Just a bit of fun based on a couple of emails between KarentheUnicorn and me discussing the recent Warner Brothers trailer of the upcoming Deathly Hallows movies.

Sometimes one finds an ally where one least expects, and salvation in the lowliest of tasks.

"Why do you live?" Voldemort demanded, gripping Harry Potter's head in his fingers.

Because I've been in all the movies and you haven't!" Harry shouted. "Residuals! Ever hear of residuals? Hahaha! I'm set for life, you dumb fucker! I can afford to do all sorts of weird artsy shit that loses money but is critically acclaimed for the rest of my life because of the ten years I wore horn-rimmed glasses and that dumb-assed red and gold scarf!"

"You...you mean...?" Voldemort sputtered.

"Yes! While you settled for a lump-sum salary, I opted for a percentage of the take, and a percentage of every DVD sale, and a percentage every time any of the movies is broadcast anywhere in the world!"

"Curses!" Voldemort lamented. "Foiled again!"

Voldemort grabbed Nagini and pressed her fangs into his own neck. Harry watched coldly as his nemesis slumped to the floor.

Nagini turned and looked at Harry, smiling.

"I took both lump sum paymentssss up front and a deal for ressssidualssss," she chuckled in Parseltongue. "Thisss assssshole never wanted to go anywhere fun! Now I can afford to check out that new amusssssement park in Florida, before moving to the condo I bought in Belizzzze..."

Nagini waved her tail at Harry as she slithered out the door.

Snape peered thru his half-opened eyes, and when he was sure he was alone he opened them fully and sat up.

He was still in the Shrieking Shack. It figured that Harry Potter and his worthless Gryffindor buddies would just abandon him there without a look back or a second thought...but that suited Snape's purpose just fine.

He stood up, dusted himself off, and peered thru the cracks in the boards covering a couple of windows, trying to see if anything was happening.

All was still. Too still.

Either Voldemort was dead, or Harry Potter was.

Potter. Snape had played him like a violin. Sure, he had given the idiot the information Dumbledore had wanted Snape to impart when the time came. But the rest?

You would think that Potter would have learned the previous year that memories could be altered. Snape had given Potter a lovely fiction regarding the nature of his relationship to Potter's mother. If Potter lived, his infantile sense of honor would impel him to force the wizarding world to accept Severus Snape as a great hero.

Snape rubbed his neck where the snake had bitten him and smiled.

The other Death Eaters, Bellatrix especially, had laughed and mocked him when Voldemort had made Snape clean Nagini's cage. However, it had given him the opportunity to get to know the snake, and discover that she had learned to speak English in addition to Parseltongue.

"He never takes me anywhere fun!" she had complained one night as Snape took a ball of rodent fur and bones from her cage and gingerly placed it into a bag. "We only go where he wants to go, and it's never any fun, at least for me!"

"And just where would you go if you could?" Snape asked, as he took a scoop and started removing dirty shreds of The Prophet from the bottom of the cage.

"Hell, I'd have been happy if he just took me to the park once a week!" Nagini whined as she curled on top of her cage. "But I've had it! I see the writing on the wall! He becomes Wizard of the World, what use will he have for me?"

Nagini's tail continuously flicked in agitation.

"I want to make a break, a clean break!" she finally announced, as Snape replaced her slimy green water bowl with a clean one, and then commenced to add clean shreds of The Prophet in her cage. Nagini waited to see if he would say anything, but when he remained silent, she continued, a little more reserved.

"What use will he have for any of us, if he becomes Ruler Of The World? I think it might be wise if we all, uh, consider...other 'options', don't you think?"

Snape paused in his fluffing of Nagini's bedding. It was strange, when the snake was silent, or when she spoke in Parseltongue, he could not read her. However, when she spoke English, he could easily Legilmans her...and he realized that she was not trying to trap him. She clearly was unhappy, to the point of desperation. Moreover, it was also clear that she truly hated her master.

"What are you suggesting?" Snape asked noncommittally.

"You're different from the others," Nagini answered. Snape raised an eyebrow.

"I'm not flattering you!" Nagini continued. "Just stating the obvious...especially when it comes to intelligence. You take that whole bunch, and they collectively have fewer brains than a night crawler drying in a puddle on the pavement!"

Snape chuckled in spite of himself.

"I think perhaps you have started to pursue other options?" Nagini hinted. "Alternative accommodations, as it were? Because no matter what the outcome, in the end beings like you and I will have to hustle our asses outta here. Merlin knows the other side will have a death sentence on our heads, and if Tommy wins, he won't have any use for us. You know we're both dead, no matter what happens."

