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Riddle Manor:

Voldemort sat at his desk, glaring at the ruined shards of the Seeing Globe, scattered in front of it. He had retired to his study next to the underground chamber, which contained all of his books on dark magic and some experimental potions he had concocted to try and preserve his life span before he had begun to worship Set and abandoned Selene for her power-hungry brother.

He could have repaired the globe with a simple spell, but didn't feel like wasting his magic on such a miniscule task, not when he might need it in case the Order managed to enter the manor. Highly unlikely, but still . . .Voldemort was not one to take chances. And his sense of self preservation was very high. He had become accustomed to looking out for himself from a young age and he had never lost the habit, not even at Hogwarts with Albus Dumbledore as his mentor. He had learned early on that he must look out for himself first, and to hell with everyone else.

Thus his wand was in his hand and a killing curse upon his lips when Dumbledore walked into the study, looking worn and extremely worried. Voldemort sneered, thinking, So melodramatic, Albus! Always playing up to my weaker emotions. Old man, the time is long past when I used to care about making you proud of me . . .or disappointing you. And still you persist in returning time and again to ask me to come back and be your good little boy. Faugh!

"Tom! I thought I might find you here!" greeted the other, as if they were back at Hogwarts and he had found young Voldemort hiding in the back of the library.

Voldemort stiffened involuntarily. It had always been "Tom" with Albus, never had the other called him by the name he had given himself, the name that everyone else feared to speak because of the curse attached to it. "Did you now? How kind of you to drop by and bring your little friends to play."

Dumbledore frowned. "Tom, why have you summoned these undead from Beyond? No good can come of it. It's not too late to shut the gateway and stop all of this chaos."

Voldemort laughed mockingly. "Please! Did you come down from your office just to lecture me, old man? Save it, I don't need your concern," he sneered. "You have never understood me, Albus. You always thought me misguided—"

"And so you were, my son. You fell under the influence of purebloods like Abraxus Malfoy and Theodore Nott and Malcolm Avery. If not for them—"

Voldemort snorted. "Don't fool yourself, Albus! I was not "led astray" by them—I did the leading. I have always known that I was different, stronger, better, I was the one who had the vision of a perfect world where the mightiest wizards ruled. Once I rid myself of all the impure Mudbloods and Muggles, then you shall see law and order, not chaos. And power beyond imagining."

Albus shook his head, horrified. "No! You can't rearrange everything just to suit yourself, Tom. That's not how it works."

Voldemort bared his teeth in a half-smile. "Maybe not in your world. But it does in mine. Here, I reign supreme. And very soon I shall be immortal."

"There's no such thing as immortality. Not even if you managed to create a Horcrux." Dumbledore argued.

"Horcrux!" Voldemort spat. "Don't bore me with such antiquated attempts at immortality. I have a better means of gaining what I wish. Set has promised me my heart's desire. Once I rid myself of your little annoyances and the Potter brat, which I am in the process of doing right now, I can concentrate upon being immortal. It does exist, Albus. You know that to be true. Did you and Flamel not create the Sorcerer's Stone?"

"That was different. And now it is destroyed, Tom. Please, do not make this any harder than it is. Give up your mad quest and come back to the light. They will kill you, Tom. But if you renounce the darkness, I could—"

"—could what? Could tell them I was a naughty little boy and I promise to behave now? Will you vouch to keep me from Azkaban? From being Kissed by a Dementor or shoved through the Veil?" Voldemort seemed amused. He leaned forward. "What you fail to see, Albus, is that I chose this path. No one forced me down it. I have always known my destiny was to rule the world, by whatever means necessary. You are either a victim or a conqueror, and I swore never again to be a victim. Therefore, I conquer. Why so surprised? I never hid my ambition from you. You simply refused to see it. You deluded yourself."

"Tom, there is still good within you."

"Only in your feeble imagination, Dumbledore. I have a proposition for you. Instead of me returning to you, how about you join me instead? Oh, don't play innocent with me! You forget, I know all about your dark past and your best friend Gellert Grindelwald, who wanted much the same as I did, and how you two plotted to rule the world together. You had different dreams once, you too lusted after power and felt the siren call of the dark in your blood." Voldemort's eyes were shining, glittering with longing. "And I think a part of you still does. You were never able to destroy Grindelwald and you won't destroy me. Your stupid sentimentality always stayed your hand."

