Sarah fell hard on the earth. She should definitely practise travelling by a Portkey. Her left foot hurt a bit, but after stretching it she concluded that everything was alright. Sarah got up and looked around. She was just outside Hogsmeade but the castle was not visible from that place. A small light was coming from behind the hills. It was a very strange sensation, because she had looked at the sunset not so long ago, but here the sun would have risen probably by the time when she got to Hogwarts.
She was afraid of what she would see when she got there, but it did not stop her from going. She ran through the streets of Hogsmeade and was reminded of her first time there, when she had come with Severus to live in Hogwarts, but somehow she had the same bad sensation. As she hurried through the village she noticed that it was completely deserted. No lights were in the windows and complete silence overwhelmed the place. It meant that the battle had resumed. Otherwise, people would have come back to their houses.
Sarah hurried past the last houses of Hogsmeade and saw a sight that she had not been prepared to witness. The main gates were blasted apart and the wall surrounding Hogwarts was severely damaged. There were holes in the castle as well. A giant was trying to break a small tower off the castle which was circled by a black cloud of dementors. Acromantulas dead and alive were everywhere across the territory. Lights were flashing from inside the castle. A lot of blasts could be herd and she wondered whether it will be possible to repair the castle after the battle. The sight made Sarah shiver and reconsider going inside, but she wanted to know. She hated herself severely for getting herself into it. She had left him, and she knew that it was the right decision, so she could not understand why she desperately had to know if anything had happened to him.
Sarah went through one of the holes in the wall and ran up the path which led along the lake, then up the hill and finally approached the main entrance. Now she could hear roars, screams, and cries clearly. It was obvious that the battle was continuing and it was going on inside the castle. She entered the entrance hall and saw a terrifying sight. Dead bodies were lying on the floor and some people were fighting, but not many. She thought that the main fight was going on in the Grate Hall and her assumption was confirmed when she saw green and red lights flashing from there. Sarah was delighted that she had an Invisibility Cloak on; otherwise, she would not dare going inside. Sarah went inside the Great Hall and was impressed by what she saw. Several hundreds of wizards and witches were fighting against a large number of Death Eaters and Imperiused wizards. Spells were flying everywhere and she had to cast a Shield Charm immediately not to get killed. She tried to keep closer to the wall, because mainly people were fighting in the middle of the hall, but some curses flew in her direction, too. She feared for her life so she backed into a corner and kept casting Shield Charms until she noticed one person whom she truly hated. It was the large Death Eater Yaxley. She felt such disgust and hatred for him that she hoped that someone would kill him. The Death Eaters were outnumbered already and some of them were running away. It seemed that the light side would win. Suddenly Sarah could not suppress the temptation to try out the Killing Curse. No one would feel so good killing him than she would so she raised her wand again and said the two words that she thought she would never pronounce. The large Death Eater was hit from behind and he fell down dead just as he had wanted to raise his wand against someone whom Sarah did not know. When Sarah realised what she had done she panicked. It had been a very sudden urge to kill the man and it seemed nothing bad then, because killing curses were flying everywhere across the room, but when she saw the actual dead body she felt sick. It could not have happened. She was a murderer! Sarah was so shocked of what she had done that she missed the whole action until she heard people screaming,
“Harry!” “HE’S ALIVE!”
Sarah looked to the place from where the shouts had begun and saw Harry Potter standing face to face with Voldemort. Sarah gasped at the sight of the fragile boy standing against the Dark Lord. It seemed insane, but no one was helping, because Harry had told not to. He thought that it had to be him who killed Voldemort. Sarah could not understand that. He was just a small boy. How could he be the one to vanish the Dark Lord? It did not seem right to her, but she would not be the one to do anything either. She came closer to the place where they both stood trying to avoid people unsuspecting her presence because of her Invisibility Cloak. To tell the truth Sarah was not as interested in Harry’s and Vodemort’s dialogue as she was in a chance to spot Snape. They were talking about Horcruxes and the Elder Wand and it did not make much sense to her. She had not heard about any off them.