Snape paused on his way to get Nagini her nightly bucket of live rats.

"Surely you weren't thinking of being able to quietly retire to Spinner's End, were you?" Nagini hissed, almost cruelly.

"No," Snape admitted after a short pause, turning to stare the snake directly in her eyes. "No...I have, as you put it...made alternative accomodations..."

Nagini flicked her tongue in glee.

"Where!" she demanded. "Where?"

"I bought a condo, a simple thing really, nothing fancy," Snape answered, an idea taking form in the back of his mind. "It is in a country called Belize, in the western hemisphere...you would probably like it, it's tropical, there is a stream in the backyard and it has a view of the ocean. It is an end unit, really very private for a condo...lots of bushes and trees surrounding the unit..."

Snape was sure there was a look of envy in the snake's eyes.

"And that is where you are escaping when this all ends?"

Snape sighed.

"I was...but then something else came to my attention..."

Yes, Snape was sure that the snake showed emotions in her eyes, because it was obvious that he had tweaked her curiosity.

"What?" she demanded. "What else is there?"

Snape smiled, and sat down on the chair by the door that led to the storeroom where Nagini's supplies were stored.

"Events of the past year have clearly shown that I should get all of my affairs in order," Snape answered, crossing his legs and leaning back in the chair. "So every chance I have, I am sorting through my parents' effects...and I recently discovered something interesting in a small chest my mother had had stored away in a garage I had not known she had rented until I found the records in a book at home..."

"What was it?" Nagini demanded.

"A document...a very old document...dating back some centuries, back when the Wizamgot only had jurisdiction over Northern Europe..."

The snake looked confused.

"You know that my mother's maiden name was Prince", Snape continued. He did not wait for the snake's answer. "This document was written in a language that I did not know, but later found out to be an ancient form of Hungarian. Luckily, it also was written in Hebrew and Latin, both of which I do know..."

Snape paused to take a breath. Nagini did not interrupt him.

"This document states that my ancestors were actually aristocrats...that my mother's surname of "Prince" actually reflected that at one time my maternal ancestors were indeed princes in what can only be described as a magickal principality, in what would become the country of Hungary one day, but not of that country...my ancestors' and the Magyar rulers of Hungary apparently had a very mutually beneficial relationship in those days...but the encroachment of the Wizanmagot and of various Muggle political issues over the years forced my ancestors to 'go underground' as it were..."

"So what does this all mean?" Nagini demanded.

"When I discovered the document, and realized what it was, I did further research," Snape answered. "I have had discreet correspondence with certain wizards and witches who live in that area, and I found out that the document is still valid. Not only is it valid, but apparently the principality still exists, albeit hidden much like Hogwarts is hidden from Muggles...and there is a castle. And a community of magickal people not under the jurisdiction of the Wizanmagot who are eagerly awaiting 'The Return of The Prince'..."

Snape paused, and then continued when he realized that Nagini did not get the joke.

"Anyway, I will no longer have use of the condo in Belize, and because of everything that is going on I have not had time to sell it..."

Snape stared at the snake. Nagini had been flicking her tail in the manner she did when she was unhappy, but Snape could see a light come into her eyes, and she stopped doing the unhappy tail flick and commenced her happy tongue flick.

"I could buy the condo from you!" she squealed. "This is perfect! We'll both have a place to escape to!"

And so it was done. Snape conjured a few live chickens for Nagini to eat and a bottle of elf wine for himself, and they continued talking into the wee hours of the morning, eventually deciding to hedge their bets on the final outcome by agreeing that Nagini would kill Voldemort if Harry failed.

As both Snape and Nagini had worked out lucrative deals to be paid both an upfront lump-sum payment for appearing in the movies, plus a percentage of DVD sales and future broadcasts, Snape agreed on a nominal payment of money from Nagini, the rest of the sale to be consummated by Nagini allowing Snape to periodically collect her venom.

As Snape stood in the Shrieking Shack, he chuckled and congratulated himself on his foresight. Nagini's venom payments had allowed him to create an antivenin that he had been dosing himself with ever since Dumbledore had warned him about the snake. That, and the fact that Nagini had put minimal power into her bite, had allowed them to fool The Dark Lord into thinking Snape had been killed.

He apparated into the living room of his house in Spinner's End. It was now empty, save for two suitcases. Snape picked both up and then closed his eyes, visualizing the Great Hall of the castle in the magickal principality in Hungary that he had briefly visited the summer before, and then he disappeared.