Disclaimer- I do not own any of these characters. So...
For all the rest, it had ended years ago. There had been all of the parties, all the toasts, all the drunken, pathetic excuses for wizards yelling out the name of their savior. For everyone else, the death of the current 'Dark Lord' was where those past lives ended and the new world began.
Severus Snape was not everyone else.
Tom Riddle had died long ago, but for Severus Snape it hadn't made any difference.
Everyone else had simply lost the fear. They had not suddenly gained their freedom or suddenly lost it. Most of them probably had no idea what true freedom was. Or perhaps they had never been enslaved. Without one, the other could not exist.
Severus Snape knew true freedom, but it was getting harder to recall the feeling as time wore on.
The chains that held him had not loosened when Tom had been killed. If anything, they had simply gotten worse.
Back then, there had been release in the pain. In that time, while he was writhing from the pain, the chains would briefly fall and he would be able to think for himself. For Severus, the torture was always over far too soon.
Of course, his master made sure that he was tortured as little as was possible in his position. If possible, he never did anything to agitate Tom. Not that Severus had ever been in control of his actions.
In the beginning, before Tom, he had prayed to be free, but he was no longer that foolish. Not even his thoughts were safe.
But it was all for his own good, of course. All for his own good.
Sometimes, before it could be stopped, the overwhelming desire to spit those words back in his master's face became clear. It never became more than a thought. The pain did that well enough.
It had been years since the beginning. It had been years since what he had once believed would be he end.
Severus wasn't sure about the end anymore. He wasn't quite sure what that meant.
All he knew was that when the end finally came, Albus Dumbledore would be there, smiling down at him and telling him that it was all for his own good.