"I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country that the dissolution of the Union.
It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, an I am willing to sacrifice
everything but honor for its preservation."
--Robert E. Lee
"Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them."
Franklin D. Roosevlet
"I've got to go to meet God - and explain all those men I killed at Alamein."
Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery in 1976.
"I thought dying for your country was the worst thing that could happen to you.
I think killing for your country can be a lot worse. Because that's the memory that haunts."
Bob Kerry (told to The New York Times)
She pulled the mask away to reveal the face of Galen McKenna. Fear flooded her features as she studied the face. She dropped the mask. "No, no…that…that can't be…"
"He knew!" Malone shouted, pulling off his mask and waving his wildly at the other masked Death Eaters. "Where are you Snape?" He turned to Jacqueline, "I thought you said, he'd be an easy kill!"
"This isn't possible. He's not omnipotent…how could he had known?" She whispered, hoarsely, terrified. She looked up at the other three Death Eaters who still wore their masks. Anyone of those ivory masks could hold the man she had betrayed so openly.
"You should have known better, Jacqueline." The voice was smooth, hypnotic and deadly. It seemed to echo through the Grand Hall, like a voice of God. At the same time it rang through the cold room, creating an atmosphere of terror and stillness, it came like a whisper from the lips of the Death Eater who had stepped into the protective circle that guarded Harry Potter so effortlessly. The Death Eater who never had any intention of killing the boy, whose only concern was smoking out the last of those still alive who endangered his life. The last ones who could prove he was a spy.
The Death Eater released Harry gently. He stepped slowly outside of the circle, pulling down the hood around his face to reveal ebony waves of shoulder length hair. He looked up and met her eyes, gingerly removing his mask to reveal of the face of the Dark Prince, Severus A. Snape. "You should known, beloved, that when you plan to rip someone's command out of their grasp, you better make damn sure they are dead before you do so."
"You said this was killing Potter. You said this was about establishing…"
"Establishing my old control. Did you really think I would let you plan my demise under my very nose? Like I warned you. There is always someone watching."
Jacqueline glanced at McKenna's dead body then back to Severus. "This was all just to save your hide then? Just to put you beyond doubt in Voldemort's mind? Just to ensure that what…" She glanced around. "That Dumbledore had his spy back?"
Snape laughed, genuinely amused. "No, whatever benefit Dumbledore's gleans from tonight is an added bonus. Mainly I just want to ensure that you or the other crowns didn't try to win this war without letting the Ministry know it was going on."
He had walked over towards her, from behind. He removed the sword from her hands and pressed it against her neck. He kissed her cheek. "And part of me loved you so…"
"Severus…" She whispered.
He pushed the blade closer to her vein. "Don't even try it." He looked at Dumbledore and almost smiled. "Looks like you win by default, old friend. There's very little chance I'm coming out of this alive so I'd rather submit to your justice then Voldemort's. I'd call your secret weapon out now."
Dumbledore motioned to Hagrid. "Do it, Rebeus."
Hagrid pushed opened the door and the air suddenly became dead. Two Dementors glided noiselessly out. Fear was written on the faces of the Death Eaters. Dumbledore bowed his head. "These were Victoria's idea…and I didn't think I'd ever witness a time I was glad they were here. Until now." He looked straight at Severus. "I shall enjoy seeing their justice."
Severus swallowed hard. "Well, not quite what I expected."
"Don't worry, dear Prince." Malone lifted his wand towards Severus. "You'll die first."
"Avada Kedreva." Kaiya said, pointing towards Malone. The Death Eater collapsed.
"Cruio!" Raine panicked and aimed at her, "Interno Incedio!"
Severus allowed himself to be distracted by that curse. The curse hit her in the stomach. It was little known and almost always deadly, the internal fire. It attacked the person from the inside out, literally burning the victim alive. Kaiya fell to her knees as she felt an invisible fire attack her organs. He thought he heard her screamed.
Lucius gritted his teeth as he pulled out the long piece of shrapnel that had embedded itself in his thigh. He looked around at his men who were surrounded by Aurors and Hit Wizards. He had been double crossed. Over the smoke, he saw Gideon standing as steadfast as ever.
This wasn't Severus' doing. It couldn't be. Severus was many things but he never would risk the lives of the people who trusted him. It wasn't in his nature. Severus was too much of an aristocrat to be so wasteful, not necessary with the soldiers' lives, but with the children's. Most of the action had been centered around the orphanage. Severus wouldn't risk the lives of the children. His conscience wouldn't allow it. No, this was another person entirely.
"Jacqueline." Lucius hissed. "Nott, call a retreat."
"To where sir?"
"To Voldemort's castle. He shall hear of this treachery."
"But what about our wounded?"
"Leave them here."
"Leave them! Don't you see? They win this round!"