Dumbledore's eyes hardened. "You are wrong. I saw the error of my ways and escaped the lure of the dark. And I shall not return to it. Not even for you, Tom."

Severus hurried down the long hallway towards the back of the manor, all of his nerves tingling as he felt the aura of evil grow ever stronger. He knew without any urging from his goddess that he must hurry and close the gateway between worlds, before Set drew upon the teeming life energy and magic this world had to offer and entered it, or the undead drawn through the portal began to outnumber the living, which could happen if the portal were not strictly monitored. Severus also knew that was what Voldemort wished to happen, and so he would not be limiting the number of wraiths and specters entering.

Close the gate and you close the power source of the undead. And of Voldemort as well, unless he has summoned his god already and become His host. Severus reminded himself. Becoming the avatar of a god was not as common as one might think, because most gods preferred not to give up their immortal flesh for the unwieldy mortal skin of their worshipper, even for a brief time. Even Selene had only done so one time in centuries, or so Severus thought.

But the mere thought of Voldemort becoming an avatar sent chills down the Potion Master's spine. If nothing else, he must shut the portal to prevent the undead from coming through.

He found a small iron bound door and spoke a charm to detect any traps or curses upon it. There were none. He cautiously opened the door and found a set of stairs going down into the depths of the manor. Snape crept down them, using all of his stealth skills to descend the staircase silently.

The miasma of evil was greater down here, and he took a gulp of air and exhaled softly. This was the right direction. The dark aura whispered in his mind, beckoning to him, urging him to cast off his ties to Selene and join the Destroyer. Severus Occluded, and the evil urging fizzled and died. He had never joined Voldemort in truth and so was able to resist the dark urging.

He continued on his way, walking down a low stone corridor lit by small Lumos spelled globes attached to the wall.

As he went further down the corridor, he could hear the murmur of voices, but the sound was drowned out by the sinister throbbing pulse of the magical gateway. He paused before the stone arch, peering around it while muttering a Concealment charm.

But the room was empty. No undead lurked in the corners or Death Eaters guarded the portal. Severus flinched as he saw the bloodstained pentagram upon the floor and the shifting clot of darkness in the middle of it. He felt his stomach twist in revulsion. There was something intrinsically wrong about this gateway, and every instinct he had was screaming at him to just . . .run away.

I am not a coward. I am not a coward. I have faced worse than this.

He shut his eyes, calling upon every scrap of willpower he possessed.

Then he began to edge toward the portal. Selene, Lady of Mysteries, help me.

As Molly rushed to the aid of her gravely injured son, Arthur finished off the spectral hound that had stalked him and followed, watching his wife's back. He knew Molly was not aware that Moody had sacrificed himself for her, and Arthur felt terrible having to break such grim news to her, but the old Auror was dead and there was nothing to be done about it. Arthur knew that most devotees of Odin preferred to die in battle and their souls would then go to dwell in Valhalla, home of the valiant. He was sure Moody was already in the mead hall, feasting and drinking with the gods and heroes.

The sounds of the battlefield echoed in his ears as he half-ran across the lawn to where Charlie crouched with Bill's head in his lap, holding a torn strip of his robe to his brother's torn cheek and eye. Arthur prayed the damage was not too bad and Bill would recover.

He could hear the vicious howls and snarls of werewolves in the distance in the forest and he shuddered. His wand clutched in his fist, the wood slippery with sweat, he continued to where his sons and wife huddled, eyes darting every which way warily.

Nightblaze turned from the corpse of Lucius Malfoy and started to follow Arthur to see if he could help Bill, while Remus attacked Crabbe, who was trying to curse Nightblaze.

The werewolf, once a Defense instructor, nailed the hulking Death Eater with a simple yet effective Silencing Curse, preventing him from completing the spell against the galloping unicorn. Crabbe quickly countered it by a silent Finite, and then began to fire off curses at Remus.

Remus deflected them, and then cast a Stunning Hex with lightning speed, proving that no matter how many lethal curses one knew, it was speed that counted in a duel. Crabbe toppled backwards, striking his head upon a partially buried rock and cracking his head open. Remus didn't notice the blood seeping onto the ground, and turned away to assist Sirius. Crabbe died soon afterwards.

