harry's friend and Professor Snape. He could hear the Headmaster muttering to himself, "Malfoy only cast a cramping hex..."

Harry knew that spell, it was a favorite of Malfoy's, one intended to cause severe cramping, centered in the lower body, making the victim walk funny at best or fall down at worst. Malfoy preferred it to the Jelly-Legs hex, as it included the pain of cramping. But, the most unbelievable occurrence Harry had ever witnessed happened when the Headmaster reached Hermione and Professor Snape. And he had seen Lord Voldemort come back to life and finally be vanquished! He saw his sneering, sarcastic, unfeeling bastard of a Potions Professor look up at the headmaster, with tears streaming openly down his face. His normally cold, probing eyes filled with terror and pain. He seemed to be silently pleading with the Headmaster before he spoke. Harry, and the rest of the occupants of the Great Hall, only caught a few words as Professor Snape's usually smooth, deep, and often-cruel voice actually shook, "Hermione?"

'Her first name? He never uses her first name, ever. He just calls her his Apprentice,' Harry thought. 'Did he just say, ''Our baby'' No, surely not!' Suddenly, Hermione's body stopped convulsing and Snape looked down at her face as her eyes opened. His Professor's normally distant and calculating eyes now held a searching, desperate look.

Hermione's words, though only a whisper, echoed through the Hall as she weakly lifted her hand to Snape's face, "Severus, our baby...our baby..."

"Shush." Professor Snape rocked and soothed Harry's friend. "It will be well, Hermione, My Love, we will...other..." he assuaged, as he continued stoking her face with his long graceful fingers. His deep voice caught in his throat, "the rest of our lives...our home filled with our children..."

He smiled lovingly at Hermione as she found her weak voice again. "Severus, I love you...love you...so...much...always..." she managed to wind her now-chalky hand in Professor Snape's silky hair and draw him to her lips. They kissed with an incredible tenderness and devotion, as her hand slipped off his head to lie on the floor beside her body and she moved no more.

Harry saw his loathed Potions Professor bathed in Hermione's lifeblood. He saw him clutch his friend's body to his chest and bury his face in her neck as he began shaking violently and pleading, "Hermione...Hermione...don't leave me, don't leave me, Hermione.

Thoughts raced through Harry's mind, 'Is that Snape's voice making that tortured sound? Did she say she loved him? Hermione's dead? This has to be a nightmare. Hermione's dead. No, it can't be.' Cold dread seeped through Harry as the Headmaster's actions confirmed the reality of it all. This was no nightmare. Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry, stood with tears brimming in his eyes, a look of utter sorrow on his face, as he regarded his Potions master. Harry saw him silently signal to Professor Flitwick to remove Draco Malfoy.

Harry's attention was distracted when Poppy Pomfrey, the castle's Matron, ran into the Hall and knelt beside Hermione and Professor Snape. Immediately, she ran her wand over Hermione. She looked up at the Headmaster, defeat etched in her features, as she shook her head, confirming the worst. The curse Malfoy had used on Hermione had acted so quickly that Madam Pomfrey had no time to save her. Hermione was dead. While Madam Pomfrey tried to take Hermione from Professor Snape, Harry's brain rebelled. 'No, this can't be! Voldemort is defeated. We're in the Great Hall, it's dinner, we are all safe!'

Harry was pulled out of his reverie by the sounds of a struggle. He focused again on the scene in front of him to see several teachers trying to separate Professor Snape from Hermione's body. After many minutes, they finally succeeded. The change in Snape was instant. His rage was a palpable flowing force, swirling around him in waves as he gracefully rose to his full height in the pool of blood where he held Hermione as she died. 'Hermione, dead.' Harry's brain was having trouble making sense of it all. 'She died because Malfoy's hex made her miscarry Professor Snape's baby?' Harry thought. He was still trying to wrap his mind around the unexpected events.

He saw Snape's eyes as they traveled to where Malfoy was, minutes ago. Looking back at the Headmaster, Severus Snape dangerously growled, "Where is he?" When he got no response, his voice seemed to reverberate through the foundation of the castle as he said again, "Where is he? You cannot hide him. HE. WILL. DIE." Snape's power vibrated as he spoke. No one in the Great Hall questioned that, if Professor Snape were anywhere near Draco Malfoy, his life would end - swiftly. Harry's always cool, controlled Potions Professor seemed quite mad as he quietly assured the Headmaster in a deadly voice, "I will find him."

The Headmaster's response was quiet and solemn as he grasped the Potions master's shoulder and looked into his eyes, "Severus, child, your Hermione would not want you to murder Draco."

After a few moments, Professor Severus Snape, Potions master, former Death Eater turned spy for the Light, a man who had withstood unfathomable tortures for years at the hands of Voldemort, sank down on his knees in Hermione's blood - a broken man. He reached a hand into the dark pool, palm flat, then he closed his eyes and hung his head. After a few moments, he took a deep breath and raised his hand, which was now covered with Hermione's blood. He whispered her name as he studied her blood, dripping from his hand. His eyes looked so very devastated, so empty, as he stared at Hermione's blood. Harry saw all this, but didn't notice his Professor's other hand pulling his wand out. Professor Snape's next words were no more than a whisper but their intent did not miss the mark, "Avada Kedavra." A blinding flash of green light, a rushing sound, and Professor Snape's lifeless body lay in the pool of Hermione's blood on the floor of the Great Hall.