"Avada Kedreva!" The Death Eater shouted, aiming at Raine. As soon as he was sure Raine was dead, he began to run towards Kaiya. Remus already had Kaiya in his arms. He was looking frantic.
"Can you carry her?" Prompfrey asked.
Remus nodded. "Hold on darling…"
"I will." Kaiya smiled at him. "Why is it, I'm always dying with you around, beloved? You're becoming bad luck."
Hagrid had picked up McGonagall like a rag doll and followed them out. Dumbledore watched them go then turned his attention to the last masked the Death Eater. He stared at two lovers unbelievingly. Then he looked at the fallen bodies of McKenna, Raine, Malone and Hawke as he had seen them for the first time. He pulled off his mask.
The worn, dirty face of William Choice Blade peered up at Dumbledore.
"William, you're alive." Dumbledore said in a relieved voice. "I didn't hope…"
William nodded slowly. He noticed Harry as if for the first time and smirked. "So you're Harry Potter. The boy who started all this."
Harry nodded and ran out of the circle to Dumbledore. He looked at him, curiously. "Who are you?"
"My name is Choice, Harry. I'm a spy for Dumbledore. I was also to be Kaiya's husband." He stole another glance at the doors. "Or would have been…"
"So your one of us?"
"If you mean a good guy, yeah."
"Is it over?" Harry asked.
"No Harry it isn't because after tonight, the Ministry has no choice but declare war on Voldemort." Choice looked at Severus. "And that's what you wanted too, wasn't it?"
Severus Snape dropped the sword he was holding and pushed Jacqueline into the arms of the nearest Dementor. He looked tired and weak and suddenly a hundred years older then he was a moment ago. He coughed a couple of times so violently that his whole body shook. He smiled lazily at Choice and took off his outer robe to reveal a bloodied ribcage. That explained his weakness. Albus wasn't the one dying, Severus was. He was dying from the wound he had received months ago in the Snake Bite pub, from an Auror who had never seen a Dark Wizard before that night. He licked his lips and regarded Choice with a strange look. "Do you know the best way to save a city from plunderers?"
Choice shook his head no.
Severus smiled sadly. "Too bad." He inhaled a deep breath and ran his hands over his hair to sooth it out. He straightened his robes and brought himself up to his full height, like a person of breeding should. He turned to the Dementors. "I believe I owe one of you a kiss."
------ Two Weeks Later----War Officially Declared on You-Know-Who
By: Lewis Llewellyn
The Hague- Today the International Wizarding Community unanimously decided to reinstate the emergency powers given to the Law Enforcement officers during the Dark Times. In effect this has declared war on the Dark Side. This means that Aurors have been given the leeway to use the Unforgivable Curses and the power to withhold trial for anyone deemed a Dark Wizard. This comes in response to the Christmas day attacks on two schools of Magic, the British Ministry of Magic and a rural town in England. These attacks have been attributed to the infamous Dark Prince who reemergence only affirms the belief that He Who Must Not Be Named has returned. This revelation has heralded in a new time of fear and wide spread distrust but with the appointment of new Minister of Magical Law Enforcement Benjamin Laud, the Ministry has promised a quick end to this renewed threat.
Also related to this historical decision in Hague is the sentencing of one Ms. Jacqueline Eames, a Dark Witch and follower of You Know Who. According to a confidential source, Ms. Eames was even the lifelong companion to the Dark Prince. She is also the Death Eater known as Jack the Ripper and is responsible for the death of the former Minister of M. L. E Ambrosia "Victory" Hawke. Eames was given the Demeanor's kiss at 7: 30 this morning, with Professor Albus Dumbledore, and Prof. Severus Snape witnessing. Both declined comment.
Snape folded the paper when he had finished reading it and laid it on his nightstand. He accidentally knocked over a glass. He closed his eyes and turned away. He was too weak to straighten it. He was going to die, after all, a little spilled wine wouldn't make any difference. He heard the door to his bedroom open and he cursed the light the visitor allowed in. "Can't a man die in peace?"
"Some men, yes." Dumbledore said softly. "But not you."
"Albus…" Snape whispered weakly. A flood of words, mostly words begging forgiveness came flooding to his lips. There was so much he wanted to tell Albus. So much he wanted to thank him for. But he couldn't. He, like Lucifer, was too proud for it. "If you've come to turn me over to the Dementors, don't bother. I'll be dead soon enough."
"I know." Dumbledore sat next to the bed. "That's why I've come."
"To make sure the monster is dead?"
"Why do you always do you always refer as a monster? You're not you know. You're just a man."
"And therein lies the problem, everyone else seemed to think I was a god, invincible."
"You know you started this war, Severus…people will die now because of it…"
"Lets talk about something else, something idle."
"Kaiya's with child."
Snape smiled. "Does Choice know?"
