Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

A/N: I'm back, and it's over. Enjoy.

Sunlight flashed across my vision as I blinked my eyes open. The familiar antiseptic smell, combined with the cool press of sheets against my skin told me that I was in the Hospital Wing. My worries faded once I remembered what had happened to cause my injuries.

It was over. The relief was better than any calming draught, and giddy laughter bubbled out of me.

There was a movement near my bedside, and I turned to Riddle with a grin. "We did it."

"So we did," she said, with a hint of amusement. "And you managed to knock yourself out from magical backlash, again. Considering your injuries..." A worried frown made its way across her face.

I shrugged and sat up, stretching. "I guess that's something I'll have to work on."

Her frown turned into a glare. "Not without Dumbledore there, you won't."

I chuckled. "So you trust him, now?"

Riddle shook her head. "I trust him to keep you alive." Getting out of the chair, she sat down on the edge of my bed. Her hand curled around the back of my neck. "More than I trust you, at any rate."

I winced in mock-offense. "Ouch, that hurts. I like being alive just fine."

"I know," she murmured.

A moment passed in silence, her side warm against mine.

"It's over," I repeated, still blissful from the burden of responsibility being lifted.

"So what do you want to do now?" she asked. "Surely you don't plan on pursuing a career as an Auror, or something just as ridiculous?"

"Well, first I plan on finishing my last two years of Hogwarts," I said, letting some sarcasm slip into my voice. She rolled her eyes. "But beyond the obvious, I was just thinking of inventing new magic. It's... interesting."

"Dangerous, too," Riddle noted, a hint of worry bleeding through.

"Show me a career in the Wizarding World that isn't dangerous," I shot back. "I suppose this is a bit riskier than some, though. What about you?"

She blinked, caught off-guard. "Come again?"

"What do you want to do?" I clarified.

She gave me a guarded look. "Well, I wanted to take over the world. And look where that got me."

"Who's to say you still can't?" I asked. "Just perhaps with a bit less murder and mayhem this time around."

"Don't even joke about that," she muttered.

"Alright, alright," I conceded. "Still, there's no reason you can't go into politics. After all, only four people know who you are, and only Dumbledore would care if you tried to gather power."

"And you wouldn't?" she asked, curiosity plain on her face.

"Depends on what you use it for," I answered, hedging. "After all, there's a lot wrong with the world. Hell, I might as well go into politics myself. Use my name for something useful."

"And if we happen to disagree on what should be done?" she asked, sending me an oblique glance.

I waved the objection away with a smile. "I'm sure we'll be able to come to a compromise."

"A compromise? Is that what they're calling it nowadays, Severus?" The Headmaster's voice came from the entrance to the Hospital Wing.

"I'm sure I wouldn't know, Headmaster," the Potion Master's dour tone replied.

I twitched and looked at a blushing Riddle. "I think they heard us. Looks like we'll have to make new plans for world domination."