Alrighty. This fic is a late Christmas present for my Daddy, who requested a proper death scene for Snape. This story is designed to fit neatly into the empty spot that would be left if you took the part of Deathly Hallows where Snape is killed by Voldemort and ripped it out. It starts right after Harry and company sneak into the doorway of the room in the Shrieking Shack, and trails off leading into the part where Harry takes Snape's memories. I'm not very good at writing fight scenes, and I usually like to stick to humor in my writing, but this story is a gift and personally I think it left Snape with a little more dignity, which is what he would have deserved even if he really had turned out to be a heartless evil git. So enjoy the story general public of fanfiction net, and especially Daddy.

Disclaimer: I own a copy of Deathly Hallows, but not the copyright and/or franchise.

Harry leaned farther into the doorway, eager to hear what Snape was saying. Voldemort's back was turned to Harry, and he knew with no small amount of smugness that Snape, trying to avoid his master's eyes, was staring straight through him. Harry leaned farther…farther…Hermione was trying to pull him back with one hand—

The instant Harry had leaned too far, he knew. Hermione's hand kept him from falling, but the invisibility cloak slipped from around him and he knew by the sudden widening of Snape's eyes that he had been seen. This was the end—he couldn't kill Voldemort until Nagini was dead, and it was going to be impossible to get the snake out of its magical cage while dueling both Snape and his master.

Harry drew himself up, preparing for a fight to the death—

Before he could make a noise, two things happened simultaneously. Hermione snapped out of her horrified trance and yanked Harry back under the invisibility cloak, and Snape whipped his wand out and cried "Crucio!"—not at Harry, but at Voldemort.

The three hidden under the cloak watched in disbelief as Snape drew Voldemort into a frantic duel. Harry felt suddenly ashamed for ever calling Severus Snape a coward—not only was he dueling Voldemort, he was holding his own, backing the Dark Lord into a far corner of the room. Voldemort was livid.

"You're a traitor, Snape." he hissed furiously, "I was going to have to kill you anyway, but you have no idea how much more pleasure your death will bring me now. You'll beg for death before the end!"

Snape bared his teeth in response, rapidly advancing on Voldemort. But before he could strike again, disaster struck—Snape, focused completely on trading curses with Voldemort in close quarters, lost his footing on a bit of rubble on the floor. It only took him a split second to regain himself, but that was all Voldemort needed.

"Petrificus totalus!" he hissed through clenched teeth, and Snape immediately went stiff as a board and toppled over.

At this point Hermione and Ron were both having to make an effort to hold Harry back and keep him under the invisibility cloak. They watched in helpless horror as Voldemort savagely blasted Snape away from the corner and into the middle of the room.

"You always thought you were so superior, Severus. You were so arrogant…But now you see that Lord Voldemort cannot be fooled, cannot be defeated." Voldemort paused to leer at the expression on Snape's face—other than a bit of franticness in his eyes, the potion master's face was a picture of grim determination. "Yes…I think I know a fitting end for my most arrogant little snake. You will die by your own creation tonight."

Then, as he lazily raised his wand again, "Goodbye, Severus. Sectumsempra."

Harry lurched in horror again as a wide gash open down the length of Snape's chest, gushing blood. Voldemort laughed—the cruel, high cackle that had always haunted Harry's dreams—and left the room, levitating Nagini in her cage in front of him.

As soon as Voldemort was gone Harry broke out of Hermione and Ron's hold and ran to Snape. The dying man seemed relieved when he saw Harry unharmed, and sagged in apparent acceptance as Hermione quietly cancelled the body-bind curse.

"Potter," he rasped tiredly, "take it…"

It was then that Harry realized that not just blood was leaving Snape's body, a white mist was leaving it as well…