Amelia and McGonagall double-teamed MacNair, and managed to kill the former Ministry executioner, with the Head of the Aurors giving him the final hex. "I never liked that man," she told Minerva. "Good riddance to him!"

Nightblaze galloped over to the stricken Bill and breathed on him. The other's chest rose and fell shallowly as the werewolf saliva acted as a catalyst for the curse, and began changing his blood and body. The black unicorn dipped his head and placed his horn upon Bill's chest and concentrated.

A silvery glow spilled from his horn and shimmered over the half-conscious wizard.

Nightblaze felt his power struggling to counteract the curse. It could heal the wounds upon Bill's face, even fix his eye so it could see again, but the curse continued to rampage through the curse breaker's tissues, altering them quicker than the horn's magic could reverse it.

But the unicorn was desperate to help Bill, and refused to quit, even though he was drawing heavily upon his own strength, until Amicus shoved his shoulder hard, knocking him away. Nightblaze spun on the elder unicorn angrily. Hey! What was that for? I was trying to save him!

You cannot save a human from the werewolf curse, young one. Amicus told him. Our horns can heal most wounds and poisons, but the werewolf curse is too strong even for us.

Can't anything be done?

Amicus shook his head. Not by us. The wizards could try, but I don't think there is any way to prevent the curse now.

Damn, but that just sucks! The black unicorn whinnied. I'm sorry, Bill. His head drooped, and he felt exhausted, as if he had just run through the entire Forbidden Forest.

Molly looked at him. "Harry, can't you . . .?"

Charlie, who could almost grasp the unicorn speech, laid his hand on her arm. "Mum, he's done all he can. Look at him, he's out on his feet . . ."

"You're right. It's just . . .I had hoped . . ." her eyes filled with tears as she patted Bill's cheek. The skin was smooth, unblemished, but inside the curse seared and burned.

While the Weasley family was gathered about Bill, the werewolf pack which had been gathered by Greyback, began trying to enter the manor grounds. But the trees had risen up against them and attacked them unexpectedly. They battered and snatched and crushed the werewolves in their woody embrace, terrifying the pacl and causing those that were left to flee. But they did not escape, for Jack was waiting and he took care of any stragglers.

"Aww, how sweet! Look, it's a family portrait, Amycus!" shrilled Alecto Carrow, as she stalked over to the Weasleys. "Hate to destroy the moment, but . . .it's your time to die!"

She cackled and her limp blond hair swung half over her face like a rancid curtain. She had her wand leveled directly at the injured Bill.

"Get away from my son, you poxy whore!" Molly shouted, her eyes blazing with fury. She leaped up and shot a Blasting Curse from her wand, causing the ground beneath Alecto's feet to explode, throwing the insane witch off her feet and sending her slamming into the ground several yards away.

It also knocked her hulking twin brother Amycus down, but he only caught the edge of the curse, and so sprang to his feet two minutes later. "You're gonna pay fer that, you bleedin' bitch!"

Arthur turned, his face hard, and fired off a Freezing Jinx, which struck the Carrow straight in the chest and turned him into a block of ice. "That's what you get when you threaten my family!"

Alecto Carrow was getting to her feet, a hand to her head, when one of the unicorn mares charged her, trampling the skinny witch into the dust.

Nightblaze  neighed in approval.

Then he went to try and drive off some more undead.

Severus glanced off to the side of the portal, knowing if he looked at it directly he would get sick, as it caused a stomach turning vertigo if gazed upon directly by anyone other than the summoner of the gate. Selene, help me to close this abominable thing, he called upon his goddess. He knew only the theory of opening a gateway such as this and one wrong word would spell his own death, as well as that of his other companions.

He allowed a brief thought of Harry and Hermione to flit across his mind, then he locked away the inconvenient nervous worry. He had to focus upon shutting the gate so the undead would lose their connection to the underworld and so Voldemort would as well. He was uncertain whether or not the dark wizard had summoned Set already, but if not, closing the gate might prevent that, or at the very least mute the God of Destruction's influence and power.

I hear you, Severus. Listen closely, this is how you must close the gate . . . She began to show him the spell matrix he had to use. Images began to flash rapidly through his mind.