"Oh." The smile flickered. "Then it's not a child, it's a puppy. Still, I'm going to be a grandfather. Or would have been…"
"Why Severus? Why did you start this?"
"Do you know the best way to save a city from being plundered? From being raped, tortured and disgraced?"
"You destroy it. To save a city, you burn it to the ground. You're right, Albus. People will die because I started this war…but at least they know what they're dying for. At least they know people will acknowledge it. Fudge would have let the people die for nothing. I wouldn't- I couldn't allow that."
"You did it to save them?"
"No, to honor them." Snape turned his head. He was dying. He could say it now. He could be honest, at least this one time. "Do you remember what you said, last spring? If ever they should come a time when you have to choose between what is right and what is easy? This was my choice. My way of remembering…and honoring. And not only Cedric, but also Lily, and even James…and countless others…all of them. To prove they're not just names."
"That's what I thought." Albus said. He reached into his cloak and pulled out something. It fit in the palm of his hand and was shaped like a tear. He picked up the wine goblet and filled it. "Drink."
"What is it?"
"Life." Dumbledore answered. "Or something like it. Compliments of Fawkes."
Severus titled his head, looking at the stone in his hand. His eyes glittered strangely in a mixture of fear and hunger. "You said you destroyed the Tear. You told me…"
"I told a man I could not trust a lie to protect my interests. Just like you told a lie to keep the world guessing till the end."
"Don't try to make it a heroic deed. I did it for spite. I wanted to prove that…"
"It doesn't matter what you will tell me now, because you'll be lying." Dumbledore lifted up the goblet. "This is a one time cure Severus after this you'll free of you bind to this damned stone." His voice took a softer tone. "I couldn't just let you die."
Snape smiled. "You lied then."
"I learned from the best." The Headmaster whispered. His head was swimming with questions he knew Severus wouldn't answer. "But during all this time…what was the truth? What is the truth? Are you a Death Eater or a hero? Everything you've said, what is true and what are the lies?"
"Dear Headmaster…" Severus laughed. "It's all truth."
"Even the lies?"
"Especially the lies."
"Professor Snape?" Neville Longbottom murmured, raising his hand timidly. "Professor, my cauldron is melting."
Kaiya Alchemy rubbed her temples tiredly. "You didn't dilute the snake venom did you, Neville?"
"Of course, he didn't." Purred Professor S. Snape from the doorway of his classroom. The entire class, Kaiya included, jolted a little bit when they heard his voice. "To have done so would have required brains, something Mr. Longbottom lacks." Snape glided into the room, sneering at Potter and his dream team. Susan Bone stole a grin. "Thankfully what he lacks in brains he more then makes up for in stomach."
"How…" Kaiya began softly.
"I hope you'll forgive me, Kaiya." Dumbledore said, leaning against the doorframe. In his hand, he was tossing the Unicorn's Tear. "But I believe Severus should retake his position as Potions Master, now that his more pressing matters have been accomplishment. For the time being."
Kaiya glanced at the Sorcerer's Stone then back to her father. "Are you?"
"Immortal?" Severus finished for her. "No, just healed. Thanks to a Headmaster that lies, a phoenix and the Tear."
The classroom snickered. Harry chuckled. And Kaiya went to Dumbledore who was calling for her. As she passed, she glanced down at Ron who was looking at her and Snape hatefully, almost. She glanced down to his left forearm where a bandage covered it. He had claimed he had burned himself during homework. She looked up at Snape then to Dumbledore. Together they walked out of the classroom and down the hall.
"You know this isn't over." She said. "He's still considered the Prince by the Dark Lord. And he still has enemies."
Dumbledore raised up a hand and listened; in the distance they could hear Snape's cold voice taking ten points from Hufflepuff for laughing and twenty from the Gryffindors. "Further more, ten points are deducted from you, Mr. Longbottom as well as detention."
Dumbledore smiled. "Yes, but things are as they should be."
Jacqueline Eames didn't appear recognize the raven that was perched outside her cell window in Azkaban. She smiled at it conspiratorially. She stumbled to stand, tripping over weak legs and pulling insanely at her gray shirt. "My son." She called. "My son is the Raven…my sister is the Night…and my lord is death…" She cackled loudly. "Oh my son!"
The Raven cawed and flew down. As the bird landed, it transformed, into a man in his early twenties. He was strikingly handsome, raven colored hair and eyes set against pale skin. He walked towards the door, checking for Dementors. There were none in sight.
"Don't worry mother." The boy said softly. "He will pay for this." He kissed his mother's cheek once before pulling up the hood of his cloak.
"Beware the Prince." She whispered. "He knows all, sees all, and hates all."Modred Snape took one last look at the shell of his mother. "Yes, mother but so do I. I promise you he shall pay in blood."