Author's Note: I have written this fic based on that old rumor that the last word of the last book is scar. I am doing a series of short, one-shot fics that give possible last scenes ending with the word scar. Since the title for the book has also been announced, I have included that detail as well. I am not positing this as a theory about the ending, but rather as a sort of challenge fic with myself, to have fun with these two parameters in different stories. Also, and this is important, this first story is not intended to be a romantic story. I have yet to find ANY pairing with Snape that I like, let alone the GOD AWFUL PAIRING OF SNAPE AND HARRY. Er, I mean, I'm not fond of that pairing. So I don't mean it like that, 'kay? Enjoy the story.

Story One: Guilt

The train station was all too silent as Harry approached the familiar platform. Many things had changed since he had come to this place as the gateway to his personal paradise. Life had become dull and settled like the fog that hung over the city at this time of night. Harry could almost feel that same childish excitement that filled him whenever he arrived at platform nine-and-three-quarters, but it was soon replaced by another, more potent emotion. The tiny hairs on the back of Harry's neck rose as a sinister voice behind him spoke.

"Mr. Potter."

Harry whirled around to gaze into the stern countenance of one Severus Snape. With great difficulty Harry had come to accept that Snape's name had been cleared, since Dumbledore had returned and explained his role in the plot. Even so, he loathed the man for various other reasons, not the least of which was, of course, his role in the deaths of Harry's parents, and Harry found his presence most disquieting. Furthermore, he could not imagine what it was that he wanted. Harry had long since completed his time at Hogwarts and had not seen the professor for years, nor had he desired to do so.

Barely hiding his annoyance, Harry replied, "Yes, sir?"

"Harry," Snape began, then paused, the expression on his face softening, ever-so-softly. "I know…that I can never…make amends for what I have done."

Harry narrowed his eyes as if to say, "Yes, you definitely can't. And?"

"Still, these past few years I have been haunted by the thought that I owe you something…some sign of peace…I don't know what to do or how to say it…I was hoping, perhaps, that you would join me for tea."

Harry was shocked, though he did not allow his face to show it. Snape's mannerisms had completely changed…and his ideas! The concept that Snape, his cruel, cold-hearted tormentor, would ask him to tea was absurd, to say the least. Perhaps it was his incredible surprise, or perhaps it was the loneliness of the past few years, that prompted Harry's response. For whatever reason, Harry looked Snape directly in the eyes and replied clearly, "Fine."

No sound passed between them as they walked to the tea shop, nor were any words spoken once they had ordered and received their tea. Harry held his cup too tightly, his knuckles turning white, and did not look into Snape's eyes. Snape's hands shook as he held his cup between them and he stared at Harry, unable to speak. Why had he done this? Why had he asked him here? They had forced him. They had made him help Dumbledore and they had led him to make this foolish request. The Deathly Hallows were not to be denied.

Snape took a deep drink of his tea, wishing it were a potion that could ease the tension of the moment, wishing for some magic to bridge the distance between them. There was no hope for him. This was the true nature of the Deathly Hallows. They were not monsters, not in the physical sense. Rather, the lived in the minds of the wicked and tortured them until death. No spell could rid him of them, for they fed on the pain of regret for deeds that could never be undone. In spite of all the good he had done since, risking his life for the cause, the Deathly Hallows would never leave Severus Snape. The proof of his sins would always be there upon Harry's face, indelibly marked with a scar.