Disclaimer – I do not own Harry or Hermione or Ron…only Severus. Yup. He's mine. Mine, I tell you, mine!

.

Oh, okay. I'll give him back when I'm through.

Author's Notes – Yays! Me first fanfic ever! Hope ye all enjoy the tale!

----

Silence.

It was not what he expected.

The body lay before him as if to promote his humanity-the illusion. It was a soul-less corpse, then, as it had been living. Air hung like nylon-thick and suffocating in a cloud of dust and magic and sweat and the blood ran across his sneakers as he watched in disbelief. It was Muggle television. It was not happening.

"Harry."

He did not hear. He did not see or feel or touch the thick, thick air. He stood, lost in the flotsam of his own disjunction. There was not yet a finality in the word "dead" as it clamored about in his ears.

"Harry."

A glimmer of recognition.

Eyes that saw the watery form of the Headmaster, his long, gray beard matted with the long, red river beneath his shoes. He felt a pressure on his shoulder. Palpable. The haze of dream began to lift like fog in the sunray, a warm, joyous heat simmering noisily in his stomach at the triumph, the loss, and the intensity of the moment.

"Harry, you did it." The Headmaster leaned haphazardly against Harry's shoulder, smiling-twinkling as he had done so often above a bowl of lemon drops or the festivities of a House Cup. "You all have done it."

More shapes. More figures whirling about in Harry's vision. Ron. Hermoine. Lupin. Haggrid. Ginny. Spinning and floating through the tears of his eyes. He was elated. Tragic. Empty. Filled. Dead and Reborn. And reborn until the dawn of reason started to stammer in his mind-

Voldermort is dead.

----

It was in the darkness that he found his solace.

It, like rain, seemed to wash over him-cleansing the sickness of his mind in the precious silence of absent light. He lingered there, in the dungeon, brewing his thoughts like the careful potions he adjured. As smoke from the cauldron, hanging abstractly in the air with his judgments and thoughts, he sat at the leather-backed chair, watching the cold fireplace.

Voldermort was dead. Dumbledore, after many persuasive arguments, had finally convinced the Heroic Potter Prat of Severus' enduring innocence regarding the fabrication of the Headmaster's "death"-quite really as if Severus had actually cared what the idiot thought of him.

Severus stiffened then; the students that had died-he regarded them with a manner of respect one might think unknowing upon him. Cho Chang. Colin Creevy. Gryffindors. Hufflepuffs. Ravenclaws. Yes, even Slytherins held their share of honest blood upon the field and their bodies in the Hogwarts soil.

He thought briefly on his Unbreakable Vow-smirking. A quick potion to stop the heart of the old man upon one wordless spell, and another to revive him after the casting of the Unforgivable-essentially, and for all technical purposes, Severus Snape, for a period of exactly five seconds, had killed Albus Dumbledore. Other cautions had been taken- another spell to make the Headmaster's pulse undetectable to the frantic Harry Potter, and another, cast by Dumbledore himself, to increase the piqued color of the skin. And as for the fire upon the body? It was mere child's play, of course, for a great wizard to combat with any number of spells, wand-less or no.

And, in the truest Potter style, not one foot let he step on Hogwarts or his muggle residence before he found and destroyed the remainder of the Dark Lord's horcruxs-the locket of Salazar Slytherin, found in the posession of Lucious Malfoy's distressed wife, the cup of Helga Hufflepuff, astonishingly, among the items of Mrs. Longbottom, which were so fervently presented to Neville upon each visit to the hospital, the diary of Rowena Ravenclaw, regretablly thanks to Kreacher who nearly lost his life defending the damned thing, and, finally, the heart of Godric Gryffindor, which was kept preserved in the wall of Hogwarts above which hung the origional banner of Gryffindor House. Voldermort, it seemed, had infected his soul like a disease into the organ and Harry, the dribbling speck, had been reluctant to distroy that last artifact.

Of course, how easily he had plundered the Slytherin locket. The boy was reckless, Severus thought.

And now, he, the dark and brooding, once again, Potion Master, sat idly by the empty fireplace, contemplating his life as a war hero.

And yet, it occurred to him, rather distastfully, that it was not thoughts of victory nor freedom that let him, for the breifest of moments, relish happiness.