So . . . I have about ten other things I should be working on, things that, you know, are actually going to be graded, but this wouldn't leave me alone, so I had to write it down.

NOTE: Snape is NOT evil. If you agree with that statment, read on and then review and tell me how much you agree. If you do not agree, well . . . read anyway, and maybe I'll convince you. :)

DISCLAIMER: I do not, at the present time, own a Half-Blood Prince by the name of Severus Snape. I was hoping to get one for Christmas, but no dice. Sorry if anyone was hoping I could loan one out; I had to borrow mine from JK Rowling.

"DON'T -" screamed Snape, and his face was suddenly demented, inhuman, as though he was in as much pain as the yelping, howling dog in the burning house behind them, "CALL ME COWARD!" - Chapter 28, "Flight of the Prince," Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


The thing about Gryffindors is that they see the world in terms of black and white. A person is either pure-hearted or manipulative. Good or evil. Courageous or cowardly. The extremes are, to them, separated by an enormous, gaping chasm, so that there is no mistaking who is on what side; there's no way to straddle the line. And once you've chosen your side, there's no changing where you stand.

What none of them can understand is that the world is gray. All of it is gray, and there is no changing that. They say one or the other. But I know the world, and I say the line is often straddled. Blurred. People can be pure of heart and still manipulate. They can work for good as well as evil. Courage can be called foolhardiness, recklessness, imprudence. Cowardice can be called necessity, realism, self-restraint. It all depends on the one who does and the one who sees.

Often, the one who sees, sees wrongly and judges quickly and harshly, because it is easy to do so. Because the other is manipulative. Evil. Cowardly. But who is the real coward? The one who did what had to be done or the one who did what was easy. It is easy to throw the term 'coward.' It is easy to assign to others.

They will call what I did cowardice. They will say it was the easy way out, eliminating one who stood in my way when he was weakened because I was afraid of facing him at full strength. They will say I did it because I hated him and what he stood for. They will say I may have been acting on the Dark Lord's orders, but that I took sick joy in it.

They are fools.

They will call it cowardice. They will not see that it was the hardest thing I have ever done. They will not see that in killing that great man, I followed not the Dark Lord's orders, but that man's own. They will not see that there were reasons for it that could not be denied, reasons that I hated with every fiber of my being. They will not see that what I did required greater courage than most of them will ever know.

Courage is doing what must be done when we would rather do almost anything else. It is not allowing anything to keep us from doing what must be done. I did what had to be done despite hating, with every inch of me, what I was doing. I did it despite wanting more than anything else to turn and run from that tower and from that task that I desperately did not want.

If they took the time to look closer, they would see that the disgust, the loathing, thehatred that they hold for me is nothing compared to the disgust, loathing, and hatred that I hold for myself and for what he made me do.

I despise what I have done. I despise the fact that I owed him so much that he could make me do it. I despise the life I have been leading, the life I now must live. I despise this war and both sides of it. I despise the part I must play in it. And I despise the idea that there is anything black or white about it. About any of it.

There is no going back. I will never be fully evil again; nor will I ever be truly good. This one act has stolen from me the ability to be one or the other. I am the gray area. I am the blurred line. With this one act, I have closed the gaping chasm between the two sides, but they will never see what I have truly done. They will see only what they choose to see. They will see an act of evil, an act of hatred, an act of cowardice. And so, they will never see.

They will never see the man behind the action. They will never see the reasons behind the action. They will never see why it had to be done or why I had to do it. They will never see or acknowledge the truth.

I am many things. I am a manipulator. I am an instrument of good and evil. I am a pawn for more powerful players to use as they will. I am a spy and a traitor.

But I am not a coward.

Just a short little thing that may or may not adequately capture Snape's mindset or voice at the end of HBP.

Let me know what you think!