Once it was all said and done, Severus thought the whole thing was rather anticlimactic. Truthfully, he had never expected to outlive both of his Masters, but here he was, the Dark Mark nothing more than a pale white tracing on his arm. He had a small amount of blood trailing down his right cheek from a stray cutting curse, but other than his boots being scuffed up, he was very alive and whole.
He felt an odd sensation welling up from deep inside of him. He raised his left hand to put it against his chest and noticed that his hand was trembling. The feeling churned deep in his gut and then shot straight up, ripping through his psyche and Severus Snape did something that he had not done, ever, at least in this lifetime.
He flung his arms straight out to the sky, dropping his wand, and started to laugh in sheer euphoria.
Ronald Weasley was on his knees, cradling his fiancée in his arms, rocking her back and forth. Her arms were wrapped tightly around his neck and both of them were weeping tears of joy. Voldemort was gone, for good this time, and everyone could feel it in the very air. Somehow, it was easier to breathe. Both the young wizard and witch were giddy with elation and Hermione was giggling, something she was not well-known for doing. Even with their celebrating the death of the Dark Lord, the sound of something completely foreign to them came to their ears, causing them both to look up across the grounds of Hogwarts.
Ron dropped Hermione from his arms and she was too stunned to hang on. Severus Snape, the Greasy Git himself, had his arms flung skyward and was cackling insanely.
"Probably the shock of the loss of the Dark Mark," offered Hermione, all-knowingly.
"That, or he was just barmy all along and he's finally cracking now that snake-face snuffed it," countered Ron.
Hermione made a tsking sound with her tongue, her head shaking in pity, and Ron tried not to puff his chest out for being right all along about the mad old bat.
Ron was puzzled though, for his best friend, the Boy-Who-Lived-More-Times-Than-Anyone-Expected, was racing at a breakneck speed towards their former Potions master.
'Probably to knock some sense in to the old duffer,' he thought to himself, and turned to kiss his fiancée breathless.
Neville Longbottom kept looking at the wand in his hand to the Death Eater laying less than 4 feet from him. He had cast stupefy without even thinking, and he knew damn well that without Harry Potter's help, he never would have had the confidence to react in such a fashion. He owed his former roommate his life, in more ways than one. A silly grin started to waver across his formerly frightened face and he started to giggle, drunk with knowledge that the war was over and he was still alive.
He suddenly found himself flying backwards and landing on his arse, shoved over by a blur that, strangely enough, looked like Harry.
"Sorry Neville!" he heard fading away and Neville just shrugged to himself and got up to go find Luna Lovegood or Ginny Weasley. Where he could find one, he knew he would find the other.
Fred & George Weasley were quite the pair. Their role in the war had been rather obvious from the day they had created a lake in the fifth floor corridor, almost three years ago. A week after their escape from Umbridge's clutches, they were found by Kingsley Shacklebolt, holed up at a seedy tavern in Diagon Alley, bent over various notes on pranks and gags, and hoping their mother couldn't find them. Despite the twins' age of eighteen, their mother wouldn't think twice about smacking them upside the head for the stunt they had pulled.
Kingsley had contacted them on behalf of Albus Dumbledore, he himself in hiding at the time. The Headmaster wanted to see them, the sooner the better. All of their little jokes and pranks were about to pay off, in a very big way. Contracts were drawn and in a matter of days, the twins were producing the strangest weapons ever used in a war, their pay packets coming straight from the Order of the Phoenix.
The Death Eaters were more terrified of the Weasley twins than they were of Harry Potter. Potter only packed spells around and shields could guard against most spells. The twin terrors had things that caught you while you were sleeping and would rip your flesh off, or so the rumours went.
At present, the twins could be found only a couple of feet away from the shores of Hogwarts' Lake. It appeared as if one of the twins was having a conversation with the Giant Squid.
"Want him whole, or do you want us to strip him first?" the twin in question asked a tentacle.
"Here George, grab his legs!" grunted the other twin, whom obviously was Fred. George walked away from the flailing tentacle and picked up the legs in question. Fred had the Death Eater by his arms and on the count of three, the two young men let go of their charge. The unnamed former servant of the idiot formerly known as the Dark Lord sailed in a nice arc and came to a splash landing right in the tentacles of the squid. There was a loud slurping sound, and the Death Eater disappeared from sight and was never heard from again.
"Nice toss!" The compliment came from a dark-headed person running at full tilt across the grounds.
"Thanks mate!" called George.
"Where y'off to, Harry?" called Fred.
"Gotta go, can't talk!" and Harry kept running. The twins shrugged and turned back to the task of feeding the squid. It wouldn't be long now before someone arrived and caught them in the act, so they figured they should get in as much fun as they could.