Dumbledore was shocked that Voldemort dared to bring up his past in such a way, the past he would sooner forget, which had cost him his little sister Ariana and his friendship with Gellert. It angered him that the younger wizard would throw that in his face, the mistakes of his youth, when he had been blinded by folly and love to follow the dark road. "You don't know me half as well as you think, Tom. I came here to try and convince you one last time to renounce your dark god and come back to me, not to join you in your obsession."

"Then you wasted your time," sneered the Dark Lord. "As if I would give up the power I have gained from the Destroyer! For what? A chance to be locked in a cell for the rest of my life? A chance for you to make me into your little puppet? Bugger that! I chose the path I walk and I am never turning back. Selene refused to grant me my deepest wish but Set did not."

"He lies, Tom. They always do."

Voldemort threw back his head and laughed. "There speaks one who has never known the touch of a god. Set may be destruction, but He keeps his word."

Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "Oh, Tom. You aren't hearing a word I've said."

"Oh, I hear you, Albus. I just don't give a bloody damn!" He smiled, lipless and evil, one hand reaching out to stroke the coiled head of Nagini lying beneath his chair. Abruptly he rose to his feet and chanted swiftly, "I, Lord Voldemort, call upon Thee, Set, to grant me the honor of your presence." Three times he chanted that, and suddenly there came a great surge of magic, and a dark aura surrounded Voldmoert's figure, purple shot through with streaks of black and red.

Albus stared in a mixture of terror and horror. For the first time since Tom had left him, he stopped trying to make excuses for the man. For the first time he was forced to see the wizard as the evil dictator and not his misguided son. For the first time he understood the true depths of Tom's evil and it froze him to the marrow. My son! My son!

Tom's face was altering as the god entered him, becoming more handsome and yet colder, his eyes changing from snake red to a dazzling blue like Egyptian faiance beads. He grew taller, more menacing, and the shadow of a black dog-like creature hovered over him.

He towered over Dumbledore, who seemed to shrink and shrivel. "Well? What do you think now, old fool?" he boomed, his voice deeper, more seductive and yet more terrifying. "Do you understand at last?"

"Yes. I understand that you have embrace evil and now I must destroy you." Dumbledore said sadly. "For your own good." He raised his hand. "Forgive me, my son."

Voldemort lifted his hand, and Albus' wand shattered. "I was never your son, you pathetic driveling bugger! Here's your forgiveness!"

A wave of black energy flared from the avatar's outstretched hand and rolled over Dumbledore like a crack of thunder.

He never had a chance to counter it, for an immortal's magic works almost as quick as thought.

One minute he was alive, and the next he crumpled to the floor, dead.

And Voldemort laughed. "Farewell, Father dear."

At that precise instant, Severus closed the gate between worlds and scuffed out the pentagram.

All of the undead outside staggered and groaned, for their energy source was cut off. Some of them faded away into mist immediately, others collapsed and lay still.

Voldemort felt the sudden cessation of energy and howled in fury. "WHO DARES?"

"I do . . .Voldemort," Severus replied, appearing in the doorway of the study. Somehow he managed to say the name without fear or trembling. His eyes took in the altered necromancer, the snake coiled under the chair and the limp form of Dumbledore lying on the floor.

Voldemort bared his teeth. "Snape! My loyal servant! Or perhaps not so loyal . . ."

"Try never. There was only one I ever served with all of my heart and soul. And you repudiated Her, Tom Riddle, long ago." Severus said sternly. "For years I have watched in the shadows, but now that time is ended."

He knew he had only seconds with which to act. He needed to get close enough to touch the other wizard so he could activate his last gift—the Lady's Touch. He sensed that Apparition would not serve him, the same way he knew instinctively if a potion was brewed correctly. So he drew upon the first gift he had received, and lunged at the Dark Lord with all the speed Moon Fire possessed.

Voldemort spat at him. "Traitor! You shall die a slow and painful death!" He lifted his hand, dark fire radiating from it.

"I think not," was all Snape said, then his hand met the Dark Lord's cheek in a painful slap.

It was but an instant of contact, but it was enough.

Selene's power blasted through him, surging through Severus like a storm wind suddenly released from a bottle, not the silvery healing touch, but the dark raging magic of the avenger, the warrior, the falcon who hunts without mercy.

