I don't own it. This is it, the (revised) final chapter (except for a possible epilogue/oneshot showing Snape's 'chat' with Umbridge. Votes will be counted, so if you want to see that, please let me know).


Snape woke, opened his eyes and stood, all in one smooth movement. A quick trip to the bathroom, an even quicker check to de-wrinkle his jeans and shirt, and he joined Bill and Remus at the high bench, one hand clasped firmly around a mug of black coffee.

Harry was almost finished a huge plate of food, washing it down with gulps of pumpkin juice. The dream-Snape had chosen an crisp apple and was eating it slowly, a smirk on his face as he watched Harry scarf down his meal.

It was a strange experience, watching oneself eat.

Then again, it was a strange experience watching oneself do anything.

And it was curious how it brought out his repressed sense of vanity.

Snape had known his hair was lank and greasy - it was one of the more common side-effects of working over a cauldron all day - but he'd never realised just how bad it looked from an outsider's perspective.

The dream-Snape had all of his characteristics, too - the slight smirk, the perfectly arched eyebrow, even the subtle crinkle at the corner of his eyes when he was pleased. Idly, Snape thought that he'd have to congratulate Harry on the observational capacities of his unconscious mind - most people, when trying to personify him, would be stuck with a two-dimensional caricature.

Watching himself, Snape saw the sudden glimmer of alarm in the dark eyes.

Following his line of sight, he saw that the far wall had shimmered and shivered and was now transparent, allowing a full view into the next room.

A room that contained Sirius Black and Remus Lupin.

His sharp inhalation of breath caught the attention of Bill and Remus, and they turned to see what had caused his reaction.

"Oh, that can't be good." Bill murmured apprehensively.

One glance at Remus' face, which was now a sickly shade of green, and he took charge.

"Lupin, you're not watching this."

The wolf didn't protest: instead he looked to be in serious danger of barfing as he stumbled his way through into the bunkroom. Snape sent a silent spell toward the door, ensuring that Lupin couldn't exit anytime soon.

The tension was thick in the air, and Snape could feel intuitively that this was the end, the grand finale before the curtain came down...

He traded a telling glance with Weasley, and they turned to watch events unfold.


Harry had just taken a mouthful of pumpkin juice when he noticed the window. The juice rather hurriedly left his mouth to create a nicely aesthetic pattern on the floor.

A softly spoken word from Snape had the food packed away and the spill removed, and they stood and approached the window cautiously. Harry slowly lifted a hand, fingers splayed, and pressed it against the glass, as if he could reach out and touch the men on the other side.

"Si - Sirius? Remus?"

There was no reaction from the two men, who were now deep in silent conversation.

"Remus? Sirius?"

Harry tried knocking on the window, but it made no difference. A hand rested gently on his shoulder.

"They can't hear you, Harry."

Harry tilted his head to look up at Snape. "I can't hear them, either."

"M'hmm." Snape made a thoughtful sort of noise. "And I suspect this window is one-way, as well. We can see them, but they only see a wall."

"Oh."

The Potions Master studied the next room through narrowed eyes, and then announced, "I don't like the look of this. They're planning something."

"Who, Sirius and Remus?"

"No. Whoever put them - and us - in here. And whatever it is is unlikely to be pleasant."

Harry swallowed nervously and nodded. Snape's hand was a comforting weight on his shoulder as they stood in silence, waiting...

And then the ceiling in the next room disappeared, revealing a roiling mass of patchy storm clouds, scudding across the sky.

Sirius and Remus were looking at each other, frozen with horror, as Snape's hand tightened on Harry's shoulder.

"Oh, no..." Harry's words emerged in a whisper. "They're - they're going to -" he turned panicked eyes to Snape and asked, dreading the answer, "It's a full moon tonight, isn't it?"

Snape just nodded, throat dry.

Sirius and Remus were talking frantically, gesturing wildly: Remus turned his back in clear frustration, snapping something back over his shoulder, then wheeled around and shook Sirius by the shoulders. Sirius was shaking his head, refusing to do whatever Remus was asking. Remus dropped his hands and stared at Sirius, an agonised, heartbroken look in his eyes - and then he stepped forward and embraced him like a brother, and they clung to each other for what seemed like it could be the last time.

Sirius stepped back, pale and resolute. Remus threw his hands up and shouted something at the sky: whatever it was seemed to work: the clouds parted, letting shafts of moonlight illuminate the room.

And Remus - soft-hearted, shabby Remus - mouthed something that looked like "I'm sorry" as he transformed into a ravening wolf, and Sirius - bold, energetic Sirius - stood, stoic and unmoving, as his best friend lunged at him and brought him to the ground before tearing his body to pieces.

