Disclaimer: Not mine, don't earn anything for it, but I keep on wishing.

A/N: Just something a little different based several years in the future at the end of the war with Voldemort. I think that about sums it up. Shouldn't be any spoilers.


The room felt colder than he remembered; emptier, and yet it was as he'd left. His books still stacked neatly beside the overflowing bookcase, his journal lay open on the coffee table, there was no dust, no one had been in the rooms since his departing. The tumbler of scotch sat un-drunk beside the journal, the amber liquid having long since lost its rich scent, but with his mastered skills he could still smell the now musky odour. The spilt droplets of alcohol had evaporated and sunk into the glass with time, two tacky spots the only evidence of the painful summons that had disrupted the peace of the room.

Moving to the large desk, the years' schedules lay untouched, unfinished. The un-lidded ink pot was empty save for a dark residue, the only remains of the red pigment that had once been in ample supply upon returned parchments.

His bed remained the same, covers turned down, open book atop the cabinet, its contents no doubt outdated; not the new discoveries he'd left them as. The antique mirror still faced the wall, and he moved to turn it, no longer disgusted by what he saw there, though little of his appearance had changed. His nose remained large and crooked, but no longer stood out on milky flesh. Black eyes held an intensity time had not erased, and once black hair, streaked elegantly with silver the only trace of the torture his body had suffered. Still slim, but not skeletal, the foreboding robes hung gracefully from his frame. The dark cloud that had hung over him for so long after the summons had had a sliver lining he'd seen eventually. With no windows in the underground rooms, the air was stale and heavy, pressing down on long healed lungs. It was a relief finally returning, made all the sweeter by the length of time passed.

Turning to the bathroom, he gazed lovingly at the coloured vials, drinking in their sight with the thirst he felt. While healing by muggle means had been beneficial to his overall health, it had taken years of his life to complete. It had been the price paid for exhausting his magic after the escape. Returning magic had gradually dissolved the scars, all but the silver lines still etched on his back, the deepest of his captives' torment. His mind had taken longer to heal, though not broken it had been fractured; memories scattered and thoughts fragmented. Again it wasn't until his magic resurfaced that he was able to reconstruct the mind he'd always prided, to mend all that had come undone.

Finally removing his gaze from the rooms, he moved to the door.

Passing students stared at the stranger in wonder, for to them he was a stranger, 6 years away and his last pupils where long into the world, only those remaining with the sharpest of memories would remember this wizard sweeping through the corridors, and those seemed absent around him. The looming oak doors were as he remembered; how he'd dreamed when still unable to return to the world he'd been born to. Albus would still be there, that much his primitive tongue discovered, stumbling upon a wizarding newspaper days before his full strength had returned. The wizarding world's saviour had succeeded again, banishing the darkness once more. Faint tendrils of smell reached his nose, and he breathed them in, reaching to push against the doors; roast chicken and pumpkin juice. How he'd missed that simple thing.

Silence permeated the hall as seated students once again looked in wonder; he kept his head high, no longer ashamed, strides of a man who belonged. The silence reached the head table as he himself did. Cutlery fell to plates, the sound echoing around the hall, as those who knew recognised him. Bright green eyes peered at him from behind unruly black, an awkward smile pulling his features. He moved to meet oldened blue eyes, refilling with youth.

"Severus you're home." One eyebrow rose, the movement smooth; remembered.

"Indeed." Home.

Please review.

- Linds -