She came even nearer to the place where everyone’s attention was attracted and could hear every word that Potter or Voldemort said. It was when she heard it, “Severus Snape was not yours,” said Harry. “Snape was Dumbledore’s from the moment you started hunting down my mother. And you never realized it, because of the thing you can’t understand. You never saw Snape cast a Patronus, did you, Riddle?”
Sarah was amazed. How could the boy know that Snape was not a traitor? He had surely hated Snape as much as Snape had hated Potter. She could not believe that Snape had revealed that he loved Lily. It was one of Snape’s biggest secrets, but it appeared that Potter had found out somehow. Sarah was totally confused. Not only Snape’s biggest secrets were revealed, but it was also done by a boy whom Snape loathed. Where was Snape himself? From what she could understand Voldemort had not found out about his betrayal so Snape should be safe.
Actually Sarah had not seen his Patronus as well. What could be so important about it?
“Snape’s Patronus was a doe,” said Harry,“the same as my mother’s, because he loved her for nearly all of his life, from the time when they were children.”
That did not surprise Sarah. She could have guessed. Still she wondered why they were talking about Snape now. She was happy that it was revealed tat he was Dumbledore’s man, but it felt strange to hear that from Potter’s mouth. Snape had always wanted to say that to Voldemort himself, but he knew that he could not if he wanted to stay alive. However, it seemed that the boy wanted to cut Voldemort to shreds so he continued,
“…he was Dumbledore’s spy from the moment you threatened her, and he’s been working against you ever since! Dumbledore was already dying when Snape finished him!”
Sarah was so thrilled. Everything that Snape had feared about was now cleared with the help of this boy. Snape would not have to hide anymore. They would be able to live free. He was a hero now instead of being the murderer and traitor. Nevertheless she became even more worried. Something had to be wrong, because she could not understand why Snape was not there to hear his defence.
“Dumbledore was trying to keep the Elder Wand from me! He intended that Snape should be the true master of the wand! But I got there ahead of you, little boy—I reached the wand before you could get your hands on it, I understood the truth before you caught up, I killed Severus Snape three hours ago…”
No! Sarah screamed in her head. She clamped her hand firmly over her mouth not to make noise. She fell down on the ground and sobbed uncontrollably. It was something that she had thought that she was prepared to, but it proved to be that she was not after all. Even if she had suspected that this information could be revealed, she was not ready to hear it. She could not understand how it could have happened like this. Snape had always been afraid that Voldemort would find out that he was a spy and murder him, but what Potter said seemed completely illogical. Voldemort had killed Snape because of a stupid wand. She was trying to comprehend it when she heard Potter saying,
“Severus Snape was never the true master of the Elder Wand. Snape never beat Dumbledore! Dumbledore’s death was planned between them! Dumbledore intended to die undefeated, the wand’s last true master!”
What? Sarah screamed in her head again. Snape had died just like that without a reason. He was killed absolutely pointlessly! It could not be happening. No! It could not be true. Now when everyone knew what he had been fighting he was dead and he could not even find out that his name was cleared. Sarah realised that he had to see him for the last time. She spotted the dead lying in a row in the middle of the Hall. Snape had to be among them. Sarah rose from the ground and slowly approached the dead. She was happy that she did not recognise any faces, but in the meantime she was not shocked less. There were children lying in the pile of dead. They should have been of age, but they had not deserved to die. Sarah slowly went around the dead, but she did not see Severus anywhere. Voldemort clearly stated that he had killed Snape three hours ago and the boy did not object. He had to be there. Was there another place where the dead lay? She could not know, but she hoped that there was not. She had seen too many dead already. She wondered where Severus could be. What if he was in Headmaster’s Office? He was the headmaster after all so it would not be strange if respect would be paid to him and he would have been carried to his office away from this pile of dead. She shivered and tried to get out of the Hall when she heard Potter say with a victory,
“ I am the true master of the Elder Wand.”
After that they both shot up their wands and shrieked,
A loud band echoed through the Hall. Then the spells collided and the wand from Voldemort’s hand flew high and was caught by Potter just as Voldemort hit the floor. After a moment of utter confusion yells of you and laughter filled the Great Hall. People were crying and laughing in the meantime. Positive emotions filled the Hall and Sarah felt that she did not belong there. People were moving into the depth of the hall to congratulate Potter so the way for Sarah to go out was free. She realised that she should be happy. Snape had worked in the name of this moment. He would have been happy knowing that Voldemort was dead, but it had not been Sarah’s fight. Her world was crushed and she did not care that Voldemort was dead. She just had to see Snape for the last time.