Harry turned away, burying his face in Snape's shirt as tears of horror ran down his face. A shaky hand threaded through his hair and clasped him tighter to the warm chest, arm wrapping around him, holding him secure.

Mind finally overloaded with the obscenities he'd witnessed, Harry fell into darkness.


Consciousness returned, gently fading in from wherever it had gone. Harry couldn't muster the energy to open his eyes, and so he lay in the darkness of closed eyelids, enjoying the comfort of the soft mattress, listening to sound of quiet breathing filling the air.

Somehow - Harry wasn't sure how, but somehow - he knew that this was it, this was the real thing - no longer trapped in his mind, no longer in the Room of Requirement. His head felt clearer than it had in a long time, and his body was warm and snug under the covers...

It was with a smile on his face that he rolled over and went back to sleep.

When he next woke, Harry could feel the brightness of the room from behind his eyelids. Reluctantly, he opened his eyes, blinking sluggishly to bring the room into focus, and saw the white sterility of a private room in the Hospital Wing. Bright sunbeams were pouring in through the vaulted window, reflecting off the white walls and dancing on the polished flagstone floor. Snape was asleep on the next bed, looking awkward and gangly and somehow much more human curled up on his side with his hair falling over his face.

Harry rolled onto his back and cautiously levered himself up on his forearms. As his head came up off the pillow, his neck gave a painful twinge, and he couldn't halt the grunt that spilled past his lips.

"Harry!"

Snape was there in an instant, pushing his hair back from his face, piling pillows behind Harry's back, helping him sit up.

"Water?"

Harry tried to answer and managed a croaking "Y-" before he broke off, coughing.

Snape held the glass while Harry drank, sipping at it slowly, relishing the cool slide of liquid down his he was finished, Snape put the glass down on the side table, crossed swiftly to the door and ducked his head around it.

"Poppy! He's awake!"

There was the sound of clinking bottles and potions vials, and then brisk footsteps, and in came not only Madam Pomfrey, but Remus as well.

"Good to see you're awake, Mr Potter," Madam Pomfrey said briskly, passing him a vial full of orange potion, "Drink this, please... and this one... thank you, and the last one... there."

She slipped the vials back into their holder while Harry chased the potions down with water. Remus had slipped around to the side of the bed and was seated in the visitor's chair, regarding him with warm eyes. "How are you feeling, Harry?"

Harry turned to look at him and winced as his neck gave another twinge. "Not bad, actually. My body feels a bit tired, but in a good way, like I've had a lot of exercise and then a really long sleep."

He lifted a hand to his neck, only to find it batted away by Snape, who was now perched on the edge of his bed. Harry turned his attention back to Remus and ducked his head slightly, leaving the back of his neck bare as Snape started massaging it with his strong, capable hands.

"How long was I in there for?"

Remus eyed him thoughtfully, "How long do you think?"

Harry thought for a moment... say a day for the Malfoy business, a couple hours for the Stone and Severus' quarters, maybe four days for Riddle and the Isolation, and another hour or so for Severus and then Remus and Sirius...

"I don't know... five or six days?"

He made a soft murmur of appreciation as Snape's fingers dug into a particularly tense spot. Remus shook his head.

"You were in there for eleven days, and you've been asleep for a further three."

Harry stared at him, mouth opening and shutting and opening and shutting again as he tried to form the words to express what he was feeling. He finally just went with, "Oh."

"Articulate as ever, Mr Potter," came the amused murmur from behind him.

Harry grinned and lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug before becoming serious once more. "So, uh... what happens now?"

"What happens now, Mr Potter," Madam Pomfrey said firmly, "is that you rest. If you do as you are told, you may go back to Gryffindor Tower after dinner tomorrow. And I suppose, now that the infectious stage of your, ah, spattergroit - " her lips twitched - "is over, your friends may come and visit you."

He grinned, feeling immensely lighthearted and relieved now that his ordeal was over. "Thanks, Madam Pomfrey. Really, thank you. For - for everything."

She nodded, a rare smile gracing her features. "You are welcome, Mr Potter. Just don't let me see you in here anytime soon."

She picked up the empty potions vials and exited the room.

Snape slipped off the edge of the bed and stood. "I should be going as well - there's no telling what sort of mess the relief teachers have left in my classroom. I'll be back later, Harry." His eyes glittered malevolently as he added, "And I must go and have a chat to the High Inquisitor about her detentions..."

He swept out of the room.

Remus stood, too. "I need to go and speak to Albus before I head back to Headquarters, but I'll drop in at Gryffindor Tower on my way and send your friends along, shall I?"

Harry grinned as Remus leant down and embraced him warmly. "Gryffindor Tower isn't on the way to Dumbledore's Office, though..."

"Professor Dumbledore, Harry."

And Remus chuckled and winked as he disappeared out the door.