It burrowed deep within Voldemort's mortal body and began to unmake it.

Set snarled and raged, but His power was limited inside a mortal shell, and the gateway to the underworld was shut, making him unable to draw upon its strength and he did not want to spend it fighting his divine sister again. Last time had ended in humiliating defeat and he would not risk it again.

Master, save me . . . whimpered Voldemort as his body began to decay.

Coward! Save yourself!

You promised! I was supposed to be immortal!

So you were, child. For about a minute and a half. I never said how long it would last, now did I?

No! The prophecy . . .the prophecy states that I shall triumph.

Mortal prattle, what do they know? You have failed me, Voldemort. And I do not tolerate failures.

With that, Set abandoned his Chosen, fleeing back to his dark realm.

The last expression upon Voldemort's face before he crumbled to ash was one of bitter realization. Set had betrayed him.

Panting, Severus stared at the pile of ash that had once been the most feared wizard in the British Isles. It was finally over.

He turned then to check upon Dumbledore, though he knew before his hand went to the other's neck that he was gone. Too late for him to heal even with his goddess' touch. Severus gently shut the other's eyes.

It was then he saw Her, standing slightly above Dumbledore's figure, more mist than corporeal being, holding out her hand to the wispy spirit that hovered nearby.

Do you regret what was, Albus?

I do. I was blind . . .but now I see . . .now I see all . . I am so sorry . . he deceived me . . .no, I deceived myself . . .and I hurt Severus and Harry . . .I didn't mean to . . .but I did . . ..forgive me, Lady . . .

You are forgiven, My son. Would you like to take a walk with Me?

The spirit hesitated. Yes. If . . .if You will have me . . .?

Welcome home, child. Come with Me, and know the peace of eternity. And perhaps someday you shall also have a second chance to live again and set right the mistakes you have made in the life before . . .

Her hand clasped his and they started to flicker.

Severus squinted and She turned Her head and winked at him.

I shall see you soon, my Endymion. Well done, beloved. Now flee from here, for all bonds are loosed and the magic fades. Until we meet again.

Then they were gone in a ray of silvery light.

Severus blinked, still seeing her violet eyes before him. He was filled with satisfaction, for he had completed the task set him at long last. Voldemort was defeated. He looked up, wondering what Selene had meant by that last warning.

It was then he saw the ceiling start to tremble and pieces of dirt sprinkled down upon him.

Bloody hell, it's falling apart!

He scooped Dumbledore's body into his arms and began to run up the corridor.

Behind him the entire complex rumbled and shook, as the spells keeping it intact faded now that Voldemort was no longer there to sustain them.

Severus reached the stairs and then he concentrated, Apparating out to the entrance of the manor, still holding Albus' corpse over his shoulder.

Outside, all seemed chaos, as the undead faded or were destroyed and a haze hung over the lawn, making it difficult for Severus to see.

He quickly walked away from the manor, which was shuddering and groaning.

He looked back and saw the entire house just cave into itself, and fall to pieces.

Severus felt exhaustion sweep through him then, and he staggered. He quickly set Dumbledore down and covered him with his cloak. There would be time enough for a burial later. How ironic, Severus thought, that the old wizard had come to Selene in death rather than life. But it mattered not. In Selene's paradise, all were equal.

"Severus! Severus!" Hermione's voice floated to him as she perched atop Nightblaze. "Come quickly! Bill was bitten by a werewolf and we think he's cursed now and . . .and Dolohov . . .hit Sirius with Fiendfyre and he's . . .badly burned . . .the unicorns' horns don't work on him . . .He's dying, Severus . . .! Can you save him?"

The Potions Master rose. He was exhausted and all he wanted was to curl up and sleep. No rest for the wicked, Severus. "I shall try. Where is he?"

Hermione pointed to a spot about twenty feet away, where Remus was kneeling.

Severus blurred into Moon Fire and followed his two children across the blood-soaked grass.

Thanks everyone for your kind reviews and I hope you like this chapter since Severus didn't die in it.

What should happen with Sirius?

Happy 4th of July!

Oh and before you ask, the unicorns horns aren't able to heal everything-especially not powerful magical curses, like the werewolf one and Fiendfyre

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