The castle was empty when she ran through the halls to the Headmaster’s Office. Sarah reached the gargoyle, said the password “Dumbledore” and was let in. At least one Snape had not changed the password! She jumped up on the raising stairs and with a trembling heart opened the door to the office. She peered inside, but he was not there after all. Sarah cried out. She did not know where else to look for him, but she could not leave just like that. Whom could she ask about Snape? She did not have a clue. What if Dumbledore knew something? She looked in hope at his portrait, but saw that it was empty. Then she noticed a large stone basin placed on the table. Something silver was swirling in the basin and it caught her attention. She approached the table to look closer, but she did not know what it was. That was when she noticed it - a parchment lying nearby. It looked like a map, but it was more than just that. People’s names were on it and they were moving. She saw many name’s concentrating in one place which was marked as the Great Hall. Was it a map of Hogwarts? It looked like it. Did it also show the dead? She did not know, but it did not stop her from looking for Severus. She did not have to look around for long, because all people were in the Hall and only some of them were walking away. Finally she spotted the lonely name which said “Severus Snape” in a place called the Shrieking Shack. She remembered Severus telling about a tunnel under the Whomping Willow which led to the Shack and where he was once almost killed by a werewolf. Why were all the dead carried into the Great Hall, but Snape left here? Sarah was furious realising that it would take some time for someone to find him. It was all just not fare!
Sarah ran again through the halls of the castle outside and to the willow. She had gained enough speed to jump into the whole under the tree before it tired to smash her with its branches. Sarah ran through the dark and narrow passageway, but she stopped when she saw a door. Was it really what she wanted? There was no chance that he could be alive, right? Would she see his dead body in nightmares afterwards? Maybe it would be better just to walk away. However, she felt a duty to visit him. She had gone too far and she could not back away now.
Sarah slowly opened the door holding her breath. At first she could not see anything because it was dark, but then her gaze stopped at a place where the light coming through rives reflected. She made a step to come closer and to look at it, but stopped dead, because she finally spotted what it was. Blood! It was a large pool of blood and a large black shape was lying in it. She did not have to wonder what it was. She understood immediately.
Sarah kneeled besides him and started crying again. It was awful. His eyes were still open and fixed on the place where he had seen the last image. One of his hands was clasping his neck. It was evident that he had died in great pain and suffering. Shock could still be read from his fixed eyes. He looked much older since when she had left. His life had probably been very tense since then; he still looked worried. Sarah started feeling guilty. He had surely needed her support, but she had left him in the hardest time. He would never find out that she was sorry.
Sarah moved his hand to look why he had clasped his neck and shivered, because the hand was cold as ice. If she had not been a healer she probably would not be able to tell that it was a snake’s bite, because his neck was covered in a thick layer of dry blood. She remembered Snape telling about Voldemort’s snake Nagini and this had to be its bite. She had never seen a snake large enough to cause such a cut, not in England at least. She wondered what he had died from - snake’s venom or loss of blood, and considered it to be both. Sarah feared even imagining Snape’s shock when Voldemort ordered his snake to kill him. She was not sure if Snape knew why he was murdered, but she supposed that he did. It was just unbelievable! He had died for nothing, completely pointlessly! Sarah closed his eyed and kissed his cheek. She could not do anything to help him, she was much too late.
She wanted to leave, because she could not stand being so close to his lifeless body, when a sudden realisation hit her. He had died from a snake’s bite. It was something that could be cured in the Wizarding world. It was not an unexplained death from Avada Kedavra what Snape had feared. She remembered Snape developing a potion that could bring dead back, but only if it would be a curable death, which had made Snape furious. He had said that there was no point in working on the potion since it would be no use in case of Avada Kedavra, but Sarah did not believe that he could just have left it unfinished. He had already made possible something like tracking the soul and bringing it back to the body. Sarah considered this idea ridiculous, but she had to try. Snape was a genius after all and nothing was impossible with magic.