"Oi! Fred! This one's still alive!" George chortled in glee and Fred moved to join him in the new game.
Draco Malfoy slowly opened his eyes. Merlin, the pain! He swore that even his eyelashes hurt. At first, he thought he was blind, as the only thing he could see was the colour blue, but after his brain adjusted, it dawned on him that he was laying flat on his back and that it was the sky he was looking at.
He made an attempt at sitting up, but failed miserably. His battered and beaten body simply would not respond. He flailed about with his arms, trying to right himself, but did nothing more than do a first-rate imitation of a drunken tortoise.
He flopped his head down to the ground again and growled in frustration. He heard the thundering of running feet heading towards him and he figured that this was it, the end. He knew they had lost the war and that Potter had killed the Dark Lord for good. They were coming to either finish him off or sacrifice him to the Weasley twins for experiments.
Just before he turned his head to watch his approaching doom, he saw a pair of legs and some flapping robes go flying over his body, to thud down on his other side and keep running.
'Hunh.' Draco thought to himself. 'That answers the puzzle of what Potter wears under his robes.' He heard more feet running towards him, but he no longer had the strength to look around. He knew he was hurt, and badly.
A pair of matching faces crowned with red hair leaned over in to his vision.
Draco's last coherent thought was, 'Oh shite.'
It was a long time before anyone ever heard what had become of Draco Malfoy, Death Eater Lieutenant.
Severus Snape finally stopped crowing in delight and lowered his arms. His face still looked like he was beaming in rapture and it was a look that, though felt strange to him, he was quite tickled to be feeling.
He heard the thrumming of feet coming across Hogwarts grounds, and he turned around to see a very glorious sight. The grin already plastered across his face broadened until it was encompassing every part of him, even his eyes. Hell, Albus Dumbledore couldn't have twinkled better. If Severus looked in a mirror at this moment, he would have scared himself silly.
Harry Potter was running full tilt towards his former Potions master and instead of coming up with an insult and a scowl, Severus walked towards the young man and opened his arms.
Harry hit his body at full run, but Severus didn't care. He wrapped the nineteen year old man up as tight as he could and they both laughed together. Harry was exclaiming repeatedly, "It's over! We did it!" while Severus spun him in a slow circle.
"Yes, it IS over. We're free, at last we are free!" He lowered his young lover to the ground and tilted his head down to meet Harry's lips in a slow kiss. If this feeling of having his soul sucked out through his lips is what pure joy felt like, he was pretty damn sure he could do this every single minute of every single hour of every single day for the rest of his life.
For the second time in less than ten minutes, Hermione Granger was dropped from Ron's arms and she nearly smacked her head on the ground.
"Ron Weasley! What on earth is wrong with you?" she chastised. She looked up at Ron's face to see him looking absolutely dumbfounded over where she knew Snape was doing his weird little ritual. Ron reached down, grabbed her by the chin and forced her to look over at Snape.
Standing together, clenched in the tightest lip lock either of them had ever seen in their lifetimes, was their best friend and the Potions master of Hogwarts. Hermione started to breathe heavily, her brain frantically scrambling through the myriad of information she kept stored up there on various people.
"But..." she started, and failed. "But," she tried again, "I didn't know anything about this!"
Ron just shook his head. "Barmy. Both of 'em. Paddling down the creek but forgot the oars." He tightened his arm around his fiancée, delighted that they survived with their mental faculties intact.
"But…" Hermione continued, still trying to deal with the fact that she had overlooked something that was now, completely obvious.
"Hermione, hush," and suddenly she found herself being kissed senseless, once again.
There were worse things that could happen.
Harry Potter was in the one and only place in the entire Universe that he wanted to be – in Severus Snape's arms, being kissed in to oblivion. He still couldn't believe they both had survived the whole ordeal, and they had made preparations expecting that one, if not both, would die today.
After all of the pain, the spying and sneaking about, the lies and the horrific things that war brings with it, this was just the most perfect thing he could think of. If he died right at this moment, he would die the happiest man ever to have existed.
From today on, he would have Severus all to himself. No Dumbledore digging his claws in to their life, telling them what they could and could not do, no more Order, and to hell with the Auror program and the Ministry!
It would just be them and he could feel Severus each and every day, listen to his liquid velvet voice caress him without feeling like he was putting the older man in dire jeopardy, and he didn't care who knew. Nothing mattered any more.
Harry looked up at Severus and put all of his desires in to four simple words. "Severus, take me home."
Severus looked in to his lover's eyes and smiled again. In his strange form of bedroom talk, he replied, "As you wish it, so mote it be." He leaned down and kissed Harry once again, and while still embracing, the couple Dissaparated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.