A/N: Basically this fic is nothing but ponderings by me. The Character of Miriam is one that I invented for my Lily Evans fan fic and one that if I ever get some free time would love to explore more. Hopefully this ficlet will satisfy my own thoughts of what happened in HBP as well as give you all a good idea of where I was intending to lead my Lily series.

What happened next

'DON'T CALL ME COWARD!' Snape raged, his wand raised as he looked down at Potter; the resemblance to James was uncanny. Snape could feel a sudden surge of hatred boil within him. But a sudden flapping of wings and searing pain ripped across Snape's chest as he was engulfed in feathers and scaly razor sharp claws.

Staggering backwards Buckbeak's talons ripped into Snape's forearm and as suddenly as it had came the madness that had gripped him had dissipated.

The other Deatheaters where gone. Draco was safe, and Snape knew that the news of Dumbledore's death would spread throughout the entire wizarding world, along with the name of the wizard that had murdered him. Snape knew what he now had to do and with this thought at the forefront of his mind he ran. The massive Hippogriff followed as he raced towards the school gates, crossed the threshold and apparated.

Snape felt his body constricting as though he was being pushed through a small tube but the sensation only lasted a second as he reappeared outside his home. Never had Snape thought more clearly then he did now, he raced up the garden path and pushed the front door open. The house was deathly silent; Wormtail was long gone, returned to his master at the start of the school term. But it wasn't concern for snivelling vermin that had brought Snape home.

'Miriam!' Snape called, as he moved through the house, his voice sounded odd as he called her name, his chest felt as though it was on fire, his breath was hoarse and ragged. But the only sound he could hear was that of his racing heart. He paused, ready to call the name again but foot steps echoed behind him, Snape quickly turned, his wand raised. But his sudden flush of fear was replaced by relief as he saw her enter the room, she was safe.

'So you did it?' was all that she said. It was a statement, not a question because Snape knew that she already knew the answer, why else would he return so soon. The couple stood in a sombre silence as the gravity of Miriam's words pressed down on them. Dumbledore was dead, killed by Snape's hand.

'Miriam' Snape breathed his voice cracking. He watched as her vivid blue eyes took him in, his dishevelled appearance; his ripped and bloodied clothes and his now shaking hands. Her expression softened as she quickly closed the gap between them and he fell into her arms. Her warmth was welcoming and familiar as she pressed against him, her scent filled his lungs and his face fell onto her shoulder as they both held each other. Snape could feel his whole body tremble as the enormity of his actions seized him and the control that he had always exerted finally broke.

'He wanted it' Snape said, the words flowed easily as he told his wife all that had happed, the attack on the castle, The events on the astronomy tower and his confrontation with Potter. Throughout all this Miriam didn't speak, but he felt her tears fall as she nuzzled into his neck her soft breath was reassuring as he relayed to her all that had happened. All that had passed unsaid between himself and the headmaster, as the old teacher's thoughts blazed into his own and Dumbledore begged Snape to end it. Severus told his wife all, spearing her nothing; he had learned long ago that Miriam was more then capable of handling anything.

Finally as a silence drew on the pair, Snape clinging to his wife as though imprinting her scent, her form, her feel on his memory, Miriam moved her soft hands over her husband's body. Seeking the deep cuts on his chest and arms as she took her wand and healed his wounds, she stopped as her fingers touched the place on his forearm that the dark mark was burned into. Miriam knew that the pain in her husbands arm must be searing, the usually black mark almost glowed in the dim moonlit sitting room, Voldermort was over joyed.

'You should go' Severus said, his voice hoarse as he looked at Miriam, she was dressed for sleep, her slender frame draped in a chiffon slip which was now illuminated by the moonlight. Her long jet black hair cascaded over her shoulders, her skin soft and pale. He longed to be with her but he had already wasted enough time with his sudden weakness at seeing her.

'I know' She nodded her vivid blue eyes full of tears as her hands moved to his face 'But I promised you that I'd be here for you'

'And I promised that I wouldn't let anything harm you' he pressed his lips against hers as she sank into his embrace. 'The damage is done; it's too late to back out. Are you prepared?'

Miriam nodded and with a flick of her wand her nightdress changed and she stood fully dressed. Severus led the way, his hand holding tightly to his wife's as they mounted the stairs and crossed the small landing towards a door that stood open a jar.

Inside the room was a small bed, a young boy was tucked up fast asleep. Severus surveyed the room as he watched Miriam kneel beside the child's bed. This was his family, the thing that Severus had longed his entire life for, a loving and beautiful wife and children of his own. His heart was breaking as he realised that this would be the last time he would ever see them.

'Go to your Grandfathers, you'll both be safe there' Severus told her as Miriam rose holding the boy in her arms. She nodded, her tears running free.

'And you?'

The words where left unanswered as Severus kissed his son's forehead, his eyes lowered so that he didn't have to see the look that he knew was now in his wife's eyes. A look of fear but not for herself or for her son, but for her husband, a look so deep with love that he knew that if he didn't control himself Snape would abandon all that Dumbledore had planned and worked for.

'The dark lord will be expecting me….I'll be missed'

'And the order?'

'You know that is the reason you must leave, Dumbledore's dead but it won't stop there-'

'And they are to never know?'

'That's the price I have to pay…You should go…if they find you-'

Miriam nodded; the boy stirred slightly but didn't wake from his sleep.

'If the worst happens-' Severus said, his voice quaking slightly

'He'll know how brave his father was and that you loved him' Miriam said forcing a small smile.

Severus didn't speak; he kissed his wife for possibly the last time, embraced his son and surveyed them, his eyes taking in every last detail. For years he had let hate and fear consume him, he had almost lost everything, but Miriam had still stood by him. She had married him to escape a worse fate, an arranged marriage with a brutal beast of a man. Severus had known that she hadn't loved him, not then anyway, but he hadn't cared. He had gained the girl that he had lusted after his whole adolescence and whom Sirius Black had been too cowardly to protect.

With one final embrace Miriam and the boy disapparated. Tears prickled at Snape's eyes as he sat on the bed and took hold of the small teddy that had been left behind. As a child the room had once been Snape's, back then it had been dark, cold and cruel, much like his childhood. All his life Severus had wanted a family that would love him, Miriam had given him this, but Dumbledore had been determined to take it way and for that Severus could never forgive the Headmaster.

Snape allowed the despair to take him, but only for a second, he couldn't lose control, if he did then Dumbledore's death would have been for nothing, Miriam's leaving would be one that she would never be able to return from, and their son would live a life constantly in fear.

Snape knew that he had gone too far now to turn back, that the plans had been set in motion long before he had acted and that no matter how much he may want to it was far too late to admit that he was afraid.

Drawing himself up, Snape left the room, closing the door behind him; he sealed the house and stood outside in the dilapidated garden. He had always hoped that one day he would have the time to revive the small house's former glory…But his price for Lily and James' betrayal was paid with his tomorrows. Miriam had shown him a life that could have been and in their son had given him a reason to see Dumbledore's plans through to the bitter end. With that Snape Disapparated to join his master.