Disclaimer: All material by JKR is credited, the characters and places that you recognize are hers, only the plot here is mine. I make nothing from her genius…dammit!

Chapter 1

The End of the Beginning


The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading.

Snape said nothing, but walked forward and pushed Malfoy roughly out of the way. The three Death Eaters fell back without a word. Even the werewolf seemed cowed.

Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face.


Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore.

Avada Kedavra!"

A jet of green light shot from the end of Snape's wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest. Harry's scream of horror never left him; silent and unmoving, he was forced to watch as Dumbledore was blasted into the air. For a split second, he seemed to hang suspended beneath the shining skull, and then he fell slowly backward, like a great rag doll, over the battlements and out of sight.

From "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" Copyright 2005 by J.K. Rowling First American Edition Pages 595-596

When the spell hit me, I was thrown back and off the battlements. I only had time to cushion the blow before I hit the ground, hard enough to bounce. The last thought that I had before everything went black was that Harry was going to have the wrong idea of what happened and that Severus was doomed by my request.

I came to a few minutes later, but I was watching from outside my body. I saw Fawkes crying tears over my wounds and broken bones. I appeared to be dead, but not having been dead before, I had no real frame of reference. I did know that Fawkes would not be wasting his precious tears on a corpse. I sent out with my mind and felt the psychic connection take hold. The silly bird decided that I was not only not dead, but was in a healing stasis. I had broken almost every bone in my body. My poor friend used up every tear in his body trying to heal my many wounds. My personal feeling was that it would be too little, too late. I was actually looking forward to joining my deceased friends and relatives, my war had gone on way too long. Unfortunately this was not to be.

Suddenly Fawkes turned invisible and flew off as Hagrid appeared and gently picked up my body, shedding as many tears as Fawkes had. I wished to reach out to him to comfort him, but I was as insubstantial as one of the Hogwarts ghosts, and without even their visibility. Obviously I was not a ghost, but what was I? If not dead, then what? I followed Hagrid into the castle, feeling for some reason that I could not allow my body out of my sight. Very annoying, I had hoped to be able to roam at will, but it seems that I had some strange restriction on my movements. As he laid my body down inside the castle, Sir Nicholas drifted by. I attempted to speak with him, but had no success. I reached out and made contact with Fawkes, apparently the only one with whom I could interact.

Fawkes had been following Severus and Draco as they made their escape from Hogwarts. He wanted to do something very nasty to them, but I dissuaded him from that action. I thought back to our confrontation on the tower such a short time ago. When I had gotten Severus' attention, I had sent out a loud psychic call and made the connection with Severus. We have had such a close relationship over so many years, that it has never been a problem mentally bonding. I quickly asked him was happening. His reply startled me beyond words. He showed me a memory of himself making the unbreakable vow to Narcissa, promising to protect Draco and complete his mission should he prove unable. Severus had no idea that the mission was to kill me. He was preparing himself to die, but to me, the answer was much more clear. He would have to kill me.

"Severus, you must save yourself and young Malfoy. I believe that he can be salvaged, and I am dying as we speak. I recovered something of great value to Voldemort, but I was required to drink a deadly poison in order to recover it. I know of no antidote for this, and will be dead before morning anyway. Please, Severus, do this thing for our friendship."

"Albus, I cannot. You are the father I never had, and the only one who ever trusted me. You are my one and only friend, how can I kill you? If you are truly dying, I would rather break the vow and die with you."

"Severus, please. If you do not do this thing, Draco's life will be forfeit. He is worth saving. You will also be able to help defeat Voldemort in ways that he cannot dream of."

I saw the look of hatred and revulsion on Severus' face, but it was not for me, it was for Voldemort. He turned around and stalked back, then turned and, with emotions battling on his face, cast the deadly curse. The strange thing was that he could not use his hatred toward Voldemort to power the killing properties of the curse aimed at me. As he cast the curse, I heard a last thought from his mind.

"I will join you soon, my only friend"

For the next few days I stood in the room where my body lay while people came to pay their respects. People who I liked and liked me, and the others, those who hated me and wanted to make sure that I was really dead. I decided that it was a singularly satisfying thing to be able to attend one's own funeral. I highly recommend it to anyone who might be planning their demise. The worst part of the entire affair was that I was unable to enjoy any sweets during this period. If this went on much longer, I would be inclined to believe that I might be in hell. My heart went out to those who I have come to regard as friends. Harry, Minerva, Hagrid and the Weasleys. I could not comfort them, they seemed beyond normal grief. I discovered that the love of these people and their grief made me believe that my life was well worth having been lived.

The day of the funeral, I felt a sudden urge to rejoin my body. As I fell into its' depths, I saw the tomb float over to seal me in and felt the world go black once more. I knew nothing else for a long, long time.

A/N: I had originally meant this to be a one-shot, but it has taken on a life of it's own. I will probably end up with several chapters. Please R&R!