Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters are copyright of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros., and they were used without permission. However, they were used with consideration and with no intention of making money. This story is simply an appreciative fan's attempt at writing something to contribute to the world of Harry Potter.

Author's Notes: Major Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince spoilers! Do not read unless you have read HBP!

This is my take on what happened and the consequences that followed.

Summary: A series of little snippets of year seven. Different characters. Eventually all coming together for one explosive ending.

Where Do I Go From Here?

By Sindie

Chapter One

The blackness of night opened and down fell the rain, but it did not wash away what had come to pass. Three meagre days ago, the inevitable and the horrific had transpired. Albus Dumbledore had died... at the hands of the man who now sat up in his rickety bed, the tattered covers torn back, his eyes bloodshot, his insides drained to the point of senselessness.

Everything about the world seemed senseless to him now. What was the point of living anymore, when the greatest Light wizard of the century now lay dead in a white tomb, mourned by thousands... thousands of which would never understand why he had done what he did... because he had to do it. And here he was, left to mourn alone.

Oh, Lord Voldemort had been exuberantly proud with him beyond understanding, his words of praise and thanks ringing through Snape's ears, false promises of the glory and honor that would be bestowed upon his most loyal servant. Contrary to what Bellatrix Lestrange had heard from his mouth nearly a year ago, Snape was not proud of what he was, of who he was, or of what he had to do.

Looking around him, he felt like his shabby abode was appropriate for one like him. Living in a dump of a house at the end of Spinner's End, spinning out of control was his life and everything around him, and he was not safe or secure here. Alone, truly alone, Snape had returned to the only place he knew, had known for so long. Draco was with his mother, at least now, but their whereabouts were unknown.

A coward. A bloody coward Potter had called him. Cowardly to stay holed up like this, awaiting the summons of Lord Voldemort, knowing that he would never see the one he had truly served ever again.

How could you have asked such a thing of me, Albus!

Because the old wizard knew he would do it, would do as he had been told. Dumbledore had known Snape possessed a courage to do anything he asked of him. Last summer, when Voldemort had confided his secret to Snape about asking Draco to do in the aged Headmaster, it was not too long afterward that Dumbledore had found out... from Snape's very lips. According to Dumbledore, he believed it to be a part of the master plan, saying that, at some point, he would have to die, for Harry to rise and assume his rightful place.

Of course Snape had argued countless times with Dumbledore, telling him that he was out of his mind, but the old man stood firm in his conviction. It was of little consequence when Narcissa came begging to Snape to protect her precious son and carry out the task given him if need be, since Dumbledore's death was already being planned as the Dark Lord planned. How odd that two opposite minds should think so very much alike.

Although he knew he was hesitant to make the Unbreakable Vow, Snape knew he would only be prolonging the inevitable. Throughout the school year, he continued to argue, even plead, with Dumbledore to ask him to remove this cup from his hands, but no, it would not be so.

When the Killing Curse had finally been issued forth from his wand, Snape knew his face displayed every shard of revulsion and hatred he felt toward Dumbledore for making him do this horrible task... and toward himself as well, feeling the full effects of the pain as if bits of glass were cutting into his skin like Sectumsempra.

Potter simply couldn't leave him to flee and get the hell out of there. Knowing he would never do any lasting damage to Potter, Snape tried to keep running, tried to block his failed attempts at curses and hexes, but finally had to blast a minor hex his way to keep him from pursuing him further.

Coward! Coward! COWARD!

The sheer and utter nerve of the Potter boy to dare assault and insult him with such a murderous word! Not only had Potter turned his own spells against him, but he had turned everything against him. Potter's limited mind believed him evil of the most vile sort, working for Voldemort, betrayer of Dumbledore, but what complete rubbish that all was!

Don't you know, Potter, that I'm doing this for YOU!

"Apparently not," Snape whispered hoarsely.

As he contemplated where the road ahead would take him, Snape felt more lost than ever.

"Damn you, Albus! Damn you a million times over for making me do this!" he cried. Then softer, desperate, "What will I do without you?"

If ever Snape felt like a coward, it was now, alone with himself and his thoughts to drive him mad, left at the crossroads of his miserable life, having to choose life or death.

"Where do I go from here?"